Army Air Defense Combat Record
In the 1948 War, the time fuze of Heavy Anti Aircraft guns brought a total surprise to Indians. In Pandu and Chota Kazi Nag Sector, four Anti Aircraft guns were deployed besides Medium and field artillery. In Uri and Akhnur Sectors, 2 x Heavy Anti Aircraft guns and 4 x Light Anti Aircraft guns participated in Artillery duels. Despite lack of tracks, Captain Abid Hussain Shah (later Major Abid Hussain took the guns to a position in Babot and positioned them on 5 December 1948, which surprised every one. Even General Tottenham, the General Officer Commanding had to call Captain Abid and congratulate him for a job which was almost impossible. Besides use in ground role, these guns never allowed the Indian Reconnaissance planes to enter the area and take photographs. The performance of Anti Aircraft gunners, though negligible; had been commendable from all angles.
The Indian Summer Offensive in Jhelum valley started in May 1948. Besides Field Artillery to support the ground offensive of our infantry, the 3.7 inch Heavy Anti Aircraft guns ex 5 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment and 40 mm Anti Aircraft guns of 6 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment were also employed/deployed in ground role to augment the fire power of field Artillery. It may be mentioned that at various places these Anti Aircraft guns proved more effective (basing direct firing weapons).
During the 1965 War, in August, 110 and 111 batteries moved to Chamb and came under command 4 Corps Artillery. On 6 September 111 Battery moved to Sialkot with 4 Corps Artillery. 110 Battery remained with 7 Division. On 10 September 109 Battery moved from Jhelum bridge and joined 11 Division.
19 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, a unit organic to 1 Armoured Division sent three batteries to Sialkot to join 4 Corps Artillery, which now had two batteries from two different units, 49 (SP) and 135 batteries were deployed to protect bridges on BRB and Ruhi nullah, road Kasur-Khem Karn. Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment and 20 Light Anti- Aircraft Regiment were the only anti-aircraft units employed as such, the former at Mauripur and the later at Sargodha air base.
- 132 Battery - Ravi Bridge
- 133 Battery - Kala Ordnance depot
- 134 Battery - Chenab Bridge
- 135 Battery - Jhelum Bridge
- 112 Battery - Ravi Bridge
- 111 Battery - Kharian
- 110 Battery - Chenab Bridge
- 109 Battery - Jhelum Bridge
- 14 Battery -Sargodha air base
- 20 Battery -Peshawar air base
- 33 Battery -Sakesar air base
- 5 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment sent 18 Battery to Badin and 12 Battery to Korangi Creek.
On 6 September 33 Battery, 36 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, moved from Kala to Sargodha air base and came under command 20 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. Sargodha now had five batteries from three different regiments. On 12 September 135 Battery was moved from Jhelum bridge and joined II Division Artillery, which formation now had four batteries from three different regiments. On 13 September 132 Battery moved from Ravi bridge to north Syphon. Admittedly, some grouping was necessitated by deficiency of anti-aircraft units and some of the moves were dictated by tactical compulsions. Nevertheless the complete hodge-podge obtained by 13 September may be attributed only to lack of foresight. Despite the disruption of command structure the performance of anti- aircraft units was commendable.
In face of Pakistani anti-aircraft artillery, Indian aircraft seldom pressed home their attacks with any degree of precision. Approximately thirty aircraft were shot down during the period of fighting. In terms of cost effectiveness our anti-aircraft artillery units had more than earned their keep.
Anti-Aircraft units by virtue of their role may operate, if necessary as sub-units, as well. However, there is no justification for their commitment in complete disregard of command structure. The intimacy of leadership is an element of strength in the operational performance of any military organisation. To eliminate this element is to deprive the unit of that much strength. In 1965 war anti- aircraft units were indeed scattered with almost lunatic abandon. 36 Anti-Aircraft Regiment was initially deployed as follows:- In 1971 anti-aircraft artillery resources consisted of the following : 3 Anti-Aircraft Brigades, responsible for defence of Pakistan Air Force installations and Naval Dockyard at Karachi; Anti-Aircraft units organic to field formations; and Anti-Aircraft Mujahid companies under command logistic areas.
Anti-Aircraft resources were inadequate for the number of installations whose security was necessary to the successful prosecution of war. The air installations, quite rightly, received the highest priority. Next came Naval dockyards and some important bridges. The oil installations and railway remained largely unprotected. Some were given Mujahid sub- units, whose equipment was defective and whose personnel were mildewed ex-servicemen. From 4 December onwards Indian air attacks were focused on railway engines and oil installations. The anti-aircraft units had mixture of British, American and Chinese equipment. Most of the equipment was of World War II vintage. Despite this handicap anti-aircraft units were employed judicially and fought with gallantry.
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