Topic about: the Battle of Longewala (Hindi: लोंगेवाला की लड़ाई, Urdu: لو&#

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February 8th, 2010  


the Battle of Longewala (Hindi: लोंगेवाला की लड़ाई, Urdu: لوںگیوالا کی لڑائی) (December 4, 1971 - December 5, 1971) was one of the first major engagements in the Western Sector during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, fought between assaulting Pakistani forces and Indian defenders at the Indian border post of Longewala, in the Thar Desert of the Rajasthan state in India.
The Indian infantry company (reinforced) was left with the choices of either attempting to hold out until reinforced, or fleeing on foot from a mechanised infantry Pakistani force, choosing the former. The company officer commanding ensured that all his assets were correctly employed, and made the most use of his strong defensive position, and weaknesses created by errors in enemy tactics. He was also fortunate in that an Indian Air Force forward air controller was able to secure and direct aircraft in support of the post's defence until reinforcements arrived six hours later.
The Pakistani commanders made several bad decisions, including failure of strategic intelligence to foresee availability of Indian strike aircraft in the Longewala area, exercising operational mobility with little or no route reconnaissance, and conducting a tactical frontal assault with no engineer reconnaissance. This led to the Pakistani brigade group being left extremely vulnerable to air attack, vehicles becoming bogged in ground surface not suitable for movement of armoured vehicles as they tried to deploy off a single track, these being more susceptible to enemy fire by using external fuel storage in tactical combat, attempting to execute a night attack over unfamiliar terrain, and infantry being surprised by obstacles to troop movement causing confusion and stalling the attack during the crucial hours of darkness when the assaulting infantry still had a measure of concealment from Indian small arms and infantry support weapons fire.

The battle

During the night of the 4th, Lt. Veer's platoon conducting a patrol detected noises across the border that suggested a large number of armoured vehicles approaching.[10] These were soon confirmed by reports from the Air Force observation aircraft in the area of a 20 km long armoured column on the track leading to the post advancing in the general direction of the Longewala post.[11] Directing Lt Veer's patrol to trail the advancing armoured column, Chandpuri got in touch with the battalion headquarters requesting urgent reinforcements and armour and artillery support. Battalion HQ gave him the choice of staying put, and containing the attack as much as possible, or carrying out a tactical retreat of the company to Ramgarh, as reinforcements would not be available for at least six hours. Considering that Chandpuri's command had no transportation, and was facing a mobile enemy, he decided to maintain the defensive position of the post where his troops at least had the benefit of prepared defensive works, rather than conducting a withdrawal at night that was a far more riskier option.
The Pakistani forces begun their attack at 12:30 am.[12] As the offensive approached the lone outpost, Pakistani artillery opened up across the border with medium artillery guns, killing five of the ten camels from the BSF detachment. As the column of 65 tanks neared the post, Indian defences, lacking the time to lay a prepared minefield, laid a hasty anti-tank minefield as the enemy advanced, one infantryman being killed in the process.[13] The Indian infantry held fire until the leading Pakistani tanks had approached to 15-30 metres before firing their PIATs.[13] They accounted for the first two tanks on the track with their Jeep-mounted 106 mm M40 recoilless rifle,[14] with one of its crew being killed during the combat. This weapon proved quite effective because it was able to engage the thinner top armour of the Pakistani tanks from its elevated position, firing at often stationary bogged down vehicles. In all the post defenders claimed 12 tanks destroyed or damaged. The initial Pakistani attack stalled almost immediately when the infantry discovered the barbed wire which was unseen in the night, and interpreted it to signify a minefield. Firing for the Indian RCL crews was made easier by the flames of fires when the spare fuel tanks on the Pakistani tanks, intended to supplement their internal capacity for the advance to Jaisalmer, exploded, at once providing ample light for Indians located on higher ground, and creating a dense acrid smoke screen at ground level for the Pakistani infantry, adding to the confusion. Two hours were lost as Pakistani sappers were brought up, only to discover there was no minefield. However, at this time Pakistani infantry were required to make another attack, from a different direction, but in the dawn light. The Pakistani advance then attempted to surround the post two hours later by vehicles getting off the road, but many vehicles, particularly armoured personnel carriers and tanks, in trying to soften up the Indian defenders before attacking, became bogged in the soft sand of the area surrounding the post. Throughout the engagement Major Chandpuri continued to direct the supporting artillery fire.[13]
Although massively outnumbering the Indian defenders, and having surrounded them, the Pakistani troops were unable to advance over open terrain on a full-moon night,[12] under small arms and mortar fire from the outpost. This encouraged the Indians not to give up their strong defensive position, frustrating the Pakistani commanders. As dawn arrived, the Pakistan forces had still not taken the post, and were now having to do so in full daylight.
In the morning the Indian Air Force was finally able to direct some HF-24 Maruts and Hawker Hunter aircraft to assist the post; they were not outfitted with night vision equipment, and so were delayed from conducting combat missions until dawn.[15] With daylight, however, the IAF was able to operate effectively, with the strike aircraft being guided to the targets by the airborne Forward Air Controller (FAC) Major Atma Singh in a HAL Krishak.[16] The Indian aircraft attacked the Pakistani ground troops with the 16 Matra T-10 rockets and 30 mm cannon fire on each aircraft. Without support from the Pakistan Air Force, which was busy elsewhere, the tanks and other armoured vehicles were easy targets for the IAF's Hunters. The range of the 12.7 mm anti-aircraft heavy machine guns mounted on the tanks was limited and therefore ineffective against the Indian jets. Indian air attacks were made easier by the nature of the barren terrain. By noon the next day, the assault ended completely, having cost Pakistan 22 tanks claimed destroyed by aircraft fire, 12 by ground anti-tank fire, and some captured after being abandoned, with a total of 100 vehicles claimed to have been destroyed or damaged in the desert around the post. The Pakistani attack was first halted, and then Pakistani forces were forced to withdraw when AMX-13 Indian tanks from division's cavalry regiment, and the 17th Rajputana Rifles launched their counter-offensive to end the six-hour combat;[13] Longewala had proved to be one of the defining moments in the war.


A burnt-out Pakistani tank hit during the battle.
Notwithstanding the Indian victory, there were intelligence and strategic failures on both sides. India's intelligence failed to provide warning of such a large armoured force in the western sector. Moreover the defending post was not heavily armed to neutralise the enemy. Finally, they did not push home the advantage by finishing more tanks when the IAF had the Pakistan tanks on the run. They did, however destroy or capture some 36 tanks,[17] remaining one of the largest disproportionate tank casualties for one side in a single battle after World War II. A
Invading Pakistan troops meanwhile, had over-estimated the Longewala post's defensive capability due to the difficulty of approach over sand, conducting the attack at night and in full-moon light, against stiff resistance encountered there from a well prepared defensive position located on a dominant height. Attacking with virtually no air cover, they took long to close for an assault on the position, and failed to anticipate availability of Indian close air support.
The British media significantly exploited the defence of Longewala. James Hatter compared the Battle of Longewala as to Battle of Thermopylae in his article 'TAKING ON THE ENEMY AT LONGEWALA' describing it as the deciding moment of the 1971 war.[17] Similarly, Field Marshal R.M. Carver, the British Chief of the Imperial General Staff, visited Longewala a few weeks after the war to learn the details of the battle from Major Chandpuri.[17]


120 soldier along with 1 jeep mounted M40 recoilless gun.

2800 soldiers ,65 tanks,138 military vehicles,5 field gun,3 anti-aircraft gun.

INDIA lost 2 men and the recoilless gun destroyed.

200 soldiers killed,36 tank destroyed or captured,100 vehicles destroyed or captured.
February 8th, 2010  
The invasion of (neutral) Sweden by Italian NATO soldiers in 2007:

It clearly shows - live! - what happens if you leave that map to a General...

"It does not seem to have occurred to anyone in the unit that Sweden is not part of Nato," the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera commented. "Kristiansand and Kristianstad may sound remarkably similar, but that is no excuse for Italy invading Sweden in error." Kristiansand is on the southern Norwegian coast, facing Denmark, while Kristianstad is in southern Sweden, not far from Malmo.
February 8th, 2010  

Is this for real???
February 8th, 2010  
If you are refering to Italy accidentally invading Sweden, yes.

It took some visits of ambassadors and written Excuses to pacify the Swedes, the Air Force pilot that confused Kristiansand and Kristianstad got grounded and later got sacked. You can find still a lot on the net about the incident if you go looking.

February 8th, 2010  
Originally Posted by rattler
The invasion of (neutral) Sweden by Italian NATO soldiers in 2007:

It clearly shows - live! - what happens if you leave that map to a General...

Wow I'm left speechless, I guess someone needs to take 101 Map reading & land navigation again and again.
February 13th, 2010  
thanks for the report Sidewinder. Interesting story.

A little question, do you think that these tactical mistakes were made because of incompetence or just that they didnt have the mean to get the necessary informations?

Was there a way for the Pakistanis to know that they had air support?

Were they that stupid? Because I dont think that the Pakistani's would send an idiot to invade their mortal enemy. If it's the case... well... damn... they are very backward...

They sacrificed a goat to Allah and went to war? No body can be that retarded and command an army...
February 17th, 2010  
indeed it was sheer incompetence.they never sent patrol or never had any recce in this area.they thought if they invade this part with huge number of infantry and armored div they will win this part.they knew we had an air base near longewala but they neglected this point, thinking they will catch us by surprise.just because they didn't knew there enemy well they were defeated by us.

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