Longewala was not won by infantry alone, air power played a key role: IAF book | India News
A new book, ‘The Epic Battle of Longewala’, written by Air Marshal Bharat Kumar (retd) after extensive research, argues that it was actually airpower that decisively won the battle against Pakistan’s largest armored advance. at the Rajasthan border post on December 5-6. , 1971.
A force of just six Hunter ground attack aircraft based at Jaisalmer Air Base “destroyed or damaged more than 40 Pakistani tanks” in strikes, causing the rest of the tanks, as well as the Pakistani infantry, to return through the desert. . Releasing the book Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said it was “bold” and “brilliant.”
Pakistan’s plan to launch momentum along the “unexpected” Longewala Jaisalmer axis could have turned the tide of the war. Pakistan, however, forgot to take into account the IAF’s strike capabilities. “Air power can bring asymmetric results if the time and place are chosen correctly,” he said, backing up the “detailed and accurate account” of the battle in the book.
Chandpuri, by the way, was awarded the country’s second highest wartime medal of gallantry, the Maha Vir Chakra, for the way he and his company of Punjab Regiment soldiers bravely held their position despite the repeated Pakistani attacks until the Hunters were able to reach their bombing missions. He later became a brigadier and passed away in 2018.
The book, however, contends that the JP Dutta-directed film erroneously describes the battle as being won “unaided” by the Army company against all odds, with the IAF playing only a minor role in the defeat of the attackers. In the movie, Sunny Deol played the role of Chandpuri.
“While one does not want to belittle the brave role played by the Army personnel who engaged the enemy at Longewala, it must be emphasized that the battle was not fought in the way it is depicted in the film,” he says. The attack by Pakistani forces had reached Longewala around first light on December 5 and decided to neutralize the Army post there.
“By then the first pair of Hunters loaded with T-10 rockets and 30mm Aden guns were already in the air from Jaisalmer,” writes ACM Bhadauri in the foreword to the book. “From then on, the Pakistanis had no truce, as wave after wave of hunters decimated enemy armor,” he adds.