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The India-Pakistan War 1965

The Bharat-Rakshak site salutes the air veterans of the 1965 India-Pakistan War. We will be featuring articles and stories in the war including excerpts from the book "India-Pakistan Air War of 1965" over the coming months to commemorate the 50th year anniversary of the conflict.

Helicopter Operations in J&K - 111 HU

Captain (Ex Flt Lt) Premananda Goswami, the only Auxillary Air Force Officer to be decorated in war, narrates some of his war time experiences in operating the Mi-4 gun ships in Kashmir in 1965

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The Battle Axe who became a Sabre Slayer

Commemorating another 'Sabre Slayer' - then Flying Officer P S Pingale, who had to eject after being shot down on September 6th, took to the air ten days later and extracted his pound of flesh - by shooting down a PAF Sabre.  During this short but fierce encounter, Pingale also went head to head in air combat with the Pakistani ace M M Alam. 

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The Night Raiders : Good Morning Peshawar

On September 13th, 50 years back the greatest bomber operation against Pakistan was launched by the Indian Air Force. It had all the drama and melodrama, climax and anti-climax, it was a yes, yes, no, no and then YES! It was the operation with the greatest precision on the part of the Indian Air Force, a top-secret mission, known to very few on the top--the AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command, the then CAS (now Marshal of the Indian Air Force) and a few staff officers working on the planning and execution of the mission. These were the 4th and 5th Operational Missions for Gp Capt Amrik Ahluwalia, who narrated the story in Chapter 16 of his book Airborne to Chairborne. The article shares both his thoughts and the actual planning and execution of the mission and the top secrecy from India and a great surprise attack on Pakistan--never, ever, expected by them even in their dreams. 

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Video - Heroes of the 1965 War

Courtesy of the HAL sponsored "Gnat Brotherhood" film, this short video clip features rare war time footage of several IAF heroes - involved in Air Combats or in daring evasions.

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One Vs Four : The complete story of Alfred Cooke's epic air combat.

The story of Flt Lt Alfred Cooke's air combat remained untold for many years.  While the stories of the Keelors and the Gnats and Halwara Hunters were told with great pride over the years, the story of a similarly epic air battle conducted by Flt Lt Alfred Cooke and his wingman Fg Offr S C Mamgain, was suprisingly forgotten over the years.  In early 2000, Samir Chopra, one of the the co-authors of the book "The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965" managed to meet Cooke in person and record his experiences. what they received was not just his story, but also the treasure trove of his gun camera photographs.  Cooke's epic battle should be etched in the annals of the IAF's history.  Now Updated with Gun Camera Video and NDTV Interview

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Daylight Forays into Pakistan

There was one aircrew in the Indian Air Force who could fly anywhere into Pakistan as they pleased at any time of the day! Whether it was Skardu or Karachi or Quetta, they would foray deep into Pakistan during day and come back with valuable intel and imagery. That aircraft crew was led by then Squadron Leader 'Jaggi Nath' MVC and Bar.

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The First Air Battle - 3rd September 1965

Gp Capt Mohan "Manna" Murdeshwar is one of the 'few' , who flew with the elite Gnat Units during the 1965 war. He had the privilege of participating in all of the air combats that No.23 Squadron was involved in, including the historic air battle on 3rd September 1965 when Squadron Leader Trevor Keelor scored the first aerial victory for the Indian Air Force. This is his side of the story.

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My first war experience - flying Mysteres with No.31 Squadron

Wing Commander Chandrakant Nijanand Bal was a young pilot with No.31 Squadron flying the french Mystere IVa fighter bomber during the 1965 war.  The Squadron, under Wg Cdr Jimmy Goodman, distinguished itself operating from Pathankot. 

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Dakota in a Combat Zone

The official history of the No.43 Squadron carries the following tantalising tidbit . "On 6 September 1965, the squadron had its first direct encounter with the enemy. Three aircraft took off from Amritsar in the evening with for Hunter escorts when they were attacked by a formation of four Sabres and a B-57 bomber. The Hunters latched on the Sabres. The B-57 got a chance and fired at the last DAKOTA, which was still on the ground about to take off. The DAKOTA was not hit and got airborne safely." . This incident did not get told anywhere else till now - as Sqn Ldr Arunesh "Bachu" Prasad puts on record what happened that evening.

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A SPLIT second decision in air combat

On 19th September 1965, Four Gnats of No.9 Squadron were involved in an aircombat with four PAF F-86 Sabres. While two Sabres were claimed by the Indian pilots, one of the Gnats failed to return. This is the story of the Gnat pilot who failed to return, was written off as lost, but came back after the war. Wg Cdr V M Mayadev takes a critical look at the aircombat and what could have gone right. (or wrong)

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Thirty Seconds over Sargodha

>The action was swift. Squadron Leader Mohammed Mahmud Alam, commanding No.11 Sqn in the PAF, shot down five IAF Hunters over Sargodha in a matter of minutes - four of which he shot down in a mere thirty seconds! Or did he really? This suppositious feat by Squadron Leader M.M. Alam was - and still is - to stay as the jewel in the crown of Pakistan's fictitious glory over the skies in 1965. After all the PAF had to stick up with President Ayub Khan's claim of one Pakistani being equal to three Indians.

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Tank Busting In The Chamb

The story of tank busting by a Mystere Squadron in the Chamb sector as told by Air Marshal Trilochan Singh

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A critical look at the 1965 operations

Air Chief Marshal P C Lal at the National Security Lecture 1973 at the USI.

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The An-12 in the bombing role -2

his page of comments by Wing Commander Reggie Rufus is in response to Squadron Leader Dinky Augier's Article on the An-12 in the Bombing Role. The comments were originally sent to Squadron Leader Augier and are being presented here with slight modifications. During the 1965 War, Wg Cdr Rufus was the Commanding Officer of No.25 Squadron flying the An-12s and based at Chandigarh, which was a major transport base. Also flying the An-12s at Chandigarh was No.44 Squadron, and there was quite a bit of 'friendly rivalry' between both, the references of which will be found in the following account.

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The Antonov 12 in the Bombing Role

The use of the An-12 in the bombing role was conceived by Gp Capt Surinder Singh (affectionately known as Susu) Director of Operations in the then Western Air Command. In May 1965 he asked for a pilot from 44 Squadron with bombing experience to do some trials at Tilpat.

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How I Too Nearly Missed The War!*

*This article is inspired by Air Marshal Raghavendran's article with a similar title.

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How I Almost Missed The War

To those of us aching for first person accounts by Indian fighter pilots who have actually seen air combat, nothing in Air Marshal Raghavendran's career, distinguished as it has been in other respects, compares with one simple matter of record: He commanded No 23 Squadron, the Indian Air Force's lead Gnat squadron (and indeed, the world's first fighter-tasked Gnat squadron), during the 1965 war. And here is the first of several accounts he is writing for us, on this very subject.

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Tigers Over Sargodha

This is the story of the only successful broad daylight attack carried out on the famous Pakistani airbase - Sargodha. A raid acknowledged for its audacity even in the official PAF Histories

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My Reminiscences As A Prisoner Of War

Air Marshal K C "Nanda" Cariappa hails from a distinguished family from Coorg - His father General K M Cariappa, the first Indian Army Commander-in-Chief needs no introduction. Air Marshal Cariappa was a Squadron Leader with No.20 Squadron during 1965 when the September War broke out.

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Out of the blue

Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy was a young fighter pilot with No.23 Squadron flying Gnats during the 1965 War. He writes about his experiences.  This write up was published on 2nd August 2006 in the Indian Express and drew a response from Marshal Arjan Singh which is reproduced at the end of the article.

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The Shelling Of Dwarka

-Ramesh Madan joined the Indian Air Force in 1959 as an airman and took part in the 1965 and 71 conflicts. He was on site when the Pakistani Navy shelled Dwarka. He narrates the events  in this candid story of that day. Ramesh Madan left the IAF as a Sgt.

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