The Bangladesh War 1971

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The Kilo Flight - a personal account of Op Cactus Lily

A rookie Flying Officer with four years of service, flying transports gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly war-time missions as part of a clandestine force.  Air Commodore Arun Karandikar 10865 F(P), narrates his chance posting to the Kilo Flight on the eve of the 1971 War, to fly support missions in aid of the Mukti-Bahini rebels and their Indian Air Force instructors.  This account was written on the request of 43 Squadron, during their effort to fill in gaps in their historical records

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MSN 521 : Air Battle over Chhamb - 10 December 1971

This contribution by Wg Cdr B C Karambaya, 10604 F(P)  was originally written as an appendix to Gp Capt H K Bajaj's Battle of Chhamb 71 : Through the 6/5 Lenses of an FAC . Then Plt Offr Bajaj operating as an FAC Was controlling the formation, Mission 521 - for a strike against Pakistani Army targets in Chhamb Sector.   Wg Cdr Karumbaya, then a Flying Officer, had flown two Counter Air Sorties earlier in the war and was credited with destroying a heavy transport aircraft at Chaklala. He was awarded the Vir Chakra for his contributions.  

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Sukhoi Strike Missions during the War

An interview with late Air Vice Marshal Madhabendra Banerji (4898).  On the 20th January 2019, Anchit Gupta met with AVM Banerji (Retired) and spend a few hours discussing his IAF days. It was to be the first of many such interactions, but sadly, AVM Banerji passed away later in 2019. AVM Banerji spoke about Su-7 induction into the IAF, the initial days of fighter night flying, the 1971 war for which he was given the MVC and his days as AOC, J&K. He was extremely forthcoming and reflective and minced no words. 

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Jaisalmer Diary - The story of 14 C&MU

This is an account of the operations at 14 C&MU Jaisalmer.  The IAF's victory at Longewala was achieved from Jaisalmer Air Force Base during the 1971 War under the leadership of then Wg Cdr M S Bawa (4494) F(P). This article provides a "War Diary" style narration of the day by day events as they unfolded. 

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The saving of Chander

In this short piece, Air Vice Marshal C V Parker MVC VM (4346 F(P)) narrates the last mission of his squadron - No.20 "Lightnings" - that could not beat the ceasefire clock!

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Old soldiers look after old comrades : P D Jeyasingh

Air Cmde PD 'Jeya' Jeyasingh 10923 F(N) passed away at 2330 hrs on 18 Oct 2018 at the Command Hospital Air Force Bangalore. He was admitted on 05 October after being diagnosed with pneumonia and other complications.  He was veteran of the 1971 war, who flew on bombing sorties with the Canberra bombers.  He was also known as an old comrade who refuses to let the nation forget about his comrades.  K S Nair writes about the annual commemoration that  Air Commodore Jeyasingh started - and which continues today even in his absence.  

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Ejected over No Man's Land!

Gp Capt Gurdeep Singh Samra 8695 F(P)  was a young Flight Lieutenant with No.101 Squadron operating from Adampur. He narrates the harrowing tale of ejecting over No-Mans land in the Chamb sector - and enduring severe injuries. He would later be rescued by Indian Army troops and underwent a full recovery back to flying fit status for a fruitful and rewarding career in the IAF.

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Flying with the Legend - Air Commodore R S Benegal

Air Marshal G C S Rajwar , commissioned in 1963 as part of the 26th Navigator Course, is a veteran of two wars. He was the navigator to the CO of No.106 Squadron in the 1971 war, then Wg Cdr R S Benegal.  He wrote this piece about his missions in the war as an "Afterword" for the autobiographical book by late Air Commodore R S Benegal - Burma to Japan with the Azad Hind .  

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Flt Lt Lawrence Frederic Pereira, VrC

 Lawrence Frederic Pereira 8678 F(P)  was a Forward Air Controller with an Armoured Brigade in the Shakargarh Sector during the 1971 War.  He lost his life in an enemy air attack and today lies at rest in Jalandhar.

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Sparrow or Moss?

Did the IAF ever use the Tu-124 Moss AWACS?  As first alleged by John Fricker in an article written on behalf of the Pakistan Air Force? Air Marshal Subhash Bhojwani sets the record straight. 

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