Kargil Revisited

Aditya G
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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Aditya G » 17 Jun 2004 07:40

I always thought that Nachiketa was firing guns when he flamed out...

What is a "BDA mission"? :confused:

27 May 99 Flt Lt Nachiketa ejected from Mig-27 aircraft due to flameout while firing air to ground rockets in Batalik sector, taken POW. Sqn Ldr Ajay Ahuja (17864)F(P) shot down by gun fire while looking for wreckage of Flt Lt Nachiketa. He was on a BDA mission in MIG-21 aircraft. Pilot killed in captivity by enemy forces.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Rangudu » 17 Jun 2004 07:43

Bomb Damage Assessment or Battle Damage Assessment?

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Arun_S » 17 Jun 2004 09:00

Originally posted by Daulat:
the air lessons from kargil are mixed

1. IAF displayed air dominance, kept PAF out of the picture
How is this a lesson?

2. conventional attack in mountains is a waste of time and expensive (3 a/c 5 men lost)

So loss of those 500 Indian soldiers and Kargil war was also a waste?

3. PGM's can succeed if... given many conditions... however are also very expensive - where's the value added targets?

War is about objectives, strategy and determination. It is not about cost trade off. Cost trade off is more applicable to long term campaigns (e.g. WW-II, Cold War, WOT)

4. designating pickets and sangars on razor sharp edges is probably technically too difficult for follow up attacks by air

Every weapon and tactic is relatively relevant versus situational requirement.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby wyu » 17 Jun 2004 09:48

Originally posted by Arun_S:
Originally posted by Daulat:
[b]the air lessons from kargil are mixed

1. IAF displayed air dominance, kept PAF out of the picture
How is this a lesson?[/b]
The PAF did not scrap Indain ants off any hill.

Originally posted by Arun_S:
2. conventional attack in mountains is a waste of time and expensive (3 a/c 5 men lost)

So loss of those 500 Indian soldiers and Kargil war was also a waste?
The lost of those soldiers, while regrettable, was not intolerable. Combat effectiveness of the InA ground troops was never lost. The same cannot be said of the InAF.

Originally posted by Arun_S:
3. PGM's can succeed if... given many conditions... however are also very expensive - where's the value added targets?

War is about objectives, strategy and determination. It is not about cost trade off. Cost trade off is more applicable to long term campaigns (e.g. WW-II, Cold War, WOT)
No, it is about sufficent strength to achieve the OPOBJ. The InAF lacked the strength to achieve their OPOBJ while the InA did not.

Originally posted by Arun_S:
4. designating pickets and sangars on razor sharp edges is probably technically too difficult for follow up attacks by air

Every weapon and tactic is relatively relevant versus situational requirement.
Yes, and you should examine each and every mission/sortie before making your erroneous claims.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby RayC » 17 Jun 2004 12:16

Originally posted by Arun_S:
Originally posted by Daulat:
[b]the air lessons from kargil are mixed

1. IAF displayed air dominance, kept PAF out of the picture
How is this a lesson?

2. conventional attack in mountains is a waste of time and expensive (3 a/c 5 men lost)

So loss of those 500 Indian soldiers and Kargil war was also a waste?

3. PGM's can succeed if... given many conditions... however are also very expensive - where's the value added targets?

War is about objectives, strategy and determination. It is not about cost trade off. Cost trade off is more applicable to long term campaigns (e.g. WW-II, Cold War, WOT)

4. designating pickets and sangars on razor sharp edges is probably technically too difficult for follow up attacks by air

Every weapon and tactic is relatively relevant versus situational requirement.[/b]
How was there air dominance? Did the PAF contest? They did not for reasons best known to them. In the event, one feels that the PAF is incapable of even one sortie, then I would be real interested.

What makes you feel that conventional attacks in the mountains is a waste? Indeed if it were, then there would be no requirement for troops. The IAF could have done the task. Obviously, there is a mismatch with your contention and those of the Armed Forces. As you have said, every weapon has its utility and use. Obviously, what can be done by the armour in the plains, it would be plumb stupid to only use infantry! Likewise, if artillery can do the job, why have a nuclear bomb to do it? Even when the air support is asked for by the ground forces, the ground forces do not specify the weapons to be used. It is done by the IAF since they know better.

Designating of mountain peaks held by the enemyn per se in the moutains is not a hassle at all. However, what is the hassle is that bomb released may not drop on it because it is just a small peak and razor sharp. The bomb can go 'over' or 'under'. Both the situation would mean that the effort goes waste. PGMs are better provided the 'calculations for release' keeping all parametres in view.

Every weapon and tactics is relevant to the ground situation and not vice versa.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Vivek_A » 17 Jun 2004 18:46

Is it just me or is Patney trying to get the word out that India only won in Kargil because of American diplomacy? First there is the "anonymous source" in the report on page 6, almost certainly Patney. He's said the same thing in an Indian express op-ed months ago.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Raman » 17 Jun 2004 19:13

How was there air dominance? Did the PAF contest? They did not for reasons best known to them.
The Pakis tried ... once. Two F-16s tried to jump a MiG-27. A MiG-29 locked both of them up and forced them to turn tail. If that encounter had been different (say, the loss of the -27), you probably would have seen increased PAF "attention."

What makes you feel that conventional attacks in the mountains is a waste? Indeed if it were, then there would be no requirement for troops. The IAF could have done the task.
I think you are preaching to the choir. Arun was merely responding to the previous postor who implied that the IAF action in Kargil was an ieffectual waste due to loss of aircrew and aircraft. Arun was implying that loss of personnel alone does not imply ineffectiveness, as shown by the Army's own efforts.

I am no military strategist, but my understanding of wyu's and your opinion is that, conversely, there was no requirement for Air Force action in Kargil since the Army had better control over its Bofors shells and was (by definition) always better placed to avoid blue-on-blue.

My apologies, if I'm not understanding you correctly. I would appreciate your (and wyu's view) on what role an Air Force should play in mountain warfare (if any). Recce, BDA and casevac only?

wyu,

The PAF did not scrap Indain ants off any hill.
With complete air dominance, InAF failed to scrape Paki ants off the hill. So it would be safe to assume that with complete PAF air dominance, the PAF would still have been unable to scrape Indian ants off the hill. Why the requirement for air dominance at all, since it appears that it has absolutely no bearing with what happens on the ground???

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Arun_S » 17 Jun 2004 19:45

Originally posted by wyu:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Arun_S:
2. conventional attack in mountains is a waste of time and expensive (3 a/c 5 men lost)

So loss of those 500 Indian soldiers and Kargil war was also a waste?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The lost of those soldiers, while regrettable, was not intolerable. Combat effectiveness of the InA ground troops was never lost. The same cannot be said of the InAF.
.
I challange that statement.
1. The first series of fixed wing attack were not effective as BDA and Local IA force revealed. That forced adjusting the attack method and it started to pay devident.
2. The ineffectiveness of first series of attack was also due to imposed constrain to not cross the LoC. Limiting the approach to target.
3. The heavy bombing capability of IAF should not be under estimated.
4. The bottom line is IAF did the job and was responsible for great abount of enemy casulty and destrcution, softening/pulping many objective allowing easy retaking. Apart from greatly demoralizing the TSP NLI.

OTOH: Thus using IAF sparingly as Long Range arty for Hi Alt ridge target would not be successful for even US.

No, it is about sufficent strength to achieve the OPOBJ. The InAF lacked the strength to achieve their OPOBJ while the InA did not.
1. Wrong. Its not about IA and IAF competing to do the job. They were working as one to complete the job.
2. IAF was fully ready for full scale (wider) war/attack on TSP.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby daulat » 17 Jun 2004 19:55

ah the beauty of conversations at cross purposes!!!

air dominance by IAF presence and intent kept PAF from interference following the first attempt with the F16's (Pak radars and posts would have picked up our CAPs and transmissions and understood what was out there - and what not to tangle with). this allowed air ops to proceed unmolested - recon, supply, etc. being able to do so without actually fighting is a pretty good outcome from an air strategy perspective.

also, PAF could have attacked Indian supply routes and staging posts - by crossing the LOC, and so could we in reverse. clearly they would be less able to dislodge ants on hills than us since they lack the relevant weapons

and yes, the IAF lost a lot of assets for very little return in the early stages. atleast they learnt from that and switched tactics instead of persisting with something that wasn't working. I made no mention of the army at any point.

conventional attack - USING DUMB BOMBS FROM PLANES is a waste of time in mountains, something I think you yourself said before RayC. I made no mention of infantry attack, etc. which are clearly the only way to actually win in mountains

if laser designating stone sangars is easy then i defer to superior knowledge. i had assumed that metal targets would be better

i was not explicit about the aerodynamic characteristics of the munitions - which were the primary source of errors as mentioned in numerous reports.

fact is, IAF could have been much more effective if they had been tasked with attacking the supply chain and not the ants on hills. On the plus side, atleast they finally got to practice PGM delivery, and to be honest using the PGM to properly light up a small well hidden target and then hitting the big smoking thing with iron bombs is a good tactic, especially if your stock of PGM's is a bit low

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Umrao » 17 Jun 2004 19:57


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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Harry » 17 Jun 2004 20:43

The main problem was that the scale and seriousness of the situation had not become apparent until the later stages. It was near impossible to effectively calculate the risks and effort needed to take out a small, seemingly low value targets of a small scale insurgency, presenting a very high level threat with conditions such as rarified air aiding SAM range. Had the SAM intensity in the area become apparent from the very beginning, a Canberra may not have been shot and recce operations may have continued, giving the IAF a clearer picture much sooner. Alternatively, the Canberra itself may not even have been chosen. Initially, the calculated potential kill:potential loss ratio was not found to favour recce operations from other assets and the MiG-25R was chosen. However, the MiG-25R is mainly for strategic and not tactical surveillance and it's cameras cannot provide adequate resolution for the latter in a high altitude profile. After a lot of haggling and skepticism, the MiG-25R was finally used in an unusal medium altitude profile and came back with superb photos, which were just what the IAF needed.

Some like to point out that the Jaguar did'nt perform as well as the Mirage-2000 but the fact is that the DARIN's mission software is essentially designed for low level operations and does'nt allow weapons symbology to be available above 24,000 feet. Also, one of the reasons that the initial dumb bomb strikes did'nt give the desired effect was because they were carried out at night, and were mostly just blind attacks on reported GPS coordinates, already made inaccurate through the use of outdated maps of the area. When an accurate picture emerged, things took a sudden change and the IAF employed it's assets to great efficiency and acheived it's objectives to the max.

Then there's decision making at higher levels. Think of the casualties that could have been avoided if the IAF were allowed to take out artillery behind the LOC or atleast, engage the PA's AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder with ARMATs or Kh-25s, something that could have been done from India's side of the LOC. All said and done, even if the IA had contributed much more, the Kargil victory was due to a combined IAF-IA effort and despite the "could haves", the IAF acheived results in previosuly uncharted scenarios, in terms of altitude and terrain. Even if late, it's good to see that the importance of air power was realised even though this was'nt a full scale war.

PS It's IAF and IA, not InAF or InA.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Rangudu » 17 Jun 2004 21:27

Originally posted by John Umrao:
lest we forget.

http://specials.rediff.com/news/2004/jun/17karg1.htm
Captain Batra will forever remain in my memory. I watched his joyous recounting of the 5140 capture - "Yeh dil mange more" to NDTV's Barkha Dutt and could not help but feel pumped up. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach when his death was announced. So many young men perished because of Pakis' treachery.

Never ever forget. Ever.

George J

Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby George J » 17 Jun 2004 21:30

Originally posted by Harry:
........DARIN's mission software is essentially designed for low level operations and does'nt allow weapons symbology to be available above 24,000 feet....
What does that mean in simple language??? Does it mean that at high altitudes DARIN 'does not work'..i.e have a effective ceiling? Or that hardware does not function at that height?? Its a bit archaic.

Another point that I dont quite understand is: IAF had complete air dominance during Kargil. How correct is this assertion? Now having being fed with oodles of Desert Storm, Enduring Freedum and Eyrakee Freedum where the concept was clearly demonstrated, I cant seem to draw parallels in Kargil.

The IAF never engaged anything on its side of the airspace. PAF never crossed over to our side of the airspace. Even Chibber's lock was on a boogie in their LEGITIMATE airspace (so that would make any engagement illegal for us). Also ACM has been quoted saying that the IAF kept PAF cooped up. But what motive does PAF have to engage and increase hostilities since their assertions was that IA was engaging 'freedum fighters'. So any support to such freedum fighters would countervail their stand.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Umrao » 17 Jun 2004 22:03

The main problem was that the scale and seriousness of the situation had not become apparent until the later stages. It was near impossible to effectively calculate the risks and effort needed to take out a small, seemingly low value targets of a small scale insurgency, presenting a very high level threat with conditions such as rarified air aiding SAM range. Had the SAM intensity in the area become apparent from the very beginning, a Canberra may not have been shot and recce operations may have continued, giving the IAF a clearer picture much sooner
revisit those days

Kaka saying, ' We will give safe passage' mind you he is the defence minister.

Akhand saying " some misguided elements/ militants, will be flushed very soon'

Gen. Malik playing golf in Srinigar while young Lts charging the peaks...

It was chalta hai attitude all the way till June second week...

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Harry » 17 Jun 2004 22:36

What does that mean in simple language??? Does it mean that at high altitudes DARIN 'does not work'..i.e have a effective ceiling? Or that hardware does not function at that height?? Its a bit archaic.
It simply means that you will not get targetting info on your HUD because the nav-attack systems, LRMTS and WAC are optimised and programmed for (single pass) accuracy at low levels, thus the software will limit their height of operation. The Jaguar itself is designed to be a deep penetration low level striker, so that's hardly archaic. The Jaguar-IS also needs to use it's Ferranti ARI 12321/3 LRMTS to lase the targets wheras the Mirage-2000 has the Atlis-II. Upgraded Jaguars will carry the Litening.

The IAF never engaged anything on its side of the airspace. PAF never crossed over to our side of the airspace. Even Chibber's lock was on a boogie in their LEGITIMATE airspace (so that would make any engagement illegal for us). Also ACM has been quoted saying that the IAF kept PAF cooped up. But what motive does PAF have to engage and increase hostilities since their assertions was that IA was engaging 'freedum fighters'. So any support to such freedum fighters would countervail their stand.
I guess you did'nt see the pictures of damage circa 1999, in POKistan, claimed by TSP to be the result of IAF a/c attacks, which crossed the LoC. What's stopping them from attacking an aircraft in the LoC's proximity and claiming that it crossed the same? Their choppers and C-130s also happily operated inside Indian territory in the earlier months, dropping supplies.

Kaka saying, ' We will give safe passage' mind you he is the defence minister.
How could anybody forget that? :mad:

George J

Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby George J » 17 Jun 2004 22:50

So 24K is the absolute altitude from sea level and not relative altitude. Coz you could still be flying 100 feet above a target situated at 21,000 feet.

Also the second part of the second question was, what motive would PAF have to escalte the situation. Having IAF come into play itself was way beyond their jihadi imagiation to handle. With a PAF engagement it would no longer be a low intensity conflict and a full blown conflict. While the IAF was very eager to establish its territory as was made amply clear by its U-turns over POK and painting boogies outside of their airspace.

Without taking anything away from the IAF I feel that we dominated the air coz it was our legitimate airspace and PAF had nothing to gain by upping the ante thanks to it freedum fighter line. Hence we really didnt have air dominance since there was no real threat to it.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Harry » 17 Jun 2004 22:55

Also the second part of the second question was, what motive would PAF have to escalte the situation. Having IAF come into play itself was way beyond their jihadi imagiation to handle. With a PAF engagement it would no longer be a low intensity conflict and a full blown conflict. While the IAF was very eager to establish its territory as was made amply clear by its U-turns over POK and painting boogies outside of their airspace
The presence of their Army was risk enough for escalation. With this, other discrete risks could have easily been taken. Not many would have expected India to not hit back at the core, after having been directly invaded.

Having IAF come into play itself was way beyond their jihadi imagiation to handle.
When the Mirage-2000 was inducted into theatre, there was an official paki statement, calling it "unfair". :D

I guess you could also say that air superiority extended beyond the LoC, because PAF fighters would mostly take off from Skardu and run back deep into pakistan, rarely snooping the theatre of operations. When they did, one of their pilots got his eardrums burst by the RWR! :D

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby JCage » 17 Jun 2004 23:24

Originally posted by George J:
Originally posted by Harry:
[b]........DARIN's mission software is essentially designed for low level operations and does'nt allow weapons symbology to be available above 24,000 feet....
What does that mean in simple language??? Does it mean that at high altitudes DARIN 'does not work'..i.e have a effective ceiling? Or that hardware does not function at that height?? Its a bit archaic.

Another point that I dont quite understand is: IAF had complete air dominance during Kargil. How correct is this assertion? Now having being fed with oodles of Desert Storm, Enduring Freedum and Eyrakee Freedum where the concept was clearly demonstrated, I cant seem to draw parallels in Kargil.

The IAF never engaged anything on its side of the airspace. PAF never crossed over to our side of the airspace. Even Chibber's lock was on a boogie in their LEGITIMATE airspace (so that would make any engagement illegal for us). Also ACM has been quoted saying that the IAF kept PAF cooped up. But what motive does PAF have to engage and increase hostilities since their assertions was that IA was engaging 'freedum fighters'. So any support to such freedum fighters would countervail their stand.[/b]
The PAF wanted to engage many a time. The IAF force levels were such that they thought better, it would have been akin to suicide for them. So they stayed away. Whenever they thought that we were taking things easy- they did try some stunts.
But learn that we werent...
And we were spoiling for a fight. The IAF is professional but Ahuja's cold blooded murder made quite a few people angry.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby JCage » 17 Jun 2004 23:27

Originally posted by George J:
So 24K is the absolute altitude from sea level and not relative altitude. Coz you could still be flying 100 feet above a target situated at 21,000 feet.

Also the second part of the second question was, what motive would PAF have to escalte the situation. Having IAF come into play itself was way beyond their jihadi imagiation to handle. With a PAF engagement it would no longer be a low intensity conflict and a full blown conflict. While the IAF was very eager to establish its territory as was made amply clear by its U-turns over POK and painting boogies outside of their airspace.

Without taking anything away from the IAF I feel that we dominated the air coz it was our legitimate airspace and PAF had nothing to gain by upping the ante thanks to it freedum fighter line. Hence we really didnt have air dominance since there was no real threat to it.
This is incorrect. The PAF would have loved to give us a bloody nose, if they could. They simply did not have the resources to intervene, so they stayed out. The IAF treated the conflict- as a full blown one and made sure that all strike packages were escorted accordingly.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby JCage » 17 Jun 2004 23:37

Originally posted by wyu:

War is about objectives, strategy and determination. It is not about cost trade off. Cost trade off is more applicable to long term campaigns (e.g. WW-II, Cold War, WOT)[/qb]
No, it is about sufficent strength to achieve the OPOBJ. The InAF lacked the strength to achieve their OPOBJ while the InA did not.

Originally posted by Arun_S:
4. designating pickets and sangars on razor sharp edges is probably technically too difficult for follow up attacks by air

Every weapon and tactic is relatively relevant versus situational requirement.
Yes, and you should examine each and every mission/sortie before making your erroneous claims.[/QB][/QUOTE]

LCol,
I have to disagree on the above statements. The IAF had sufficient resources to accomplish its objective and did what it was tasked to do.
Their strikes on the Pak logistics were extremely effective. The strikes on features under attack were also carried out round the clock and were successful.

Ray C has noted- how many PGM's hit tiger hill?
AfaI remember, only some 30 odd PGM's were used at Kargil, out of which only a handful were launched at Tiger Hill and its surrounding features.
_________________________________________________
Can testify to the lethality of the above strikes- Shivji's site should have a video- a clearer version of which was shown- showing a LGB streaking towards a tent camp, with two members legging it and not even bothering to wake their compatriots up. The BDA noted some 30 odd Paki troops decimated.
Another strike on Muntho Dhalo was horrific as well. The entire area had some 100-200 odd intruders. After the strike all that remains i superheated rock and a black scar on the landscape.
_________________________________________________

Please note that even with the most sophisticated technology, strikes in mountainous terrain can be hard- take Anaconda.
Ideally , the IA should pound the intruders while the IAF goes for logistics nodes.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby wyu » 17 Jun 2004 23:53

I use InA and InAF to distinquish between India and Israel. Call it a little quirk of mine but I do study more than India and Asia and thus, this is my system of keeping them seperate. Most people in my circle automatically assume Israel when using "I".

Ntin,

My distaste for the birdbrains aside. This goes back to the same old arguement between AF OPOBJs and the army's OPOBJ. While the InAF did hit what they wanted to hit, they didn't hit what the army wanted them to hit which are two different things. Hitting that supply dump while important did not stop the Pak soldiers from holding those hills from shooting back. They had their combat loads. It's the next battle, not the current one, that would be affected by that dump's lost.

And reading through all of Kragil, I am still of the opinion that no bird in history has ever eliminated the need for the bayonet charge which is one of the most scariest things to do. If the birds were so successful, then why would anyone need to do the charge? (metaphorically speaking here)

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby RayC » 18 Jun 2004 00:03

I am not saying that the IAF cannot be effective in the mountains. I am sure they can. But till now it has been training to attack in the plains as all thier ranges are there. The there is a whole lot of problems in hill, mountains and valley flying. Even helicopters cannot fly after noon!

It is time that the IAF trains in the mountains including having a range to try out their weapons and hone the attack and the other systems including firing them.

However, like the arty, they can never be sure of hitting the target since the met changes very rapidly. The only difference is arty is cheaper than the air force. Yet, no harm in honing the art.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Hitesh » 18 Jun 2004 00:18

Is it scary at the recieving end of a bayonet charge or at the giving end of the bayonet charge?

I would think that the implementing the bayonet charge would be scary for the attacker.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby wyu » 18 Jun 2004 01:30

I've never been on the receiving end nor on the attacking end but historically speaking, lines broke during the bayonet charge while it has been taking fire for days on end.

I was theoritically expecting a bayonet charge at the Fulda Gap was at the end of a Soviet prepatory bombardment. You know, try to stand while your nerves are still shaking.

As for the attacker, fixing bayonet serves as an anchor against your fears. This is for real and you better focus.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Raman » 18 Jun 2004 01:59

My distaste for the birdbrains aside ... And reading through all of Kragil, I am still of the opinion that no bird in history has ever eliminated the need for the bayonet charge which is one of the most scariest things to do. If the birds were so successful, then why would anyone need to do the charge? (metaphorically speaking here)
It's too bad that we don't have someone from the air force here to add their perspective. Playing devil's advocate, I would have to ask if the grunts are so successful and have a solution for every conflict, why the need for an air force?

Please accept the following observation in the jesting spirit that it is intended. Funny thing about turf wars. It's kind of like *****: the number one contributor of internet traffic, but you can never meet a single person who admits to downloading it. Inter-service rivalry seems to exist everywhere, but there aren't any officers who play any part in it --- each one merely states "the truth."

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby putnanja » 18 Jun 2004 02:50

Straight from the horse's mouth...

My side of the Kargil story
- By Gen. V.P. Malik (Retd)

I have watched with dismay the recent controversy in the media over participation and employment of Indian Air Force (IAF) in Kargil war. As this tended to bring the armed forces into political crossfire and create differences between the services, both not in national interest, I have refrained from speaking publicly so far. However, some conjured, distorted and fabricated stories and malicious personal allegations in the media have compelled me to write this clarification of events.

It is well known that I was on an official visit abroad when the intrusions were initially detected and reported by Headquarters 15 Corps and Northern Command. As reported to me later, they requested, and obtained, IAF transport helicopters’ support to carry out some inter-sector movement of personnel and stores in Ladakh and Kargil in the second week of May 1999. On 13 and 14 May 1999, GOC in C Northern Command, Lt. Gen. (now retired) H.M. Khanna and GOC 15 Corps, Lt. Gen. (now retired) Krishan Pal accompanied the defence minister, Mr George Fernandes, to Partapur, Kargil and Srinagar. The Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), in which the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS,) Lt. Gen. (now retired) Chandra Shekhar, represented me, met and discussed the situation on 13 and 15 May 1999. Due to lack of intelligence and poor surveillance at local levels, the operational situation was not clear. On 15 and 16 May 1999, I spoke to the VCOAS/Director General Military Operations (DGMO) on telephone who informed me that Headquarters 15 Corps and Northern Command were handling the situation and they were confident of getting militants’ intrusion (the assessment till then was that the intruders were militants and not Pakistan Army troops) vacated from within their own resources. On my enquiry, I was told categorically that there was no need to cut short my official visit.

On 18 May 1999, based on fresh assessment of the situation, and after informing me on phone, the VCOAS, Lt. Gen. Chandra Shekhar, sought IAF assistance in the COSC and Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for further surveillance and detection of intrusions. This request was not agreed to or recommended by the then Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal (now retired) A.Y. Tipnis on the ground that attack helicopters would not be able to fly at that altitude and that the use of air power would escalate and enlarge the conflict.

Accordingly, the CCS did not allow the use of air power.

On 19 May 1999, Air Chief Marshal Tipnis addressed a letter to me (copy to Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral — now retired — Sushil Kumar), which is now with Army Headquarters, stating that there was considerable misconception about the use or implications of air power. The COSC ought to discuss this issue and have a standard operating procedure prepared for the purpose. On my return to India (20 May 1999) and after visiting Headquarters Northern Command (Udhampur) and 15 Corps (Srinagar) — I could not go to Kargil due to bad weather — to carry out personal assessment, I was convinced that the IAF must use its air power. Accordingly, I requested Admiral Sushil Kumar and Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis, my colleagues in the COSC, to discuss this issue in my office at 4 PM on 23 May 1999. After giving my assessment of the situation, I stated that the IAF should use its air power in the conflict and made it clear that if any of my colleagues was against it, I shall oppose that view in the CCS meeting. My assessment of the situation, however, convinced my COSC colleagues and a unanimous decision was taken to recommend the use of air power to the CCS.

Next day, I briefed the CCS in operations room, gave my assessment of the situation, and what we planned to do. I also conveyed our (COSC) recommendation for the use of air power. The CCS approved this but made it clear that no one was to cross the Line of Control.

There was never any blame game or accusation in this whole episode. Air Marshal Tipnis and I even visited and addressed our field formations together. It is wrong on the part of some media persons to give an out of context and wrong twist to some part of Army Headquarters’ in-house report which was written to keep a record of events and to draw lessons from. This part of the report, as I recall, brought out two lessons:

(a) The need for Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and integrated staff at higher level.

(b) The need for the Army to control armed and attack helicopters. It is unfair for any senior retired Air Force officer, who was neither a member of the COSC nor a participant in the CCS deliberations, to be so self-opinionated and pass unsavoury remarks about the Army and its senior hierarchy without knowing the facts. Some journalists also carry strong prejudices that prevent them from acknowledging the facts!

The fact remains that after the Pak initiative (misadventure), we were able to successfully strike back, fulfil the given mission despite extremely delicate and difficult situation on the ground, and achieve a military victory.

* Gen. V.P. Malik (Retd) is a former Chief of Army Staff

Source: Asian Age, posted in full as it is not archived

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Harry » 18 Jun 2004 02:56

Well, there would always be those little traditional differences between the Army and Air Force guys but when you look at the big picture, cooperative action is essential for optimum results. As repeatedly proven with other scenarios, air-power is critically essential. IA's initial attacks were'nt totally succesful either. (once again, lack of SA)

Despite Kargil being a radically different environment and the initial lack of intelligence and situational awareness, the air force did it's job at the end. They would have done even better if they had a clearer picture from the start but that was'nt their fault. The Kargil environment was far more dangerous for infantry than aircraft, neccessitating the latter's use at some level or the other.

AfaI remember, only some 30 odd PGM's were used at Kargil, out of which only a handful were launched at Tiger Hill and its surrounding features.
Just nine LGB missions were flown in total. 575 attack, 31 Mi-17 attack, 509 air defence, 150 recon and 500 escort sorties were flown in total. This is small in comparison to the number of sorties that western coalition aircraft fly, during conflict.

- Shivji's site should have a video- a clearer version of which was shown- showing a LGB streaking towards a tent camp, with two members legging it and not even bothering to wake their compatriots up. The BDA noted some 30 odd Paki troops decimated.
An LDP video shown by NDTV/Starnews at the time, had something like 50-100 soldiers clearly visible and walking around without a clue! They were decimated within seconds. This scenario was'nt even what the IAF trained for but they went from new weapons system integration to successful implementation within a few weeks.

Regarding targets, even though the AF could not/did not replace the Army's role in clearing out Sangars, it did destroy a number of them. The Army provided coordinates to attack and also led helicopters to their targets, with officers onboard. Even the strategic targets which were LGB'ed, were given to the AF by the Army.

There was never any blame game or accusation in this whole episode. Air Marshal Tipnis and I even visited and addressed our field formations together. It is wrong on the part of some media persons to give an out of context and wrong twist to some part of Army Headquarters’ in-house report which was written to keep a record of events and to draw lessons from
Exactly. All this AF vs Army is an unneccessary episode.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Vivek_A » 18 Jun 2004 02:57

Originally posted by Ravi:
It is unfair for any senior retired Air Force officer, who was neither a member of the COSC nor a participant in the CCS deliberations, to be so self-opinionated and pass unsavoury remarks about the Army and its senior hierarchy without knowing the facts.
Is he referring to Patney?

George J

Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby George J » 18 Jun 2004 04:19

Originally posted by nitin:
This is incorrect. The PAF would have loved to give us a bloody nose, if they could. They simply did not have the resources to intervene, so they stayed out.....
So if they stayed out how is it 'air dominance'? There were no engagement/challenge to IAF for whatever political or military reason. Its air domiance by default. Also for air dominance dont you need SEAD. Do you call MANPAD as 'true-blue' air defence? If yes then the IA did more in SEAD than IAF.

Aaaah its that time of the year again.....

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby ravula » 18 Jun 2004 05:07

Originally posted by Harry:
When the Mirage-2000 was inducted into theatre, there was an official paki statement, calling it "unfair".
Anyone have a copy if this statement? This is a gem. :lol:

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Ashutosh » 18 Jun 2004 05:14

GJ, c'mon. If you have complete reign over the skies - you have air dominance - doesn't matter what the other side did or didn't do. The IAF was probably running freely after the Gaurav Chibber episode.

Anyways - the original idea behind driving a wedge between the Army and AF by "leaking" this story and derailing the CCS issue seems to have backfired by Gen VP Malik's most recent statements.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby JCage » 18 Jun 2004 05:25

Originally posted by George J:
Originally posted by nitin:
[b]This is incorrect. The PAF would have loved to give us a bloody nose, if they could. They simply did not have the resources to intervene, so they stayed out.....
So if they stayed out how is it 'air dominance'? There were no engagement/challenge to IAF for whatever political or military reason. Its air domiance by default. Also for air dominance dont you need SEAD. Do you call MANPAD as 'true-blue' air defence? If yes then the IA did more in SEAD than IAF.

Aaaah its that time of the year again.....[/b]
They didnt "stay out" out of their own volition as you are implying. They were made to stay out. With force to back up that threat.As is brought out by safedsagar reminisces...

You can dominate the air by:
1. Smashing your opfor.
2. Making sure they dont challenge you.
You can do 2. any way possible.

In 71 we started getting 2 towards the fag end of the war when the PAF wouldnt come out to play.

In 99, the PAF did the same midway itself. Why? Because we made it clear- by agg patrolling- that we were locked and loaded...
There were close calls and after some time the PAF just gave up. We dominated.

Also, this statement is factually incorrect.
"There were no engagement/challenge to IAF for whatever political or military reason. "
They tried.
As regards Manpad- Thats PA not PAF.

And yes, we did provoke them and they attemepted to respond but could do no more than grit their teeth.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby Khalsa » 18 Jun 2004 06:45

Originally posted by Rangudu:
Originally posted by John Umrao:
[b]lest we forget.

http://specials.rediff.com/news/2004/jun/17karg1.htm
Captain Batra will forever remain in my memory. I watched his joyous recounting of the 5140 capture - "Yeh dil mange more" to NDTV's Barkha Dutt and could not help but feel pumped up. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach when his death was announced. So many young men perished because of Pakis' treachery.

Never ever forget. Ever.[/b]
I felt transported 5 years back... does anyone have that footage of Vikram saying that.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby wyu » 18 Jun 2004 07:16

Ntin,

I'm going to ask you to think.

I want you to answer two questions.

How much actual stock did the InAF destroy when they hit the Pak supply base?

How often did the InAF tried to kill the engineers repairing that supply base?

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby JCage » 18 Jun 2004 07:24

About engr's, I just understood your q...
The munthodhalo op...IAF waited and watched till the place was at peak occupancy then proceeded to obliterate it at night. It was out of Bofors reach and on a reverse slope so out of sight -army observers. I say obliterate, not to exaggerate but you have to see the visuals- the place was smashed to pieces with waves of IA a/c.
The PA never tried to rebuild. Rad intercepts depicted a lot of frustration and panic. Apparently they had stockpiled huge amounts of ammo and stuff at that place. Also, they could not replace the stuff since their other logistics routes were under shelling and IAF strike. Hence, the significance.
The cas were pretty huge too.
Added: Pics showed quite a few structures. That place was the nodal supply base from whcih the pakis were supplying most of their forward bases, in that entire sector, hence it was a critical strike.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby JCage » 18 Jun 2004 07:42

Great I just accidentally delted my own post.

Anyway- heres the link again-
http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/Kargil/Shenag.html

Lessons learnt from the IAF pov.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby wyu » 18 Jun 2004 07:52

Ntin,

You're misunderstanding me. It doesn't matter what the PakArmy was doing after the strike. It matters what the InAF did to make sure their strike was successful.

Remember what I said about our (ie NATO and Warsaw Pact) airbases and how we made at least 3 strikes onto that those things?

Whether the Paks chosed to repair the base or not is NOT what I am suggesting. What I am suggesting is what the InAF did to MAKE SURE the Paks couldn't repair that base.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby JCage » 18 Jun 2004 08:04

they recced constantly. no attempts made. they were running out of resources ..
this wasnt an AB with runways and dedicated engr teams..it was a huge depot in the middle of nowhere which the PA was using to push in men and materiel.
just remembered...ah amin who writes for orbat, a bit loony but rich in details PA type noted that the PA was forcing its combat troops into porter positions and they rebelled, also many vignettes of how logistics went belly up. kind of ties in with the everything went to bits kind of impression one gets of PA planning during the later part of the conflict.
Basically IAF went hunting throuout...constant recce, constant attacks. these apart from supporting IA for eg tiger hill.

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby ehsmang » 18 Jun 2004 08:06

Col Wyu,

What in your opinion were the IAF's OPOBJ ? and what were IA's OPOBJ ?

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Re: Kargil Revisited

Postby wyu » 18 Jun 2004 08:07

Originally posted by Rajesh:
It's too bad that we don't have someone from the air force here to add their perspective. Playing devil's advocate, I would have to ask if the grunts are so successful and have a solution for every conflict, why the need for an air force?

Please accept the following observation in the jesting spirit that it is intended. Funny thing about turf wars. It's kind of like *****: the number one contributor of internet traffic, but you can never meet a single person who admits to downloading it. Inter-service rivalry seems to exist everywhere, but there aren't any officers who play any part in it --- each one merely states "the truth."
You have more than a grain of truth in your observations. However, each one of our branches views war and the history a bit (hell, alot) differently. Thus, it would not be fair to suggest my view is any better than a birdbrain's.

However, I have never known a birdbrain to challenge a USMC axiom - No airplane in history has ever taken or held ground.

As to answer your question. Airpower is NEVER unuseful. It's just that is what they're being used for useful? Who dictates their usefulness? The Air Force. Who bithces when the AF couldn't help us - us bellycrawlers.


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