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CLASS SUBMARINE HINGOR 1971 INDO PAK WAR
INDIAN NAVAL SHIP KUKRI
AERIAL VIEW OF THE PAKISTAN NAVY SUBMARINE HINGOR
I INTERVIEWED ADMIRAL TASNIM IN 2001.THE FOLLOWING IS HIS ACCOUNT OF HOW HE SANK INDIAN NAVAL SHIP KUKRI AGHA H AMIN
Enough has been written about Naval side of 1971 war including a number of books by Indian writers. Briefly, things were heating up in East Pakistan and war clouds were visible over the horizon. I volunteered and NHQ approved a patrol in Enemy Waters in Aug 1971 to gather intelligence and pick up vital operational information for war time submarine operations. This was one of the longest patrols (over 30 days) by a Daphne Class Submarine. It helped us to build confidence and to test our stamina and equipment under wartime exacting conditions. On the night of 21/22 Nov when Indian Army crossed the International Border in East Pakistan we sailed again with full wartime load of Torpedoes and Hangor was on station off Bombay by about 26 Nov. A serious defect in seawater circulating system developed which required docking the submarine to effect repairs. It would have been shame all round returning to Karachi so soon. Therefore, with consultation and support of my officers and crew we decided to take risk. We rigged the submarine as a fishing boat (night vision), listed her heavily by shifting water in tanks, kept vigilance for enemy and with faith in God managed to rectify the defect within 36 hours. During the night one Enemy Warship approached us. We would have been sitting duck if he had opened fire. But I resisted the natural instinct to dive and kept my fingers crossed. The ship closed to about 1000 yards and then taking us to be a fishing boat turned back and left us. Such is the luck which favours the Brave who take risk. After rectifying our defect we were returning to our station off Bombay when on the night of 2/3 Dec 1971 Indian Fleet (8 ships) left Bombay and passed over us when Hangor was at 50 meters depth. It was an excellent opportunity to attack but in absence of NHQ orders to ‘shoot’ one could not act on his own. I do not think that Higher Military Command at Rawalpindi ever realised that three Pakistani Submarines were on their War Stations since end of November and, therefore, should have been authorized to attack ‘Targets of
opportunity’. Code word giving permission to attack Indian War Ships was received on 4 December and we started to look for targets.
On night of 2/3 December the Indian Fleet was heading towards our waters and, therefore, I broke Radio Silence to inform NHQ about the enemy movement. Indians naturally intercepted this transmission and located my position.
Instead of despatching a hunter killer group the Indian Naval Ships altogether avoided the area while transiting in and out of Bombay. It was frustrating to see lucrative targets passing outside my area and range. On about 6 December, I requested NHQ to shift my area and in anticipation of approval headed for the new area. Approval from NHQ came promptly and by 8 December Submarine Hangor stationed herself at the middle of New Area. DAPHNE CLASS SUBMARINE HINGOR WHICH SANK INS KUKRI-CLICK TO ENLARGE:--
We could hear SONAR of Enemy Ships and it took us some time to establish their Search Pattern. We were operating in shallow depth with bathy conditions extremely favourable for ships to detect submarines. Similarly sea was flat calm and any use of periscope, even for short duration, would be immediately picked up by Enemy Radars and sure suicide for the submarine.
Therefore, we closed the two targets at 50 meters depth with caution, prudence and exercising all professionalism to avoid our own detection. At about 2000 hours one target came within firing range and with excellent fire control solution one torpedo was fired. The torpedo homed on to the target, passed under and did not explode. Immediately we turned round at high speed and fired second torpedo on the second ship.
The torpedo exploded under the magazine of INS KUKRI and the huge explosion broke the ship in two and she sank in less than two minutes causing heavy casualties. KUKRI was ship of the Squadron Commander Captain Mohindera Nath Mollah who went down with the ship. Meanwhile, third torpedo was fired on Enemy Ship closing in fast to attack Hangor.
The ship on hearing the torpedo reversed course, increased speed to outrun the torpedo. The torpedo hit her at long distance causing severe damage. Indians lost about 250 men in this action including Squadron Commander Captain M.N. Mullah. For the next three days Hangor was subjected to extensive depth charge attacks. Someone in the crew kept the count and according to him it came to be 156 attacks during this period. An extensive air search combined with surface ships made our life miserable but with intelligent evasive action we managed to survive these attacks and arrived in Karachi safely after the ceasefire.Having trained very hard including patrols the Hangor Crew had become efficient, well integrated and above all motivated for war. It was a team effort where everyone did his bit and did it well. I had the privilege to command an outstanding, intelligent and hard-working
set of officers proven by the point that later on one made CNS (Admiral Bokhari) two Vice Admirals (A.U. Khan and myself) one Rear Admiral (R.A. Kadri) two Commodores (Waseem and Pasha). Others would have gone up too if they had stayed in the service. In deference to intelligence and professionalism of my officers I tolerated free discussion (a trait I picked up from Admiral Niazi while serving on board Ghazi) even if it was pain in the neck at times. Hangor action being a team effort I wish everyone of the 52 crew to have been rewarded but sadly it could not be so. Government awarded four SJ’s, four TJ’s and a number of Imtiazi Sanads.
I, however, morally share my second SJ with all my officers, CPOs and Sailors who made it possible for us to sink first warship by a submarine torpedo since Second World War. I owe profound gratitude to all my crew members for their loyalty, dedication, hard work, professionalism and support given to me during the war.
LIEUTENANT TASNIM AS NAVAL AIDE DE CAMP WITH PRESIDENT AYUB KHAN ON HIS VISIT TO USA IN 1964
ADMIRAL TASNIM RECOLLECTS HIS TRAINING YEARS WITH US NAVY
While ADC to President I got married in March, 1963 and then having left Nahid to complete her studies at the college left for Submarine training at United States Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. Lt/Cdr. K. R. Niazi was the Commanding Officer designate and I was given the assignment of Operations Officer. After the Basic Course we were assigned to various U.S. Submarines for sea training. I joined USS Angler, a World War II Submarine, under the command of Commander James Rooney who was an excellent person and helped me qualify in diving, torpedo firing and other operations of the Submarine. He was courageous enough to even give me independent watch at night, a great responsibility which I discharged with utmost devotion, alertness, presence of mind and correct reaction to emergencies. Before commissioning of PNS/M GHAZI in June 1964 three of us (Lt.Cdr. Niazi, Lt.Cdr. Bazal, myself) qualified a prospective commanding officer course with other allied officers mostly from Latin America. Crew of GHAZI was well formed up and efficiently integrated.
PAKISTAN NAVY SUBMARINE DAPHNE CLASS SUBMARINE HINGOR WHICH SANK KUKRI AT THE NAVAL MUSEUM KARACHI
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