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Why Indo Pak Armies Failed in War

Why Indo Pak Armies Failed in War



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PakDef Forums>PakDef.Info>Pakistan Military & Strategic Forum>Military History Archive> Why Indo-Pak Armies Failed in War
View Full Version :Why Indo-Pak Armies Failed in War 
05-02-2004, 08:45 PMWhy Indo-Pak Armies Failed in WarThe failures of the two armies in the various conflicts.[A H AMIN]Around the time of partition there were great expectations from the successor armies of the old British IndianArmy i.e the Pakistan and the Indian Army! Thus while discussing the boundaries of the to be partitionedprovince of Punjab an Indian giving evidence before the Punjab Boundary Commission stated “If Pakistanmanages in a counterattack to make a 40 miles advance then the defence of India would be affected. True theywould lose Bhatinda and Dhuri and Pakistan forces were within measur-able distance of Ambala, but they (The future Indian Army) do not lose all. Their communications are notupset; they lose so much of the railway line up to the extent of 40 miles, but they still have the main linebringing their supplies at right angle to their forces”. The same person in this discussion gave the Indians acapability of advancing 500 miles inside Pakistan”!Compare this remark with the later performance of both Indian and Pakistan Armies in actual war which waspathetic in terms of speed of advance or area captured in all three Indo-Pak wars! On a personal level I mayadd that this subject of phenomenal mediocrity at strategic as well as operational level motivated me to write “The Pakistan Army till 1965”.The reasons for the dismal performance of both the armies are to be seen in their historical background, theclasses which were inducted in both the armies and in the impact of British military as well as colonial legacyon both the armies!The reader may note that since it was the failure of success of armour that decided the issue in all Indo-PakWars at least as far as any decisive breakthrough was concerned the discussion centres around employment of armour and leadership with special reference to armour.Before proceeding into the analytical phase a glance at two comparative decisive battles is necessary so thatnecessary lessons can be linked to the analysis. The four test studies are Pakistani armours failure to achieve abreakthrough on the first day of Operation Grand Slam in 1965, both Pakistani and Indian 1st ArmouredDivision's major offensives opposite Khem Karan and Chawinda Pakistani 8 Armoured Brigade's failure oppositeBara Pind. Following is a summary of the four battles.Pakistani failure to achieve a decisive breakthrough on first day of Grand SlamThe Chamb Sector in 1965 was a very weakly held sector held by three dispersed Indian infantry battalionssupported by a tank squadron of AMX-13 tanks which were like matchboxes as compared to the Pattons heldby the two opposing Pakistani tank regiments i.e a superiority of 6 to 1 in tanks. Further Pakistan had immenseartillery superiority both numerical and material of 6 to 1. Pakistani 8 Inch Guns were phenomenally superior toanything that the Indians had. Unfortunately, the Pakistani armour was distributed in penny packets to the twoinfantry brigades. Thus instead of using armour as a punch it was employed as a thin net as a result of whichits hitting power was vastly reduced. Thus many tanks were lost on the first day and Indian brigade holding thesector withdrew during the night in an organized manner. This initial setback on the first day reduced Pakistanichances of victory which was later on compromised due to other political reasons.Indian 1st Armoured Division's failure at ChawindaThe major Indian attack of 1965 War was launched by the Indian 1st Armoured Division opposite Chawinda on8th September 1965. The Indian formation had four tank regiments as opposed to 1 tank regiment of PakistanArmy! There was no infantry on both flanks of the Pakistani unit and only one battalion in its rear yet theIndians miserably failed to outflank this unit and reach Sialkot-Pasrur Road opposite Badiana or to the South of Pasrur! While two Indian tank regiments advancing on a narrow front unimaginatively battered frontally with asingle Pakistani tank regiment, two Indian tank regiments in the rear were not employed by an Indian GOC andPDA
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his brigade commander paralysed by intertia vacillation and procrastination ! This was not a case of a moremartial morally superior Muslim soldier blunting a less martial Hindu soldier at Panipat but a failure on part of two Indian commanders sitting many miles in the rear! Thus the truth in Clausewitz's pronouncement on higherleadership “marches to turn a flank, right or left are easily combined …but let a general try to do these thingslike Frederick the Great …it required the King's boldness, determination and strength of will to see the things inthis light and not to be led astray and intimidated by the danger of which 30 years after people still wrote andspoke”.The most interesting aspect of the first engagement opposite Gadgor being discussed is that Pakistan's 25Cavalry which faced the Indian Armoured Division was not aware that it was facing an Indian Armoured Divisionwhile the Indian Armoured Division commander was also not aware that there was only one tank regimentopposing his tank division! If both knew what was the actual case then 25 Cavalry's commanding officer mayhave been paralysed by irresolution and inertia and history may have been different and the Indian commandermay have gathered greater resolution and bypassed the unit! However, this is the realm of speculation! Moreimportant is what actually happened! The Indian commander decided not to outflank the Pakistani's in frontbecause of three reasons i.e (1) that his four tank regiments were opposed by two tank regiments (2) no newsof his left flank protection force (3) that his rear was under attack. At the end of the day the Indian divisionalcommander withdrew his division back and stayed inactive till 10th September 1965, during which Pakistanreinforced the area with its 6th Armoured Division! The battles that followed from 11th September till ceasefirecould not be decisive since initial Indian superiority at the decisive point had been compromised! The reasonwhy the Indian commander thought that he was faced with two tank regiments was Pakistan's 25 Cavalry'sunusually extended line of defence, his flank protection force had lost his way because of poor map reading andstrayed out of wireless contact and the attack on his rear which unnerved him was an exchange of fire betweenhis left flank protection force and his own artillery guns! These three reasons were considered enough by theIndian GOC to withdraw eight miles to the rear and do nothing for the next two days! After 11th Septemberwhen the Indians resumed advance the Pakistanis had brought reinforcements and there was no room for abattle of manoeuvre!Pakistani 1st Armoured Division's failure at Khem KaranPakistan's 1st Armoured Division with five tank regiments and additional two supporting tank regiments on theflanks failed to breakthrough the Khem Karan area on 7th and 8th September at a time when only one Indiantank regiment with ancient Sherman tanks was opposing the Pakistani five tank regiments having most modernPatton Tanks. The reason of the dismal performance was not Indian resistance but poor initial planning and staff work in not taking adequate measures to ensure crossing of one water course and one canal both in Pakistaniterritory! This delayed the induction of the armoured division in the battle area enabling the Indians to reinforcetheir lone Sherman tank regiment with two more tank regiments! It is ironic to note that the Pakistani plan toattack in this sector was not new but formulated many years before the war. Here was a case like Chawindaearlier discussed where there was failure in achieving a breakthrough despite a five to one superiority simplybecause the superiority could not be put into practice due to poor initial planning and staff work.Pakistani 8 Armoured Brigade's Failure at Bara PindPakistan's 8 Independent Armoured Brigade was launched at Bara Pind on 16th December 1971! The situationhere was ironically similar to Indian situation at Gadgor on 8th September 1965! Three Pakistani PattonRegiments were available as against one Indian Centurion tank regiment holding a bridgehead at Bara Pind-Jarpal! Ironically as happened with the Indians at Gadgor here too the Pakistani tank brigade commander failedto achieve a breakthrough despite a three to one superiority. The first Pakistani tank regiment was initiallylaunched with the initiative of the detailed planning of the attack, decentralized to the tank regimentcommander! This was a fatal decision! The tank regiment commander known as Masood Chhakrra initiallylaunched one tank squadron in attack. Once this squadron was badly beaten being in a frontal role againstIndian tanks in static positions, he launched his remaining two squadrons a little to the north and again withdisastrous consequences! Once the first tank regiment had failed the Pakistani tank brigade commanderlaunched his second regiment again with disastrous results. In short three tank regiments failed to dislodge asingle Indian tank regiment in a counter attack which was a planned contingency before the war and carried outin Pakistani territory. Prominent in this case was failure to coordinate artillery support which was available inabundance but not utilized in the attack plan. The Indian armoured corps historian held the view that thePakistanis could have broken through even without artillery support if all three squadrons of 13 Lancers hadattacked the Indian position in concentration!3Analysis Failure occurred not because of material or numerical but other reasons
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 It has been a common practice to cite insufficient numerical superiority at the decisive point as a reason forfailure. In all four cases, all decisive battles, this was not the case. The Pakistanis failed at Grand Slam despite 6to 1 superiority on the first day. This was a case of not concentrating tanks and using them as infantry supportvehicles. The Indian failed at Gadgor despite a 4 to 1 superiority. This was a case of the Indian brigadecommander losing his nerve because of timidity and irresolution and the Indian GOC not spurring his brigadecommander and instead withdrawing to the rear for the next two days while only one tank regiment opposed hisdivision. The Pakistanis failed at Khem Karan despite a five to one superiority because of poor initial planningand incorrect armour tactics in withdrawing to the leaguer at night. Again Bara Pind was a failure in notintegrating artillery in attack and in not concentrating the armoured brigade in attack.British Colonial LegacyOnce the British initially came to India they allowed Indians entry in officer rank. The real danger in history hasalways been posed not by weapons but by men of resolute description! Thus Mustafa Kemal defied superpowersof his day not by any nuclear warhead but by generalship in the field!Once the British came to India initially they were not aware of the dangers that Indians in higher rank couldpose to their rule! Thus once a cavalry unit Moghal Horse was raised at Patna in July 1760 it was an All Muslimunit with Sardars Mirza Shahbaz Khan and Mirza Tar Beg. More notable was the case of Yusuf Khan!Back in 1752 a Muslim of Pathan descent enlisted under Colonel Clive and distinguished himself in battle (not byverbosity on courses or in model discussions) on many occasions. As a reward for excellence in battle Yusuf Khan was made commandant of all Indian sepoys in the service of the English East India Company in 1754,three years before Plassey, presented with a medal in 1755 and further rewarded by renting of two districts inCarnatic for 20 Lakh Rupees in 1759 ! From 1760 onwards Yusuf Khan became more powerful and starteddefying the English East India Company. The Englishman were forced to start a war against Yusuf Khan whichlasted for more than an year! All the British Troops of Madras Army were committed and peace only came afterMadura Yusuf Khan's stronghold was finally captured on 13th October 1764!4No more Yusuf Khans! This was the Englishmen's conclusion and this they enforced religiously right till 1947!Have no native leadership in the Indian Army! This was ensured as a policy right till 1947 even though Indo-Paknatives were admitted synthetically in the officer rank in 1919!While Indians were recruited as officers from 1919 it was ensured that these must be the most slavish andmeek ones! Outwardly smart and impressive in bearing, but loyal to the core, lacking initiative in higherdecision making and good till only company and platoon level! Thus the basic aim of Indian Military AcademyDera Dun was to produce Indian officers who at best could be good company commanders and nothing more!This system was enforced as a Machiavellian policy! Sir Sivaswamy Ayer in 1921 demanded in the Indianlegislative assembly that all seats to commissioned officer rank in Indian Army should be filled by opencompetitive exam held on all India basis.The British sabotaged this scheme! Thus when Indian Military AcademyDera Dun was established the Britisher ensured a slavish Indo-Pak officer corps by insisting that 30 out of 60officer vacancies be given to rankers from Indian Army who had spent many years in ranks under Britishofficers and considered more loyal than educated Indo-Pak candidates selected on the open merit!As a result the Indian Army and its successors Indian and Pakistan Army remained pro West and conservative inoutlook! In 1950s Ayub Khan was ready to defend Anglo Iranian Oil fields in Iran for US interests! A relationshipwith USA was cemented with the rationale that it would enable Pakistan to regain Kashmir! Yet when the timecame in 1965 Pakistan's self-promoted field marshal had cold feet! The military advantage over India in 1965 interms of superior equipment was lost in Khem Karan not because of material inferiority, where Pakistan hadtank superiority of 6 to 1 on 7th and 8th September, but qualitative inferiority on part of Pakistani highermilitary leadership! India's leading military thinker Ravi Rikhye admitted in an article on www.orbat.com thatKhem Karan had the potential to be India's Fourth Battle of Panipat had the Pakistan Army broken through!Deliberate measures were taken to instil an inferiority complex in the Indian officers! Major General Jahanzebwho was commissioned in 1942 states “In their regiments they were treated with undignified and unconcealedcontempt. Once a British regiment invited the IndianC in C to dinner. On enquiry about the segregated table he was told unabashedly that it was for the attachedIndian officers”. The general further stated that till mid-thirties Indians commissioned from Sandhurst were notallowed to enter the precincts of the Peshawar Club and there were cases when an Indian officer asked for achair being told by the quartermaster that Indian officers were not authorized chairs.5Indian Army experience in WW Two
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