OPINION
6 Armoured Division attacked on 18 September to eliminate the salient across the Sialkot-Narowal railway line. 3 FF captured Buttar Dograndi, 19 Lancers cleared Mundeke Berian, Khurpa, Sadroke and Jassorian, 3 FF was ordered to occupy Jassorian but failed to do so. On the night 18/19 September, the Indian 4 Mountain Division, reinforced with 35 and 58 Brigades from the Indian 14 Division, attacked Chawinda from the west, 35 Brigade captured Jassorian as it had not been occupied by 3 FF, and the Chawinda Railway Station, which was counter attacked by 2 Punjab and 25 Cavalry and recaptured. On 20 September, 4 Armoured Brigade, now commanded by Brigadier Riaz-ul-Karim, cleared the salient south of the Sialkot-Narowal railway line.

With the ceasefire being negotiated 1 Corps ordered lost territory to be recaptured. 15 Division was to recapture 'Bench Mark', it failed. 6 Armoured Division was to clear the salient Kalarwanda-Bhagowal-Akh Bhure Shah, the attack was postponed on the 21st and cancelled on the 22nd. The Indian 1 Armoured Division handed over the front to 6 Mountain Division and disappeared until it was located by a SSG patrol. At 0300 hours the ceasefire became effective.

The defence of the border from the point where the Ravi enters Pakistan to Husseiniwala on the Sutlej River, was divided between 10 and 11 Divisions. 10 Division consisting seven infantry battalions, 23 Cavalry and 30 TDU and some Rangers had 51,000 yards of front, the Staff College teaching for a division was 10,000 yards.

Major General Sarfaraz Khan, GOC 10 Division, had planned a screen at Wagah and the Hudiara Drain, the first line of defence east of the BRB, protected by a minefield, a second line of defence on the eastern bank of the BRB and the main defence on the western bank of the BRB. On the left 114 Brigade with three battalions and a squadron of 30 TDU was to hold 25,000 yards of front with three crossings of the BRB, Bhaini Bridge, Grant Trunk Road and the Lahore -Amritsar railway line crossing. 103 brigade with two battalions and a squadron of 30 TDU had about 20,000 yards of front with the Burki Road and Hudiara Siphon crossings of the BRB. The rangers held 6,000 yards of the division's front on the right. 22 Brigade with two battalions of infantry and 23 Cavalry was the divisional reserve with ten counter attack tasks west of the BRB and two east of the BRB, one company from the brigade was deployed on the Shadara Bridge over the Ravi. All units, like the rest of army, had 25% per cent of personnel on leave.

The Indians attacked with 15 Infantry Division, 50 (Para) Brigade and 14 (Scinde) Horse on the Amritsar - Lahore Road and with 7 Infantry Division with Central India Horse on the Harike-Burki-Lahore Road.

In the north, the Indian 96 Brigade captured the Ichogil Border Post, contacted 11 Baluch at 0600 hours at the Bhaini Bridge and were repulsed in the attempt to capture the bridge; the bridge was blown at 1100 hours. On the Amritsar-Lahore Road the Indian 54 Brigade, at about 0330 hours, contacted the 11 FF company commanded by Major Jan, the company scattered but the Indians became cautious and reached the Jallo/Batapur bridge at 0600 hours.

Surprised, confused and threatened by the imminent loss of the Bhaini and Batapur Bridges, 10 Division requested the PAF for support and the PAF responded effectively. C Squadron, 23 Cavalry, after the squadron commander's tank was knocked out, was taken over by Risaldar Siddiq who reached the Batapur Bridge and with 18 Baluch and 11 FF companies prevented the Indians from crossing the canal.

On the Harike-Burki-Lahore Road, the Indian 7 Infantry Division contacted the 103 Brigade advance position at 0530 where a company of 12 Punjab and one of 11 FF firmly held their positions till 1400 when the position had to be abandoned because it was outflanked. However the Indians did not contact the next position till the night 7/8 September.

On the night 7/8 September Major General Sarfaraz decided to counter attack. The Indians launched a brigade attack at Batapur and battalion attack at Bhaini Bridge, while the Indian attacks were in progress 23 Cavalry, with two companies of 18 Baluch mounted on the tanks drove 3 miles on the west bank of the canal, in full view of the Indians, crossed the BRB at the Siphon, at a crossing secured by 15 Baluch, drove one mile on the east bank of the BRB, again in full view of the Indians. The leading tank was knocked out by anti-tank fire and blocked the canal bank road, the troop leader pushed the burning tank off the canal bank with his tank and the advance continued on the canal bank till a place was found where the tanks could get off the canal bank. Indian artillery came down and the infantry dismounted from the tanks.

After getting off the canal bank 23 Cavalry attacked with three squadrons up, B Squadron, commanded by Major Sarwar, on the right, with Dogari as the objective, A Squadron on the left with Wagah as the objective, C Squadron in the middle linking the two. B Squadron secured Dograi at about 1200 hours without any infantry, Major Moghal commanding C Squadron from his rover, came under artillery fire and lost contact with the squadron, Risaldar Siddiq again assumed command and finding that A Squadron had not reached their objective, extended his flank and secured Wagah. The counter attack recaptured the entire area lost in this sector on 6 September. 114 Brigade attacked in coordination with 22 Brigade and reached the Chugavan Drain. On the Burki Road the Indians contacted the 103 Brigade defences at Burki which was held by a company of 17 Punjab.

After 22 Brigade and 114 Brigade recaptured the lost areas, 10 Division failed to exploit the success by exploiting to the UBDC or organising defences on the east bank of the BRB. 23 Cavalry waited on their objectives without infantry, when squadron commanders asked for instructions for the night, Lieutenant Colonel Ghulam Mohammad gave the position where the regiment was to leaguer and left it to the discretion of squadron commanders to stay on the objective or to return to the regimental leaguer. B Squadron stayed at Dograi, mounted their 'bow' machine guns on tripods and held the village till 16 Punjab joined them the next day.

The Indian 15 Division, when it realised its withdrawal was not being followed up, returned and contacted the Dograi and 114 Brigade positions east of the BRB. After the Indians re-established contact at Dograi, B Squadron was ordered to probe towards Dial and found the Indians dug in. 15 Baluch and a squadron of 30 TDU who had occupied Rani, Kakar and Hatampur were withdrawn.

On the 103 Brigade front the Indians attacked Burki, a 12 Punjab company held out till the company commander was killed, then bolted across the canal.

On the evening of 10 September, the GOC 10 division ordered 22 Brigade to counter attack the Indian 7 Division from Dograi and link up with 103 Brigade at Burki. The brigade made its preliminary move but because of the 'Hudiara Siphon' flap it was ordered to move to Walton.

On 11 September an artillery observer reported that Indian tanks had passed under the Hudiara Siphon, the brigade major of 103 brigade reported this to 10 Division and ordered 103 Brigade headquarters to prepare to withdraw. An NCO heard this order being given and passed it to his battalion, 12 Punjab, the battalion abandoned its positions and bolted to its unit lines in Lahore from where they were rounded up and brought back.

10 Division on being informed by 103 Brigade that Indian tanks had crossed the Hudiara Siphon, informed GHQ who detached 3rd Armoured Brigade from 1 Armoured Division to counter attack. The 3rd Armoured Brigade moved from Khem Karan to Lahore by rail, formed up east of the airport to attack the Hudiara Siphon. Brigadier Moinuddin, the brigade commander while carrying out his reconnaissance noticed that the tanks at the Siphon had their guns facing east and ordered 19 Lancers not to fire unless fired upon. 19 Lancers reached Siphon without any hindrance, there, Major Benoy Biswas, formerly of Guides Cavalry, now commanding the 30 TDU squadron attached to 103 Brigade, inquired very curiously what's going on? The 30 TDU squadron grouped with 103 Brigade had not been marked on the brigade and division's maps and no action was taken to confirm the artillery observer's report. The initiative now passed to the Indians and they attacked all along the front but without success.

On the night 11/12 September, 16 Punjab lost some ground and tried to recapture it with tanks the next day. B Squadron, 23 Cavalry, while advancing along the GT Road ran into an anti-tank screen, Major Sarwar in his tank, crossed the road to check a troop leader who was not advancing, while re-crossing the road an anti tank recoilless rifle knocked out his M 48 tank which blew up killing all the crew.

For about a week B Squadron remained without a squadron commander. Every night the Indians put in an attack to capture Dograi but were repulsed. On the night 21/22 September, A Squadron, commanded by Major Nazar, was ordered to relieve B Squadron at Dograi but instead of going to Dograi A squadron went to the 18 Baluch position on the west bank of the canal and reported that it was in the 16 Punjab position. 16 Punjab had allowed B Squadron to move back but when A Squadron did not come, the commanding officer of 16 Punjab, Lt Col Golwala, sent his intelligence officer and informed 22 Brigade who tried to contact the squadron but could not. That night the Indians attacked again with a battalion and captured the northern end of Dograi, passed through the village and overran 16 Punjab. 22 Brigade learnt of the fall of Dograi when 8 Punjab at Bhasin reported that it was being fired upon from Dograi.

The GOC, on hearing of the fall of Dograi, ordered an immediate counter attack by 22 Brigade with 1 Baluch and C Squadron, 23 Cavalry. 1 Baluch, who had arrived in the area during the night did not follow the normal battle procedure, the battalion crossed the BRB and attacked Dial with the Indians at Dograi enfilading. Captain Afridi, a company commander, wounded after crossing the start line, was himself carried by his havaldar major and accompanied his company, in spite of the elan of the battalion the attack failed.

C Squadron, 23 Cavalry, which was to support 1 Baluch, now commanded by Major Nazir, crossed the BRB and ran his tank into a minefield on the east bank of the BRB about which he had been warned, the rest of the squadron continued towards Dograi but stopped short of it. The 22 Brigade commander who, with the RHQ of 23 Cavalry were observing the attack, ordered Major Waheed Qadir, the second in command of 23 Cavalry, to take over the command of the Squadron. Major Qadir drove in his jeep to a tank, got into it and found that its wireless set was not working. He got out of the tank and climbed into another but by this time the Indian tank squadron that had pulled out of Dograi was brought back to Dial from where it enfiladed C Squadron attacking Dograi and knocked out six tanks in quick succession. A very well conducted battle by Major General Sarfaraz Khan ended on the sour note of the loss of Dograi.

In continuation of the 10 Division front, 11 Division was responsible from Bedian to Gandasinghwala. This division consisted of 21, 52 and 106 Brigades of two battalions each, 6 Lancers as the integral armoured regiment and the artillery was one heavy regiment and it had 15 Lancers, a corps reconnaissance regiment was also under command. The border defences from Gandasinghwala to Sulemanki were also the responsibility of the division but were handed over to the Rangers. The operational task of the division was the defence of Kasur, attacks along the Ferozepur-Kasur and the Khem-Karan -Kasur roads and the securing of Pajoke-Bahadur Nagar line to facilitate the operations of the Army reserve.

The Army Reserve consisting of 1 Armoured Division and 7 Division was located in the area Changa Manga Forest to operate south of Sulemanki, in the Ravi-Sutlej corridor and in the Chenab-Ravi corridor. 7 Division, commanded by Major General A.M. Yahya detached 25 Brigade to 6 Armoured Division, 10 Brigade was despatched to 12 Division for operation 'Grand Slam' and the Headquarters 7 Division moved to Bhimber leaving 14 (Para) Brigade which also moved to Chawinda leaving 1 Armoured Division without any infantry.

1 Armoured Division, the elite armoured formation of the Pakistan Army, evolved from the 3rd Independent Armoured Brigade, it had two armoured brigades of an armoured regiment and an armoured/motorised infantry battalion, one brigade of two armoured regiments and an armoured infantry battalion and a reconnaissance regiment. The division was formed under Major General Haq Nawaz Khan, an infantry officer who did not get along with the armoured corps officers that he commanded. Major General Sarfaraz Khan and Major General Sahibzada Yakub commanded the division later. In 1965 Major General Naseer had commanded the division for about three years but had failed to get the cooperation and respect from the division. He became known as the general who employed informers; maintenance of equipment deteriorated and hundreds of vehicles broke down on the roads when the division moved to its war location and many were left in garages as non-runners, a special workshop was created to repair these vehicles.

1 Armoured Division and 11 division received a warning order on 1 September, when operation Grand Slam started , 11 Division to establish a bridgehead in the Khem Karan and 1 Armoured Division to break out of the bridgehead and capture the bridge over the Beas River at Raya. On 4 September, on receiving the 'remain vigilant' instruction, 11 Division deployed 106 Brigade at Bedian, 52 Brigade at Kasur and 21 Brigade at Husseiniwala. On the night 5/6 September, the Indian 4 Mountain Division, consisting of 7 and 62 Mountain Brigades and 9 Royal Deccan Horse, attacked 11 Divison at seven places. All the attacks were repulsed.

1 Armoured Division after receiving the warning order apparently did not take any action, on the morning of 6 September it received an order to break out of the bridgehead being established by 11 Division. To go to the bridgehead 1 Armoured Division had to construct a bridge over the Rohi Nullah, the Engineer Battalion of 1 Armoured Division was distributed to the brigades and took time to collect. 11 Division established the bridgehead, 5 Armoured Brigade was ordered to move up to the bridge site but when it arrived it found that the bridge had not been completed and due to bad traffic control the brigade lined up, head to tail, at the bridging site. When the bridge was ready it was found that tanks could not climb the Nullah bank because of the steep gradient and more time was lost while earth was piled.

The bridge across the BRB was a few inches wider than a M 48 tank, the leading tank of 6 Lancers, ex-11 Division, under command 5 Armoured Brigade, commanded by Major Dost Mohammad Utra, fell into the canal and the crew drowned. A doubt arose about the suitability of the bridge and two hours were wasted before the crossing started again.

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Late in the afternoon of 7 September, 6 Lancers and 1 FF concentrated in the bridgehead and Brigadier Bashir, commander 5 Armoured brigade ordered 1 FF to 'raid' the area of Khem-Karan Rest House. 1 FF routed a Jammu & Kashmir battalion, captured a platoon, knocked out two tanks and returned and had to be ordered to occupy the Rest House. At night the Indians counter attacked, without success.

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5 Armoured Brigade completed its concentration in the bridge head during the night and was ordered by the GOC 11 Division to advance on the roads Khem Karan-Bhikkiwind and Khem Karan-Voltoha. Brigadier Bashir ordered 6 Lancers less squadron and a company of 1 FF to advance along the Khem Karan-Voltoha railway line to capture Voltoha, 1 FF less two companies with a squadron of 6 Lancers and a squadron of 15 Lancers to advance on the road Khem Karan-Voltoha, on the left 24 Cavalry with a company 1 FF was ordered to advance on the road Khem Karan-Bhikkiwind to capture Chima.

On 8 September, 6 Lancers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Sahibzad Gul, outflanked Khem Karan, advanced along the railway line and reached Voltoha Railway Station and contacted the Indian defences, only one platoon of 1 FF was with them, the commanding officer requested the brigade commander for additional infantry. The brigade commander ordered 6 Lancers to bypass Voltoha and go to Warnole, Lieutenant Colonel Sahibzad Gul refused to leave a large force in his rear, and did not do so. At nightfall an argument arose between the commanding officer of 6 Lancers and the brigade commander, the former wanted to hold his position at Voltoha but the later said he could not supply the regiment because 1 FF had failed to clear the road through Khem Karan. Finally 6 Lancers was ordered back to Khem Karan, but on the way back seven tanks out of seventeen which had reached Voltoha, got bogged down because of broken banks of the water channels that the tanks crossed on the way to Voltoha. Three tanks were recovered and four were destroyed by the Indians.

The 1 FF group moved at about mid-day, advanced about 800 yards, contacted the Indian defences at Khem Karan and took up a defensive position and did not open the route for 6 Lancers.

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