Second Kashmir War of 1965: The largest engagement of armoured vehicles in the world

Second Kashmir War

Guys If we think about the biggest border dispute in the world, there is just one name that comes to mind that is Jammu Kashmir. This place was called the heaven on earth once but now this place is a disputed place between India and Pakistan. India has the legal rights on this territory but Pakistan has captured some of its areas illegally. Due to this conflict many wars have been fought between India and Pakistan over this territory. In our previous article The First Kashmir War- Rise of the biggest border dispute in the world we talked about the first Kashmir War. In this article we will know about the Second Kashmir War: the largest engagement of armoured vehicles in the world. 

Second Kashmir War

Second Kashmir War was the battle primarily started when Pakistan’s Operation Gibraltar was enforced.  This Operation was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule. The seventeen-day war caused thousands of casualties on both sides and witnessed the largest engagement of armoured vehicles and the largest tank battle since World War II.

India had the upper hand over Pakistan when the ceasefire was declared. Although the two countries fought to a standoff, the conflict is seen as a strategic and political defeat for Pakistan,  as it had neither succeeded in fomenting insurrection in Kashmir nor had it been able to gain meaningful support at an international level.

The Scheme of Pakistan 

Pakistan believed that the population of Kashmir was generally discontented with Indian rule. So, a resistance movement could be ignited by a few infiltrating saboteurs. In order to ignite the flame of resistance Pakistan began Operation Gibraltar. This Operation was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule. 

On 5 August 1965 between 26,000 and 33,000 Pakistani soldiers crossed the Line of Control dressed as Kashmiri locals headed for various areas within Kashmir. Indian forces, tipped off by the local populace, crossed the cease fire line on 15 August. The operation ended unsuccessfully. 

In this battle all the three wings of the Indian Armed Forces were used and their roles are described below.

Tank Battles in Second Kashmir War 

Second Kashmir War Tank Battles

The second war of Kashmir was a battle in which India was at a disadvantage. Pakistan has more tanks as well as better equipment in the war. They had american made armour which consisted mainly of Patton M-47 and M-48 tanks. It also included many M4 Sherman tanks, some M24 Chaffee light tanks and M36 Jackson tank destroyers, equipped with 90 mm guns.

The Indian Army tank fleet consisted of older M4 Sherman tanks up-gunned with the French high velocity CN 75 50 guns. Some older models were still equipped with the inferior 75 mm M3 L/40 gun. Besides the M4 tanks, India fielded the British-made Centurion Tank Mk 7, with the 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 gun, and the AMX-13, PT-76, and M3 Stuart light tanks.

Despite the qualitative and numerical superiority of Pakistan. India outfought them  on the battlefield. After India breached the Madhupur canal on 11 September, the Khem Karan counter-offensive was halted which affected Pakistan’s strategy. Neither the Indian or Pakistani Army showed any great facility in the use of armoured formations in offensive operations.

Naval Battles in Second Kashmir War 

Second Kashmir War Naval Battles

In the second Kashmir War, India  wished to restrict the war to a land-based conflict.So the Naval operations did not play a prominent role in the war of 1965. Pakistan Navy under the command of Commodore S.M. Anwar carried out a bombardment of the Indian Navy’s radar station in the coastal town of Dwarka. The Operation was the only significant Naval operation in the war of 1965.  The subsequent post-war modernization and expansion of the Indian Navy increased its budget from Rs. 35 crores to Rs. 115 crores.

Aerial Battles

Second Kashmir War Aerial Battles

This was the first time when Indian Air Force (IAF) actively engaged an enemy air force. 

They carried out independent raids against Pakistani bases. But the bases were situated deep inside Pakistani territory, which made IAF fighters vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire. At that time PAF (Pakistan Air Force) had the technical superiority against IAF.

Despite the disadvantage the IAF prevented the PAF from gaining air-superiority over conflict zones.

When the war ended, IAF lost 60-70 aircraft while PAF lost 43 aircraft.

After the 1965 war, the IAF underwent many changes to improve its capabilities. In 1966, the para-commando regiment was created. The IAF inducted 72 HS 748s to improve its logistics supply and rescue operations ability. 

The HS-748s were built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under licence from Avro.

India wanted to attain indigeneous fighter aircraft. So, HAL made HF-24 Marut which were designed by German aerospace engineer Kurt Tank.

The HAL HF-24 Maruts were the first indigeneous fighter jet to enter service with the IAF.  

HAL also developed an improved version of Folland Gnat known as HAL Ajeet. The IAF also inducted Mach 2 capable MiG-21 and Sukhoi Su-7 fighters.

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