Battle of Phillora
|Battle of Phillora|
|Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965|
|Commanders and leaders|
|1st Armoured Brigade(16 cav,17 Horse, 4 Horse)62 cav,43 lorried Brigade||10 Cavalry(Guides),11 Cavalry,33 TDU,4 Frontier force,14 Para Brigade|
|Casualties and losses|
66 tanks destroyed 31 confirmed destroyed
The Battle of Phillora was one of the largest tank battles fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It was the first major engagement between the two nations in the Sialkot sector and coincided with the Battle of Asal Uttar.
The battle started on 10 September, when Indian troops launched a massive attack at the Phillora sector. Its 1st Armoured Division was on the offensive in that area. Equipped with four armoured regiments, this division faced stiff opposition from the Pakistani 6th Armoured Division. Pakistani air attacks did little damage to the tank columns and more to lorry and infantry columns. For the next two days intense fighting continued and the outnumbered Pakistani troops made a tactical retreat towards Chawinda. At this point India claimed to destroyed 67 Pakistani tanks. However, military historian Steve Zaloga regarded the Indian claim as "ludicrous".
According to ex Pakistan Army Major(retd.)and Military historian A.H Amin summed up the failure of the Pakistani armour at the battle of Phillora "....6 Armoured Division ordered Guides(10th) Cavalry and 14 FF to mount an attack from Bhagowal-Bhureshah area against the right flank of the Indians aimed at area Libbe-Chahr at 1130 hours on 11th September. The aim of this attack was to relieve pressure on 11 Cavalry. This Guides had a severe firefight with 16 Light Cavalry losing many tanks as well as destroying some enemy tanks but was unable to make any impression and the main Indian attack against 11 Cavalry holding Phillora proceeded smoothly .Phillora was captured by the Indians on 1530 hours on 11th September. 11 Cavalry fought well and lost so many tanks that from 11th September onwards it ceased to function as a complete tank regiment". Howerver Major Amin also criticized India for its strategic miscalculation "The Indians fought well but in the overall strategic context capture of Phillora was of little consequence.Had the Indians shown similar resolution and a little more coup d oeil and modified their plans at the brigade and divisional level on 8 September, by 11 September they would have been leisurely holding the east bank of MRL.
Pakistani Official History of the 6th Armoured Division "Men of Steel" that states that 35 tanks were left in Indian control (17 M48, 9 M47, 9 M36B2) but that nine of these were recovered after the war when Indian troops vacated the area held by then.
On September 12, 1965, the tank battle at Phillora ended in an important decisive victory for the Indian Army with the Pakistani forces retreating and regrouping to put up a last stand at Chawinda. A day before, the Indian Army had experienced another victory at Asal Uttar when they successfully thwarted Pakistani offensive in the Khem Karan sector. The continued thrust by the Indian Army into Pakistani territory finally culminated in the Battle of Chawinda, where Indian army's advance was successfully halted. On 22 September with the signing of ceasefire, all the offensives were ceased on that front. On 22 September the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for an unconditional ceasefire from both nations. The war ended the following day.India Still retained almost 200 square miles(518 square kilometres) of Pakistan territory in the Sialkot sector including the villages of Phillora,Pagowal,Maharajke,Gadgor,Bajagrahi etc. which was returned to Pakistan after the Tashket Declaration.
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