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Battle of Chawinda

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Battle of Chawinda
Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Captured Indian Centurion tank in 1965 War near Chawinda, Sep 1965.png
A captured Indian centurion tank at Chawinda, September 1965.
Date 14 September 1965, 18 – 19 September 1965[1][2][3][4][5]
Location Chawinda, Punjab, Pakistan
32°23′03″N 74°43′30″E / 32.384129274545444°N 74.72492694854736°E / 32.384129274545444; 74.72492694854736
Result Pakistani victory.[6][7][8][9]
Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan
Flag of India.svg India
Commanders and leaders
Pakistan Maj Gen Abrar Hussain[note 1]
Pakistan Lt Col Nisar Ahmed Khan
Pakistan Brig. Sardar M.Ismail Khan
Pakistan Brig. S. M. Hussain
Pakistan Brig. Abdul Ali Malik
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 Lt Gen Pat Dunn
India Lt Col Ardeshir Tarapore 

30,000-50,000 infantry

22nd cavalry (44xM48)

10th Cavalry (44x Patton)

25th Cavalry (44x Patton)

33th TDU sqn (15x Shermans)

19th Lancers (44x Patton)

11th Cavalry (44x Patton)

Total: 132

+150 (tank reinforcements)[10]

80,000–150,000 infantry

4th Horse (45x Centurion)

16th Cavalry (45x Centurions)

17th Poona (45x Centurion)

2nd Lancers (45x Sherman)

62nd Cavalry (45x sherman)

Total 225 tanks[10]
Casualties and losses

44 tanks (Pakistani claim)[11]

Over 518 km2 (218 mi2) of territory lost[12][13]
29 tanks lost (Indian claim)[13][14]

120 tanks (Pakistani claim)[11]
Chawinda is located in Pakistan
Location of Chawinda in Pakistan
The Australian Newspaper on the Battle of Chawinda, September 1965.

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 in history 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 Indian assault was repelled, resulting in a Pakistani victory.[9] The battle finally ended due to the UN ceasefire of the 1965 war.[15][16]

Military personnel

General Dunn, the commander of I Corps Indian Army was given an assortment of units: 1 Armoured Division, 6 Mountain Division, 14 Division and 26 Division. The Pakistani force expected to oppose the Indian thrust consisted of 15 Division, 6 Armoured Division (equivalent to armoured brigade group) and 4 Corps Artillery. Later reinforcements included 8 Infantry Division and 1 Armoured Division.

The battle

The 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.[17] 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.[17] Realising the threat, the Pakistani rushed two regiments of their 6th Armoured Division from Chhamb to the Sialkot sector to support the Pakistani 7th Infantry Division there. These units, plus an independent tank destroyer squadron, amounted to 135 tanks; 24 M47 and M48 Pattons, about 15 M36B1s and the remainder Shermans. The majority of the Pattons belonged to the new 25th Cavalry commanded by Lt. Col. Nisar, which was sent to the Chawinda area. Fighting around the Gadgor village between the Indian 1 Armoured division and the Pakistani 25th Cavalry Regiment resulted in the Indian advance being stopped.

The Indian plan was to drive a wedge between Sialkot and the 6th Armoured Division. In fact there was only a single regiment there at the time. The Indian 1st Armoured Division's drive quickly divided, with the 43rd Lorried Infantry Brigade supported by a tank regiment attacking Gat, while the main blow of the 1st Armoured Brigade was hurled against Phillaura. Pakistani air attacks caused moderate damage to the tank columns, but exacted a heavier toll on the truck columns and infantry. The terrain features of the area were very different from those around Lahore, being quite dusty, and the approach of the Indian attack was evident to the 25th Cavalry by the rising dust columns on the Charwah-Phillaura road.

The Indians resumed their attacks on 10 September with multiple corps sized assaults and succeeded in pushing the Pakistani forces back to their base at Chawinda, where they were stopped. A Pakistani counterattack at Phillorah was repulsed with heavy damage, and the Pakistanis settled in defensive positions. The Pakistani position at this point was highly perilous, the Indians outnumbered them by ten to one.

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.[18] 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’.[10]


The battle has been described as the largest Tank Battle since the World War II.[19] On 22 September, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for an unconditional ceasefire from both nations.[15][20] 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 the UN Resolution.[5]

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 south east and east of Sialkot city, which were returned to Pakistan after the Tashkent Declaration in January 1966.[12][13][21]


  1. ^ "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."


  1. ^ Jogindar Singh. Behind the Scene: An Analysis of India's Military Operations, 1947-1971. Lancer Publishers. pp. 217–219. ISBN 1-897829-20-5. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  2. ^ B. C. Chakravorty; D. Phil (1992). "Chapter 7: Operations in Sialkot Sector". In Prasad, S. N. History of the Indo-Pak War, 1965 (PDF). History Division, Ministry of Defence, Government of India. pp. 212–220. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Abrar Hussain (2005). Men of Steel: 6 Armored Division in the 1965 War. Army Education Publishing House. pp. 36–52. ISBN 969-8125-19-1. 
  4. ^ Shuja Nawaz (2008). Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within. Oxford University Press. pp. 227–230. ISBN 978-0-19-547697-2. 
  5. ^ a b Rao, K. V. Krishna. Prepare or perish: a study of national security. Lancers Publishers, 1991. ISBN 978-81-7212-001-6. 
  6. ^ Fricker, John (1979). Battle for Pakistan: the air war of 1965. University of Michigan: I. Allan. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-71-100929-5. 
  7. ^ Arming without Aiming: India's Military Modernization By Stephen P. Cohen, Sunil Dasgupta pg. 1971
  8. ^ The M47 and M48 Patton Tanks By Steven J. Zaloga Pg. 36
  9. ^ a b Amin, Shahid M. (2010). Pakistan's foreign policy: a reappraisal. Northwestern University: Oxford University Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-19-547912-6. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ a b Steven J. Zaloga (1999). The M47 and M48 Patton Tanks. Osprey Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-85532-825-9. 
  12. ^ a b Rakshak, Bharat. "War diplomacy,ceasefire,Tashkent" (PDF). Official History. Times of India. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c Singh, Lt. Gen.Harbaksh (1991). War Despatches. New Delhi: Lancer International. p. 159. ISBN 81-7062-117-8. 
  14. ^ Rakshak, Bharat. "Operations in Sialkot Sector pg32" (PDF). Official History. Times of India. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Pradhan, R.D. 1965 war, the inside story. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 2007. ISBN 978-81-269-0762-5. 
  16. ^ "Indo-Pakistan War of 1965". Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  17. ^ a b Gupta, Hari Ram. India-Pakistan war, 1965, Volume 1. Haryana Prakashan, 1967. pp. 181–182. 
  18. ^ Barua, Pradeep (2005) The state at war in South Asia ISBN 0-8032-1344-1 pg.192.
  19. ^ Nothing But! Book Three What Price Freedom. Google p. 490. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ History, Official. "Operations in Sialkot sector" (PDF). Official history. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 

External links