Book: The India-Pak Air War of 1965 - Details & Reviews

Jagan
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Postby Jagan » 02 Aug 2005 20:17

Detailed review from Ghostrider (He is a Flight Simulation enthusiast)
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these are my thoughts on the book. Don has told me that he will post his comments and thoughts on the book as soon as he gets the book and in done reading it.


Likes:
- The book has been written in a very beautifully organized manner.
-great infomation on the IAF fighters that took part in the 1965 war and their comparision with the PAF fighters of the same era. detailed information about Sqdn deployment, their strength and their Sqdn and station commanders.
-detailed information with personal accounts from pilots that took part in the missions.loved reading about A T Cooke's Sabre kill, Sargodha Raids by Mysteres, W/C Wilson's Badin Raid - details such such as weapons load on each of the Canberra has been mentioned and its wonderful and many more such detailed missions.
- day by day chronology of missions and their results.
- good quality pictures and gun cam pics.the binding of the book is good too..
-the last page appendices of IAF Kills, Losses and Gallantry Award Winner.
- what i appreciate the most about the authors is their transparency.they have mentioned their sources for their findings and given credit to the persons who deserve it.

what i would have liked to have seen:
- while the size of the pictures are small(and i wish that they were big), i think they blend nicely with the font size of the text.larger pics,i think, would have looked a bit odd.
- the maps of eastern front and western front(with airbases,cities and targets) should have been there along withe the chapters
-i would love to have seen a mention of the Myth regarding M M Alam's Kills - just to set the records straight.

I think the book is great and is a must for every Indian aviation enthusiast and the authors have done a wonderul job in putting together this book. really looking forward to their next project on the 71 war.

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Postby Jagan » 02 Aug 2005 21:00

[url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/8173046417/ref=cm_rv_thx_view/104-3579668-7789518?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance]A review on Amazon
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Customer Review:
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MIssed Opportunities , August 2, 2005
Reviewer: K.V.Ramesh (Bombay, India) - See all my reviews

INdia and Pakistan have fought four wars and sadly most books available on these wars are highly biased depending on who is writing them. The Indian Government in its infinite wisdom has never published any of its papers while Pakistani accounts have strident propaganda about the INdians being given a drubbing.

Under these circumstances the authors have come out with an unbiased book almost forty years after the 1965 war which saw many instances of classic air combat from both sides. One instance has one HUnter Pilot taking on four sabres and downing two of them. While the Pakistanis did two devastating raids - one in the Wsetern sector and one in the Eastern sector, the INdian riposte was equally succesful . The authors have extensively interviwed many survivors and given credit where it is due - be it Indian or Pakistani. Though there are gaps in coverage of the events - this is due to the sporadic nature of the air war - the overall picture is of the Indian Air Force improvising very effectively on the job and learning some hard lessons , not to speak of gaining confidence in their machines and themselves.The authors also criticise the higher powers for lack of any overall offensive plan and heavy handed political intereference - but in a calm factual manner. HIghly recommended for all enthusiasts and serious historians of air warfare

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Postby Jagan » 03 Aug 2005 18:02

Mr. Karim from Bangladesh

I am writing to you from Bangladesh. I must compliment you for the
excellent and very balanced account of the 1965 Air War in your book. I am in regular touch with a couple of " grand old warriors" Wing Commander Saiful Azam and Group Capt.Shaukat Islam. I have presented a copy each to these fine "old warriors".

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Postby Y I Patel » 03 Aug 2005 21:58

I got my copy promptly (Thanks Jagan!). But I also got my copy of Harry Potter at about the same time. Not to mention a certain story of my own... So you guys have competition. Might be a month or more before I am through with your book.

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Postby Samir » 08 Aug 2005 19:21

Krishna, Harry, Ghostrider:

Can you please send me email at samirchopra1 AT yahoo DOT com?

Thanks very much,

Samir

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Postby Samir » 11 Aug 2005 19:08

Folks, if there are people here who have read the book, and would like to contribute a review or something, consider entering it at the amazon.com page for the book. It would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Samir


Link to the page: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/8173046417/

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Postby shiv » 12 Aug 2005 08:55

This is a super book and a landmark in the annals of the "Historical record challenged" Indian nation.

The best part about the book is that it makes easy reading. The descriptions of the scenes and battles took me right back to my childhood where I would have my heart racing reading the adventures of Biggles, a fictional World War I fighter pilot. And the book has pictures to boot - real action photos in some cases placed in contextually relevant areas.

The similarity is not coincidental. Indian pilots in 1965 may have been flying jets - but everything else was exactly like World War I. Almost no radar cover, equipment malfuntion leading to aborted missions, absent or poor communication equipment, guns jamming, bombs failing to explode or exploding too soon, dizzying dogfights with the air thick with fighters and ack ack, intrigue, sabotage, death and drama. The men literally flew "on a wing and a prayer" and still did a great job and learned lessons that were later put to good use.

The concluding chapters have an eminently readable, objective and honest assessment in a very academic and very Indian tradition of "Truth will triumph". Other positive points include reference placed conveniently at the end of each chapter rather than a whole confusing chapter of refs at the end.

I have a couple of complaints. There are about 5 or 6 typos in the entire book - which is a miniscule number - but will need attention. There are references to "attrition rate" as a percentage with no difinition of how it was arrived at or applied.

Buy this book folks. We need to make sure the authors have enough funds to work on the history of the 1971 air war.

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Postby Jagan » 12 Aug 2005 20:52

Shiv, Thanks for the review and the kind words.

I am not surprised about the typos in the book. (or some formatting and photo editing errors in the same vein). A major problem was trying to coordinate this over three locations in two different parts of the world. with Samir being in NY, me in Hyderabad and the Publisher being in Delhi. It was a pain to get the proofreading and approvals to be in place. Certainly i missed Samir's inputs as sending the proofs over to NY was out of the question due to the delays and expenses involved in the effort.

For any future projects by BRites, I think it is recommended that the authors get together at the publishers place before the final press proof copy goes for printing.

One of the major lapses on our part is not preparing the Maps. Which was really stupid now that I look at it. I think waiting for the book to come to print had to an extent burned us out that we did not put in the last finishing touches required to make it more complete than it is at present.

On a different note, send me the typo list that you have noticed. or any formatting errors that maybe. This request goes out to all the readers and reviewers.

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Postby Samir » 15 Aug 2005 16:55

Shiv, Thanks for the review - Jagan has pretty much said it all. While our electronic collaboration was unique, it did have this one downside of dumping all the last-stage work on the one author that was in India.


And yes please, do send us typos etc. We can make corrections in the second printing.

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Postby Samir » 17 Aug 2005 22:29

The request I made to Shiv above actually goes out to all readers. If you do find typos, errata etc, please send them on. We will need them for the second printing/edition.

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Postby mkulh » 17 Aug 2005 23:01

:?: I donot have credit card. I can transfer money only through bank transfer. My location is germany. How can I get this book.
:?:

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Postby Jagan » 17 Aug 2005 23:12

Mkulh, pl email me at jaganpvs AT Gmail DOT com for details.

Jagan

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Postby Jagan » 19 Aug 2005 22:57

A review from ACIG.org by Tom Cooper.


Tom Cooper
Editor, ACIG.org
_________________

Let me first (again) admit that I was very looking forward for this book since long. Although up to a dozen of books related to air warfare between India and Pakistan had been published so far, this is the first publication about the air warfare in 1965 from India, dealing with more than unit history.

On the first look, this book appears “small” (A5 format), and "thin”. But, don’t let the format deceive you, then this 375-pages volume is jammed with information of exceptionally high quality and great depth.

On the second view – and especially to many Pakistani readers - this book might appear to offer foremost the “Indian point of view” of the air war in 1965. The authors interviewed over 40 Indian Air force staff officers, pilots and NCOs, and consulted official documents to get an entirely authentic account and rare eyewitness insights. Excellently presented descriptions and thrilling first-person narratives of low-level dogfights and airfield attacks emerge, organised in chronological order, which is very easy to follow, together with the historical background of both air forces, the 1965 War, and the action on the ground. Not to be overseen is the fact that authors went to great lengths to describe the development of tactics and previous training as well as experiences of both, the IAF and the PAF.

However, this book is not dealing with the IAF alone: it also provides more than sufficient coverage of PAF equipment, personnel, tactics and operations, presenting a very fair and clear insight into the PAF of the time. For example, all aerial encounters are analysed in-depth, and described as seen by participants from both sides. Indian raids of Pakistani airfields Sargodha or Peshawar are covered as in-depth as Pakistani raids on Indian airfields Kalikunda and Pathankot. No claim is ignored, Indian or Pakistani, but everything discussed in the needed length, the authors providing detailed footnotes, credits and cross-references.

The writing is very professional, to the point, but not dry or saturating the reader with too many information at once.

One of the most interesting results from reading this book is a kind of contradiction. On one side, the book describes the inactivity – actually outright passivity – of the IAF, especially of the units facing the small number of PAF Sabres stationed in East Pakistan. These have left the PAF to exploit the weakness of the Indian early warning system and fly four highly effective strikes, causing a number of painful (even if certainly never decisive) losses, and were not permitted to do anything in return. The authors do lose time with going to great extension to find out exactly who is to “blame” for this, except indicating that it was the Indian politicians who were holding the IAF back. On the other side, however, the reader learns that the “CAP-ing” (i.e. flying combat air patrols) by the IAF was so intensive, the Indians had to pool their fighters per type to specific airfields in the West, in order to have a sufficient number of operational airframes. Regardless how intensive, however, these missions were of purely defensive nature.

Thus, we see how once again an air force – a military branch of actually offensive nature – had been built up, trained and formed into a cohesive combat formation, and then not put to any serious use, but held back when its nation needed it the most. This is meanwhile a pattern well-known from far too many air forces world-wide.

The authors were not afraid to express their heavy criticism of corresponding decisions and this situation, as well as to point at missed opportunities, or better Pakistani exploitation of resources and chances. While the IAF was CAP-ing over its airfields, expecting PAF air strikes that never came, the Indian Army fought battles without air support. The authors also point at and discus the lessons from 1965, and describe their use to improve the situation before the “next round”, in 1971.

The main drawback of this book is the lack of maps. A well-informed reader, Indian or Pakistani nationals, should not have any problems to track the flow the story. However, readers new to this topic could get confused by all the names of geographic areas, cities and towns. This war was fought on no less but four different battlefields (including the one in East Pakistan), with distinct geographical and climatic differences, and readers might need some help to understand the local situation. At least four corresponding maps or diagrams, showing either the main airfields, or at least the most important geographic areas, would help a lot to increase the understanding of this conflict, even if printed in black & white.

An appendix with serial numbers could be useful too, especially considering the immense number of people tracking serial numbers of all possible aircraft. It is my opinion that authors of works like this should attempt to provide "complete" information, covering also "technical" aspects of this kind.

More importantly, however, the chapter “Cease-fire and Post-Mortem”, as well as several Appendieces, provide a highly valuable and provokingly frank study of lessons learned, as well as a detailed list of air-to-air kills, gallantry awards and future careers of main protagonists. Especially the later is something new (almost unusual) - but highly interesting and valuable part of this book.

Modellers might avoid this book then it includes few photographs that are useful for description of IAF or PAF aircraft from the 1965. Such points are negligible for general public, then “The India Pakistan Air War of 1965” is rather a personal story of those who flew and fought in that war: for this reason its 66 rare photographs - including not only 20 that were never published before, but also plenty of amazing gun-camera shots - are more than adequate.

Summary: Unlike so many publications about different wars that appeared in the West of the last ten years, and became almost a “standard” in the USA, this book is not based on exclusive use of sources of reference, but on research with first-hand sources, participants, eyewitnesses, and official documents. It is a narrative of kind that was long overdue: very spirited yet an indispensable, well edited and modern source of reference.

We should hope that this is not the end of the Indian story, but also that an equivalent account of this kind is to follow from the Pakistani side too!

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Postby Jagan » 30 Aug 2005 19:36

A reader from Germany writes:

Thank you for the long-awaited study about the India - Pakistan air war of 1965. The book is really fascinating . It can be regarded as one of the best
publications dealing with post WW II military conflicts. I think every reader will like the well-ballanced mix of historical, military and political
background , day- to- day account of the air war ,first-hand stories from the pilots and usefull appendices. The highly detailed work is readable and
exciting.
There are only a few wishes for future editions : A bigger book ( Schiffer style ) printed on art paper , some colour ( profiles or repros of heroic paintings ) and some maps.

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Postby Jagan » 13 Sep 2005 19:29

Review by Air Marshal Vinod Patney on the IPCS Website
http://www.ipcs.org/newIpcsBookReview.jsp

Patney himself was a veteran from the 65 War and writes his observations..

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Air Marshal Vinod Patney(Retd)
SYSM, PVSM, AVSM, Vr C Print this page
The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965
PVS Jagan Mohan & Samir Chopra
Manohar Publishers
Rs 895


The book does not claim to be the official history of the India-Pakistan air war of 1965. Neither the Indian Air Force (IAF) nor the Government of India funded the project in any way. The book is a labour of love by two authors who have an undying interest in aviation and war in the air. Samir Chopra, one or the authors, is the son of late Sqn Ldr PC Chopra, an active participant in the air war and the recipient of the Vir Chakra. There have been many books written about the 1965 war, but this book strikes new ground by describing the war in the air in some detail. A short history of the fledgling years of the IAF is included and serves as an appetizer and a fond reminder of years long gone by. Also included is the background to the war and the general conduct of operations that helps to put the air war in proper perspective.

The dog fights and the conduct of combat missions are described well and with obvious enthusiasm. The authors faithfully encapsulate what transpires at Air Force bases and squadrons and between members of a formation on a combat mission. Human interest stories embellish the book and make it eminently readable. Perforce, combat missions are of short duration, represent a voyage into uncertain territory and, too often, result in casualties and fatalities. Such happenings have to be taken in stride by friends and colleagues. The authors have captured the sentiments that prevail. The book follows the chronology of the war and day by day events are recounted. As the air war is aircrew centric, and the missions comprise small number of aircraft, the names of the crew are almost invariably mentioned. This makes for a more personalized account that adds flesh and blood to the skeleton of what transpired. Interestingly, a large number of active participants whose names are mentioned rose to senior positions in the IAF. The young pilots of 1965 became Air Chiefs, Vice Chiefs, Air Marshals and Air Vice Marshals. Arguably, the proportion of those that rose to high ranks is probably the greatest for any service in any war. The then Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Arjan Singh, was promoted to Air Chief Marshal rank soon after the war and recently to the rank of Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

The authors have also included information derived from Pakistani and other sources. Hence, an engagement as described by the Indians is compared with what the Pakistani pilots or authorities have to say. A better picture emerges although, as is to be expected, there are significant differences in terms of what transpired, claims and counter claims. Claims of kills in war are often exaggerated. The same obtains for air to ground strikes. It is unlikely that the results of strikes on both sides were so effective as to warrant the frequent use of hyperboles in the book.

The diary of the downed B 57 pilot, Siddiqui, clearly showed that the PAF was on alert since March 1965, and training in earnest started as early as April 1965. This is yet another instance of the perfidy of the Pakistanis; they were planning an attack in Kashmir whilst negotiating peace in Kutch. Such occurrences have been repeated since. The Pakistan plan was also more studied and offensive in concept. Yet it is a moot point whether Operational Gibraltar, the surreptitious move of forces into Kashmir, could ever have succeeded. Historians will probably call it a major miscalculation. Be that as it may, their aircraft like the B 57 and Sabre were also battle tested whilst our aircraft had never been used in actual operations. On our part, apparently little planning was done in the belief that war was unlikely. That was an error. Also, there was little jointmanship on display and no clear cut concept of operations. Time and again pertinent information was not passed to the IAF or the IAF kept in the dark about Army plans. As a result the conduct of operations was less than optimum. The system of seeking air support was ineffective. Again, it appears inexplicable that extensive counter air missions were not launched against airfields in then East Pakistan, that the air defences in the desert sector were inadequate, that no defence of J&k was catered for, and to top it all, there was an announcement made on All India Radio regarding a practice air raid alert in Barrackpore that inevitably attracted an actual raid. All these blemishes and limitations and more are graphically depicted in the book. This adds to the credibility of the work.

The authors themselves admit that the full story is yet to be told. For instance, whereas the Pakistani war aim was clearly to settle the Kashmir issue, what was our overall plan? Was it to merely obstruct Pakistani designs, or fight a battle of attrition to weaken Pakistan, or much more serious, we did not have a well thought out plan but operated or reacted in adhoc fashion. Also, why did we accept a ceasefire when we were better placed and the initial Pakistani advantage had worn thin? At the tactical level, why did we not mount counter air missions to begin with? There are many positives as well. The 1965 war was the first occasion where the full ambit of IAF capability was operationally tested. The readiness was good as shown by the fact that four Vampire aircraft were airborne for a mission within one hour of the Defence Minister's clearance. The war also showed how quickly the best made plans get unstuck in war and the IAF displayed both ingenuity and initiative in good measure. For instance, when counter air operations by day proved too costly, night attacks by Canberra aircraft were resorted to and, to protect our own aircraft from enemy air strikes by night, our aircraft were moved to rear bases for the night. All this required planning and, more importantly, the will to get things done. All the aircraft fleets in our inventory operated beyond expectations but it was the Gnat, dubbed the 'Sabre Killer', that was the 'find'of the 1965 war.

There were many lessons to learn from the war. Our Intelligence was sorely inadequate and without effective and usable intelligence, we could at best react to enemy actions and were often surprised. Good intelligence has greatly aided war making since ancient times but we were not so fortunate. Again, reliability of our equipment was less than what was desired. There were frequent unserviceabilities of aircraft, equipment, communications, weapon systems etc. Furthermore, a cardinal requirement for air operations is security of the air bases. Our Air Defence capability was wanting and was the primary cause of our losing as many as 35 aircraft on the ground. Air Defence involves much more than capable aircraft and well trained pilots. Moreover, a more proactive and offensive approach tailored to meet stipulated war objectives would have led to greater successes. Air Power is an offensive arm and should be so used. A number of our aircraft suffered hits from enemy ack ack guns and small arms, and an audit on whether we could have used the available air effort differently, so that the losses were minimized but the results were similar or better, will be worthwhile. Attrition is always a major factor to consider; we have to have adequate strength of aircraft not only till the end of the war but till replacements are received and operationalized. However, it must be said that in spite of the many limitations and shortcomings, the availability of few aids and many cases of bad luck, the spirit of the combatants in the air or on the ground never faltered. Comrades were lost or injured but professionalism was never sacrificed. A 'tradition' was born that has to be maintained by succeeding generation of air warriors in the IAF.

Much has changed since 1965.Yet, in spite of newer and more capable weapon systems including nuclear weapons, much has remained the same. Jointmanship, planning for operations, formulation of a clear concept of operations etc are issues that still require attention. Hence, a revisit to what transpired in 1965 can only have beneficial effects. For this, the authors have rendered yeoman service. The book makes no pretensions to being a reference book but it is worthy of appreciation. One small criticism that can be made is that the writings should have been accompanied by maps of relevant areas. Nevertheless, the book will evoke fond nostalgia amongst those that participated in the war; it represents needed knowledge for the professional practitioners of air power; and for the lay reader it is an interesting description of an air war that took place 40 years ago. One can only hope that the authors will soon publish their account of the air actions during the 1971 war and the Kargil conflict.

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Postby Jagan » 23 Sep 2005 14:30

Review in Telegraph

SOME PLANE TRUTHS

THE INDIA-PAKISTAN AIR WAR OF 1965
By P.V.S. Jagan Mohan and Samir Chopra,
Manohar, Rs 895

In 1940, when the Nazi blitzkrieg unfolded across north-west Europe, Jawaharlal Nehru noted the importance of airpower in modern warfare. Just after independence, Nehru appointed P.M.S. Blackett, the Nobel laureate, as defence advisor. Under Blackett’s directive, the Indian air force emerged as India’s ground support weapon. The first war with Pakistan in 1947-48, witnessed aerial duels. But it is the 1965 India-Pakistan air war that this monograph analyses.

Quantitatively, the IAF was stronger than the PAF, but qualitatively the latter was better. The core PAF consisted of F-86 Sabre jets and Lockheed F-104 Starfighters with Mach 2 capability and sidewinder air-to-air missiles. These aircraft had made their reputation over the skies of Korea. And Pakistan had received these as a reward for joining the Seato and Cento.

The Gnats, manufactured by Britain, had been rejected by Nato but accepted by India, partly due to the charms of Louis Mountbatten. They were considered the underdogs but performed quite well. Some Gnat pilots displayed a lot of bravery by taking on the Sabres. However, the overall performance of the IAF seems to justify the words of Babur — “the Indians know how to die but not how to fight.” The justification of this statement is evident from the figures — the PAF’s total loss was half that of the IAF.

The authors accept that the pre-emptive strike by the PAF on Indian airfields caught the IAF napping. Out of the 75 aircraft lost by India, 37 were destroyed on the ground. The IAF’s attempts to strafe the Pakistani airfields were not that efficient. When the Indian aerial raiders reached Sargodha, the principal Pakistani airfield, Pakistan’s air defence was ready to give them a hot reception.

Both the PAF and the IAF were tactical air forces and aimed to aid the ground forces in 1965. Neither air force had long-range strategic bombers. Both were equipped with fighter-bombers and interceptors. But the PAF responded more quickly and efficiently to the demands of the Pakistan army compared to the IAF, whose performance was inferior both in terms of close air support to the friendly ground forces as well as in the sphere of counter-air operations. Also, the IAF top brass had no conception of the type of air warfare they were fighting. They compared the puny India-Pakistan war with World War II and believed that the war might continue for years. In reality, the war lasted for less than a month.

Politicians are a despised lot. Nevertheless, they often take courageous decisions. The MiG-21 squadrons fought badly and the IAF bosses deduced that the MiGs were good-for-nothing. Before 1962, it was Krishna Menon who had pushed the MiG deal. The IAF chiefs channelled their personal animosity against Menon onto the MiGs, refusing to accept that the planes had failed due to the inefficient handling by the Indian pilots.

Most of the books written by retired military officials and civilian analysts deal with India-Pakistan ground war. The volume under review is the only one of its kind and opens up a new dimension in military history-writing. Most of the official files are yet to be released by the IAF. In order to counter this deficiency, Jagan Mohan and Chopra depend on interviews of numerous IAF officials, starting from the air marshal to group captains. The authors accept that they have written from the Indian point of view. But sympathy for one’s countrymen should not obscure the fact that the Indians fought badly and didn’t learn their lesson from the 1965 war.

KAUSHIK ROY

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Postby Harry » 23 Sep 2005 19:02

Kaushik Roy is a clueless retard. Worst review ever. Makes the book sound like Fricker's. People like him make me wanna puke.

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Postby CPrakash » 23 Sep 2005 19:15

Harry wrote:Kaushik Roy is a clueless retard. Worst review ever. Makes the book sound like Fricker's.


The review looks like a hatchet job against the IAF. Some of the gems that guy is putting across are underlined in bold - the statements go against the :

-The first war with Pakistan in 1947-48, witnessed aerial duels. :shock: Huh?
-The Gnats, manufactured by Britain, had been rejected by Nato but accepted by India, partly due to the charms of Louis Mountbatten . :shock: Where did Mountbatten come from in 1955?
-The MiG-21 squadrons fought badly and the IAF bosses deduced that the MiGs were good-for-nothing.
-The IAF chiefs channelled their personal animosity against Menon onto the MiGs, refusing to accept that the planes had failed due to the inefficient handling by the Indian pilots.

I very sincerely hope that the above points are not there in the book :D

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Postby Babui » 23 Sep 2005 19:44

That is not even a review !! More like the blathering of an idiot..who offers us 'his' opinion of the war with meaningless asides of 'Babur' and 'Nehru' and brave Gnat pilots who don't know how to fight but apparently know how to die !! This is a writer who has no knowledge of military history and unfortunately lets us all know by displaying his ignorance. What a fool !

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Postby daulat » 23 Sep 2005 20:11

Mr Roy and the readers of the Telegraph may appreciate a letter to the editor - nice constructed rebuttal of course

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Postby Samir » 23 Sep 2005 20:23

I am in the process of constructing a letter - to clear up confusions created by the reviewer.

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Postby Harry » 23 Sep 2005 21:55

Also, why is that piece of crap in the main news section ?

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Postby JCage » 24 Sep 2005 01:26

That fellows review is a perfect example of "you can take a horse to water but you cant make it drink".

In this case, you can give him a book, but you cant make him read it, or let alone understand it. Or for that matter reality itself. Mountbatten sold Gnats? Lol.

The man he should be naming is a British scientist who won the Nobel and whose contribution to India is posted in another thread.

The rest of his review is similar opnionated gibberish, lacking in facts!

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Postby Samir » 24 Sep 2005 02:18

Please note that the book page (http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Books) has been updated with maps of Eastern and Western Sectors.

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Postby Pennathur » 24 Sep 2005 09:42

Looks like we have some prize numbskuls of our own - but Kaushik Roy is a blithering idot. Maybe the guy doesn't know to read.

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Postby vsunder » 25 Sep 2005 01:22

Kaushik Roy is a perfect example of a reviewer who indulges in personal diatribes without checking on facts. The fascinating story of how the Gnat was inducted into the IAF is accounted on pages 78-80 of the book "My Years in the IAF" by ACM P.C.Lal. To make a long story short, PC Lal and Roshan Suri( the same clown who prematurely pulled up the nose wheel
on the first test flight of the HF-24 beacuse the test flight was scheduled at Rahukalam no kidding I read it in a book about Kurt Tank) were sent to Europe to test various a/c, the Mystere IV a and the Supermarine Swift among others. Lal encountered various problems with the Swift most noticeably engine flame outs at high altitudes and problems re-igniting it. During the various trials of the Swift where it was becoming apparent that it had a dud Rolls-Royce engine, Lal noticed a little a/c buzzing around in Chilbolten,UK( a site of a test "aerodrome" ah! how I miss that quaint word) with superior performance.
This aroused his curiosity and on test flying it was surprised that it had good performance. However, the chief designer of this aircraft--the Gnat--
R.E.Petter, seemed reluctant to sell the aircraft to India. So much for Mountbatten foisting the aircraft on India. A few days later
Petter invited Lal to lunch and the first question he asked Lal was "I read in the Illustrated London News that cricket is being played in India even after Independence" . Lal went on to explain that indeed cricket was an avidly played sport. Petter's initial hesitation of Folland( the company making the Gnat) selling the Gnat to India evaporated. He told Lal, that his initial hesitation stemmed from the fact that he thought India was a Communist country( maybe this is what irks Roy!!) but the news item about cricket had cleared several of his misunderstandings. Given this story comes from an impeccable source like PC Lal I have no hesitation but to believe every word of it. Off course, Suranjan Das introduced modifications in the Gnat and then the rest is history.
By the way did the IAF get pieces of Tyrone Cooke's kill over Kharagpur,
heh, heh, heh some say it fell near Patel Hall and some say near Lallu hall,
and some actually got a few pieces ;-)

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Postby Sanjay » 25 Sep 2005 18:38

Jagan, the book arrived via TTPost some weeks ago and I've started reading it.

It is excellent and fills a yawning gap in Indian military aviation history. In many ways, it is very much a book that is in the Blood Shambles mould - combining detailed operational data with personal stories.

Will e-mail you with a few more comments later on.

Great going to both you and Samir.

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Postby SRoy » 26 Sep 2005 15:52

Sameer/Jagan!

Where do I get the book in Delhi? I require two copies; one for myself and the other one for my old man.
I hope his squadron has got some coverage :)

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Postby Jagan » 26 Sep 2005 16:58

sroy wrote:Sameer/Jagan!

Where do I get the book in Delhi? I require two copies; one for myself and the other one for my old man.
I hope his squadron has got some coverage :)


Sroy Email sent with Delhi address - which Sqn was your dad in?

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Postby Samir » 26 Sep 2005 18:49

The following letter was sent to the Telegraph on Friday. No acknowledgement thus far:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Editor,

We thank Kaushik Roy for his review ("Some Plane Truths", Telegraph,
Friday September 23rd, 2005). We would like to offer some corrections and comments as the reviewer draws conclusions that we do not. And our book does not offer evidence for these conclusions.

1. Louise Mountbatten was not involved with the purchase of the Gnat
in any way. The Gnat was evaluated, tested and recommended by an
Indian Air Force team led by the legendary PC Lal. There was no
pressure from the British to acquire the Gnat.

2. Mr. Roy writes "Some of the Gnat pilots displayed a lot of
bravery...". Regardless of outcomes or nationality, we think that all
pilots in that war displayed bravery. The Gnat has captured the
imagination of the people, but there were other aircrew, flying
Hunters, Mysteres, VAmpires and Canberras that showed an equal amount
of bravery.

3. The quote by Babur seems oddly misplaced as many IAF personnel did show their ability to fight.

4. We do not "accept" that pre-emptive strikes caught the IAF napping
for there is nothing to "accept" in the recounting of facts. Two PAF
raids did cause lossses but these did not cripple the IAF. Moreover,
we point out that original PAF plans were not executed properly
either.

5. After the 1962 war with China, the Indian Defence Forces were
cautious about escalation of hostilities; all escalation measures had
to be approved by the Defence Minister - as our account has shown. In
such an environment, it is not clear how much blame for the
non-aggressive conduct of war lies with the Indian Air Force and how
much of it can be attributed to the caution and political control that
emerged after the 1962 war. The political control of the armed forces
is illustrated in the incident where the IAF was stopped from carrying
out offensive sorties over East Pakistan. This was very clearly the
Defence Ministry's decision.

6. Nothing in our book supports the claim that MiG-21s failed due to
"inefficient handling by the Indian pilots". The MiG-21s at that stage
were too few to have any impact on the fighting. It is incorrect to say
that the IAF did not support the aircraft after its performance in the
1965 war. On the contrary, the IAF went full steam forward with its
induction of the MiG-21 and this showed commendable results in the 1971
war. Indeed, the MiG-21 played the role it did in the 1971 war because of
problems discovered in the 1965 war.

7. Mr. Roy is too harsh on the top brass of the IAF with regards to their
planning for a long war. The 1965 war occurred a mere 20 years after the
Second World War, seventeen years after the 1947-48 Kashmir war which
lasted nearly an year and a half, and just twelve years after the Korean
war that lasted 3 years. Even the last major engagement - the war with
China in 1962 - went for a month. Given past experience, and the rapid
escalation of events in 1965, it was not unreasonable for the leadership
to expect the war would go on for months. Marshal Arjan Singh was planning for a war lasting a few months. He has never stated that the war would go on for years like the Second World War. The Defence Minister and the country were definitely there for the long haul. In such a situation, it was perfectly right for the Air Force to plan for a long war. Knowing what
we do now, long wars are a thing of the past, but in 1965, anyone would
have planned for a long war.

8. The two closing lines of the review are misleading. While we have
told the story of the Indian men who faught in the war, we do not
adopt the "Indian point-of-view". There is a significant difference
between the two.

9. Mr. Roy says that the IAF did not absorb the lessons of the 65 war. We
believe that the 1965 War helped the IAF shape its doctrine. Being the
first ever major combat action it had faced, the war helped the IAF hone
itself for its subsequent sterling performance in 1971. It is wrong to say
that the IAF ignored the lessons of the 1965 war.

Sincerely,

PVS Jagan Mohan
Samir Chopra

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Postby Jagan » 26 Sep 2005 19:04

Sanjay wrote:It is excellent and fills a yawning gap in Indian military aviation history. In many ways, it is very much a book that is in the Blood Shambles mould - combining detailed operational data with personal stories.


Dear Sanjay,

That was one of the best compliments we have recieved. Very kind of you , but we got some way to go before we can compete with the likes of Chris Shores , Norm Franks or Brian cull.

Look forward to your detailed inputs..

regards

Jagan

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Postby Samir » 26 Sep 2005 23:58

Sanjay,

Thanks for your comments. We still need more reviews of the book in mainstream media of course, so that people can have a real debate on some of the material covered in the book.

Cheers,
Samir

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Postby SRoy » 27 Sep 2005 09:28

Jagan wrote:
sroy wrote:Sameer/Jagan!

Where do I get the book in Delhi? I require two copies; one for myself and the other one for my old man.
I hope his squadron has got some coverage :)


Sroy Email sent with Delhi address - which Sqn was your dad in?

3 Sqn.

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Postby Jagan » 27 Sep 2005 19:04

Here are the index entries for various squadrons:

Code: Select all

1 Squadron : 41, 92, 96-99, 119, 121, 123, 127-133, 139-141, 160, 221-223, 227-229, 233, -234, 238, 243, 248, 268-269, 284-285,  290, 321, 324, 348, 351-352

2 Squadron : 44, 206, 238-241, 246-247, 273, 298, 306, 328, 330, 348, 351-352

3 Squadron : 41, 68, 72, 74, 76, 103-106, 143-146, 216, 234, 261-262, 271-274, 281-282, 289, 334, 351-352

4 Squadron : 39, 166-167, 171, 328

5 Squadron : 47, 50, 126, 244-245, 263, 275, 301, 322, 351-353, 356-357

7 Squadron : 23-25, 42, 99-101, 108, 110, 113, 137, 139, 142, 147, 206, 212-215, 223, 229-230, 247, 249, 253, 255, 273, 306, 334, 348, 352-353

8 Squadron : 41, 96, 99, 124, 128, 133-134, 210-211, 222, 226, 230, 236-237, 247, 261-262, 308, 325-326, 334, 351, 353

9 Squadron : 44, 206, 216, 268-270, 298, 334, 348, 352

10 Squadron : 151, 330

12 Squadron : 24

14 Squadron : 42, 78, 162-164, 172, 176-189, 194, 198-199, 305, 325, 348, 352-353

15 Squadron : 45

16 Squadron : 47, 50, 162, 171-172, 179-180, 263, 278, 322, 332, 351, 356-357

17 Squadron : 42, 162-163, 195, 305

18 Squadron : 45

20 Squadron : 42, 206-210, 253, 255, 282, 319, 323, 332, 352, 359

22 Squadron : 330

23 Squadron : 44, 77-78, 83-84, 104, 120, 217, 234, 264-265, 289, 298, 329-330, 348, 351-352

24 Squadron : 39, 162-163, 173-176, 179-180, 334

25 Squadron : 149, 150

27 Squadron : 42, 99, 111, 137, 142, 164, 167, 206, 212-215, 221, 229-230, 249, 282, 288, 319, 330, 352-353

28 Squadron : 52, 54, 59, 77, 85-86, 93, 108, 300, 321, 329

29 Squadron : 39, 68, 167, 327

31 Squadron : 41, 68, 72-73, 76, 91, 103, 107, 173, 216, 224, 237, 262, 321, 351-352

32 Squadron : 41, 129, 133, 242, 359

35 Squadron : 47, 50, 127, 223, 301, 326, 356, 357

37 Squadron : 42, 162-163, 166-171, 195, 304-305, 334

41 Squadron : 65

44 Squadron : 149, 150

45 Squadron : 39, 68, 109, 173, 352

47 Squadron : 39, 167, 329, 332

48 Squadron : 200

101 Squadron : 39, 61, 196-197, 334, 353

106 Squadron : 47, 49-50, 88-89, 327, 351, 353, 356

108 Squadron : 39, 329-330

220 Squadron : 39, 68, 274-275

221 Squadron : 39, 166-176

230 Signal Unit : 36, 75, 79, 83, 90, 101, 103, 114, 146, 217-222, 272, 288, 313, 335

300 Squadron : 155, 157

310 Squadron : 156, 157

411 Signal Unit : 163, 181-183, 188-189

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Postby Samir » 28 Sep 2005 18:44

For those that subscribe to the DDM view of Indian journalism when it comes to military matters, or military history, its worth pointing out that India Today simply refused to review our book. Just like that. Couldn't be bothered apparently.

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Postby Surya » 28 Sep 2005 19:23

Samir. What else did you expect ????

You and jagan are not the slick self serving types like a certain Lt Gen who having never fired a shot in anger in CI ops gets reams of pages for his books.

Any request for info from IT and you are directed to their Marketing department!!!

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Postby Harry » 10 Oct 2005 03:05

Jagan, is there really a need to include the idiot Kaushik Roy's retarded piece here,

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Books ... views.html ?

Its not even a review and will certainly put off a lot from buying the book.

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Postby Jagan » 10 Oct 2005 12:06

Harry wrote:Jagan, is there really a need to include the idiot Kaushik Roy's retarded piece here,

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Books ... views.html ?

Its not even a review and will certainly put off a lot from buying the book.


A media 'review' ..good or bad.... is a media review

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Postby Surya » 10 Oct 2005 12:37

You may also want to post the authors reply to that so called review

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Postby Samir » 19 Oct 2005 22:47

The latest Vayu Aerospace Review carries a review of our book. Jagan will post excerpts or the entire thing if possible very soon.


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