Could The Indian Air Force Have Tilted The Scales In The 1962 War With China?

There is a building at the entrance to the Military area in Mumbai, called ‘Adarsh’. One cannot help seeing it, as it rises 31 story’s into the sky. One could perhaps ignore it, but for the fact that this building was meant for widows of martyrs who dies during the Kargil War. It was also supposed to be a 7 storey building.Thus by making it a 31 story building all coastal zone regulations was flouted.

The B-24 was a 4 engine plane. It had a bomb bay and a gunner and needed a crew of 3. The aircraft had a range of 3000 miles and thus could move deep into China as well as cover the entire Pakistan. The liberator had a cruising sped of 300mph and had long endurance. It was basically an American plane and very comfortable to pilot. The liberator was used in the Goa operations in 1961 and served as part of the IAF arsenal for over 20 years. After the induction of the Canberra the B-24 was used for sea surveillance role in the Arabian Sea.

The battle took place on the day of Good Friday. The British gained upper hand over the Ethiopian empire. The casualties were more on the side of Ethiopian empire. The deadly battle took place for nearly two days. The Ethiopian King Tewodros II was fighting a losing battle. Finally, he realized that he was no more going to win. So, he killed himself so as to prevent himself from getting captivated. Thus, the battle came to an end with victory over the side of the British Empire. The British army set fire to many churches and buildings near Magdala. The British also plundered and looted the Ethiopian Empire.

Manohar Malgonkar was born in 1912 and had his education at Bombay where he graduated in English and Sanskrit. Manohar could trace his lineage to the royal family with roots in Goa and after graduation he took to big game hunting and also shot 8 tigers. But he soon gave up the sport and became a staunch conservationist of wild life.

The Eastern Command was in existence, but the IAF never carried out any exercises for hill attacks and operations. All the exercises were carried out for operations in the plains. This is hard to stomach now and the role of successive Air Chiefs from Air Marshal S Mukherjee down wards needs evaluation. The IAF was not conditioned for any form of operation in the hills and the heights of the Himalayas. However the IAF was combat ready for operations in the plains. Thus when the PLA moved in a logical corollary would have been to use the IAF as a ground support to blunt the Chinese offensive. This however did not happen and the Army fought it’s battle without Air Support. Thus the cardinal principle of Douhet was thrown to the winds.

My passport had been taken away by the government and I was told that I was under investigation because of the jail sentence. The passport could only be returned after I was cleared.

Suddenly, 180 million people are forced to come to terms with the possibility that their armed forces might not be as awesome as they thought. The incidents imply that the army is ineffective, incapable and inefficient. The army is not infallible and is not top notch. In a world where the army is the only thing in Pakistan that is reliable and true, this is a fundamental shock to the nation’s value system.

There are excellent Army course at Bengdubi near Baghdogra and a new course has just been commissioned at Bhatinda. The Army has certainly taken to Golf in a big way and we must thank the English for this.

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