Capture of Kishangarh Fort

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Sindh-Rajasthan Operations
Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Date 8–22 September 1965
Location Rajasthan, India
Result Pakistani Victory, Kishangarh captured .
Belligerents
Flag of Pakistan.svg
Pakistan
Hur Tribe
Flag of India.svg
India
Commanders and leaders
Brigadier Khuda Dad Khan
Faqir Jamal Mangrio
Brigadier K. M. Azhar Khan
Brigadier J.C. Guha
Lt.Gen. Moti Sagar
Maj.Gen. N.C. Rawlley
Brig. H.N. Summanwar
Strength
51 Infantry Brigade(2 Infantry battalions)
Hurs
West Pakistan Rangers
Maratha Regiment
Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC)
30 Indian Infantry
3 Guards (a mixed unit)
1 Garhwal
4 Maratha Light Inf.: 85 Indian Inf. Bde
17 madras
13 Grenadiers (a mixed unit - Camel borne)

The capture of the Kishangarh in Rajasthan State India took place during the 1965 War between India and Pakistan. Its capture was one of the most important actions of the Desert Theater in that war and one of the finest examples of the use of local militia in the history of the Sub-Continent.

Background[edit]

The outpost is around 11 kilometres (Lat 27.871 N,Lon 70.563 E) inside Indian territory, in the so-called Jaisalmer Bulge. It is a small mud Structure 70 by 60 metres across. It sits 22 km east of the town of Tanot towards the International border. It also sits on the only road linking any part of Rajasthan with the Pakistani city of Rahim Yar Khan.

The Desert Sector was a mere sideshow in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War. Both sides had little experience in desert fighting at the time, and moreover the main industrial, and economic heartland of Pakistan and India were to the north. As a result when war came the Indians main effort would be against Lahore and Sialkot in the Punjab. However the Indians left some forces in the region with the aim of launching local offensives. Pakistani army troops in the region were already very stretched, having to defend a sector nearly a thousand km in length. To counteract this effort, the commander Pakistan Army Rangers asked the local people for help.

The Hurs[edit]

The Hurs were and are the main tribe living in this area. A proud and fierce people, the Hurs had given the British a difficult time. They had rebelled during World War II against British rule [1]. At the time of the 1965 War the spiritual leader of the Hur was the Pir Pagaro.

The Hurs had earlier not joined the Pakistan Army in any numbers, however with the coming of war, thousands volunteered to fight against the Indians. The Hurs were (due to constraints of finances as well as time) given only basic training and armed with light weapons such as machine guns and assault rifles. The militia was placed under the Pakistani military and para-military forces operating in the sector (known collectively as the "Desert Force"). The Hur militia was commanded by the Faqir Jamal Mangrio.

The battle[edit]

The war began on 6 September 1965 and the hostilities in this sector commenced on September the 8th. Initially the Desert Force and the Hur was placed in a defensive role, a role for which they were well suited as it turned out. The Hur were familiar with the terrain and the local area and possessed many essential desert survival skills which their opponents (and indeed their comrades in the Pakistan Army) did not. Fighting as mainly light infantry, the Hur inflicted many casualties on the Indian forces as they entered Sindh. The Hurs were also employed as skirmishers, harassing the Indians LOC, a task they often undertook on camels. As the battle wore on the Hurs and the Desert Force were increasingly used to attack and capture Indian villages inside Rajasthan. It was in this vein that an assault on Kishangarh fort was launched. The attack surprised the Indians and the fort was captured after several days of bitter fighting.

Pakistani Troops at Fort Kishangarh

Pakistan Army Officers in front of Fort Kishangarh

Artist's depiction of the Pakistani Victory

References[edit]