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|Battle of Chamb|
|Part of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971|
Chamb. Hatched Area captured by Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 in the Western Theater.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Major General Iftikhar Janjua†||Major General Jaswant Singh|
(mainly composed of T-54 and T-55)
The Battle of Chamb, 1971 was a battle in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. The Pakistani Army invaded Chamb on the same principle as the Battle of Chamb (1965). The Pakistan Army's primary objective was to capture the town of Chamb and surrounding areas which had strategic importance for both Pakistan and India.
Before the capture of Chamb by Pakistan forces, this western sector was under India's control. Similar to 1965, plans were made to capture this strategic town. The reason behind this plan was to deter Indians from attacking the crucial north-south line of communications passing via Gujrat. The 23 Division of Pakistan was given the task of protecting this sector and later attacking the Chamb-Dewa sectors. On the Indian side, the 10th Division was given the task of defence of Chamb; the Indian army believed that by attacking Gujrat and Tanda, they could guarantee the defence of Chamb. In comparison to 1965, the Indians were better prepared in terms of defences and now realized the importance of the town and sector.
Brigadier Amar Cheema of the Indian Army, while comparing the strength of two countries during the battle, claimed that Indian armed forces had superior tanks such as T-55 and T-54 who were equipped with 100 mm guns. They were said to be far superior to those of the Pakistani Type 59 tank. The T-55 Tanks also possessed pads[clarification needed] ammunition firing capability which the Type 59 tank did not have. The T-55 had far superior stabilisation system. Cheema also claims that there was near parity in terms of artillery but when it came to infantry Pakistan army had less soldiers than the Indian army during the battle. He states that 'it was this battle which helped in sustaining the morale of Pakistan army. The Indians, on the other hand, describe it as a most serious reverse suffered in the 1971 war'.
Under the Simla Agreement, signed between India and Pakistan on 2 July 1972; Pakistan retained the territory it captured in the Chamb sector whereas India retained the territory it captured on the Pakistani side of the ceasefire line opposite the Kargil sector.
Later Gen Andre Beaufre (Retired) of the French Army, who was invited by Pakistan and remained there throughout the war and who also later went to India by invitation and toured the battlefields after the ceasefire felt that it was difficult to get an accurate picture because both India and Pakistan grossly exaggerated the casualties in men and material inflicted on the adversary. He gave two examples to support his view. The Pakistani commanders in the Chhamb sector claimed that a brigade of four battalions supported by a regiment of armour and five artillery regiments had annihilated an Indian infantry brigade and captured many tanks, a large number of other vehicles and large quantities of arms and equipment. Some pictures shown to him in support of these claims appeared to him to be the product of trick photography. He visited the Chhamb sector soon after the main battle but did not see much captured equipment, and it certainly bore no relation to the much-publicized Pakistani claims.
According to Gen Beaufre, the Pakistani offensive in the Chhamb sector lacked boldness. Their forces moved slowly, and because of inadequate training and faulty planning, marrying of infantry and armour was delayed and resulted in a halt at the Manawar Wali Tawi, thus giving the Indians time to reinforce their position. Pakistan attacked positions west of the river with four battalions supported by one armoured regiment and five artillery regiments. Armour was not used in a concentrated manner, and artillery fire was spread all over instead of focusing on one objective at a time. Beaufre would have liked at least two brigades to attack simultaneously in the initial phase, followed by at least one brigade and a couple of armoured regiments to break through after securing the river line. A small force infiltrated behind the Indian defences over the Kachrael heights was not enough. A larger force in the same role would have definitely altered the situation.
- Brigadier Amar Cheema (2015). The Crimson Chinar: The Kashmir Conflict: A Politico Military Perspective. Lancer Publishers. p. 297–298. ISBN 978-81-7062-301-4.
The contention that this was the most serious reverse for India in the war is also correct as it was here that Pakistan could maximise their territorial gains amounting to some 400 Sq. Kms.... The way it ultimately planned out, Chamb was the only sector in J&K where the Indian forces suffered setback and this was attributable to Indian operational stance and inadequate preparation for the defensive battle for which the formation had been mandated.....Loss of territory in the sector for both sides was unacceptable, yet it was India who let this happen.
- Major General Jagjit Singh (1994). Indian Gunners at War:The Western Front 1971. Lancer Publishers. p. 88.
The saga of Chamb had come to an end. Despite defeat, 191 infantry brigade under the leadership of Brigadier Jasbir Singh (later Lieutenant General) had fought splendidly against, heavy odds.
- "Three Indian blunders in 1971 war". Rediff India. 11 December 2011.
In the 1971 war in Kashmir, Pakistan gained some territory in Chhamb as the Indian Army poised for an offensive was caught off guard by the Pakistani attack.
- Major K.C. Parval. Indian Army After Independence. Lancer Publisher. ISBN 9781935501619.
- Lt. Col. Muhammad Usman Hassan. "Battle Lore – On Breakthrough in Chamb". Soldiers Speak, Selected Articles from Pakistan Army Journal 1956-1981. Army Education Press, GHQ, Rawalpindi.
- "The Battle of Chamb-1971".
- Singh, Maj. Gen. Sukhwant (20 May 2018), "1971: Assessment of campaign in the Western Sector", Indian Defence Review
- VSM, Brig Amar Cheema (31 March 2015), The Crimson Chinar: The Kashmir Conflict: A Politico Military Perspective, Lancer Publishers, pp. 297–, ISBN 978-81-7062-301-4