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Good Tank Country

Geographically, the whole of Pakistan can be described as a narrow strip of land astride the Indus River. This has its own peculiar implications of lack of depth and difficulty in defense. Major core areas, major industries and main arteries of communication lie perilously close to the border. With a vulnerable coastline open to the Indian Navy, Pakistan is prone to be blockaded due to single port of Karachi.

There is a lot of good tank country in Pakistan's heartland - the Punjab plain. Korea isn't good tank country. There were almost no good roads in Korea, and it was not good tank country in the Patton and Walker sense. Iran, one of the world's most mountainous countries, isn't good tank country. The border between China and India is high in the Himalayan mountains, which is not good tank country. Burma was definitely not good tank country. Two substantial rivers run north and south, the first being the great Irrawaddy and, 50 miles to the east, the Sittang. The few roads and tracks went through rice paddy fields, and were mostly underwater in the rainy season and baked hard in summer, having many banks and obstructions. Beyond the paddy fields was the jungle, almost impenetrable for tanks.

What does "good tank country" look like? German tanks easily rolled into Poland on September 1, 1939. Poland was good tank country, relatively flat with few physical barriers. The open steppe and farm land of the Ukraine is good tank country. presenting only a few large river barriers to an attacking force. Germany is good tank country. The North German Plain is relatively flat and open terrain. Rivers and valleys do not canalize cross-country movement as is the situation further south. Such conditions made the area ideally suited to armor operations and provided Warsaw Pact forces with the best terrain to conduct a high-speed offensive across Western Europe to the major port facilities along the coast. Much of Vietnam was good tank country, particularly northern I Corps along the DMZ. The Central Highlands were actually very good Tank Country. Iraq has lots of good tank country, offering easy passage with wide and deep fields of view and fire. As a theater of military operations, the majority of Kuwait is flat and unobstructed desert. Military terrain analyses identified 60% of Kuwait as open desert terrain - good tank country and maneuvering - while another 15% was impeding terrain - soft sand dunes and rough man-made badlands.

Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands; the Balochistan Plateau, and the Indus River plain, with two major subdivisions corresponding roughly to the provinces of Punjab and Sindh. Because of their rugged topography and the rigors of the climate, the northern highlands and the Himalayas to the east have been formidable barriers to movement into Pakistan throughout history. North-south valleys in Balochistan and Sindh have restricted the migration of peoples along the Makran Coast on the Arabian Sea east toward the plains. Several large passes cut the ranges along the border with Afghanistan. Among them are the the Khyber Pass, forty kilometers west of Peshawar and leading to Kabul.

On the eastern border with India, south of the Sutlej River, the Thar Desert may be considered separately from the Indus Plain. Sindh is the South Eastern Province of Pakistan. The province can be divided longitudinally in three distinct sections of equal sizes. The western part, known as Kohistan is hilly; the central portion is a fertile valley irrigated by the River Indus (Nara) and in the Eastern part is the Thar Desert. The Sindh Plain comprises mainly the province of Sindh and stretches between the Punjab Plain and the Arabian Sea. River Indus flows here as a single river. The plain comprises of a vast fertile tract stretching westward from the narrow strip of flood plain on the right bank of River Indus, and a vast expanse of desert stretching eastward from the left bank.

The Thar Desert, also known as the Great Indian Desert, straddles the border between northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. The Thar Desert of Pakistan, also known as the Rajasthan Desert in India, is bound on the east by the Aravalli Range and on the west by the present Indus River floodplain. As the monsoon crosses India, it loses moisture on the eastern slopes of the Aravalli Range. The Thar Desert of western India is the most densely populated hot desert in the world. Tharparkar supports a population of one million spread over 2350 villages pressed on 20,000 square Kilometers. The live stock population is considerably high, i.e about four million heads (in 1993) as compared to the availability of feed resources which are hardly sufficient for half of the live stock population. The area is mainly covered by sand dunes with substantial natural vegetation.

Rains are the only source in the sand desert tract and it is rare, at intervals of 3-4 years and maximum rain fall is recorded up to 3 inches only, with the result that the local Tharies are always in the state of nomad tribes. Besides, uncertain fate, famine is inherited by Tharies. Under the aforesaid desperate local conditions and environments that Tharies have a courage and solitude to survive and meet such desperate conditions boldly as their fate.

Located in northwestern India and eastern Pakistan, the Thar desert is bounded on the south by a salt marsh known as the Rann of Kutch, and on the west by the Indus River plain. About 800 kilometers long and about 500 kilometers wide, the desert's terrain is mainly rolling sandhills with scattered growths of shrub and rock outcroppings. The Thar desert, located in the Rajasthan state of India and parts of Pakistan is the home to a number of saline playas (lakes). These commercially important playas in this part of the world vary in size from very small depressions of few tens of square meters to massive basins which may exceed hundreds of km2. The Thar Desert includes a 214,000-km2 sand sea on the ancient alluvial plain of the Indus River in Pakistan and western India. The sand dunes of the Thar Desert constantly shift and take on new shapes.

Thar is a desert region in the southern part of Sindh province in Pakistan. "Thar" consists of a tract of small hills resembling the waves troubled sea, generally, running east and west and generally, higher in the western than eastern part of the district. 'The 'Parker' is situated in south-east of Thar. Its length and breath are from north to south, twenty miles, and from east to west thirty miles. In Parkar, ranges of hills composed of hard rocks take the place of the small hills of the Thar. From the south, the Runn separates the Thar and Parker from Kutch.

The district is mostly desert and consist of barren tracts of sand dunes covered with thorny bushes. The ridges are irregular and roughly parallel, that they often enclosed sheltered valleys, above which they rise to a height of some fifty meters. These valleys are moist enough to admit cultivation and when not cultivated they yield luxuriant crops of rank grass. But the extraordinary salinity of the subsoil and consequent shortage of potable water, renders many tracts quite uninhabitable. In many of the valleys the subsoil water collects and forms large and picturesque salt lakes, which rarely dry up.

Cultivation is sparse in the northern mountains, the southern deserts, and the western plateaus, but the Indus River basin in Punjab and northern Sindh has fertile soil that enables Pakistan to feed its population under usual climatic conditions. The Punjab Plain comprises mainly the province of Punjab. It is the gifted fertile land of River Indus and its five eastern tributaries - Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas. The plain is a great alluvial crescent stretching from the Indus River system in Pakistan to the Punjab Plain (in both Pakistan and India). Most of the Punjab plain is at an altitude of about 100 m, whereas the cloud-covered peaks to the north are above 6000 m (6 km or more of relief over a 60-km horizontal distance). The Punjab Plain in India has an area of about 40,000 square miles (100,000 square km) and in India covers the states of Punjab and Haryana and the union territory of Delhi.

In Pakistan the Punjab plain spreads from the south of Potohar plateau up to Mithankot, where the Sulaiman Range approaches river Indus. The Punjab plain is almost a featureless plain with a gentle slope southward averaging one foot to the mile. The only break in the alluvial monotony is the little group of broken hills (100 ft-1,600ft.) near Sangla and Irana on either side of the Chenab. The entire plain is extensively irrigated by a network of canals.


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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:04:05 ZULU