- Category: Reviews
- Last Updated: Thursday, 10 December 2015 03:07
- Written by Air Commodore Vikram Singh
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Reviewed by Air Marshal S G Inamdar (Retd)
Reviewed by Air Marshal S G Inamdar (Retd)
Every history starts with the words "The Indian Air Force was officially established by the Indian Air Force Act as notified in the Gazette of India dated 8th October 1932...", but has anyone actually seen the IAF Act of 1932 that was passed by the Indian Legislature in April 1932? To which the Governor General of India gave his assent on 8th April 1932? .. the same act which was subsequently published in the Gazette on 8th October?
Well here it is --- as it was originally introduced and later passed by the Legislature into the "Indian Air Force Act, 1932"
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
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.
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.
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.
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
In war, much often hangs on a knife-edge. As this piece by Air Marshal Raghavendran shows, this was especially true of the famous PAF raid on Pathankot. It may have been down to the cautiousness of one man in a key position, that this single most successful raid ever mounted by the PAF against India did not run into a CAP flown by the top guns of the lead Gnat squadron of the time .
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.
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.
The events of September 1st, 1965 are seared into the minds of every Air Force veteran who fought in that conflict. In no small measure to the sacrifice made by three pilots of No.45 and 220 Squadron, flying obsolete Vampire FB52s in the face of the overwhelming odds against the Pakistani offensive in Chamb. In this article Mrs. Sandhya Janorkhar writes about her one of the 'few' who didnt return that day.