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Battle of Chawinda
Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Date September 6, 1965 – September 22, 1965
Location Chawinda, Pakistan
Result Tactical Pakistani victory, Strategic Stalemate .

1.Pakistani forces halt Indian advance 2.India hold most of territory captured.

Belligerents
Flag of Pakistan.svgPakistan
PakistanPakistani Infantry
Foreign Volunteers
Flag of India.svg India
Commanders
PakistanMaj Gen Abrar
PakistanLt Col Nisar Ahmed Khan
PakistanBrig. Sardar M.Ismail Khan
PakistanBrig. S. M. Hussain
PakistanBrig. Abdul Ali Malik
PakistanBrig. Muzzafaruddin
Later:
PakistanMaj Gen Tikka Khan
PakistanLt Gen Bakhtiyar M.Rana
PakistanMaj Gen Sahibzada Yaqub Ali Khan
PakistanBrg. Amjad Chaudhry
IndiaP.O Dunn
IndiaLt Col Ardeshir Tarapore 
Strength
30,000+80,000 infantry
600 tanks
80,000-150,000 infantry
708 tanks
Casualties and losses
44 tanks[1] 120+ tanks[2]

The Battle of Chawinda was a part of the Sialkot Campaign in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It was one of the largest tank battles since the Battle of Kursk in World War II.

The initial clashes at Chawinda coincided with the tank battle near Phillora and the fighting intensified once the Pakistani forces at Phillora retreated. However, the advancing Indian 1st Armored Division was stopped at Chawinda.

Contents

The forces

General Dunn, the commander of I Corps Indian Army was given an assortment of units: 1 Armoured Division, 6 Mountain Division, 14 Division and 26 Division. The Pakistani force expected to oppose the Indian thrust consisted of 15 Division, 6 Armoured Division(equivalent to armoured brigade group) and 4 Corps Artillery. Later reinforcements included 8 Infantry Division and 1 Armoured Division.

The battle

Pakistani soldiers during the Battle of Chawinda. Brigadier A.A.K. Niazi, (3rd from left) observing a map
A war monument in Sialkot in memory of the Battle of Chawinda

The inability of the Indian Army to vault the BRB Canal stalemated the Lahore front. The Indians turned their attention to the main thrust, called Operation 'Nepal', in the Sialkot sector. The aim of the attack was to seize the key Grand Trunk Road around Wazirabad. The striking force of the Indian 1st Corps was the 1st Armoured Division supported by the 14th Infantry and 6thh Mountain divisions. The infantry seized the border area on 7 September: realising the threat, the Pakistani rushed two regiments of their 6th Armoured Division from Chhamb to the Sialkot sector to support the Pakistani 7th Infantry Division there. These units, plus an independent tank destroyer squadron, amounted to 135 tanks; 24 M47 and M48 Pattons, about 15 M36B1s and the remainder Shermans. The majority of the Pattons belonged to the new 25th Cavalry commanded by Lt. Col. Nisar, which was sent to the Chawinda area. Fighting around the Gadgor village between the Indian 1 Armoured division and the Pakistani 25th Cavalry Regiment resulted in the Indian advance being stopped.

The Indian plan was to drive a wedge between Sialkot and the 6th Armoured Division, which it believed was stationed around Chawinda. In fact there was only a single regiment there at the time. The Indian 1st Armoured Division's drive quickly divided, with the 43rd Lorried Infantry Brigade supported by a tank regiment attacking Gat, while the main blow of the 1st Armoured Brigade was hurled against Phillaura. Pakistani air attacks caused moderate damage to the tank columns, but exacted a heavier toll on the truck columns and infantry. The terrain features of the area were very different from those around Lahore, being quite dusty, and the approach of the Indian attack was evident to the 25th Cavalry by the rising dust columns on the Charwah-Phillaura road.

The Indians resumed their attacks on 10 September with multiple corps sized assaults and succeeded in pushing the Pakistani forces back to their base at Chawinda, where they were stopped. A Pakistani counterattack at Phillorah was repulsed with heavy damage, and the Pakistanis settled in defensive positions. The Pakistani position at this point was highly perilous, the Indians outnumbered them by ten to one.

However, the Pakistani situation improved as reinforcements arrived, consisting of two independent brigades from Kashmir, 8 Infantry Division, and most crucially, their 1 Armoured Division. For the next several days, Pakistani forces repulsed Indian attacks on Chawinda. A large Indian assault on 18 September involving India's 1st Armoured and 6th Mountain Divisions was repelled, with the 1st Armoured Division being mauled and being taken out of action, while the 6th Indian mountain division lay disintegrated in front of the Pakistani defences. The Indians withdrew to a defensive position near their original bridgehead.

The Pakistanis followed up by launching Operation Windup, which forced the Indians back across the international border for some part, though the coming of the ceasefire meant that the Indians still managed to retain substantial territory.

Results

The Indian Army failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. Their main objective was to capture Sialkot and thus cut the main Grand Trunk Road, splitting Pakistan in two. In the process, they had seen their most powerful formations performing, but even with strategic surprise and a superiority in men and material, the Indian Army had been halted and pushed back for some part.

Notes

  1. ^ The M47 and M48 Patton tanks By Steve Zaloga, Jim Laurier ISBN 1855328259, 9781855328259 pg.35.
  2. ^ The M47 and M48 Patton tanks By Steve Zaloga, Jim Laurier ISBN 1855328259, 9781855328259 pg.35.

External links

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