6th Armoured Division (Pakistan)

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6th Armoured Division
6armddiv 1.JPG
6 Armoured Division Insignia
Active 1965- Present
Country  Pakistan
Branch  Pakistan Army
Type Armoured Division
Role Strategic Reserve
Size 20,000 men (though this may vary as units are rotated)
Part of I Strike Corps
Headquarters Gujranwala, Punjab Province
Nickname Shahsawar
Colors black and gold
Engagements Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Gulf War 1991
Somali Civil War
Battle of Mogadishu
Indo-Pakistani War of 1999
War on terror
Commanders
General Officer Commanding Major-General Umar Burki
Notable
commanders
Lt Gen Fazle Haq
Maj Gen Abrar Husain
Maj Gen Iftikhar Janjua
Maj Gen S Wajahat Hussain

The 6th Armoured Division is a Pakistan Army armoured division currently based in Gujranwala, in Punjab Province.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The division was originally an armoured brigade known as the 100 Independent Armoured Brigade Group. In 1964, it was decided to use the headquarters and other assets of this formation to create a new armoured division.[1] It was still in the process of raising when the 1965 war against India broke out.

1965 War[edit]

The formation would see its first taste of action in Operation Grand Slam in Chamb sector where it was the armoured contingent. However the general weakness of Pakistan Army defence around Sialkot and the fact that war was expected to break out over the international border, meant that the division would see only a few days of fighting before it was sent to Sialkot, where it would earn its spurs at a village called Chawinda.[2] On 8 September the Indian attack came and thus began the Battle of Chawinda. Initially the division was surprised and outflanked by the Indians as the enemy chose an unexpected axis to attack,[1] desperate holding actions by some individual units, famously 25th Cavalry, would hault the advance outside Chawinda. A counterattack against the Indians at Phillarah would be badly mauled[3] resulting in the loss of 22 tanks. The division then settled in defensive positions around Chawinda, and it and other divisions than withstood multiple corps sized attacks by the Indian I Corps,[4] until the biggest on the 18th of September when the Indian 1st Armoured and 6th Mountain divisions attacked, and would be destroyed. The Indians than went on the defensive as the 6th and its sister formations steadily and remorselessly forced them back across the international border; a task which was mostly (though not completely)[4] completed by the ceasefire on 23 September.

The divisions' action at Chawinda remains its most famous action. This battle was the largest tank battle since Kursk in 1943 and has been forver associated with the 6th. Amongst the many commendations received was one by the President which read:

The President of Pakistan has commanded that his personal congratulations be conveyed to All Ranks under your command for the exemplary, succeessful and courageous battle that they have fought. The President and the whole Nation are proud of these untarnishable deeds of valour.[3]

The division would lose over 200 killed and over a thousand wounded during the battle of Chawinda.[3]

Present Order of Battle[edit]

The division is at present stationed in Gujranwala and has four armoured brigades attached.[citation needed]

  • HQ 6 Armoured Division, Gujranwala
    • 7th Armoured Brigade, Gujranwala
    • 9th Armoured Brigade, Kharian
    • 8th Armoured Brigade Group, Mangla (wartime only, normally under corps control)
    • 106 Air Defence Brigade

One of the regiments of the division is reportedly the 29th Cavalry. In addition the following units are attached and stationed in Kharain.

  • 6 Armoured Division Support troops (a brigades worth of troops, mostly engineers, signal and other logistic troops)
    • 314 Assault Engineers
  • 6 Armoured Division Artillery (Equivalent to a Brigade)
  • 6 Armoured Div Aviation Air Brigade (wartime only, ordinarily units are dispersed)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Pakistan Army-War 1965-Shaukat Riza-Army Education Press-1984
  2. ^ Brian Cloughley- A History of the Pakistan Army, ISBN 0-19-579507-5
  3. ^ a b c Maj Gen (r) Abrar Hussein-"Men of Steel-6 Armoured Division in the 1965 War" ISBN 969-8125-19-1
  4. ^ a b History of Indo-Pak War of 1965. Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed (ret) ISBN 969-8693-01-7

External links[edit]