Pages

Friday, September 14, 2012

1965 WAR WAS A PURE MILITARY FAILURE NOT A CIVILIAN FAILURE-AGHA.H.AMIN



1965 WAR COULD HAVE A PAKISTANI SUCCESS BUT FOR POOR MILITARY EXECUTION-BUT AFTER WAR ALL BLAMED WAS HEAPED ON BHUTTO AND AZIZ AHMAD AND AKHTAR HUSSAIN MALIK

AGHA.H.AMIN


OPERATION GRAND SLAM

THE COMPLETE ARTICLE ON LINK BELOW PROVES WHERE THE SOLDIERS FAILED IN CONDUCT OF WAR

http://strategist-7777.blogspot.com/2011/04/major-general-akhtar-hussain-malik.html

The Origins of the Grand Slam and Gibraltar Controversy in Pakistani Military History 

The Grand Slam and Gibraltar controversy instead of being handled like a military failure unfortunately degenerated into a highly personalised affair. As a result instead of dispassionate and constructive analysis, the real reasons for failure of the 1965 war were substituted for analysis of minor tactics and in settling personal scores. 

Mr Bhutto the principal leader of the pro-war party in the Pakistani leadership was dismissed by Ayub from the post of Foreign Minister and very soon became a major political opponent of Ayub. Ayub tasked his Information Secretary and right hand man Mr Altaf Gauhar to initiate a campaign of character assassination of Bhutto. 

Bhutto by no definition an angel, like any politician also indulged in personal attacks. 


The controversy was soon overtaken by the 1968-69 political agitation, which resulted in the exit of Ayub, and to a second military government in Pakistan


Since Yahya the military dictator who succeeded Ayub was one of the key figures in the Grand Slam drama the issue was tactfully avoided by all politicians. 


The emergence of Bhutto in 1970 elections as the principal leader of the West Pakistan Wing once again ignited the 1965 controversy, but again the issue became a low key affair once Bhutto became the Prime Minister from 1971 to 1977. 

Grand Slam once again made headlines once Brigadier Amjad Ali Chaudhry’s book was published in 1977.77 


Chaudhry raised doubts that Ayub may have been influenced by USA into not capturing Akhnur and that the change of command was merely a tactful way of slowing down the pace of operations. 


Amjad also quoted Yahya as saying that he did not capture Akhnur, which as per Amjad was within Yahya’s grasp, simply because he was ordered by the then army high command not to do so! 78 


Amjad’s book infuriated the then government of the military usurper Zia who was engaged in a life and death political confrontation with Bhutto and like all military governments of Pakistan, including the present one, idolised the Ayub Government! 


Amjad had also accused the US government of pressurising Ayub into not capturing Akhnur and this was also regarded by the Zia regime as improper! 

The readers may note that the change of command on 2nd September was an outrageous decision that had shocked the participants of Grand Slam! 


As per a participant the change of command question was “debated with so much passion that GHQ had to issue instructions outlawing such talk”.79 There is substance in this assertion. 


Brigadier Riazul Karim a more credible authority states that soon after the ceasefire “a rumour went around that our senior officers were unnecessarily panicky and that the war had been fought by brigadiers and below....this caused a storm in the GHQ”.80 

Later on Musa the most affected party, cooked up another story that the operations of 12 Division on 2nd September were delayed since artillery was not deployed well forward to support further advance. 


This false assertion was challenged by Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry who was a direct participant and was the man on the spot.81 

Systematic efforts as part of a totally political plan of character assassination of Bhutto, without realising that Grand Slam was Pakistan Army’s failure, were undertaken during the 11-year old Zia government to re-write the history ofPakistan


General Musa was actively assisted in writing two books which were published some six years after Amjad’s book. 

Musa made up a story to cover up the change of command on 02 September, stating that it was a pre-arranged issue.82 The same story was repeated by Shaukat Riza in his GHQ dictated trilogy on the Pakistan Army.83 


This was 1984-85. 


Finally in 1993 Gul Hassan the then Director Military Operations memoirs were published. 


Gul exposed the cover up and dismissed the idea that change of command had been pre-planned!84 

Soon after publication of Gul’s book another defender of Ayub came on the scene ! 


He alleged that Grand Slam was a failure in any case! The learned author is an intelligent man! But so was Bhutto, Aziz and many others! 


The trouble starts when one intelligent man is at loggerheads with another! 


Thus the resultant subjectiveness of this book, since much of it is about another intelligent man, and defence of a benefactor who was injured by this intelligent foe of the learned author! 

Above all one who was the author in questions enemy, without doubt a terrible enemy!85 


One about whom a close friend once said that “with friends like him one does not need enemies”!86 


The reasons for failure of Grand Slam given by this author, thus, were emotional but not substantial! 


10 Division, which came from Bangalore consisted of just three or four officers who organised a headquarters at a garbage dump in Akhnur and was a still born baby on 1st September 1965


One whose GOC was sacked for incompetence in 1965 war! 87 

It was again a case of mixing Bhutto with Akhtar Malik and the intricacies of the art of war! 


The net result was thus a good biography of a benefactor while simultaneously exposing the machinations of a Machiavellian evil genius! 


It may have been a best seller but was certainly not good military history! 


The worst part about writing of history in Pakistan is the fact that those who took part in the actual conduct of operations either did not have the ability to express themselves in writing, were too disgusted or disillusioned to do so, or did not have the funds to get their accounts published! Military history has thus to date been distorted! 

A case of failure at the highest level 

Lack of resolution as well as military talent in Ayub was the most serious drawback as far as Pakistan Army’s conduct in 1965 War in general and Grand Slam in particular was concerned. 


Subconsciously Ayub was the last man who wanted war despite all the propaganda of Kashmir dispute. It is possible that this hesitation had some link with Ayub’s poor or insignificant war record in WW Two. 

On various occasions Ayub avoided military action. In the 1947-48 period when many officers in Pakistan were volunteering for participating in the Kashmir war Ayub did not show any inclination to participate in the Kashmir war. 

Ayub exhibited extreme timidity88 when the Chinese asked Pakistan to take advantage of the India-China War and settle the Kashmir dispute by exercising the military option. 

Seven years in power, however, somewhat emboldened Ayub’s spirits and by 1965 he felt confident enough that the Hindu who Ayub mistakenly thought as more timid than the Pakistani would not dare to start a conventional war even ifPakistan pinched the Hindu damsel at will, sometimes in the Rann and sometimes in Kashmir

Even in 1965 Ayub was not interested in a war which he wanted to avoid at all cost. 


This was a case of the desire to gain the glory of martyrdom in battle without actually getting killed in action! It was Ayub’s misfortune that he was surrounded by more resolute, ruthlessly ambitious, albeit militarily relatively naive, advisors like Bhutto and Aziz Ahmad who did not have any of Ayub’s timidity. 

Musa, Ayub’s handpicked Chief was the weakest link in the whole chain of command. The last person to wish for a war in which he would be forced to exercise his intellect in the actual conduct of modern war involving tanks divisions and corps etc, about whose employment Musa had very rudimentary ideas. 

A limited war i.e. a war in which fighting remained confined to Kashmir was seen by Ayub as a political opportunity to enhance his prestige which had suffered because of allegations of rigging in the 1965 elections. 

Thus Operation Gibraltar which visualised a Guerrilla War leading to Kashmir was seen by Ayub as a golden means of winning Kashmir without war and getting all the glory reserved for the victor of a war without ever starting an all out war! 

Ayub did not have the resolution to start an all out war in 1965! He also did not have the long-term vision to understand that India would retaliate militarily against the infiltrators sent into Kashmir by Pakistan.

 Ayub thus unwittingly set fire to the fuse which triggered a series of actions and counteractions which ultimately led to an all out war. Later critics blamed Bhutto for doing the right things for the wrong reasons! 


As a matter of fact all major actors were doing the right things for the wrong reason! But that is what the game of power is all about! Ayub was militarily naive enough to think that India would not start an all out war if Pakistan went for what Ayub himself called “India’s jugular vein”89 i.e. Akhnur. 

Critics think that Ayub lost his nerves later and made an attempt to halt the Pakistani advance by ordering change of command of the force, since he suddenly realised that an all out war was likely if Pakistan captured Akhnur. 

If this was Ayub’s motive then once again it was too late and Ayub’s half measures and half hearted conduct of military operations in Grand Slam harmed the Pakistani military cause in two ways. 


Firstly, it provoked India to launch an all out war which Ayub did not have the resolution to fight and which Musa did not have the military genius to conduct! 

Secondly, as a result of this indecision Pakistan failed to capture Akhnur whose loss would have led to a serious operational imbalance in the Indian dispositions in Kashmir and would have weakened India’s resolve to attack Lahore and opposite Chawinda without first redressing the serious imbalance oppositeKashmir

Thus Pakistani military/political leadership failed in both aims; ie to sever the jugular and to prevent an all out war; and primarily because of irresolution on part of their own higher leadership rather than enemy resistance. Thus Ayub and his team were not propelled by a burning desire to defeat the enemy by decisive conduct of operations but by an essentially defensive attitude. 





Thus even after 6th September they viewed Pakistani thrusts inside India not as actions taken to strike a decisive blow on the enemy but merely as measures to reduce Indian pressure on Lahore. 









The GHQ simply did not have a forward command and control set up designed to vigorously prosecute the war but essentially a distant headquarter modelled on colonial principles from where orders were issued for defence of India


The war on the Pakistani side was thus conducted disinterestedly because the higher leadership was simply irresolute and was not prepared or interested in fighting the war which came as a rude shock to them once the Indians attackedLahore

Pakistani military writers like Shaukat Riza’s claim that the Pakistan Army never wanted a war in 1965 but war broke out in 1965 largely because of those accursed Machiavellian schemers i.e. Bhutto and Aziz Ahmad; does not speak very highly about the standard of resolution of Ayub or Musa.



What is the aim of an army if it never wanted to fight a war to settle a just cause or to recover a territory which was at least as official propaganda went some sort of a Pakistani Alsace or Lorraine. 

It is an open secret that till this day the Pakistan Army claims that it was the Foreign Office who got them involved in 1965. 

So what did the army’s leadership want; to rule their own people, in uninterrupted peace,creating large business empires which made many far more prosperous than they were in 1958! 


Perhaps the only positive impact of the 1965 war was the realisation in the otherwise politically naive and docile Pakistani masses that their leaders were essentially making a fool out of them and Kashmir was just a cheap slogan to galvanise the masses

The Bengalis in East Pakistan learnt that all along the non Bengalis were fooling them in name of Islam ! Thus the creation of Bangladesh !

The West Pakistanis masses learnt that Ayub Khan was no martial soldier of Islam , thus the movement against Ayub in 1969 !

Unfortunately, that is what history is about! Fooling the common man in name of Islam and so many other political slogans !


The masses have always been mobilised by great actors who were great leaders! 


Kashmir was never regarded as an issue by Ayub but was forced upon him by the hawks like Bhutto and Aziz, off course again for the wrong reasons, more subjective than objective, aided by military advice of Akhtar Malik. 

It is an irony of Pakistani military history that these civilian hawks possessed much greater resolution than the two soldiers leading the country’s government and the army! 


Once a man lacks resolution his conduct is vacillating and indecisive and all decisions that he makes are compromises and half measures. 

But even worse is the case when a man in total power lacks military talent or that animal instinct or talent that enabled civilians like Cromwell, Hitler, Stalin or Mao to do great things in the military sphere! 

It was a case of military incompetence at the highest level combined with lack of resolution! 

This essentially was the tragedy of the Pakistan Army in 1965. A time when it was still possible to settle the so-called Kashmir dispute by exercising the military option. 

It is best to quote Clausewitz who gave guidelines about the philosophy of war at least seventy five to ninety years before Ayub and Musa were born, but whose ideas perhaps were not digested by both of them. Clausewitz said ;--

“No war is commenced, or, at least no war should be commenced, if people acted wisely, without first seeking a reply to the question, what is to be attained? The first is the final object; the other is the immediate aim. By this chief consideration the whole course of the war is prescribed, the extent of the means and the measure of energy are determined; its influence manifests itself down to the smallest organ of action”90 

The Pakistani leadership and the sycophants who courted them later laid the entire blame for starting the war on one who had nothing to do with soldiering and one who was not in any case the right authority for asking the question whether the Indians would start an all out war even if their jugular was severed !

It was an irony that a soldier and not a naive civilian was leading the country at this stage. 

One who was far more naive than even Shaastri the civilian who knew much less about soldiering but understood grand strategy in a crystal clear manner. 

The Indians however dumb their execution of war at least started it with clear cut and definite rationale and did achieve their aim of putting an end to military adventurism in Kashmir

The Pakistani leadership, and this included the army chief turned president, was confused and as a result conducted the war with most inexplicably. 


Responsibility for Operation Gibraltar and possible motivation of various principal characters 

Operation Gibraltar conceived by the ISI 91 as Gauhar has stated and perhaps by Akhtar Hussain Malik and/or other people and were in vogue since 1958 was approved by President Ayub in July 1965 and executed from 1st August 1965. 92

This means that the operation was not a conspiracy by the Pakistani Foreign Minister Bhutto alone or a pet of General Akhtar but had the blessings of Ayub. 

Since 1977 many Pakistani intellectuals have been wasting a lot of stationery in proving that Ayub was an innocent bystander who was duped by his Machiavellian Foreign Minister! 

This is an exercise in futility and it is high time that it is stopped. Above all it proves that the intellectual calibre of the Pakistani GHQ was so low that responsibility for conceiving military operations had been abdicated to the Foreign Office! 

The idea was too idealistic and naive but before it was launched its advocates included almost everybody who mattered in the Pakistani military and political hierarchy! Off course later with the benefit of hindsight almost all participants tried to lay the entire blame on the Pakistani Foreign Office and Mr Z.A Bhutto. 

After 1965 War an exercise was initiated to prove that Ayub Khan was duped by his Foreign Minister into war with India

One opponent of Bhutto propelled by a body chemistry of pure and unadulterated venom alleged that it was a conspiracy on part of Bhutto, so that Pakistan may lose the 1965 War as a result of which Bhutto would succeed Ayub as Pakistan’s next ruler!93 

In the final analysis it was Ayub who bears the ultimate responsibility for ordering Gibraltar

Failure is no crime! 

Churchill one of the greatest names in modern history has been accused of ordering the Gallipoli landing, which turned out to be a blunder in terms of fallacious execution! 

But the idea was brilliant, and this mind you is Liddell Hart’s verdict! It was in execution that it failed! 

Continuing on this line of thinking both Ayub or Bhutto cannot be accused of blundering! 

War as Clausewitz says is directed on assumptions and :--

“All action in war is directed on probable, not on certain results. Whatever is wanting in certainty must be left to fate or chance, call it, which you will. We may demand that what is so left should be as little as possible, but only in relation to the particular case...”. 

To thus rephrase Clausewitz with special reference to Gibraltar or Grand Slam, initiating both operations was not a crime as many including the Pakistani official historian Shaukat Riza were trying to prove!

 It was failure to achieve success which was possible to achieve due to various military organisational strategic and operational lapses, which was a crime! 

The aim of Gibraltar and Grand Slam was after all to internationalise or defreeze the Kashmir issue . 

The positive aspect about Grand Slam was the fact that unlike the most recent operation Kargil of 1999 Pakistan’s means were more balanced in relation to its objectives. 

A word about the motivation of various principal characters in launching Gibraltarand Grand Slam. 

Ayub viewed Gibraltar and Grand Slam as acts of limited aggression like the Rann of Kutch skirmish which would force India into negotiating on Kashmir at best and redeem his political position at worst. 

Bhutto and Aziz also had similar ambitions on a smaller scale! 

Akhtar Malik may have been motivated by the lust for glory, a perfectly honourable aspiration as per Clausewitz . 

His minority status and humble origins , having risen from the ranks may have made this urge stronger! 

Intelligence Failure on both sides 

There were intelligence failures on both sides. The Indians failing to discover the move of 7 Division and heavy concentration of armour and artillery opposite Chamb and the 6 Armoured Division’s existence. 

The Pakistanis failing to discover the true extent of Indian preparations and its firm intention to launch an all out war. 

The breakdown of command issue 

The breakdown of command issue has not been understood by many civilian and military writers who have discussed Grand Slam. 

Confusion, uncertainty and breakdown of information are the norms rather than the exception in war. 

Breakdown of command was rationalised later by apologists of Ayub to justify the change of command. 

Wireless failures, communication breakdowns and loss of key commanders are a normal occurrence in military history! 

In 1971 war an infantry unit in the same sector went missing just before the attack despite having all the wireless sets. 

In the, same sector in 1971 a brigades units were missing and a brigade attack had to be postponed for twenty four hours. 


In the same sector in 1971 despite having all the communication and divisional command arrangements two infantry brigades kept feeding their divisional headquarters false information. 


Anyone who has a doubt may read the 23 Divisions second principal staff officer Lieutenant Colonel Saeed Ahmad’s book “Battle of Chamb-1971”.94 


Clausewitz throughout his work “On War” states that “Breakdown of command” is the most normal condition in war. It appears that a breakdown of communication did take place on 1/2 Sept 1965. 

However, some direct participants hold the view that even then, the delay of 24 hours was avoidable in case change of command had not taken place. 


To conclude, it was a choice of four to six hours breakdown of command and control and 24 to 36 hours change of command between Akhtar Malik’s continuing as commander or Yahya’s take over as the commander. 

The only serious point that can be brought against Akhtar Malik is delay in resuming operations on 2nd September 1965


The Indians had commenced their withdrawal from Chamb at 2050 hours on 1st September 1965. 


12 Division had nothing in print after 2400 hours 1st September, 1965 and should have commenced its advance towards Jaurian by 0700 hours involving 2nd Sept 1965

At 1100 hours when change of command was ordered 12 Division was still on the west bank of Tawi. 

Concentration of Resources and All Arms Cooperation 

The advantage of overwhelming superiority in armour was, however, not utilised in the initial plan by distributing armour over two axes under infantry brigades who in turn dished out squadrons to their infantry battalions for the dirty work of close support! 

This meant that artillery fire could not be concentrated and the artillery general Shaukat’s caustic but accurate observation that artillery fire on1st September 1965, although initially concentrated, was naturally distributed into targets spread over a 30,000 yards front 98 after the Pre-H-Hour bombardment. 

There is a discrepancy in accounts of Shaukat Riza and Amjad Chaudhry about utilisation of artillery .


Shaukat claims that artillery fire after the H-Hour was distributed and thus relatively ineffective, however, Chaudhry states that even after H-Hour some Indian strongpoints were “attacked with as many as 13 batteries of all calibre” 99. 

It is true that armour was not properly employed on 1st September 1965 but the superiority in tanks when combined with overwhelming artillery support even then was so immense that the 191 Brigade was no longer a fighting force by the night of 1st September 1965



Chances of Pakistani success in Grand Slam 



The Pakistani chances of success in Grand Slam were very high, had the change of command not occurred on 2nd September 1965. 

The Indians described Grand Slam as "bold and masterly" in conception.100 

The Indians found the 24 hour delay on from morning of 2nd to 3rd September inexplicable at a time when in words of their highest operational commander ;--

"the sudden collapse of 191 Brigade had created a critical situation".101 

The Indians thus were confounded and one of their leading historians remarks i.e :--

" There was a pause in operations (referring to Pakistan's 12 Division) because, for some accountable reasons, the Pakistanis relieved 12 Infantry Division and handed over conduct of further operations to Major General Yahya Khan".  102 



Another Indian direct participant and chief of staff of Western Command, no relative of Bhutto or Akhtar Malik noted 

"At 1100 hours on 2nd September an event of great significance took place. The enemy came to our rescue. There was a change in the command of Pakistan's operational force in Chamb. HQ 7 Infantry Division replaced HQ 12 Infantry Division. With the inevitable procedural delay that such changes involves, we got a breather of 36 hours. Our forces reeling under the impact of relentless onslaught so far regained a measure of balance. It was a providential reprieve. Major General Mohammad Yahya Khan took over the command of operations as he thought it was a sure success and wanted all the glory for himself. GOC 12 Div Major General Akhtar Hussain Malik was sent back to look after the Hill Sector." 103 

The Indians were in a bad shape on the morning of 2nd September. Contrary to Pakistani writers writing with ulterior motives of settling personal scores assertion that 

"the Indians had been building up their strength for defence of Munawar gap through which Pakistan could attack Akhnur". 104 

This assertion is a sheer distortion of history ! A White Lie !

The reader may gauge this so-called build up from direct quotes from Indian military historians:— 

"C squadron 20 Lancers (the only Indian tank force between Tawi and Akhnur on 2nd September) had only three tanks left". 105 

The actual indian situation was as following :--

The only Indian reinforcements were at Pathankot some 80 miles from Akhnur and these consisted of another light tank squadron of 20 Lancers which had no ability to withstand Pakistan's two tank regiments of five Patton Squadrons. 
The 191 Brigade was marching to Akhnur since 2050 hours night 01 September and the 41 Brigade which later established a position at Jaurian by morning of 3rd September was at Akhnur. 

The Indian armoured corps historian described the change of command of 12 Division as a 

"Godsend for 41 Mountain Brigade which improved and consolidated its defences". 106 

Ultimate Responsibility for failure to take Akhnur 

The ultimate responsibility for failure in not taking Akhnur rests on Ayub. Yahya in case he obeyed Ayub's orders for not taking Akhnur was merely obeying orders. 

Amjad Chaudhry, however, blamed Yahya alone since some critics hold that Yahya had not considered him fit to be promoted to general rank. The principal responsibility for not taking Akhnur lies with Ayub. 





CONCLUSION 

Ambition, lust for glory etc are perfectly reasonable aspirations where they are matched with military talent pertaining to operational strategy, low intensity operations, strategic insight or statesmanship! 

All these were sadly lacking at all levels, except unit level bravery and enthusiasm! 

Gibraltar failed because of pure and unadulterated military incompetence and Ayub ISI and to a lesser extent Akhtar Malik bears the principle responsibility forGibraltar! 

The Grand Slam story was different! It was not a case of balanced distribution of lack of talent at all levels that resulted in the failure of Grand Slam! 

The principle reason why Grand Slam failed was delay in initial launching and change of command! 



Pakistani victory in Grand Slam keeping in view the immense superiority in armour and artillery was a foregone conclusion, just like the Indian victory inEast Pakistan! Any divisional commander with a medium calibre could have captured Akhnur! 

The fatal error was change in command! 

Victory despite all the imperial blunders committed by 12 Division on 1st September was within Pakistan's grasp, had not Ayub and Musa ordered change of command! 

The issue was not that Akhtar was brilliant or Yahya incompetent but simply that the very act of change of command was against all sound military axioms even if Yahya was Akhtar and Akhtar Yahya! 

There is nothing that can describe "Operation Grand Slam" more accurately and briefly than Schiller's quotation i.e "What is lost in a moment, is lost for eternity"! 

The dilemma that destroyed the Pakistani chances of victory or at least strategic dominance were also summed up long ago by another great philosopher Sun Tzu who described the most essential condition for victory as a general who has the military capacity and is not interfered with by his sovereign! 

This article is not the defence of any individual but a humble attempt to see military facts as they were! 

It was written because a person who I hold in very high esteem asked me to do so. The only point that pinches a dispassionate student of the art of war is the fact that Grand Slam was launched some three to four days late and the change of command on 2nd September gave the Indians 24 valuable hours to dig a position at line Jaurian-Troti! 

The seeds of its failure were planted many years before when soldiers strayed into politics and became more interested in creating business of power, devolution of power and basic democracies, rather than in military theory, strategy, operational strategy, doctrine and military reorganisation! 

Grand Slam was Pakistan's failure, Pakistan Army's failure! 

It was not Ayub's failure alone, nor Bhutto's failure, nor Akhtar Malik's failure! Operation Gibraltar was an altogether different affair but this article is about Grand Slam! All the reasons for Pakistan's foreign policy of appeasing USA were rendered null and void on 6th September 1965! 

War is a continuation of policy but only so when those who conduct it have military talent! This was sadly lacking in the Pakistan Army and the Pakistani supreme commander at the strategic level! 

Pity the army that blames its foreign minister for military failures! Foreign policy whatever its quality or failures gave the Pakistan Army Pattons, locators and 8 inch howitzers to blast a hole in the bloody valley of Munawar Tawi! 

The true failure was Ayub's and Musa's in failure to function as army chiefs and national leader, so as to ensure that political questions could be settled with military effectiveness! Ayub had the maximum to gain from Grand Slam! 

Ayub erred in this case not because of irresolution alone but more because of lack of strategic, operational and organisational insight! The change of command, as we have discussed, and delay in launching the operation, was the main reason, if not the only reason, why Grand Slam failed!



MAIN PAKISTANI ATTACK AT KHEM KARAN




http://pakistan-army-interviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/battle-of-lahore-pakistans-main-attack.html

Chances ofStrategic Success

At the strategic level the plan was excellent. It was in planning and at operational level that it failed. 

Even Indian military writers like K.C Praval admitted that the plan was "well conceived"..."that the advance throughout would be along the grain of the country and no water obstacles would have to be crossed"...and that "Pakistani armour had the capability for the thrust but the plan failed due to inept execution".55  

Harbaksh Singh admitted that "it was a simple but foolproof plan" and that "only the 4 Mountain Division stood in its way". 

Gurcharan Singh Sandhu the tank corps historian also admitted that 

"The loss of any bridge over the Beas was expected to pose such a serious threat to Delhi that the rest of the Indian Army would be forced to contain it rather than make an attempt to rescue the stranded XI Corps".56


In Clausewitzian terms the strategic plan decides "when, where and with what forces" the battle is to be delivered.57 Again in the light of Clausewitz's teachings, one of the principal objects of strategy is "always to be strong, first generally and then at the decisive point".58

 In this regard, strategy placed at Naseer's disposal an initial superiority at the decisive point of about 7 to 1 but he failed to translate it into success because he and his 5 Armoured Brigade Commander were incompetent and the men who handpicked them based on personal likes were worse! 

After all Naseer was Musa's handpicked choice. The fault was not that he was a non-armour officer as Gul Hassan fallaciously alleges but simply that Naseer was incompetent! After all, Ibrar who did far better was also an infantry man. Rommel was an infantry man. Macarthur, Lee and Meade were from Corps of Engineers!

The greatness of the German General Staff as this scribe stated in an article written in 1994 was not that it produced a Manstein but that it discovered a Manstein and allowed a Manstein to reach the highest ranks!59 It was here that the Indo-Pak Armies failed. They are simply a conspiracy against originality and boldness!

If successful the 1st Armoured Division attack had great chances of success.Indian GOC Western Command Harbaksh Singh frankly admitted that 

 "A Blitzkrieg deep into our territory towards the GT Road or the Beas Bridge would have found us in a helpless position of a commander paralysed into inaction for want of readily available reserves while the enemy was inexorably pushing deep into his vitals.It is a nightmarish feeling even when considered into retrospect at this stage."  60




No comments:

Post a Comment