New Login   

A Mountain-Division in Battle

C. Vithal

By Maj. Gen. Lachhman Singh
Vikas, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 218, Rs. 60.00


Much opportunistic literature has been churned out on the emergence of Bangla Desh. Disappointingly, published material of relevance to a combatman or a keen student of military history has been restricted to some broad brushwork by people who were not quite near the scene of action, and written with the pur­pose of presenting a general over-view. This is surprising for a land campaign which involved three army corps and a communi­cation zone headquarters, altogether comprising of a fighting complement of three divisions plus three brigades, not forgetting the Mukti Bahini. The actions were fought over a limited period of time, at an incredible speed over terrain that was easily defensible. With just a margi­nal superiority in force levels, the planning and direction had been thorough and imaginative, the execution based fully on flexibility and improvization. The results are all too well known. A campaign fought with such success would be the easiest to write about and the effort would have been well received, particularly, when the lessons learnt and doctrines to recommend are many, and of great use to those who now repeatedly turn to foreign wars for precedents and examples. To partly cover this gap comes Maj. Gen. Lachhman Singh, PVSM, Vr.C, who commanded 20 Mountain Division in the north-western sector (north of the Padma and west of the Jamuna). His formation, operating under 33 Corps, advanced about 150 kilometres crossing six major water obstacles, three of which were strongly held, and captured Bogra after street fighting, all in a period of twelve days. Two of the bitterest and bloodiest battles of Bangla Desh were fought by his division at Hilli and Bhaduria. It is also of interest to note that a little over a third of Pakistani units which ultimately surrendered, did so in his sector. A divisional battle can best be descri­bed by the divisional commander himself. It is he who formulates his plan and executes it, carefully sensitive to every little action and counter-action. In the hands of a keen observer of events and a shrewd judge of persons, the narrative will be the truest tale and very often, the most readable one. General Lachhman Singh does not lay claims to being a litterateur. His style is matter-of-fact, as good military authorship should be. Nonetheless, his objectivity while composing the record of events is remarkable. The narrative of the battles that he and his ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.