HT THIS DAY: December 5, 1971 — Counter-offensive is under way; crushing blow dealt on Pak war machine

The Indian Force lost a total of 11 aircraft, six in West Pakistan and five over Bangla Desh. This, according to a Defence Ministry spokesman, is “moderate” considering that the IAF attached heavily defended targets in daylight. No IAF aircraft was lost on the ground
A screengrab of the Hindustan Times on December 5, 1971
A screengrab of the Hindustan Times on December 5, 1971
Published on Dec 05, 2021 12:32 AM IST
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New Delhi- The Indian Air Force, the Army and the Navy delivered a stunning blow to Pakistan’s aggressive military machine on the first day of the war between the two countries by destroying 33 Pakistan Air Force planes and 12 Patron tanks and bombarding 10 air bases as also the Bangla Desh ports of Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar

In retaliatory raids beginning early this morning, IAF planes bombed eight air bases in West Pakistan-Chanderi, Sarkot, Sargodhs, Murid, Mianwali, Masrur (Karachi), Risalwala (near Islamabad) and Changa Manga (near Lahore) besides Dacca and Jessore in Bangla Desh.

The Indian Force lost a total of 11 aircraft, six in West Pakistan and five over Bangla Desh. This, according to a Defence Ministry spokesman, is “moderate” considering that the IAF attached heavily defended targets in daylight. No IAF aircraft was lost on the ground.

The Pakistani day-light attacks on our air fields have been comparatively light and the damage caused to installations and the runways has been negligible. All our airports are operational whereas the bulk of the Pakistan Air Force in Bangla Desh has been “decimated” with only two or three aircraft left.

The Indian Navy, whose Eastern and Western Fleet, were ordered to seek and destroy all enemy warships and to cut the maritime line of communications between West Pakistan and Bangla Desh, struck at Cox’s Bazar destroying the airfield, Power house and wireless stations there. Its carrier-borne aircraft attacked Chittagong and demolished some port installations, a hangar and fuel dumps besides sinking two gunboats and damaging two Pakistani merchant ships in the harbour.

Invoking the contraband control, the Indian Navy intercepted and seized a Pakistani merchant ship “Pasni” which was on its way to Karachi and ordered it to proceed to Cochin.

The Indian Army which marched into Bangla Desh at several points to act in concert with the Mukti Bahini, made several significant gains by capturing Shamshernagar including the airfield in the Tripura and Cachar sector as well as Thakurgaon, Darsana and Gazipur. It is engaged in fierce fighting near Akhaura and Jessore.

In the Western sector, the enemy supported by armour mounted massive attacks on Indian positions in Chhamb sad Hussainwala, but all the attacks were repulsed with heavy losses to the invaders. Pakistan lost six Patton tanks in Chhamb and another six near Hunssainwala. Radio Pakistan reports that Chhamb, Fazilka and Khem Karan had been captured by Pakistani troops were described as “absolutely false” by a Defence Ministry spokesman here.

Indian troops captured a Pakistan picket five miles south-east of Tithwal and a hill feature between URI and Hajipir in Kashmir. The Indian Army has taken 61 Pakistani prisoners - 19 In Western sector sad 42 In Bangla Desh near Phulbari.

The spokesman said that -after Pakistan’s wanton aggression on India “no holds are barred” and the Indian Security Forces would take whatever action they thought fit to meet any threat to the country’s territorial integrity.

The Defence Minister, Mr Jagjivan Ram, told Parliament that Pakistan had thrust war upon India. Pakistan’s objective of inflicting substantial damage through a pre-meditated preemptive attack had been frustrated. Referring to the fighting in the Ferozepore sector, he said that all Pakistani attacks have been repulsed. “We have also had casualties and lost some ground.”

Of the 33 Pakistani aircraft destroyed, 19 were in the western sector and 14 in Bangla Desh. So far Pakistan has lost 19 Sabre jets and Mig-19’s. five B-57 medium bombers, three Mirages - regarded as the pride of Pakistan’s Air Force - two F-104 Star Fighters, three light aircraft and one transport aircraft.

Nine of the 19 aircraft in the western sector were destroyed in a daring day-light raid by IAF Hunters on Masrur airfield near Karachi. These included one B-57 bomber, and eight Sabre jets and Chinese supplied Mig-19 aircraft. All the IAF Hunters returned to their bases.

The other 10 aircraft, either shot down or destroyed on the ground, were four B-57 bombers, three Mirage III-E fighter bombers, two F-10$ Star Fighters and one F 86 Sabre jet.

In the Eastern sector of the 14 PAF aircraft destroyed. 10 were Sabres, three light aircraft and one transport plane. The transport plane was set ablaze by the attacking IAF planes on the airfields. These enemy losses are in addition to the three Sabre lets shot down over Boyra by Gnats last week.

The Indian aircraft lost included two Hunters, one HF-24 and one Su-7.

The crew of the Indian aircraft reported that they have achieved good results. They hit a number of Pakistani aircraft on the ground and set petrol tanks ablaze. In retaliation against the raid on the Amritsar radar station-which has been only slightly damaged but is fully operational-the IAF damaged the Pakistan radar station near Badin (Kutch).

UNI, PTI add: Fierce fighting was raging around several Pakistani pickets in the Ferozepore and Gurdaspur sectors today and the enemy had suffered heavy losses in men and material, official sources said in Jullundur.

All attacks by the enemy had been repulsed by the BSF and | regular troops fighting shoulder to shoulder to defend the country’s borders.

In the Amritsar sector, while a bitter battle was on near the Indian post of Rania. Pakistani positions along Hudiara Drain had been under seige since last night.

Pakistan, which attacked the Indian positions around the Hussainiwala, Ullaka, Rajoke and Khanpur areas of the Ferozepore sector last night in brigade strength, had Introduced a fair sprinkling of its armour to influence the results of the fighting.

Indian pickets all along the Punjab-West Pakistan border from Sulaimanki, near Fazilka to Khem Karan, Dera Baba Nanak and other places were subjected to heavy shelling by medium and heavy artillery used for providing cover to the enemy troops attempting to intrude into Indian territory.

The Pakistanis also shelled Indian positions in Jhangar and Moti, west and north-west of Attari by artillery fire.

In Pathankot, they shelled the Lasian area east of Shakargarh. Large concentration had been reported at Tur.

The main attack was in the Poonch and Attari areas. The attacks have been repulsed.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022