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Battle of Asal Uttar
Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Captured Pakistani tanks on display near Bhilwind, India
Date September 8 – September 10, 1965
Location Asal Uttar (Punjab, India)
Result Tactical Indian victory and strategic stalemate.[1] Pakistani forces retain Khem Karan.
Flag of India.svg
Flag of Pakistan.svg
IndiaMaj. Gen. Gurbaksh Singh
IndiaBrigadier Thomas K. Theograj
PakistanMaj. Gen. Nasir Ahmed Khan
45 Centurions,
45 Shermans,
45 AMX-13
Casualties and losses
32 tanks destroyed[2] 97 tanks destroyed or abandoned[3][1]

The Battle of Asal Uttar (Hindi for Battle of Definitive Reply) was one of the largest tank battles fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It was fought from September 8 through September 10, 1965, when the Pakistan Army thrust its tanks and infantry into Indian territory, capturing the Indian town of Khem Karan. The Indian troops retaliated and after three days of bitter fighting, the battle ended with the Pakistani forces being repulsed near Asal Uttar, thanks to the conditions of the plains, superior Indian tactics and a strategic stalemate in Khem Karan.

War historians, including Dr. Philip Towle, regard the Indian resistance near Khem Karan as one of the key turning points of the war which tilted the balance of the war in favor of India.[1]



Pakistan's invading force, consisting of the 1st Armoured Division and 11th Infantry Division, crossed the International Border and captured the Indian town of Khem Karan. After the seizure, the Indian Army regrouped and launched a counter attack. Indian troops flooded the area, which slowed the advance of the Pakistani tanks down and successfully brought them inside a horse-shoe formation, a trap where the advancing Pakistani troops were ambushed and repelled. Almost 100 Pakistani tanks were either destroyed or captured.[4] while Indians claim to losing only 32 tanks during this offensive. When Pakistani forces fell back towards Khem Karan, India, seeing that it could not regain control of Khem Karan, opened another front and attacked Sialkot sector; this attack was repelled at Battle of Chawinda and the offensive failed.


Despite the initial successful thrust of the Pakistani Army into Indian territory, the battle ended in a decisive Indian victory. However, the failure of Indian troops to regain Khem Karan and further losses in Sailkot led to a strategic stalemate and ultimately caused both parties to call for negotiations.[1] According to military historian Steve Zaloga, Pakistan admitted that it lost 165 tanks during the 1965 war, more than half of which were knocked out during the "debacle" of Asal Uttar.[2]

Pervez Musharraf, later Army Chief of Staff and President of Pakistan, participated in this battle as a lieutenant of artillery in the 16 (SP) Field Regiment, 1st Armoured Division Artillery. The battle also witnessed the personal bravery of an Indian soldier Abdul Hamid being honoured with the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military award, for having knocked out three enemy tanks with a recoilless gun.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Jaques, Tony. Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. ISBN 0313335389, 9780313335389.  
  2. ^ a b Zaloga, Steve. The M47 and M48 Patton tanks. Osprey Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1855328259, 9781855328259.  
  3. ^ Wilson, Peter. Wars, proxy-wars and terrorism: post independent India. Mittal Publications, 2003. ISBN 8170998905, 9788170998907.  
  4. ^ Debacle to Revival: Y.B. Chavan as Defence Minister, 1962-65 By R. D. Pradhan
  5. ^ The Param Vir Chakra Winners' home page for Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid


External links



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