Chapter 8: The rest of the war (Sept 15th to 23rd)

 

The last week of the war saw renewed efforts to capture more territory in the Sialkot Sector. In the other sectors, Chamb and Lahore, the ground position had stabilised. But in Sialkot, both sides utilised heavy armour formations and troop support in trying to capture key towns and villages. Both India and Pakistan employed close to 200 tanks each in a battle to take & defend towns and villages. The I Corps had taken the town of Phillora on September 11th. It was the plan of the Corps to go ahead and capture the town of Chawinda to strengthen its position on the ground.

Chawinda, which was 5 km south of Phillora, was an important communication center near the Narowal-Sialkot railway line. The 1st Armd. Div. which was entrusted to take Chawinda, committed no less than three armoured regiments and an infantry brigade. The attack was initially scheduled to begin on September 14th, but subject to Pakistani artillery and PAF air strafing, Indian armoured columns and gun positions were harassed. The objective of taking Chawinda did not take place. But two objectives, the village of Wazirwali and Alhar, a railway station were taken.

The battle resumed the next day (September 15th) with the 1st Armd. Div, being involved in the fighting. There was much harassment from the air. The Sargodha Strike Wing under Wg. Cdr. Shamim (later Chief of Air Staff of the PAF) involving itself in flying numerous interdiction sorties. All the army formations replied back with intense ground fire. Pakistan admits that most of their Sabres were hit and damaged, but were again repaired and put back in the air.

But Chawinda still eluded the grasp of the 1st Armd. Div. This convinced the Commander the need to establish a position behind Chawinda with Infantry and Armour before tackling Chawinda. Accordingly the villages, Jasoran and Butur Dograndi were chosen for this task.

On the night of the September 15th, PAF C-130s made their appearance once again after the Kathua raid. The aircraft intended to attack our tank and troop concentrations near Ramgarh in the Sialkot sector. Both C-130s dumped 9 tons of bombs each in a random and uninspired bombing pattern. The next day, (September 16th) saw the C-130s coming again but this time with a lone aircraft coming over to release its load. The effectiveness of these raids is questionable, but they leave no doubt about the courage of the crew flying these bombers. On the Indian side, the lack of night interception facilities prevented the tackling of these huge and lumbering transports.

Jassoran was taken on September 16th, by the 17 Poona Horse (Armd. Regiment) and 9 Dogra (Inf. Battalion). Another infantry battalion, 8th Garhwal, was to pass through Jassoran and assault Butur Dograndi to capture it. Faced with heavy shelling and mortar fire, as well as strong enemy infantry defences, the battalion suffered many causalities. Only one platoon managed to reach Butur Dograndi and were thrown back in a Pakistani counter-attack. However, by evening the battalion recouped and attacked again, retaking Butur Dograndi. Through out the battle the battalion suffered 129 causalities including 5 officers. Both the CO and the 2-in-C of the battalion were killed in the battle.

This sudden spurt in the ground offensive as planned by the 1 Corps was surprisingly not supported by air support. Mainly because it was not asked for. Pakistanis found the lack of air support of the ground offensive surprising. The Sargodha Strike Wing managed to fly some sorties in the sector, but due to the lack of a clearly defined bomb-line and the difficulty of distinguishing between the two opposing sides, they did not do much damage on the battlefield. Air support was used more effectively against rear echelon formations.

In the Amritsar front, September 16th saw aircraft of No.7 Sqn go into action against the PAF Sabres. Halwara did not see air combat since the evening of September 6th, but was destined to see some on this particular day. Flt. Lt. P.S. Pingale, the pilot who ejected in the Halwara air fight earlier was on the ORP along with Fg. Off. F.D. Bunsha. Originally belonging to No.20 Squadron, Fg. Off. Bunsha was deputed to No.7 Squadron at the outbreak of the war. Both the pilots, who were on the ORP, were scrambled on reports of intruders in the sky approaching Halwara. They took off in their Hunters trying to locate these intruders.

Heading towards the Indian airfield were two F-86 Sabres, led by none other than Sqn. Ldr. M.M. Alam. Alam was in the lead aircraft, flying No.2 was Fg. Off. M.I. Shaukat. A young pilot with hardly 80 hours on the Sabre. Both were warned about the approaching Hunters by their GCI at Sakesar. Alam was obviously looking for enhancing his score, and a very eager Shaukat was all set to support him in this venture.

It was Pingale who first spotted Alam's Sabre flying ahead of them at a lower altitude. He was about to get onto Alam's tail, when he observed another Sabre coming in from behind at about 4'o clock and about to open fire. Pingale radioed Bunsha to engage the Sabre ahead, while he turned around to engage the second Sabre.

Pingale headed for the second Sabre and put his aircraft into a half roll turn to get onto the tail of this second Sabre which was being flown by Shaukat. Shaukat then pulled up into the sun in an attempt to shake off Pingale but failed to do so. When this did not work, Shaukat ditched his drop tanks, pulled up steeply. Pingale stuck to Shaukat’s tail. Shaukat even opened up his leading edge slats, in an effort to lose speed and make Pingale overshoot him. However, Pingale too put his aircraft in a climb and stayed on Shaukat's tail. He was able to open fire at a range of 350 yards and hit the Sabre. Some more bursts and Shaukat's Sabre was in flames. The Pakistani pilot ejected.

Meanwhile, Bunsha tried to attack and bring down Alam's Sabre, but his skills were no way matched with Alam's. Alam was a veteran pilot with over 1700 hours of flying experience in the Sabre alone. Alam lured Bunsha into a scissors maneuver and got onto the tail of Bunsha. As Bunsha broke off in a vertical climb, Alam too pulled up to chase and fired at the Hunter and was scoring hits. This time, Pingale who had finished off Shaukat noticed Bunsha's predicament and went in to intervene. He was already too late.

Bunsha's Hunter had caught fire and was blazing with flames. The very moment the Hunter exploded, killing Bunsha, Alam noticed Pingale approaching and broke off from his burning target. Alam now flew head on in the direction of Pingale's Hunter and opened fire. The shells missed the Hunter and both Pingale and Alam crossed each other head-on.

Pingale noticed the Sabre roll into a vertical dive in an obvious attempt to get out of the combat. He wrenched the Hunter into the dive following the Sabre. Pingale was already suffering from pain from the back injury sustained by the ejection on September 6th. Now this combined with the 8 Gs of force, blacked him out momentarily.

He had to pull out of the dive to regain consciousness, but had lost sight of Alam's Sabre. Alam, it seems, had reversed to get back onto Pingale's tail and fired both his Sidewinders. Both the missiles missed the Hunter. Alam obviously did not see the Hunter crash, as he was getting low on fuel, he had to turn back but back at his airbase where he claimed to have shot down the second Hunter too. Nothing was further from the truth. Pingale landed back safely at Halwara.

Bunsha died in his Hunter. But Alam's No.2 Shaukat ejected near Tarn Tarn. As he was descending in his parachute, he was fired at by villagers, receiving a .303 bullet as well as shotgun pellets as a result. Handed over to the troops of the 4th Indian Division, he was shifted for medical care. Later at a field hospital, an Indian surgeon removed the bullets and pellets from his body. He spent the rest of the war in an Indian POW camp.

Alam was credited with downing two Hunters on this day, taking to his total to 9 kills for the entire war. Pingale on the other hand received the Vir Chakra for downing Shaukat's Sabre. In one way, it was poetic justice to Pingale. After his early exit from the air combat with Sqn. Ldr. Rafique's Sabre over Halwara on September 6th, he got his own back at the PAF. The only sore point being the loss of Bunsha.

On September 18th, No.23 Squadron planned an offensive strike near Lahore, mainly strafing Pakistani ground troops & concentrations. Sqn. Ldr. Amarjit Singh Sandhu, VM, one of the senior flight commanders, was detailed to lead this particular mission. Sandhu was a skilled pilot well known in the air force circles. His career started out especially shaky, when he was almost shunted out of the flying school for "Lack of OLQ". Only Sandhu’s determination and drive saw him overcoming these assessments and getting commissioned.

Sandhu first came to the lime light in 1964 when he was posted to the No.23 Squadron, which by then was the prime unit involved in ironing out the bugs in the Gnat. He was flying in a section of Gnats and was on his final approach during the landing phase when his engine flamed out. Sandhu was aware of the earlier occasions when pilots flying the Gnat came to grief trying to dead stick land the aircraft after engine failures, and in the brief moment of time that was available for him to decide, he decided not to eject and successfully dead-sticked the aircraft onto the tarmac safely. This feat helped the ground crew to assess the cause of the engine failure. A cryptic report tells the fact that the damage was to the tune of "Rupees Ten." Sandhu’s successful landing got him the Vayu Sena Medal.

This time round, Sandhu was actively involved in flying from the start - flying with both Sqn. Ldr. Greene and Flt. Lt. Pathania on September 5th against the Sabres. But Sandhu never had the opportunity to shoot down any enemy aircraft. As per the flight plan four Gnats took off and headed for the south of Lahore.

Sandhu and his formation were warned off approaching Sabres by Amritsar radar control. And moments later, six Sabres were noticed at a slightly higher altitude. Sandhu put his formation in a climbing turn to engage the Sabres. Sandhu went after the lead Sabre which was flying at an altitude of 20,000 feet. The Sabre too was being flown by an experienced pilot and both the Gnat and the Sabre engaged each other in a series of descending turns and climbs. Sandhu relentlessly stuck to the Sabre's tail through every maneuver. Finally at a mere altitude of 3000 feet, the Sabre pilot decided to do his vanishing trick. He half rolled the Sabre onto its back and pulled into a vertical dive.

Sandhu was in a fix. He knew that the Gnat would require a safety cushion of 4000 feet to pull out of such a maneuver, but here faced with the enemy escaping him, Sandhu followed suit. With incredible skill and endurance, he recovered from the near suicidal dive and gave the shock of his life to the Sabre pilot who pulled out at near ground level to still find the Gnat on his tail. Sandhu gave a well-aimed burst with his cannon, and the Sabre was shot down. Notching up the third kill to No.23 Sqn.

The remaining Sabres and Gnats disengaged from the combat. One of the Sabre pilots being Flt. Lt. Syed Saad Hatmi, who was No.2 to Alam during the abortive Adampur raid. He claimed to have shot down one of the Gnats. But no losses were there to the Indian side. However Sabres did score against the Gujarat State Government's Civilian Aircraft, which was intercepted and downed killing the Chief Minister and his family.

Chawinda was scheduled to be attacked on September 17th at 0300 hrs. The attack was called off following deficiencies in troop build up. There were heavy losses. Including Lt. Col. A.B. Tarapore who was killed at Butur Dograndi when his tank got hit on the 17th. Tarapore led his regiment, the Poona Horse through out the battle accounting for 60 Pakistani tanks for a loss of nine of his own. He received the second and the last Param Vir Chakra of the war.

The Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. P.O. Dunn, now gave the task of taking Chawinda to an infantry formation, the 6th Div., under Major General S.K. Korla. Maj. Gen. Korla fixed the attack for Sept 18th, however Butur Dograndi and Jassoran were evacuated due to enemy pressure. The attack on the daylight hours of Sept 18th, was thus called off. A night attack on Sept 18th/19th failed to take the town again in which two infantry companies made it into the town but withdrew facing a stiff counter attack by the Pakistanis. When the day came on Sept 19th, the 6th Div stabilised its position, but the attack on Chawinda was never executed again.

Before we go on with the record of the air war, let us look at the contribution of two army units in the air war. This being The Regiment of Artillery which had the unique distinction of being the only division of the Army to participate in the air war. The Regiment operated the Air Defence Regiments, as well as the Air Observation Posts (AOP) aircraft.

The anti-aircraft guns protecting the airfields and cities were the prerogative of the Artillery Regiment of the Army. Unlike today where the Regiment of Air Defence Artillery takes care of anti-aircraft defences, the Regiment of Artillery was directly responsible for air defence. The regiment organised the AA units into air defence regiments and were manned entirely by army personnel.

An air war is never between two Air Forces alone. More often than not, an air effort is just a means to achieve the end. It is an extension of weapons used to achieve objectives on the ground. In such a situation, it is natural for any air force to receive its own support from the anti aircraft guns for airfield defence.

At the time of Independence, the artillery inherited one heavy ack-ack regiment with 3.7' heavy anti-aircraft guns which were integrated with a gun control radar. Accompanying this heavy anti-aircraft regiment were six light ack-ack regiments with 40mm L-60 Bofors guns. These Bofors guns, were visually aimed and the firing control was manual. The radar cover for necessary warning time was scanty.

Several weaknesses were bought out by the air defence exercises with the US in 1963 in which the ground air defences were overwhelmed by the sophistication employed by the Americans. Some early warning radars were procured, but these were un-operational in the 1965 War. The friendship with the Russians, saw the induction of the VK-75 (NATO – SA-3 Goa) surface-to-air missile into the IAF. Both the Artillery and the Air Force haggled for the control of the SAMs, but the Air Force won the battle. And they retained control over the SAMs.

The Air Defence Artillery complement was mainly drawn from the Territorial Army, especially for the defence of the Air Bases and important rear areas. Normally the time taken for mobilization of the TA, after the outbreak of the hostilities would have caught our country napping for the Air Defence of Vital Areas, but fortunately for us, Pakistan's sideshow at Kutch allowed us enough warning and time to keep the TA (Territorial Army) alerted for mobilization. When the war broke out, not much time was lost in establishing a good screen of anti-aircraft defences.

The AA Regiments were distributed at main airbases along the entire western border and a few civilian targets like bridges and important railway stations. All major transit points, like railway yards & junctions were covered. Border towns like Amritsar, which at that point of time was housing the mobile radar unit and Pathankot were allotted the guns. During the war, the anti-aircraft guns were very much effective against the attacking PAF aircraft.

One source put it that 90% of aircraft attacking targets in and around Amritsar were hit by the AA fire and were damaged. The first blood was drawn at Jamnagar, when AA fire bought down a PAF B-57. The second B-57 was bought down at Adampur in which the crew were taken POW. AA guns also bought down a significant number of Sabres. Though a claim for downing a Starfighter was made, no Starfighter was bought down by AA fire.

The good contribution made by the anti-aircraft guns in protecting the vital targets is marred by the numerous unsubstantiated claims of aircraft shot down by them. This particular issue is discussed later in the account. The SAM missiles on the other hand were never put into action against the PAF.

The only other Army Wing to be directly involved in the air war, besides the AA Units, were also part of the Regiment of Artillery. The Regiment of Artillery maintained a small band of trained army officers who were pilots. These officers flew small, light unarmed planes in what were known as Air Observation Posts and were employed to direct fire from field regiments onto enemy targets.

The Indian Army maintained one AOP Squadron, No.659 Sqn which was made up of four AOP flights flying the Auster AOP ;ight aircraft. These Austers were earlier employed in the 1948 Kashmir War, in both CASEVAC and AOP roles. And they also distinguished themselves in the Rann of Kutch incident, where Major Sushil Kumar Mathur received the MVC for employing his Auster effectively to direct fire against the Pakistani targets.

Two AOP Flights were allocated to 11 Corps thrust towards Lahore. Both of them attached to the Divisional Artillery Brigades in the Lahore sector. To make up the deficiencies in the AOP aircraft, the Army requisitioned light aircraft from flying clubs and employed them in this role. The AOP Flights suffered their first loss, immediately on the opening day of the Lahore offensive.

A HAL Pushpak light aircraft, requisitioned from a flying club crashed in our lines in a misjudged landing, killing the pilot - an Army Captain. Thereafter the AOPs were employed effectively with the 15 Inf. Div. by directing fire to disperse enemy concentrations and destroy gun positions across the BRB Canal near Lahore. These missions were very dangerous. The light aircraft were especially vulnerable to machine gun fire. Let alone air opposition. To sum up, this gallant little band of pilots distinguished themselves quite well, even though they didn't stand half a chance if they encountered air opposition.

It was said that both India as well as Pakistan sent in men and material to get cut down in battle for mere pieces of land. This could be true, but then it was war. Pakistani Army personnel admit that the Indian employment of tanks and artillery, was much judicious and tactful, than the Pakistanis who preferred to send in tanks without infantry support, without adequate camouflage and preparations. Both the sides suffered huge casualties in the tank battles.

However it was the PAF that managed to make it's presence felt than the Indian Air Force. The need to counter the PAF strikes on our land formations saw our own Air Force engage its Mysteres and Hunters in the ground attack role. The Mystere though a very capable ground attack fighter was vulnerable to the Sabre. This necessitated a fighter escort to be detailed on these missions.

On the afternoon of September 19th, a flight of four Mysteres were detailed to carry out an offensive sortie in the Phillaura Chawinda Sector. In case the Mysteres encountered air opposition, they would be given an escort of Gnats. By this time, the IAF had immense confidence in the Gnat's ability to face up to the Sabre.

No.9 Wolfpacks Squadron, which till then did not significantly take part in the war, was given the task of providing escort to the four Mysteres. Two sections, the first led by Sqn. Ldr. Denzil Keelor, the elder brother of Sqn. Ldr. Trevor Keelor of No.23 Squadron who had got the first combat kill against the Sabre on the third day of the war, with Fg. Off. Rai as his No.2 and the other led by Flt. Lt. Vinay Kapila as the sub-section leader with Flt. Lt. Vijay Mayadev as the last pilot in the formation went up in the air to rendezvous with the Mysteres. It was a unique distinction that two Keelor brothers were in combat together, flying the same type of aircraft.

The Gnats followed by the Mysteres at low level reached the Chawinda Sector to be greeted with AA fire. As the aircraft were at a very low level the AA shells exploded much above them. About this time, Mayadev, the No.4 in the formation, gave a radio warning about the approach of four Sabres.

The Gnats were at about 300 feet above the ground level, and the Sabres were approaching from about 4000 feet altitude almost head on. Keelor put the formation in a shallow climbing turn, to bring the Gnats in a favorable position. As they came out of the maneuver, Kapila and his wingman, Mayadev were in a better position to attack the Sabres and as per the combat procedure, Kapila led the attack on the nearest Sabre.

The Sabre tried to shake off Kapila by first engaging into a steep turn starboard then again in the opposite direction to port. Kapila had by this time jettisoned his drop tanks, which gave him a slight edge in maneuverability. He accelerated and at a distance of 500 Yards, opened fired and scored hits on the Sabre.

The Gnats had met the Sabres at an altitude of 1500 feet, now the Sabre, which was damaged by Kapila's first burst, fell back. Kapila fired a second burst from 300 yards and observed more hits. The Sabre was still executing turns and breaks to shake off Kapila. Now at this low an altitude, Kapila pulled out. He did not notice the stricken Sabre crash into the ground.

Keelor and Rai, who had been behind Kapila and Mayadev through out the engagement observed the Sabre spin into the ground and explode. They conveyed the result to an elated Kapila. Meanwhile another Sabre got into the formation behind Kapila's section. Kapila called a break, but Mayadev became the target for the Sabre and received hits onto his tail and elevator surfaces. He ejected barely 500 feet from the ground from his unresponsive Gnat. He floated down on his chute to be captured by Pakistani ground troops.

Meanwhile, Keelor who after noticing Kapila's Kill, observed another Sabre break out of the melee and head for safety. Keelor put his Gnat into pursuit. The Sabre failed to notice the pursuing Gnat, did a hard turn to the right which bought it within range of Keelor's Guns. Keelor opened fire and hit the Sabre, which now was emitting smoke and losing height. Vinay Kapila had now joined Keelor's section.

Observing the Sabre losing altitude, Kapila delivered the coup-de-grace by putting a well aimed burst into the Sabre which crashed immediately. Only then did Keelor notice, he was literally skimming the treetops. All the three flew back to base safely. Mayadev spent the next five months as a POW.

The Sabre kill by Denzil Keelor, earned the Keelor family a unique distinction. Both brothers now had Sabres kills to their credit and both earned the Vir Chakra, making it the first time, brothers winning the Vir Chakra for identical feats.

On the night of September 19th, the converted C-130 bombers went into action again. Two C-130 sorties were made against army concentrations in the vicinity of Rurki and Pagowal, but not much material damage was incurred. The C-130 bombing tended to be blind bombing, without any accuracy aimed at, thus did not create the damage, as it should have done. This type of bombing could have been effective against strategic targets like factories and marshalling yards, but prove useless against tactical targets like infantry concentrations.

The next day - September 20th - around evening, Amritsar Radar Control detected an intruding flight of Sabres over Khem Karan. Two Hunters from No.7 Sqn. were scrambled along with two Gnats from Halwara. Sqn. Ldr. D.P. Chatterjee and Flt. Lt. S.K. Sharma were flying the Hunters. The Gnats from No.2 Sqn were flown by Flt. Lt. A.K. "Mazi" Mazumdar and Fg. Off. "Kamli" Khanna. This was the first time a mixed formation was employed in trying to engage the Sabres. Command Headquarters was using new tactics to bait the Sabres. The Ground Control failed to pick up the Sabres, and the formation split. Ground Control directed them to turn left from Amritsar and head west. Even after arriving over Lahore, the Hunters failed to pick up the Sabres.

As Flt. Lt. Majumdar , in the lead Gnat called on his wingman to turn for home, and coming out of the turn, found that four Sabres had pounced on the Hunters. The lead Sabre, flown by Sqn. Ldr. S.A. Changezi, went after the Hunter flown by Sqn. Ldr. D.P. Chatterjee. His Hunter was shot down, and subsequently crashed, in enemy territory, killing Chatterjee. The second Hunter being flown by Flt. Lt. S.K. Sharma was also hit and Sharma disengaged out of the combat and ejected near Katron, just across the border in Indian territory. Flt. Lt. Jilani of the PAF received the credit for Sharma's Hunter.

The Sabres hardly had the time to rejoice at their good fortune. About this moment, Mazumdar and Khanna jumped into the fray. After a few minutes of intense dog fighting, Mazumdar managed to bring down a Sabre near Kasur. The pilot of the Sabre, Flt. Lt. A.H. Malik, ejected out of his stricken Sabre, but luckily found himself over Pakistani lines. Meanwhile the other Sabres disengaged. The Gnats flew back to Halwara, with the last air combat kill of the war against fighters. This engagement proved costly, for the Hunter pilots allowed themselves to be caught off-guard.

After the failure of the attack to take Khem Karan on September 12th, both sides engaged in numerous small actions. A last ditch attempt to take Khem Karan was planned by Fourth Division and executed on September 21st. The Pakistanis put up a stiff resistance and only marginal gains could be achieved. But Khem Karan eluded recapture. A subsequent plan to attack the next day was given up in view of the ceasefire declaration by both sides. Ack-Ack fire claimed three F-86 Sabres shot down in the Khem Karan area.

Further south Canberras, from No.16 Sqn, led by Wg. Cdr. P.M. Wilson escorted by Hunters of No.7 Squadron. attacked Badin Signals Unit in broad daylight and destroyed the facilities with a mixture of rockets and bombs. Two bombs struck the radar tower knocking it down, and the village of Badin was strafed. A strike on Gadra road returned to Hyderabad when Badin was attacked, however being low on fuel, they were not diverted to intercept the Canberras.

Canberras from No.5 Sqn also raided Sargodha airfield, and a F-104 was scrambled to intercept the force. One Canberra flown by Flt. Lt. M.M. Lowe was hit by a sidewinder missile fired from the Starfighter and it crashed killing the navigator, K.K. Kapur. this was the only successful night interception done by the PAF. This was the only Canberra lost in the air.

September 22nd was the last day to see severe fighting in the war. The C-130s of the PAF saw action again on September 21st when a single C-130 dropped ten tons of bombs on the artillery positions set up by the Indians four miles south-east of Jallo. Another C-130 dropped nine tons of bombs on Indian artillery concentrations at Valtoha. On September 22nd, a strike by some Sabres was called off due to bad weather, but the inclement weather did not deter three C-130s taking off that night to try and bomb Indian positions by radar. Some 30 tons of bombs were dropped by blind bombing methods.

This bombing did not deter the Indian ground troops from fighting their last major battle of the war. The 3 Jat, under the 15th Division in the Lahore front planned a move to attack and take Dograi, on the bank of the Ichogil Canal. After being driven out of the village on September 7th, several efforts to take it did not succeed. Lt. Col. Desmond Hayde, the doughty Irishman-turned-Indian, who was commanding the Jat Btn led the unit to fight this severe battle. By night, Dograi was in the occupation of Indians. The Pakistanis put in several attempts to retake it. The last one, just hours before the cease-fire. But the Jats did not yeild. Dograi remained with India.

No.20 Sqn. put in a raid on enemy positions at Kasur. One of the Hunters was hit and its pilot, Flt. Lt. K.C. "Nanda" Cariappa, son of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, ejected and was taken POW. The seventh and the last Indian Air Force POW of the war. Apparently Ayub Khan treated Cariappa with utmost respect, being the son of the senior-most Indian Army Officer that Ayub knew, he offered to treat Nanda Cariappa with special privileges, which was politely declined by Cariappa as well as his father.

Indian Air Force aircraft had claimed a total of 243 tanks as destroyed throughout the war as a result of its attacks on Pakistani troop concentrations. There might be exaggeration in this claim but even if 50% of it is discounted it still adds up to a considerable number of tanks as destroyed.

The ceasefire was declared at 0330 hours on the morning of Sept 23rd and it was time for both sides to sit back and take account of its losses. A raid at Cherta in Amritsar, just hours before the cease-fire killed 53 civilians. Why this particular place was targeted was never known. It has no military significance. Civilian casualties for the war totaled around 416 including the fire brigade and railway personnel.