Monday, September 26, 2011


The Indians suffered heavy casualties at Sulaimanke.Some 190 Killed, 196 Missing most of whom were killed or prisoners and 425 wounded.

These casualties were far heavier than those suffered by 54 Division which fought battles like those around Bara Pind Jarpal which suffered a total of some 76 Killed and 272 wounded.

So Bara Pind was a much smaller affair than Sulaimanke.

It is only sheer Pakistani incompetence that makes BARA PIND JARPAL famous.

Agha H Amin

Various requests were made by this scribe to sons of this illustrious man to furnish a photograph of their father ,Major General Ameer Hamza . 

Alas the sons all in good worldly positions did not bother to respond !

This is the way of the world ! 

Agha.H Amin

Pakistan's 105 Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Ameer Hamza , HJ,SJ A Qaisarani Rind Baloch from DG Khan carried out a small scale but highly aggressive operation in Sulaimanke area opposite Indian town of Fazilka. 

The strength here was in Indian favour but Indian brigade commander S.S Chowdry was highly incompetent in placing his forward battalion 10 kilometre ahead of his other two battalions. 

This enabled Pakistan's 105 Brigade to capture the Bund ahead of Sabuna Distributary thus ensuring the safety of Pakistan's most crucial Sulaimanke Canal Headworks which was just 1,500 metres from the border. 

105 Brigade's determined counter attack severely depressed Indian Higher Commanders and 11 Corps Commander expressed a desire to abandon the area and withdraw to Fazilka Fortress and to replace 67 Brigade which was defending the area.22 

Such was the state of Indian demoralisation that Western Command Army Commander finally sacked 67 Brigade Commander on 11th December.

S.S Chowdhry was replaced by Brigadier Piara Singh. At this stage the Indian brigade commander was so demoralised that he overestimated the Pakistani strength opposite him to be two infantry brigades supported by an armoured regiment 24 while in reality the Pakistani strength on east bank of Sabuna was only an infantry battalion (6 FF) supported by a depleted tank squadron of WW Two vintage tanks. 

The Indians suffered heavy casualties at Sulaimanke.Some 190 Killed, 196 Missing most of whom were killed or prisoners and 425 wounded.

These casualties were far heavier than those suffered by 54 Division which fought battles like those around Bara Pind Jarpal which suffered a total of some 76 Killed and 272 wounded.

The key to Pakistani success here was the unique persoanlity of Major General Ameer Hamza.

He was my fathers platoon commander in the military academy and he was a unique soldier .

When asked why he placed 6 FF , an infantry battalion under his command ahead of a water obstacle , he replied that it was a Pashtun unit and most were non swimmers so he was sure that they would not flee from the battle field !

He had already brilliantly commanded 10 Punjab in the same sector in 1965 and had received a gallantry award.

Sulaimanke was above all a show of a brilliant and extremely resolute brigade commander.

I remember him at Exercise Zzarb e Momin in 1989.The exercise enely had air superiority so he failure of our side inthe exercise was inevitable.General Hamza remarked just pray ! The night it rained heavily and continually for next two days and the enemys air force was paralysed.Our side won the battle.

He was a unique professional soldier.Its a shame that ZA Bhutto preferred sycophants like Zia and paid wth his head and Pakistan is paying the price till now !

The above facts are based on books written by a person no less than Indian Western Commander in 1971 War , General Cadeth and most respectable Indian military historian Major K.C Praval .

See Candeths book and Pravals books:---

Indian Army since Independence ,Page-147 & 148-Ibid and Pages-392 & 393-Major K.C Praval

The Western Front by Lieutenant General Candeth Page-110 and 151

Typical with Pakistan Army promotion formula that "WAR PERFORMANCE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PERFORMANCE" while characters like Zia,Akhtar Abdul Rehman,Sawar Khan ,Iqbal,Rahimuddin who had near zero war records were promoted ! Even Abdul Ali Malik who was distinguished as per Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan for launched ill planned , bloody counter attacks in 1971 was promoted!


A.H Amin

Friday, September 9, 2011

Major General Abrar Hussain ,HJ,MBE

Major General Abrar Hussain ,HJ,MBE was an outstanding officer of pre 1947 British Indian Army and Pakistan Army.

Born at Lucknow in  on 2nd September 1918,Abrar hailed from a landed family (Talukdar Family).

Educated at La Martniere School , Colvin Talukdars Colleges and Allahabad University Abrar was a graduate of University of Allahabad.

He joined the Indian Military Academy Dera Dun and was commissioned  on  31 July 1940 in 2nd Battalion of 10th Baluch regiment presently 7 Baluch of Pakistan Army.

Abrar saw action in Malaya and at Singapore where he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese.

He was offered a commission in the Indian National Army by the Japanese which he refused .

He was then sent along with Gurkhas and used for forced coastal assault mine breechings by the Japanese in their attacks on Pacific Islands.His conduct again was exemplary and at time of Japanese surrender he was discovered by a relieving Australian force on New Britain Island in the Pacific in December 1945.

Abrar was declared an MBE (Member of British Empire ) for his exemplary and most gallant conduct.

In 1947 he opted for the Pakistan Army.

He commanded the 17 Baluch and also served as Military Secretary.

In 1964 he was promoted major general and tasked to upgrade the 100 armoured brigade into 6 Armoured Division.

Abrars conduct as 6 Armoured Division Commnader was outstanding and he was awarded the Hilal i Jurrat.

Ironically despite outstanding war performance Abrar was sidelined and not promoted to three star rank by General Yahya Khan with whom he had some professional differences.

He was not promoted and sent to the command and staff college as commandant in 1968 from where he asked for retirement disgusted with the ham handed manner in which he had been treated.

Interestingly the Pakistani DMI Irshaad and Brigadier AAK Niazi were promoted to three star rank.Irshaad had been a failure as DMI and again proved a failure as commander 1 Corps.

He settled in Rawalpindi into civilian life and tragically suffered a stroke in 1975 as a a result of which he was partially paralysed.

He died in 1992.

General Abrar , Hayauddin and Pirzadas wives were sisters I am told.Abrar did not have any male issue.

His younger brother Brigadier Nur Hussain was a director of the ISSI .

Sadly long after his death his true role in Pakistani military history was recognised only in 2003 when a book of his war despatches was published by the Pakistani GHQ.

It is an irony of Pakistani military history that some other generals who perhaps were far more dashing than Abrar like Major General Eftikhar Khan are unrecognised till today because they belonged to a minority sect.

Others like Tajammul Hussain Malik and Akbar Khan  are recognised because they were rebels against a rotten Pakistani government

For a scientific examination of how promotions were and are done in Pakistan Army see the article below--

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Assessment of Officers and Military Training-Pakistan Army

What was wrong with Assessment of Officers and Military Training-Pakistan Army and What continues to be wrong till to date as research indicates

Click on scanned pages pictures to enlarge

Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

Selection and Assessment of Commanders in Pakistan Army-Pakistan Army Journal-Citadel-Command and Staff College

These articles published in military journals of Pakistan Army endeavour to subject the highly defective system of assessment of officers to criticism despite strict censorship.

One must add that some discussion became possible in the army only after 1988 when General M.A Baig took over .

In the Zia era , with intellectual honesty buried and hypocrisy and sycophancy being hallmark of the army for 12 long years (1976-88) this was impossible.

After 1998 once Brigadier Riaz took over as DG ISPR the situation improved.

Three editors of Pakistan Army Journal were outstanding , all in succession , i.e Colonel I.D Hassan (a chronic bachelor and very cereberal and well read) , Lieutenant Colonel Syed Ishfaq Naqvi (outstanding) and Lieutenant Colonel Syed Jawaid Ahmad (soft spoken but bold as far as publishing articles and extremely knowledgeable).

In the command and staff college there was Lieutenant Colonel Ashraf Saleem (later lieutenant general) , Lieutenant Colonel Tariq Khan (now lieutenant general) and Lieutenant Colonel Ahsan Mahmood (now major general) , all three were well read and had a high intellectual calibre particularly Tariq Khan.

After these three the pedants came and pedants and the conformists off course are in preponderance !

I would say the assessments that I made in faulty and fallacious assessment of military commanders continue !

If Tariq Khan became a three star it was a triumph of destiny over a thoroughly rotten system ! 

But then we must remember that Moses survived in Pharohs palace and finally overcame the Pharoah !

This unfortunate country Pakistan needs a Moses , a man who purges this rotten country !

If not , then I dont have the least doubt that Pakistan will be destroyed ! It will cease to exist as a country ! This is my conviction !

This country Pakistan has no soft solutions !

If Pakistan has to survive it will have to go through night and blood ! And the blood of the elite !


On the first page a question is raised " if selection and assessment system in an army is realistic" .

There was a big question mark in 1991 when I wrote this , it remained when I retired in December 1993 because the army then was run on whims and likes and dislikes and no one bothered how good an officer was in real command and intellectual ability ! I fear that the large gaps and question marks remain to date ? The very Kargil operation proves that an overambitious man with myopic strategic vision like Musharraf can rise to the highest ranks ,shamelessly abandons bodies of soldiers and then proclaim Kargil as his greatest success ! One could see an ambitious man in him in 1993 , who was obsessed with self projection ! I had asked Lieuenant Colonel Ashraf (then CO 46 Field and my platoon commander in PMA , also GSO 1 , 14 Division what he thought of Musharraf his brother gunner officer .Ashraf an outstandingly honest and straight man hailing from Kalar Saidan near Pindi stated " what can you make of a man who uses generator of his locating unit for his house "

No one in kargil had the courage to point out that the operation was a wild gamble ! Brigadier Simon confided that that General Tauqir Zia was against it but then Tauqir Zia never gave his dissent ?


A real soldier in the peacteime environment of jee hazoori and yes man ship hardly has any chance of being promoted ! True in 1992 when I wrote this and true today ! Can Pakistan afford this ?



War Performance had nothing to do with promotion to higher ranks in Pakistan Army

Major Agha H Amin (Retired)

Altaf Gauhar Ayub’s close confidant inadvertently proves this fact once he quite uncharitably, and for reasons, other than dispassionate objective historical considerations, described Yahya as one " selected…in preference to some other generals, because Yahya, who had come to hit the bottle hard, had no time for politics and was considered a harmless and loyal person".

Major General Abrar, who had proved himself as the finest military commander, at the divisional level, at least by sub continental standards, was sidelined and ultimately retired in the same rank! 

Lieutenant Colonel Nisar of 25 Cavalry who had saved Pakistan’s territorial integrity from being seriously compromised at a strategic level at Gadgor on the 8th of September 1965 was sidelined. 

Lieutenant Colonel Nisar of 25 Cavalry who had saved Pakistan’s territorial integrity from being seriously compromised at a strategic level at Gadgor on the 8th of September 1965 was sidelined. This may be gauged from the fact that at the time of outbreak of the 1971 War Nisar although promoted to brigadier rank, was only commanding the Armoured corps recruit training centre, a poor appointment for a man who had distinguished himself as a tank regiment commander in stopping the main Indian attack. A man whose unit’s performance was described by the enemy opposing him as one "which was certainly creditable because it alone stood between the 1st Indian Armoured Division and its objective"23 was considered by the Pakistani General Headquarters pedantic officers as fit only to command a recruit training centre while one who was instrumental in failure of the main Pakistani intelligence failure as DMI was promoted to Major General rank and trusted later with the command of Pakistan’s 1 Corps with disastorous results ! 

Brigadier Qayyum Sher who had distinguished himself as a brigade commander in 10 Division area in Lahore was also not promoted! Qayyum Sher was one of the few brigade commanders of the army who had led from the front. 

Major General Shaukat Riza who rarely praised anyone had the following to say about Sher’s conduct while leading the Pakistan army’s most important infantry brigade counter attack on Lahore Front as a result of which the Indian 15 Division despite considerable numerical superiority was completely thrown off balance. Shaukat stated that "Brigadier Qayyum Sher, in his command jeep, moved from unit to unit and then personally led the advance, star plate and pennant visible. This was something no troops worth their salt could ignore". 

But the Army’s Selection Boards ignored Qayyum Sher once his turn for promotion came! Qayyum Sher did well in war and was awarded the Pakistani D.S.O i.e. the HJ! 


But war performance or even performance in peacetime training manoeuvres was, and still is, no criteria for promotion in the Pakistan Army! Qayyum retired as a brigadier, remembered by those who fought under him as a brave and resolute commander, who was not given an opportunity to rise to a higher rank, which Qayyum had deserved, more than any brigadier of the Pakistan Army did. 

Brigadier Nisar of 25 Cavalry who was praised by Indian historians as outstanding in delaying battle in Shakargarh as commander of changez Force was also sidelined because he was not close to Tikka Khan and company and did not possess Zias mastery of art of sycophancy and appeasement of seniors !

It was typical of Pakistan Army that Brigadier Rahimuddin who did not join his brigade in Chamb on pretext of martial law duty was promoted to general rank while Nisar who fought both the 1965 and 1971 wars exceedingly well sidelined ! 

In 1965 Nisar by his singular action at Gadgor had literally saved Pakistan ! But promotion in Pakistan Army had nothing to do with war performance or real soldiering ! Pathetic !

Interestingly Brigadier Irshaad heading the military intelligence in 1965 and guilty of Pakistan Armys greatest intelligence failure of 1965 i.e disregarding a genuine report that Indian Armoured division was in kashmir , dismissing it as a deception plan , was promoted to two and three star after the war .He played hell with Pakistans 1 Corps in 1971 War !

Major General Sarfaraz whose conduct as GOC was outstanding in 1965 War was not promoted because his ability was regarded as a threat by Ayub Khan !

Brigadier Tajammul Hussain Malik was praised as an outstanding commander by a person no less than the Indian opponent of his Major General lachman Singh .

A special commission was appointed by Indian Army to study Tajammuls brigade actions !

The tragedy is that all starting from Liaquat Ali Khan sidelined officers with outstanding war performance ! The first being the elevation of Ayub Khan to army chief with a proven record of tactical timidity in Burma !

Ayub Khan ,Tikka Khan and Bhutto sidelined the best officers of 1971 ! Tajammul was sidelined because he was not a pathetic sycophant with no war record like Zia ul Haq ! This is a man whose war performance was so outstanding that the Indians appointed a high level commission to study his epic brigade battle at Hilli where he literally repelled a division plus! His direct Indian opponent Major General Lachman Singh praised him as an outstanding and very brave man in his book Indian sword penetrates East Pakistan ! But the Pakistani selection boards criterion for promotion was certainly not war performance !

Major General Abdul Ali Malik noted by Major General Fazal i Muqeem for launcjing the most ill planned and failed counter attacks of 1971 War in Shakargarh Bulge was promoted to three star rank after the war !

General K.M Arif who had no war record in 1971 and no command experience beyond a brigade command for few months was promoted to two three and four star rank !

Brigadier Ameer Hamza who conducted a brilliant brigade offensive battle at Sulaimanke was similarly sidelined as a Lieutenant General whereas many others who had no war record in 1971 war as brigade commanders became corps commanders !

Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik in an interview with this scribe in September 2001 summed up these promotions in the following words:--

The peculiarity about these promotions was that except for Jahanzeb Arbab, who had been superseded earlier because of having been found guilty of embezzlement of huge amount of money while in East Pakistan by a Court of Inquiry, headed by Major General M H Ansari but continued to remain in an officiating Command of a Division with the rank of a Brigadier for nearly two years upto as late as February 1976 when he was promoted to the rank of a Major General, all others were those who were on staff in GHQ. 

Major General Iqbal was doing as Chief of General Staff, Major General Sawar Khan was Adjutant General, Major General Chishti was Military Secretary and Major General Ghulam Hassan was Director General Military Training. 

The Division Commanders that is to say myself, Major General Akhtar Abdur Rehman, Major General Fazal e Raziq, Major General Mateen, Major General Ch Abdur Rehman, Major General Jamal Said Mian, Major General Amir Hamza (DG Civil Armed Forces), Major General Wajahat Hussain (Commadant Staff College) were all superseded.”

General Zia ul Haq had seen my conduct during the Division Commanders conferences expressing my view very candidly. He, therefore, thought that he would not be able to control me. He selected a team of ‘yes men’ who were more docile and prepared to accept his command without any hesitation.”

Even the normal and highly defective ACR system in the army was disregarded in promotions.

Thus while Major General Tajammul had been graded as “OUTSTANDING”, as a Brigadier, in his last Annual Confidential Report and again as a Division Commander was graded “Above Average” by the then Corps Commander Lieutenant General Aftab Ahmad Khan, his contemporaries Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chisti and Late General Akhtar Abdur Rehman were adjudged on the lower side of the “Average” grade were promoted to three star rank .Chishti in 1976 and Akhtar Abdul Rahman in 1977-78.

Tajammul Hussain thus well summed up Pakistan Armys tradition of promotions when he stated:--

“In our Army, Field Marshal Ayub Khan since he became Commander-in-Chief in 1951, made sure that only those people were promoted to higher ranks, who proved their personal loyalty to him rather than loyalty to the state.

He did so because he had the ambitions of becoming the Head of State from the very beginning. As I said before, he had a contempt for the politicians and with the passage of time he went on getting extension of his tenure till he finally took over in Oct 1958.

From amongst the senior officers anyone who expressed his opinion against the Army indulging in politics was immediately retired. Some of the very capable generals who had passed out from Sandhurst were superseded when General Musa was appointed Commander-in-Chief. Now that he is dead, it is not proper for me to pass any remarks against him but I have no hesitation in saying that he was a typical Gorkha Soldier, who had learnt to obey the command of their superiors whether right or wrong. The junior officers following examples of the seniors, had also learnt that perhaps sycophancy, rather than professional capabilities, was the only criteria for attaining the higher command.

Exceptions are always there, but as a general practice many good officers who would have become very good Generals could not go beyond the rank of Lieutenant Colonel because they were intellectually and professionally far superior to their seniors and always expressed their views without any hesitation whenever and wherever required.

Commanders who attain the higher ranks through following the path of sycophancy soon crumble in the face of danger and cannot stand the test of battle fatigue. That has been an inherent weakness in our Army, which perhaps continues till today.

I had not intimately known General Zia before he became the Chief of the Army Staff but from his conduct during the Divisional Commanders Conferences, he appeared to me an incompetent and low grade officer.

In one of the Division Commanders promotion conferences, I even saw him sleeping with his mouth open. 

He surpassed all limits of sycophancy when meeting the Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. While in uniform, he used to bow when shaking hands with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. 


I remember my old Brigade Commander, Brigadier Hayat, with whom I served as his Brigade Major, once told me that he had written in Major Zia ul Haq’s ACR when he served under his command, “Not fit to go beyond the rank of a Major”. It is an irony of fate that a person of such a calibre had ruled Pakistan for a long period of eleven years till he was finally killed in an air crash.”

There is no second opinion possible about how Pakistan Army suffered because of military rule.Thus Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan in an officially sponsored book admitted this cardinal fact when he wrote :--

"We had been declining according to the degree of our involvement in making and unmaking of regimes. Gradually the officer corps, intensely proud of its professionalism was eroded at its apex into third class politicians and administrators. Due to the absence of a properly constituted political government, the selection and promotion of officers to the higher rank depended on one man’s will. Gradually, the welfare of institutions was sacrificed to the welfare of personalities. To take the example of the army, the higher command had been slowly weakened by retiring experienced officers at a disturbingly fine rate. Between 1955 and November 1971, in about 17 years 40 Generals had been retired, of whom only four had reached their superannuating age. Similar was the case with other senior ranks. Those in the higher ranks who showed some independence of outlook were invariably removed from service. Some left in sheer disgust in this atmosphere of insecurity and lack of the right of criticism, the two most important privileges of an Armed Forces officer. The extraordinary wastage of senior officers particularly of the army denied the services, of the experience and training vital to their efficiency and welfare. Some officers were placed in positions that they did not deserve or had no training for"

The tradition continued till to date.Lieutenant General Mahmood and Usmani with all their drawbacks was far superior to Generals Aziz Yusuf and Ahsan Saleem Hayat promoted to four star rank but sidelined because feared as more resolute and thus dangerous ! It would be actually comical to match these two groups at all ! Usmani was so upright that he risked his career twice as a brigadier and major general when he took a righteous stand with his direct superiors Malik Saleem Khan in Karachi and Mumtaz Gul at Peshawar !

It is no secret that had Yusuf or Ahsan Saleem Hayat been commander 10 Corps in place of Mahmud on 12 October 1999 , Musharrafs coup would have failed ! Perhaps that was the key selection criterion for both ! Lack of resolution ! But that’s what Pakistan is all about !

A Conspiracy against originality and boldness ! An undoubted failure !

Pakistan has no short of talent and military genius but our military system is a conspiracy against talent originality and boldness.Below is an article of this scribe published in Daily Nation summarising whats wrong with Pakistan Army published  :---


Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."  --
Albert Einstein !!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brigadier Tommy Masud-Forgotten Hero of Kashmir War

 11 Cavalry Officers line up to receive an old British Army Officer, Kharian December 1984



P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry

History is made by those who seize fleeting opportunities in the critical time span in any particular situation and relentlessly execute their plans without second thoughts, subduing inner fears, overcoming procrastination and vacillation, and above all by those who are propelled by the burning desire to defeat the enemy rather than any half hearted judiciousness and timidity.

Ninety years of loyalism and too much of constitutionalism had however made the Muslims of 1947 slow in taking the initiative and too much obsessed with consequences of every situation.

This attitude was excellent as long as the British were the rulers, but not for a crisis situation, in which geography, time and space, alignment of communications and weather temporarily favoured Pakistan, in case initiative and boldness was exercised and simple but audacious plans were executed in the shortest possible time !

Today, it is fashionable to blame the Indians, Mountbatten, Gracey etc as far as the 1947-48 War is concerned.

 A dispassionate study of the events of 1947-48 clearly proves that victory was closer in 1947 than ever again as far as the Pakistan Army was concerned. Opportunities were lost because very few people who mattered at any level apart from Mr Jinnah, Brigadier Akbar Khan and some others were really interested in doing anything !

The situation was getting very swiftly out of control of the Maharaja's forces in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 1947 .

There were more than 60,000 demobilised Muslim ex- servicemen who were World War II veterans, and many of these men formed militias and started harassing the dispersed state forces and harassing the various roads and bridges in the state.

By 15th October these militias forced the State Forces to abandon Fort Owen, around the same time the Dogra communication between Kotli and Poonch was severed and the state forces Muslim troops had almost deserted and joined the rebels while the non- Muslim units were besieged at Bhimbar, Mirpur and Mangla.

It must be remembered that at this moment the Pakistani GHQ was not involved in the operations. The Muslim League's high command had tasked Mian Iftikhar ud Din Minister for Refugees to prepare a plan aimed at ensuring that the Muslim majority state of Kashmir should join Pakistan.

Brigadier Akbar Khan then serving in the Pakistani GHQ wrote an appreciation 'armed revolt inside Kashmir ' on Mian Iftikhar ud Din's request. It appears that Mr Jinnah had tasked Liaquat to handle the Kashmir business. Liaquat in turn earmarked Mian Iftikhar ud Din. Iftikhar requested Sardar Shaukat Hayat and Brigadier Akbar Khan for advice. A conference presided by Liaquat was held at Lahore in September 1947.

This was attended by Akbar whose appreciation had already been shown to Liaquat by Iftikhar ud Din earlier. Ghulam Mohammad the Finance Minister who was a contemporary of Liaquat at MAO College Aligarh4 and at this time was foremost in playing sycophant par excellence with Liaquat also attended the conference.

The Muslim League's high command had tasked Mian Iftikhar ud Din Minister for Refugees to prepare a plan aimed at ensuring that the Muslim majority state of Kashmir should join Pakistan.

Brigadier Akbar Khan then serving in the Pakistani GHQ wrote an appreciation 'armed revolt inside Kashmir ' on Mian Iftikhar ud Din's request. It appears that Mr Jinnah had tasked Liaquat to handle the Kashmir business. Liaquat in turn earmarked Mian Iftikhar ud Din.

Iftikhar requested Sardar Shaukat Hayat and Brigadier Akbar Khan for advice. A conference presided by Liaquat was held at Lahore in September 1947.

This was attended by Akbar whose appreciation had already been shown to Liaquat by Iftikhar ud Din earlier.

Ghulam Mohammad the Finance Minister who was a contemporary of Liaquat at MAO College Aligarh and at this time was foremost in playing sycophant par excellence with Liaquat also attended the conference.

Brigadier Akbar recalls that everyone was enthusiastic but no one including the Prime Minister had any concrete idea about the tangible and concrete aspects of the actual plan of operations, specially as far as the logistic and armament aspect was concerned. Shaukat was appointed as overall incharge with Major Khurshid Anwar (Retired) commanding the northern tribal force which was as per Akbar's appreciation to attack on Muzaffarabad-Srinagar axis and Major Zaman Kiani of the INA to command the southern force tasked to operate against the Kathua area in the south.

Shaukat Hayat was not in favour of appointing Khurshid Anwar since he was a non-fighting arm soldier.

Shaukat states in his book that Liaquat under Ghulam Mohammad's influence appointed Khurshid Anwar, then commander of the Muslim League's semi-military national guard to command the main northern invasion force.

Akbar was to provide logistic support to the tribesmen which were to be employed for the invasion. There were three principal parties in the whole invasion affair.

On one side was the Muslim League leaders like Shaukat Hayat (an ex-major) Iftikhar ud Din and Khurshid Anwar who had been ordered by Mr Jinnah to do something to help the Kashmiri Muslims.

Then there were the tribesmen who were concentrating at Batrasi opposite the Kashmir border and there was Brigadier Akbar Khan a Burma DSO who was Director of the newly formed Weapon And Equipment Directorate at the General Headquarters, tasked unofficially to support the tribal raiders logistically, using all resources at his disposal in GHQ as Director Weapons and Equipment without letting the Britishers controlling the Pakistan Army know! 

The tribesmen were brought from the NWFP tribal areas on trucks requisitioned by Government of Pakistan and concentrated in Batrasi north-east of Abbottabad.

But the most decisive man whose plan if followed was Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Masud , the commandant of P.A.V.O 11  Cavalry !

Why ?

This will be explained in the following paragraphs !

Brigadier Akbar Khan had been tasked by the Pakistani GHQ to prepare this plan !

Major General Akbar Khan , DSO , not to be confused with the ASC General Akbar Khan writes in his monumental book " Raiders in Kashmir" about a cavalry officer in the following words :--

"...Lieutenant Colonel Masud (latter Brigadier Tommy Masud) of the Cavalry, offered to help with collecting and storing the condemned ammunition..."

Here Akbar Khan is referring to the ongoing preparations for sending the tribal Pashtuns into Kashmir in October 1947 !

Geography, weather, sentiments of the bulk of the population, initial comparative location of regular army troops available for action in Kashmir and the layout/alignment of communication; all favoured Pakistan. Rawalpindi was not more than 47 miles from Abbottabad, 51 miles from Murree and 90 miles from Rawalpindi the three major garrison towns of Pakistan.

All the major road and rail links to the state ran through Pakistan. The likely direction through which the Indians could rush in the reinforcements ran through a dirt road from Pathankot to Jammu and from here to Riasi across the Bannihal Pass (snowbound from November to March) to Srinagar which was more than 257 miles long.

Whereas Muzaffarabad was linked to Srinagar by an all weather tarmac road without any major water obstacle or any serious gradient. The distance between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was less than 100 miles. The only rail link of the state was the one connecting the town of Jammu with Sialkot in Pakistan.

The only way Indians could reinforce the State and save its capital Srinagar was by airlifting troops to Srinagar. If Srinagar was captured the whole Kashmir vale and the entire northern areas including Ladakh could no longer be held by the Indians.

There were no subtleties or complexities of operational strategy in the whole situation except following one simple straightforward plan ie; a bold and swift advance to Srinagar assisted by a troop or squadron of armoured cars. We will discuss in brief in the following paragraphs what actually happened and the major reasons which led to failure.

The centre of gravity of the whole war was the Jhelum Valley, which was the only place where an advantageous decision could have been achieved at the earliest and in the relatively shortest time and space as far as the Pakistan Army was concerned; had the Pakistani political and military leadership possessed greater strength of resolution and independent spirit; than they actually did!

The fate of the war in Indus valley depended on the degree of success in the Jhelum Valley since the Indian line of communication to this theatre lay through the Jhelum Valley.

The Indian GHQ ordered 7th Light Cavalry to be ready to move into Kashmir in the end of October. Its Hindu Jat Squadron equipped with armoured cars (this was from 6 Lancers which went to Pakistan) started movement from Ambala on 1st November and after a tough march reached Srinagar on the evening of 5th November.

It has to be noted that although the Indians starting reinforcing Srinagar from 27th October onwards, the Indian superiority till the end of the first week of November was not as formidable as to ensure that Srinagar could not be threatened again, in case the Pakistan Army joined the tribesmen.

Enters Major Tommy Masud not yet in command of P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry but earmarked to be the commanding officer !

This  is one extremely important event which has generally been ignored by most Pakistani military historians including Shaukat Riza.

All happened at  a conference held between 30th October and 4th November. Brigadier Akbar Khan the military man incharge of the raiders operations had returned to Pindi after a visit to the frontline at Srinagar.

The tribesmen had not yet been repulsed and were planning infiltration operations with the aim of capturing Srinagar airfield.

Akbar Khan's analysis about the operational solution to the problem of tribesmen's inability to attack well entrenched Indian infantry, supported by aircraft and artillery was to provide the tribesmen with armoured cars.

Enters Tommy Masud !

Akbar Khan states in his book "Raiders in Kashmir " that Major Masud from 11 Cavalry stationed at Rawalpindi volunteered to take his own squadron's armoured cars to Srinagar, on his own initiative, without informing any superior headquarter.

Akbar Khan thus stated that Major Masud said that the armoured cars would go without official permission, at his own risk and that the men would be in civilian clothes.

This fact is proved by two independent authorities who were not from armoured corps and thus had no ulterior motivation or desire to project 11 Cavalry.

The references of this incident are discussed in "Raiders in kashmir" by Major General Akbar Khan in 1960s and 1965 War by Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry and are primary historical evidence as both were direct participants in the Kashmir war of 1947-48.

One was General Akbar who was present at the conference and the other was Brigadier Amjad Ali Khan Chaudhry who was a gunner, and was also present at the same conference.Amjad Chaudhry discusses this incident in his book on 1965 war published in 1976 or 1977.

Akbar states that as the conference was coming to an end Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan a Muslim League leader and Central Government Minister entered the room. Brigadier Sher Khan who was the Director Military Operations had also joined the discussion.

This, Raja Ghazanfar (despite being from a so-called martial area) was horrified about the armoured cars proposal, and according to both Akbar Khan and Amjad Chaudhry opposed the idea. He was supported by Brigadier Sher (Lion) Khan!

Both the Minister and the Lion Hearted brigadier feared that such a step would lead to an open war between Pakistan and India . Amjad Chaudhry states that one of the participants at this conference even voiced an apprehension that the unruly tribesmen may get unruly and damage the Maharajas palace at Srinagar!

Thus in the end Akbar Khan who was not directly in charge of the operations of tribesmen was overruled by a pacifist Minister more keen to enjoy ministerial perks and a paper tiger brigadier wearing the mask of the high-sounding appointment of Director Military Operations.

The only difference between India and Pakistan was not whether one side possessed armoured cars or not, but the simple fact that while Mr Jinnah did not have any able Muslim deputy to advise him about military affairs (whether Punjabi, Hindustani or Pathan) .

Nehru was assisted by a much larger team of more resolute, more intellectually capable Hindu deputies like Patel who ensured that armoured cars of 7th Light Cavalry; under command Lieutenant N.G David; did reach Srinagar area on 7th November and inflicted on the poorly armed tribesmen equipped with bolt action rifles a defeat at what the Indians themselves call the decisive battle of Shalateng!

It may be noted that on the night of 2/3 November the tribesmen had successfully infiltrated north of the Indian main position at Pattan and had reached Shalateng in the rear of Pattan and a little to the north of Srinagar.

Sen the Indian brigade commander countered this move by ordering 1 Sikh to pull back from Patan and to take a position at milestone four astride the Srinagar-Baramula road. By 6th November a large number of tribesmen who had been slowly infiltrating since 3rd November had gathered at Shalateng.

Major Aslam and Major Khurshid Anwar the Pakistani officers in charge of these tribesmen decided to launch their main attack on Srinagar on the night of 6/7 November.

The Indian Brigade Commander Brigadier Sen was also simultaneously analysing this threat and had decided to launch a deliberate attack on this force supported by 7th Light Cavalry's squadron on 7th November.

Sen's plan was to launch a frontal attack supported by aircraft while one troop of 7th Light Cavalry under Lieutenant David which had already been sent towards Bandipura on a recce mission and was already in the tribesmen's positions rear was ordered by wireless to attack the tribesmen from the rear.

The result was the battle of Shalateng on the morning of 7th November. The tribesman had started their main attack by infiltration on the night of 6th November and were fighting on the northern outskirts of Srinagar when the Indians launched their main attack at first light.

David's troop had already got into the rear of the tribesmen as planned; thus while the tribesmen were attacked frontally by Indian infantry supported by armoured cars and aircraft, armoured cars were attacking them from the rear.

This was too much for men armed with bolt action rifles. The tribesmen were routed and it was with great difficulty that the situation was finally stabilised at least temporarily at Rampura a narrow defile halfway between Baramula and Uri.

The abandonment of the conduct of war to tribesmen armed with bolt action rifles; while the Indians attacked them with Spitfires, Tempests, Harvards and Daimler/Humber/GMC Armoured cars was without any doubt one of the most disgraceful acts in Pakistani military history.

Akbar who was a man of much greater integrity than many characters discussed in this tragic albeit comical narrative etc was more accurate once he said in his book; 

' They felt themselves let down by Pakistan. They had, of their own free will, agreed to come and fight in Kashmir but only against the State Army. In this they had done more than what was expected of them. But no one had arranged with them. But no one had arranged with them to fight also against the regular Indian Army, with artillery tanks and aircraft.

It must be noted that there was one very major difference between the tribesmen and the vast majority of Muslim League leaders like Ghazanfar Ali and men like Aslam Khan, Khurshid Anwar etc, i.e.; these men and their ancestors since 1849 had been serving the British and even the Dogras (as far as Aslam Khan was concerned) and suddenly in 1940 or 1947 these men had become leaders of Pakistan or officers of the Pakistan Army; in contrast the tribesmen and their ancestors had been fighting the British with unequal intervals since 1849!

As per General Akbar Khans narrative in his 'Raiders in kashmir" neither Liaquat the Prime Minister nor any single of his ministers; Hindustani, Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali or Pathan crossed river Jhelum. The attitude of Gracey in not agreeing to commit the army to Kashmir, however disgraceful and negative can be explained by saying that he was a foreigner!

Mr Jinnah and Acting C in C General Gracey who refused Jinnahs orders to attack with a brigade each on Axis Murree Srinagar and Axis Sialkot -Jammu.Gracey knew Jinnah from 1930s and had snubbed him earlier as per Jinnahs biographer Hector Bolitho.

What kept the Pakistani political leadership from visiting the tribesmen who had won a territory that to this day has been ruled by Pakistan is hard to explain. Akbar Khan was not wrong once he said that fear prevented these leaders from visiting Kashmir while the war was being fought !

In contrast the Indian Prime Minister Nehru ,a much braver man than Liaquat and his entire cabinet visited Kashmir on 11th November and travelled in an armoured car of 7th Light Cavalry till Baramula. Compare this with the attitude of the Pakistani politicians.

Liaquat eventually fell victim of an assassin in 1951. Had he died because of enemy action while visiting Kashmir, posterity would have remembered him as a much greater man.

According to Akbar, Messervy was the main culprit for spreading a fear of Indian reaction in Pakistan Army. 'Messervy addressing a meeting of G.H.Q officers warned us against hostilities with India warned us against hostilities with India.

General Messervy

He said that, in his opinion, in case of war India would overrun Pakistan within ten days' . Compare this negative attitude with the Israeli Army which defeated far better armed and well organised Arab armies in the 1948 War.

Just 30,000 Jews had served in the British Army in the second world war.

More than 600,000 Muslims, more than half of them from areas which constituted Pakistan had fought in the Second World War and yet the Pakistani leadership was unwilling to stand on its own feet preferring the two unreliable British crutches i.e.
Messervy and Gracey!

Mr Jinnah had already done too much for the army by insisting on the division of Indian Army, against tremendous opposition on part of the Britishers.

The great tragedy was that Mr Jinnah was surrounded by men of zero military insight and devoid of all independent judgement. The Secretary of Defence, Mirza being a man who had never fought in actual war and the Muslim League politicians who were only good followers!

General Akbar Khan (then Lieutenant Colonel) met the tribals at Uri on 8th November .The tribals questioned Akbar about why Pakistan Government was behaving so spinelessly and not assisting them with artillery/regular troop support etc.

Akbar Khan had no answer and tried to explain the legal position or simply lack of guts in the Pakistani political leadership and lack of guts in most the Pakistan Army's Muslim officers, except few indomitable men like Major Tommy Masud to risk their commissions by disobeying orders of the British C-in-C and showing some initiative

According to General Akbar Khan the tribesmen were so demoralised and disappointed by lack of Pakistan Army support that they withdrew from the frontline opposite Baramula on 31st October and 10th November, and withdrew to Uri area, contemplating about returning to the tribal area.

Had the Indians possesses sufficient resolution or a commander with coup d oeil there was nothing stopping them from capturing Muzaffarabad between 31st October and 10th November. The same viewpoint is advanced by the official history.

The probability that Akbar Khan who wrote the famous book 'Raiders in Kashmir' or Major Aslam, whose personal account was one of the many personal accounts used by the official historians who compiled the official history dealing with operations in Kashmir, were exaggerating their own role cannot be ruled out.

There is one fact, however, that stands out as the crux of the issue, and which still raises the stature of the tribesmen higher than both Akbar or Aslam; i.e. the fact that the initial shock of the tribal onslaught on Srinagar was so traumatic that it imposed a 'once bitten twice shy approach' on the mind of the Indian Commanders.

This ensured that the Indians despite the absence of any tribals in front of them; (as Messrs Akbar and Aslam allege) were in no mood to advance hurriedly towards Muzaffarabad after having captured Baramula. 

After 10th November according to Akbar Khan the Mahsud and other tribesmen returned and played a major role in stabilising the front between Uri and Muzaffarabad.

As one advances westwards from Baramula to Uri the Jhelum Gorge becomes narrower and the defenders task becomes easier while the attackers task becomes more difficult.

The Indian Army although supported by aircraft artillery and armoured cars was too psychologically shattered to advance rapidly westwards, despite the fact that most tribesmen were not fighting the battle, at least temporarily few demolitions and a few snipers who were too motivated to withdraw stopped the Indian advance approximately 3 miles west of Uri.

There is no doubt that Pakistan was in a favourable position to win the Kashmir War at least till the first week of November. Mr Jinnah exhibited great Coup de Oeil when he ordered Gracey to employ two brigades and advance with one brigade each towards Jammu and Srinagar.

But Mr Jinnah was unlucky in possessing no one like Patel and his Prime Minister and his entire Cabinet proved to be an undoubted failure at least as a war cabinet.

Mr Jinnah's decision not to have a Pakistani C in C although taken in the best interest of the country and the Army as Mr Jinnah saw it ensured that the British acting C in C procedurally blocked the execution of Mr Jinnah's orders in October to attack Kashmir.

Pakistan was unlucky in having a man like Iskandar Mirza at the Ministry of Defence.

Mirza did not advise Mr Jinnah correctly and the fact that he had hardly served in the Army and did not understand military affairs further ensured that Mr Jinnah and the Prime Minister remained as ignorant as they were about military affairs as they were when they were in high school.

It is incorrect to criticise Liaqat for Operation Venus since in December 1948 the Indian position was much more secure than in 1947.

Liaqat can be criticised for not ever visiting Kashmir while the war was on and for not standing by Mr Jinnah in pressurising Gracey in October 1947 to order the Army to attack Kashmir.

Had a Pakistani C in C been appointed even in December or in March 1948 the Indians may not have held on to Poonch-Nowshera area at least.

Had Major Masud been allowed with his armoured cars on Domel-Baramula Road despite Ghazanfar Ali and Sher Khan's objections;Srinagar may have been captured by the Tribesmen by first week of November 1947.

The Indians were lucky in having comparatively more regular army officers who led from the front and is evident from higher officer casualties among Indian Army officers above the rank of captain vis a vis the Pakistan Army.

The subsequent Pindi Conspiracy of 1950 was a logical result of disgust of the army officers with the irresolute civilian political leadership as exhibited during the 1948 war.
We can say with the benefit of hindsight that if the army did have to rule Pakistan as it later did from 1958;it would have been far better had real soldiers and patriots taken over in 1950!

These men after all were men of crisis ; highly patriotic and outlook;and possessed an independent mind! Ironically paper tiger soldiers with poor war record and naive intellect ; more interested in improving their personal fortunes took over.
A seal of essential mediocrity despite an outwardly impressive form , was thus firmly stamped ; as far as higher military leadership,doctrine and organisation was concerned; on the Pakistan Army. But this was proved only fourteen years later in 1965!

While we have forgotten Akbar Khan , the real architect of use of irregular proxies in low intensity wars , described in some detail in his book , we keep on hearing about so called silent soldiers !

Who was Colonel Tommy Masud !

He lacked the qualities of slavishness or diplomacy to become a general officer in the Ayubian army !

This explains why he did not go beyond a brigadier! Tommy Masud who was a very famous figure in Lahore Gymkhana finally settled in Lahore where he died in the late 1990s.

Under his indomitable command in 1947-48  conducted very aggressive actions under his able leadership , one of the proofs of which i.e two captured Indian Armoured cars of the 7th Light Cavalry still adorn the front of the unit quarter guard .

Till 1983 when this scribe joined the unit Tommy Masud was remembered with great respect and admiration by many reservists and old timers both from the officers and the rank and file who were attached with or visited the unit .

Mr Jinnah the Governor General wanted to conduct the war aggressively,and had the vision but not the energy . He was a dying man and had too many things to do. Unfortunately he was  not supported by his ethnically divided as well highly incompetent and irresolute cabinet of weak men who had neither the vision nor the resolution to function as a war cabinet! The Pakistan Army on the other hand was commanded by a non interested Britisher.

The P.A.V.O 11 Cavalry equipped with armoured cars were the only unit employed in the war. The GHQ assigned the unit an essentially defensive and passive role but the indomitable Colonel Tommy Masud commanding the unit  was too resolute a man to be restrained .

The unit thus took a prominent part in operations in Bhimbhar-Mirpur area under Tommy Masud, but its role remained limited since it was not allowed to conduct any major offensive operation to support the militia by an over cautious general headquarters.

A study of the 1947-48 War reveals that without Tommy Masud the Indians would have captured Bhimbhar and many parts of Kashmir right till river Jhelum !

Brigadier Tommy Masud however on his own risk took the armoured cars of 11 Cavalry into Kashmir ! In the process he also captured two armoured cars of Indian 7th light Cavalry which are 11 Cavalrys war trophies and adorn its quarter guard till to date !

This process and how he did it is explained in great detail in the book below although the books editing was badly scr___d  by the most unprofessional Oxford University Press.

But no one in Pakistan knows about this great man !
The Indians on the other hand employed their armour much more aggressively and imaginatively in Kashmir. Armoured cars of the 7th Light Cavalry saved Srinagar in November 194745.

The Indians also employed tanks decisively in recapture of strategic towns like Jhangar and Rajauri of which the latter was captured single-handedly by a tank squadron of Central India Horse.
The greatest Indian strategic success by employment of tanks was the recapture of the otherwise impregnable 11,578 feet high Zojila Pass on 1st November 194847   which enabled them to relieve Leh and recapture the vast bulk of Ladakh.
These areas  without Zojila Pass were  for all purposes lost to the Indians. Today the Pakistan Army is still paying the price for loss of Zojila with approximately three infantry brigades committed in Pakistan held Kashmir opposite Indian held Ladakh.

The rule of the thumb of the 1947-48  War was the fact that all Indian successes had a deep connection with presence of tanks or armoured cars while all Pakistani failures were attributable to the absence of tanks or armoured cars! Indians stopped only where either the gradient became too steep for their tanks or where there were bottlenecks like the Indus or the Jhelum valley and tank or armoured cars could not make an impression.
Had Tommy Masuds ideas been implemented things may have been entirely different !
But then as Schiller said " What was lost in a moment was lost for eternity " !
People of Murree today know about Khaqan Abbasi who made name in construction but not about Brigadier Tommy Masud whose personalitys cardinal attribute was flirting with danger and with hot lead !

This remains the tragedy of Pakistans history !


Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."  --
Albert Einstein !!!

ch This Blog


03 November, 2008


Lieutenant Prendergast and Lieutenant Daly who raised 1st and 3rd Punjab Cavalry on 18 May 1849.Both regiments later combined in 1921 reorganisation and were designated as PAVO 11 Cavalry

Re-numbered as 21st Punjab Cavalry in 1901

Lieutenant Prendergast Bombay Army

Lieutenant Daly

Badge of 11 Cavalry till 1974.The Tilla badge was removed by Ayub Khan and the regiment forced to wear this metallic badge till 1974

Tilla Badge that was allowed to be re-worn to the regiment by Mr ZA Bhutto in 1974

Sardar Ayub Khan brother of Afghnaistans king who defeated the British at Maiwand.11 Cavalry was part of the Britsih force that defeated him later at Battle of Kandahar.He later sought exile in British India and his descendants joined 11 Cavalry


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
11th PAVO Cavalry (Frontier Force)
11 Cavalry.jpg
Active1849 - Present
CountryBritish Raj British India
Pakistan Pakistan
TypeArmoured Regiment
NicknamePAVO Cavalry
EngagementsNorth West Frontier of India
Indian Mutiny of 1857
Second Afghan War 1878-80
First World War 1914-18
Third Afghan War
Second World War 1939-45
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Ceremonial chiefPrince Albert Victor
General Sir Henry Daly
General Sir John Watson, VC
Field Marshal Sir Charles Egerton
General Rt Hon Lord Ismay
Lt Gen Sahabzada Yaqub Khan
General Khalid Mahmud Arif
The 11th Cavalry (Frontier Force) also known as PAVO Cavalry, is an armoured regiment of the Pakistan Army. It was previously known as the 11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force) and was a regular cavalry regiment of the old British Indian Army. It was formed in 1921 by the amalgamation of the 21st Prince Albert Victor’s Own Cavalry (Frontier Force) and the 23rd Cavalry.[1]



[edit]21st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force) (Daly's Horse)

The 21st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force) (Daly's Horse) was raised as the 1st Punjab Irregular Cavalry by Lieutenant Henry Daly at Peshawar on 18 May 1849. It was one of five regiments of Punjab Cavalry raised to guard the North West Frontier of India, which soon became famous as part of the legendaryPunjab Frontier Force or the Piffers. Over the next decades, the regiment saw extensive service on the Frontier. During the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, the regiment operated in North India and took part in the Siege of Delhiand the Relief of Lucknow, where Lieutenant John Watsonwon the Victoria Cross. During the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, it formed part of Kandahar Field Force and fought in the Battle of Ahmad Khel. In 1890, Prince Albert Victor, the Crown Prince of Britain was gazetted as their Colonel-in-Chief, giving his name to the regiment, which has endured to this day. During the First World War, the regiment served in the Mesopotamian Campaign as part of 6th Indian Cavalry Brigade. It fought on the Tigris Front and took part in the capture of Kut al Amara and Baghdad. It also fought in the Actions of Istabulat, Ramadi, Daur and Tikrit. Later it saw service in Kurdistan and took part in the capture of Kirkuk.[1][2]
  • 1849 1st Punjab Irregular Cavalry
  • 1851 1st Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force
  • 1865 1st Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force

    sowar of the 1st (Prince Albert Victor’s Own) Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force, 1900. Painting by Chater Paul Chater.
  • 1890 1st (Prince Albert Victor’s Own) Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force
  • 1901 1st (Prince Albert Victor’s Own) Punjab Cavalry
  • 1903 21st Prince Albert Victor’s Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)
  • 1904 21st Prince Albert Victor’s Own Cavalry (Frontier Force) (Daly’s Horse)

[edit]23rd Cavalry (Frontier Force)

The 23rd Cavalry was raised as the 3rd Punjab Irregular Cavalryby Lieutenant WG Prendergast at Lahore in 1849, and it too saw extensive service on the Frontier with the Punjab Frontier Force. During the Second Afghan War, it took part in Lord Roberts' famous march from Kabul to Kandahar as part of the Kabul Field Force and fought in the Battle of Kandahar. During the First World War, the regiment served in Mesopotamia as part of the 11th Indian Cavalry Brigade and was part of General Townsend's failed advance towards Baghdad. It then served on the Tigris Front. Later on, it moved to the Euphrates Front and fought in the Battles of Khan Baghdadi and Sharqat. One of its squadron served in PersianArabistan. On their return to Indian they saw service in the Third Afghan War of 1919.[1][2]
  • 1849 3rd Punjab Irregular Cavalry
  • 1851 3rd Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force
  • 1865 3rd Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force
  • 1901 3rd Punjab Cavalry
  • 1903 23rd Cavalry (Frontier Force)

[edit]11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)

After the First World War, the number of Indian cavalry regiments was reduced from thirty-nine to twenty-one. However, instead of disbanding the surplus units, it was decided to amalgamate them in pairs. This resulted in renumbering and renaming of the entire cavalry line. The 21st and 23rd Cavalry were amalgamated in 1921 to form 11th Prince Albert Victor’s Own Cavalry (Frontier Force). The uniform of PAVO Cavalry was blue with scarlet facings. The new regiment's badge consisted of the Kandahar Star representing the five rivers of the Punjab. Its class composition was one squadron each of Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Dogras. The regiment was mechanised in 1940. During the Second World War, it initially served in Syria and Iran, and then went on to North Africa, where it fought in the Battle of Gazala. It then moved to Burma, where it greatly distinguished itself against the Japanese. In 1946, the regiment was sent to theDutch East Indies (Indonesia) to pacify the country after the surrender of the Japanese.[1][3]
On Partition of India in 1947, PAVO Cavalry was allotted to Pakistan. The regiment was soon engaged in fighting the Indians in Kashmir. In 1956, Pakistan became a republic and all titles pertaining to British royalty were dropped. The regiment's new designation was 11th Cavalry (Frontier Force). During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, 11th Cavalry took part in Pakistan Army's advance towards Akhnur in Kashmir. It then fought in the Battle of Chawinda. In 1971, the regiment again served in the Chhamb Sector of Kashmir. It is the only armoured regiment of Pakistan Army to carryBattle Honours on its Regimental Colours for all three wars fought with India.[1]

Pathan sowar of 23rd Cavalry (Frontier Force), 1908. Oil painting by Mrs. Williamson.
  • 1921 21st/23rd Cavalry (amalgamation)
  • 1922 11th Prince Albert Victor’s Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)
  • 1927 Prince Albert Victor’s Own Cavalry (11th Frontier Force)
  • 1956 11th Cavalry (Frontier Force)

[edit]Battle Honours

Delhi 1857, Lucknow, Ahmad Khel, Kandahar 1880, Afghanistan 1878-80, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Khan Baghdadi, Sharqat, Mesopotamia 1915-18, Afghanistan 1919, El Mechili, Halfaya 1941, Bir Hacheim, North Africa 1940-43, Relief of Kohima, Monywa 1945, Mandalay, Myinmu Bridgehead, Capture of Meiktila, The Irrawaddy, Rangoon Road, Burma 1942-45, Kashmir 1948, Dewa-Chamb 1965, Chawinda 1965, Chhamb 1971.[4]

[edit]Affiliations & Alliances


  1. a b c d e Effendi, Col MY. (2007). Punjab Cavalry: 11 Cavalry (Frontier Force) 1849–1971. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
  2. a b North, REFG. (1934). The Punjab Frontier Force: A Brief Record of Their Services 1846-1924. DI Khan: Commercial Steam Press
  3. ^ Gaylor, John (1991). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–91. Stroud: Spellmount.
  4. ^ Rodger, Alexander. (2003). Battle Honours of the British Empire and Commonwealth Land Forces 1662-1991. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press.

[edit]Further reading

  • Effendi, Col MY. (2007). Punjab Cavalry: Evolution, Role, Organisation, and Tactical Doctrine, 11 Cavalry (Frontier Force) 1849–1971. Karachi: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-547203-9
  • History of the 1st Punjab Cavalry. (1887). Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press.
  • History of the 3rd Regiment Punjab Cavalry. (1887).
  • History of the 23rd Cavalry (Frontier Force), late 3rd Regiment, Punjab Cavalry. (1910).
  • Short History of the PAVO Cavalry (11th Frontier Force). (1936).
  • Gaylor, J. (1991). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903- 1991. Stroud: Spellmount. ISBN 978-0-946771-98-1
  • Dey, RSBN. (1905). A Brief Account of the Late Punjab Frontier Force, From its Organization in 1849 to its Re-distribution on 31st March 1903. Calcutta.
  • North, REFG. (1934). The Punjab Frontier Force: A Brief Record of Their Services 1846-1924. DI Khan: Commercial Steam Press.
  • Hayauddin, Maj Gen M. (1950). One Hundred Glorious Years: A History of the Punjab Frontier Force, 1849-1949. Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press.
  • Elliott, Maj Gen JG. (1968). The Frontier 1839-1947: The Story of the North-West Frontier of India. London: Cassell.
  • Daly, Maj Hugh. (1905). Memoirs of General Sir Henry Dermot Daly, GCB, CIE. London: J Murray.
  • Trench, CC. (1988). The Indian Army and the King’s Enemies, 1900-1947. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Kempton, C. (1996). A Register of Titles of the Units of the H.E.I.C. & Indian Armies 1666-1947. Bristol: British Empire & Commonwealth Museum. ISBN 978-0-9530174-0-9

[edit]External links

1849 - 1903
1849 - 1903
Battle Honours since 1849

18491st Regiment of Punjab Cavalry
18511st Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Irregular Force
18651st Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force
18651st (Prince Albert Victor's Own) Regiment of Cavalry, Punjab Frontier Force
19011st (Prince Albert Victor's Own) Punjab Cavalry
Successor Units
190321st Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)
190421st Prince Albert Victor's Own (Frontier Force) (Daly's Horse)
192121/23rd Cavalry
192211th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)
1927Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (11th Frontier Force)
1947to Pakistan, except the Sikh squadron
Further Reading
History of The 1st Punjab Cavalry
(Lahore 1887)Punjab Frontier Force 1846-1924
by R North
India's Army
by Major Donovan Jackson
Indian Army Uniforms Under the British from the 18th century to 1947 Cavalry
by W Y Carman
(Leonard Hill 1961)
Indian Cavalry Regiments 1880-1914
by A H Bowling
(Almark 1971)
The Armies of India
by Major G F MacMunn
(Adam and Charles Black 1911)
An Assemblage of Indian Army Soldiers and Uniforms
by Michael Glover
(Perpetua Press 1973)
The Indian Army
by Boris Mollo
(Blandford Press 1981)

Dafedar Lachhman Singh
(Chuslewad, Amritsar)

Leader of the rebellion of 23rd cavalary at Mian Mir. Court martialled and hanged in central jail, Ambala on 3rd sept. 1915 alongwith 11 companions.

Inder Singh Sawaar

A martyr of 23rd cavalry regiment. Hanged at Amabala Jail. On 3rd September-1915

Gurcharan Singh
(Chogawan Sadhpur , Amritsar)

A leader of the revolt of 21 cavalry in 1940. Hanged on 6-9-1940 in Sikandrabad Jail.

(Tapra, Gujranwala)

Active in 23rd Cavalry revolt in Mianmeer cantt. Inspite of instigated by state Moulvi against his sikh Companions, he embraced death. Hanged in Ambala Jail on 3-9-1915.

Buta Singh
(Kasel, Amritsar)

Martyr of 23rd Cavalry. Hanged on 3-9-1915 in Ambala Jail. olongnith 11 Companions

Bishan Singh Butter

A Leader of the revolt of 21 Cavalry in 1940. Hanged on 6-9-1940 at Sikandrabad prison.

Ajaib Singh
(Nandpur, Amritsar)

A leader of the revolt of 21 cavalry in 1940. Hanged on 6-9-1940 in Sikandrabad Jail.

Sadhu Singh
(Dedehar, Amritsar)

A leader of the revolt of 21 cavalry in 1940. Hanged on 6-9-1940 in Sikandrabad Jail.





Visit of the VCOAS an 11 Cavalry officer to the regiment near Pasrur

Move back to Kharian after de-escalation of India Pakistan tension December 1984

Kharian-April 1983