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The Battle of Phillora was a large tank battle fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It commenced on 10 September when the Indian 1st Armoured Division, with four armoured regiments and supporting forces under command, attacked positions in the Sialkot sector held by Pakistani 6th Armoured Division. After three days the Pakistanis withdrew with the loss of 66 tanks (31 confirmed). The Indians admitted to the loss of 6 Centurions.

Battle of Phillora
Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Destroyed Sherman Tank (1965 Indo-Pak War).jpg
An Indian Army officer poses for the camera in front of a knocked-out Pakistani Sherman tank after the battle.
Date7–11 September 1965
Location
Result Indian military victory[1][2][3][4][5]
Belligerents
 India  Pakistan
Commanders and leaders
India Ardeshir Tarapore Pakistan Unknown
Strength

1st Armoured Division

  • 1st Armoured Brigade
    • 16th Cavalry Regiment
    • 17th Horse Regiment
    • 4th Horse Regiment
  • 62nd Cavalry Regiment
  • 43rd Lorried Brigade[6]

6th Armoured Division

  • 10th Cavalry Regiment
  • 11th Cavalry Regiment
33rd TDU
4th Frontier Force
14th Para Brigade[6]
Casualties and losses
6 tanks[7][8] 66 tanks (31 confirmed)[1][8]

The battle coincided with the Battle of Asal Uttar where the Indians were again successful. It was followed by the Battle of Chawinda, where the Indian offensive was halted. On 22 September a ceasefire came into force.

BattleEdit

The battle commenced on the 10th September 1965 when Indian troops launched a massive attack in the Phillora sector headed by Indian 1st Armoured Division. Equipped with four armoured regiments, and with a motorised infantry brigade attached, the division faced stiff opposition from the Pakistani 6th Armoured Division. Pakistani aircraft attacked the Indian forces. Their tanks suffered little damage while the supporting transport and infantry columns were harder hit. Over the next two days there was intense fighting before the outnumbered Pakistani troops made a tactical retreat towards Chawinda. At this point India claimed to have destroyed 66 Pakistani tanks.[9]

According to ex-Pakistan Army Major and military historian A.H. Amin the Pakistani armour failed 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 11th Cavalry. The Guides had a severe firefight with 16th Light Cavalry losing many tanks as well as destroying some enemy tanks but were unable to make any impression and the main Indian attack against 11th Cavalry holding Phillora proceeded smoothly. Phillora was captured by the Indians on 1530 hours on 11th September. The 11th Cavalry fought well and lost so many tanks that from 11th September onwards it ceased to function as a complete tank regiment.[10]

Major Amin also criticised India for its strategic miscalculation:

The Indians fought well but in the overall strategic context the capture of Phillora was of little consequence. Had the Indians shown similar resolution and a little more coup d'œil 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 the MRL (Marala–Ravi link canal).[10]

ConclusionEdit

On 12 September the battle ended in a decisive victory for the Indian Army with the Pakistani forces retreating and regrouping to put up a last stand at Chawinda[11][9] A day before, the Indian Army had experienced another victory at Asal Uttar when they successfully thwarted a 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 the Indian army's advance was halted.[12][13][14] On 22 September the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for an unconditional ceasefire from both nations.[15] The same day a ceasefire agreement was signed and hostilities ceased.[16] The war ended the following day. India still retained almost 200 square miles (500 square kilometres) of Pakistani territory in the Sialkot sector including the villages of Phillora, Pagowal, Maharajke, Gadgor and Bajagrahi. They were returned to Pakistan after the Tashkent Declaration.[7][8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Wilson, Peter. Wars, proxy-wars and terrorism: post independent India. Mittal Publications, 2003. ISBN 978-81-7099-890-7.
  2. ^ James Rapson, Edward; Wolseley Haig; Sir Richard Burn; Henry Dodwell; Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler; Vidya Dhar Mahajan. "Political Developments Since 1919 (India and Pakistan)". The Cambridge History of India. 6. S. Chand. p. 1013.
  3. ^ Saxena, K. C. Pakistan, her relation with India 1947-1966. Vir Pub. House. ASIN B003GB2IFU.
  4. ^ Sainik samachar: the pictorial weekly of the Armed Forces, Volume 28. Directorate of Public Relations, Ministry of Defence. ASIN B0000CRWSD.
  5. ^ Berindranath, Dewan. The war with Pakistan: a pictorial narration of the fifty days which rocked the sub-continent. Asia Press. ASIN B0007JEFFA.
  6. ^ a b Amin, Agha.H. "Situation Leading to and Battle of Phillora". Major. A.H Amin. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  7. ^ a b History, Official. "Operations in Sialkot sector" (PDF). Official history. Bharat-Rakshak.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  8. ^ a b c Singh, Lt.Gen Harbaksh (1991). War Despatches. 56 Gautam nagar, New Delhi: Lancer International. p. 147. ISBN 81-7062-117-8.
  9. ^ a b Zaloga, Steve (1999) The M47 and M48 Patton tanks ISBN 1-85532-825-9 pg.34-35.
  10. ^ a b Amin, Major Agha H. "Situation Leading to and Battle of Phillora". Think Tank. AH Amin. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  11. ^ Wilson, Peter. Wars, proxy-wars and terrorism: post independent India. Mittal Publications, 2003. ISBN 978-81-7099-890-7.
  12. ^ Fricker, John (1979). Battle for Pakistan: the air war of 1965. University of Michigan: I. Allan. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-71-100929-5.
  13. ^ Arming without Aiming: India's Military Modernization By Stephen P. Cohen, Sunil Dasgupta pg. 1971
  14. ^ The M47 and M48 Patton Tanks By Steven J. Zaloga Pg. 36
  15. ^ Pradhan, R.D. 1965 war, the inside story. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 2007. ISBN 978-81-269-0762-5.
  16. ^ Barua, Pradeep (2005) The state at war in South Asia ISBN 0-8032-1344-1 pg.192.