Battle of Chawinda

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Battle of Chawinda
Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Date 17 September 1965 – 22 September 1965[1]
Location Chawinda, Pakistan
Result Major Pakistani Victory.[2] [3] [4] [5][third-party source needed] [6][dubious ]
  • Pakistan halts Indian invasion.

[2][7]

Belligerents
Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan
Flag of India.svg India
Commanders and leaders
Pakistan Brig. Abdul Ali Malik[note 1]
Pakistan Lt Col Nisar Ahmed Khan

Later:

Pakistan Maj Gen Abrar Hussain[note 2]
Pakistan Brig. Sardar M.Ismail Khan
Pakistan Brig. S. M. Hussain
Pakistan Brig. Muzzafaruddin
'
Pakistan Maj Gen Tikka Khan
Pakistan Lt Gen Bakhtiyar M.Rana
Pakistan Maj Gen Sahibzada Yaqub Ali Khan
Pakistan Brg. Amjad Chaudhry
India P.O. Dunn
India Lt Col Ardeshir Tarapore 
Strength
30,000+50,000 infantry
22 cavalry (44xM48),

10 Cavalry (44x Patton)

25 Cavalry (44x Patton)

33 TDU sqn (15x Shermans)

19 Lancers (44x Patton)

11 Cavalry (44x Patton)

Total: 132

+150 (tank reinforcements)[11]
80,000–150,000 infantry

4 Horse (45x Centurion)

16 Cavalry (45x Centurions

17 Poona (45x Centurion)

2 Lancers (45x Sherman)

62 Cavalry (45x sherman)

Total 225 tanks[11]
Casualties and losses
44 tanks (neutral claim)[12]


Over 518 km2 (218 mi2) of territory lost[13][14]
120 tanks (neutral claim)[12] 29 tanks lost (Indian claim)[14][15]
Chawinda is located in Pakistan
Chawinda
Chawinda
Location of Chawinda in Pakistan

The Battle of Chawinda was a part of the Sialkot Campaign in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It was one of the largest tank battles since the Battle of Kursk in World War II. The initial clashes at Chawinda coincided with the tank battle near Phillora and the fighting intensified once the Pakistani forces at Phillora retreated. However, the advancing Indian 1st Armored Division was stopped at Chawinda. The battle finally ended due to the UN ceasefire.[9]

Forces

The Indian aim of the attack was to seize the key Grand Trunk Road around Wazirabad and the capture of Jassoran which would enable domination of Sialkot-Pasrur railway, thus completely cutting off Pakistani supply line.[16] The striking force of the Indian 1st Corps was the 1st Armoured Division supported by the 14th Infantry and 6th Mountain divisions and Indian infantry seized the border area on 7 September. This was followed by a short engagement at Jassoran in which Pakistan lost 10 tanks and ensured complete Indian domination of Sialkot-Pasrur railway.[16] Realising the threat, the Pakistani Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik rushed his Brigade to Chawinda:

He ordered his staff officer to break communications with the higher headquarters, lest they sow any more confusion in the already confused state of affairs, and ordered the brigade straight to Chawinda...And then Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik took his second, the most extraordinary, the most audacious decision of this, or any war. He could have been prudent, careful and conventional. No one would have blamed him if he had put all available troops in defensive positions around Chawinda. But he did not do this. He ordered Nisar to put his two squadron in extended line and go over to the offensive, 2 Punjab he was informed, would join him as soon as it reached there. And for the first time in the history of tank warfare two squadrons were about to take on an armoured division. This momentous decision, not recommended in any text book, was to save Pakistan from total defeat.

We advanced all day in short bursts, from cover to cover. The Indians were retreating by the afternoon. We reoccupied Phillaurah, then Godgore, then Chobara. But then it was dusk, and the tanks withdrew to leaguer for the night. We were overextended and so had to abandon Chobara and take up defence around Godgore. The next morning we discovered a marked map in an abandoned Indian jeep. This showed their entire order of battle... We were stunned by our achievements of the previous day, and also made urgently conscious of how pitifully thin we were not the ground. The Indians broke through the position that we had taken back from them and routed our replacement. The signs of defeat were all over—stragglers moving back, some without weapons, some without their helmets and web equipment, without a resemblance of discipline or any sign of cohesion – demoralized troops, defeated. We dug in around Chawinda. Brigadier Ali had his headquarters in the village itself...he assessed that by this time the Indians had come to know exactly what stood against them. They threw everything at us. They often came close to success. Many times it seemed that our defense had disintegrated, only to be rallied round again...The Pakistani position at this point was highly perilous, the Indians outnumbered them by ten to one....We held on to Chawinda till the guns fell silent.

— The News February 11, 1992 By Farouk Adam SJ

However, the Pakistani situation improved as reinforcements arrived, consisting of two independent brigades from Kashmir, 8 Infantry Division, and most crucially, their 1 Armoured Division. For the next several days, Pakistani forces repulsed Indian attacks on Chawinda. A large Indian assault on 18 September involving India's 1st Armoured and 6th Mountain Divisions was repelled, with the Indian 1st Armoured and 6th Mountain divisions taking heavy losses. On 21 September the Indians withdrew to a defensive position near their original bridgehead, with the retreat of Indian first armoured division, all their offensives were ceased on that front.[17]

Pakistani General vetoed the proposed counterattack "Operation Windup", According to the Pakistani C in C the operation was cancelled since "both sides had suffered heavy tank losses......would have been of no strategic importance...." and above all "the decision...was politically motivated as by then the Government of Pakistan had made up their mind to accept cease fire and foreign sponsored proposals".[11]

Result

Amidst the operation, on 22 September, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for an unconditional ceasefire from both nations.[8][9] The war ended the following day. The military and economic assistance to both the countries had been stopped when the war started. Pakistan had suffered attrition to its military might and serious reverses in the battle at Khemkaran and Chawinda which made way for the acceptance of the UN Resolution.[1]

According to Indian claims, at the end of hostilities on 23 September 1965, India held about 200 square miles (518 square kilometres)of Pakistani territory in the Sialkot sector including the towns and villages of Phillora, Deoli, Bajragarhi, Suchetgarh, Pagowal, Chaprar, Muhadpur, Tilakpur,Thro Mandi, Khanpur Sydan, south east and east of Sialkot city, which were returned to Pakistan after the Tashkent Declaration in January 1966.[13][14][18] Likewise, by the end of the hostilities, Pakistan held up to 1,600 square miles of Indian territory, of which 1,300 square miles included desert sectors.[19] Despite the "huge losses on both sides", The Australian attributed the victory in this battle to Pakistan.[20][dubious ] The battle has also been described as the largest Tank Battle since the World War II.[21]

Notes

  1. ^

    There was a solitary infantry brigade at Chawinda, bolstered by an armoured regiment. The man in charge was Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik...He ordered his staff officer to break communications with the higher headquarters and ordered the brigade straight to Chawinda... No one would have blamed him if he had put all available troops in defensive positions around Chawinda. But he did not do this. He ordered Nisar to put his two squadron in extended line and go over to the offensive...two squadrons of tanks and one infantry company had blunted and then beaten back what was one armoured division and three of infantry! The sheer momentum of such a massive Indian force should have allowed them to do better. But then who could have predicted that an infantry Brigadier would react in quite the manner that Brigadier Ali had done under the circumstances?

  2. ^ "He had fought in the World War II and won the MBE due to his bravery as a young army lieutenant. Later in the 1965 War, he was awarded the gallantry award, Hilal-i-Jurat, for leading an infantry brigade as part of the 6th Armoured Division that fought the famous tank battle with the Indian Army at Chawinda in Sialkot and halted the advance of the invading Indian troops in Pakistan’s territory."

References

  1. ^ a b c Rao, K. V. Krishna. Prepare or perish: a study of national security. Lancers Publishers, 1991. ISBN 978-81-7212-001-6. 
  2. ^ a b Fricker, John (1979). Battle for Pakistan: the air war of 1965. University of Michigan: I. Allan. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-71-100929-5. 
  3. ^ Arming without Aiming: India's Military Modernization By Stephen P. Cohen, Sunil Dasgupta pg. 1971
  4. ^ The M47 and M48 Patton Tanks By Steven J. Zaloga Pg. 36
  5. ^ "Confidence" (The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995)). Canberra Times. AAP-Reuter. 16 September 1966. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Biggest Tank Battle since World War II: Pakistani Victory". The Australian (364). 14 September 1965. p. 1. 
  7. ^ Amin, Shahid M. (2010). Pakistan's foreign policy: a reappraisal. Northwestern University: Oxford University Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-19-547912-6. 
  8. ^ a b Midlarsky, Manus I. (2011). Origins of Political Extremism: Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0521700719. 
  9. ^ a b c Pradhan, R.D. 1965 war, the inside story. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 2007. ISBN 978-81-269-0762-5. 
  10. ^ "Indo-Pakistan War of 1965". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  11. ^ a b c Amin, Major A.H. "Battle of Chawinda Comedy of Higher Command Errors". Military historian. Defence journal(pakistan). Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  12. ^ a b The M47 and M48 Patton tanks By Steve Zaloga, Jim Laurier ISBN 1-85532-825-9, ISBN 978-1-85532-825-9 pg.35.
  13. ^ a b Rakshak, Bharat. "War diplomacy,ceasefire,Tashkent". Official History. Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c Singh, Lt. Gen.Harbaksh (1991). War Despatches. New Delhi: Lancer International. p. 159. ISBN 81-7062-117-8. 
  15. ^ Rakshak, Bharat. "Operations in Sialkot Sector pg32". Official History. Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Gupta, Hari Ram. India-Pakistan war, 1965, Volume 1. Hariyana Prakashan, 1967. pp. 181–182. 
  17. ^ Barua, Pradeep (2005) The state at war in South Asia ISBN 0-8032-1344-1 pg.192.
  18. ^ History, Official. "Operations in Sialkot sector". Official history. Bharat-Rakshak.com. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Midlarsky, Manus I. (2011). Origins of Political Extremism: Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. Cambridge University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-52-170071-9. 
  20. ^ "Biggest Tank Battle since World War II: Pakistani Victory". The Australian (364). 14 September 1965. p. 1. 
  21. ^ Nothinf But! Book Three What Price Freedom. Google Books.com. p. 490. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 

External links