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

Samir
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Postby Samir » 22 Oct 2005 23:45

The Vayu Aerospace Review (written by Gp Capt JC Malik) is now up at:

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Books/Media-Vayu.html

(the page also features a scan of the cover - two Su-30 jocks climbing aboard their steed).

Samir
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Postby Samir » 26 Oct 2005 22:54

Rediff has posted excerpts from the book (and described it as "seminal" :)) at the following links: (descriptions included below)

http://us.rediff.com/news/2005/oct/26sp ... &file=.htm

The Rediff Special/PVS Jaganmohan and Samir Chopra

On a wing and a prayer

October 26, 2005

The Indian Air Force played a key role in the 1965 conflict. As part of our special series to mark the 40th year since that war, we bring you two excerpts from a seminal book on the subject, The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965, by PVS Jagan Mohan and Samir Chopra.

http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/oct/26war.htm

The Rediff Special/Samir Chopra and PVS Jagan Mohan
The Wolfpack in action
October 26, 2005

In this second extract from The India Pakistan Air War of 1965, we look at how four Gnats got into a dogfight with the superior Pakistani Sabres, and won.

Y I Patel
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Postby Y I Patel » 26 Oct 2005 23:31

I have been stuck half way through the book for unaviodable reasons, so let me give my half baked impressions. Don't want to keep postponing for ever!

The best part of the book is that the authors step back from inserting personal opinion - this may seem like a prerequisite for a historical work, but introduction of personal bias is a long standing bane in Indian military history (and I cite Palit as an example of egregious offense in this respect). So kudos for painstaking research and for the self-restraint shown in articulating the views of those who actually did the fighting. The extensive quotes from IAF personnel were a very good touch.

The book is surprisingly packed with facts and information, for such a small package! In fact, reading it gets rather exhausting, which is a compliment to the amount of information in the book.

In short, the authors have done a great job of describing the "how", but the "why" still needs work. This may partly be due to the nature of access enjoyed by the authors, but there is no clear sense of why the air war played out in the manner it did. The actions read like ad-hoc responses to Pakistani attacks or to the evolving situation on ground. If this was really the case, then the authors do need to address why it was so - why did the attack on the Badin radar, for instance, have to happen so late in the war, when knocking it out carried such great strategic significance? This is not really an indictment of the authors, because all other accounts of the air war paint a similar picture of ad hoc decision making. But hopefully the authors will make a greater effort at "why" in their next round. One big step to this end would be to include a diagram showing the administrative and operational structure of the IAF during the war - how was a base, a wing, a squadron staffed? Who was responsible for operational planning of a base, a wing, a squadron? Who were the key players in these roles? How did strategic decision making filter down from PM/cabinet to IAF HQ to lower eschelons, and how was it translated into operational plans? What constraints shaped these actions? The authors have it in their power to make all this a lot clearer than they have, and the results would shed greater insight into the nitty gritty of the IAF's operational thinking.

The work can also become more accessible by inclusion of maps, as others mention. It would be very instructive, for example, to see a map of IAF air bases with the operational radii of Hunters, Mysteres, and Gnats overlaid over Halwara or Pathankot. Likewise for known radar ranges. Would be very illuminating about the limitations of equipment that the IAF was forced to operate under.

Overall, kudos again for a great piece of historical research. I have great expectations for the follow up!

Samir
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Postby Samir » 27 Oct 2005 19:28

YIP,

Thanks very much for the detailed comments. They are very useful. Both suggestions are good ones. The command to target assignment system is yet to be brought out clearly and in this war, certainly needs some more investigation. The all-important "command task" - the who, when, where, how, why behind it needs way more study and access to some of the higher-ranked players in the war. But note, this is being done 35-40 years after the war, and sadly lots of those folks are not around to help us with their experience and insight.

In our project on the 1971 war, we have more detailed information available thanks to PC Lal's book and hopefully with some research we will be able provide the kind of analysis you indicated.

best,
Samir

PS: Check your email

varhadi
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PAF Dummies???

Postby varhadi » 23 Nov 2005 00:52

Samir and Jagan,
I have read somewhere that PAF use to field certain dummy aircrafts at the airbases so that whenever IAF would raid the base, it would distroy the dummies instead of the actual a/c. How true is this? Did IAF ever use this "strategy" ?
PLease correct me if I have put this question in a wrong forum.
Thanks!

CPrakash
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Postby CPrakash » 23 Nov 2005 21:05

I think its a common strategy to use decoys. I am sure the IAF would have also used the decoy strategy quite well.

Samir
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Postby Samir » 23 Nov 2005 21:45

Using decoys is common strategy - employed by everyone and anyone for as long as warfare has been around. The most massively successful decoy operation was carried out prior to the D-Day landings (nature and target of landing)

Jagan
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Postby Jagan » 02 Dec 2005 15:59

Latest comments:

"I must compliment (the authors) for having bought out an excellent and unbiased study of the 1965 Air War. It is apparent that a tremendous amount of research has been made to bring out a factual and balanced account of the airwar. The detailed notes and cross references along with the first hand accounts lend credibility to the book and make interesting reading."

- Air Chief Marshal S.P.Tyagi PVSM AVSM VM ADC.
Chief of Air Staff, Indian Air Force

Jagan
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Postby Jagan » 19 Jan 2006 19:49

Bharat Rakshak -> Military Issues & History Forum

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#1: Request for Members - Aviation History Magazine Author: Samir, Posted: 19 Jan 2006 08:07 am

Folks, the latest issue of Aviation History Magazine (well, either the January or March issues), carries a review - by Walter Boyne - of the 1965 Air War Book. Boyne is a well-known, much respected, aviation historian. Both Jagan and I have been unable to find the magazine in our local Borders etc. Is there anyone out there who can find the magazine?

Last edited by Samir on 19 Jan 2006 05:47 pm; edited 1 time in total

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#2: Author: Jagan, Location: Earth @ Google.com Posted: 19 Jan 2006 08:33 am

Made Sticky, will non-stick it after a couple of days.

Please do try and locate the magazine.

Jagan

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#3: Author: Sumeet, Location: USA Posted: 19 Jan 2006 06:37 pm

Samir and Jagan,

Congratulations guru ji,

I study at UW madison and my library has electronic access to that magazine. Currently i am reading his review of your book


There is a warning displayed towards the end saying:

Quote:

"Copyright of Aviation History is the property of Primedia Special Interest Publications. Copyright of PUBLICATION is the property of PUBLISHER. The copyright in an individual article may be maintained by the author in certain cases. Content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use."



Because of this i cannot paste the whole review on this public forum. Kindly give me your e-mail address and i will e-mail you the article.

Or contact me at sumeet1981@yahoo.com. If you prefer any other way let me know. Also would you like it in PDF format or HTML format or both. Both formats are clear and his review is on page 58 of Aviation History March 2006. It fits completely in a single page.

Just to boil your curiosity let me type down his first and concluding statements:

First one:
"This is an unusually well-done book on a subject that has been almost completely overlooked in the American press."


Concluding one:
"This book is highly recommended, especially for the aviation history collector who thought he had everything."

Source: Aviation History, Mar2006, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p58, 1p
Item: 19157360

Ok so i bow in respect to our dear Samir Chopra and P.V.S. Jagan Mohan. Its our great fortune to have you amongst us.

UW madison is one of the largest university in US. And we have access to many magazines etc.... so in case in future you want to get some info which is otherwise hard to get, please contact me, i will be very glad if i could be of any help to people like you and others we have at BR.


Warmest Regards & Heartiest Congratulations,
Sumeet.

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#4: Author: Jagan, Location: Earth @ Google.com Posted: 19 Jan 2006 07:07 pm

Sumeet,

Sent an email. Thanks!

Jagan

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#5: Author: Sumeet, Location: USA Posted: 19 Jan 2006 07:27 pm

Jagan and Samir,

Email sent to your accounts. I have copy pasted the review into the body of e-mail as well as attached it as a PDF document. Please notify me [here] when you get it.

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#6: Author: Jagan, Location: Earth @ Google.com Posted: 19 Jan 2006 07:43 pm

Sumit, got it - thanks!

Jagan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#7: Author: Sumeet, Location: USA Posted: 19 Jan 2006 08:31 pm

Jagan or Samir,

Please provide us with some info on what you think about his review.

shiv
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Postby shiv » 19 Jan 2006 20:13

I have received a pdf of the review from vsunder and I will post excerpts fom the 1st and last paragraphs


This is an unusually well done book on a subject that has been almost completely overlooked in the American press.
...
The authors do a very evenhanded job in describing the combat via personal accounts. They conclude with an excellent series of appendices.

This book is highly recommended, especially for the aviation history collector who thought he had everything.

Jagan
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Postby Jagan » 19 Jan 2006 21:56

sumeet, its actually pretty gratifying to get such a good review from Aviation History.

esp from someone who actually knows this stuff. Col Boyne who wrote the review is well known for his aviation history books and articles. To get a good word out of him on the book is clearly an achievement for us.

sameer
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good book..

Postby sameer » 19 Jan 2006 22:07

jagan

i am one of your esteemed customers. i only bought it just because i share the authors name :) .

seriously the book was a good attempt. btw..how many copies have you sold (if that isnt classified info..)

Babui
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Postby Babui » 21 Jan 2006 02:23

Can somebody summarize Walter Boyne's review?

Jagan
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Postby Jagan » 24 Jan 2006 02:42

Review from Aviation History Magazine
===================================

Title: The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965 , By:
Boyne, Walter J., Aviation History, 10768858, Mar2006,
Vol. 16, Issue 4
Database: Academic Search Elite

Section: Reviews The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965



The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965
by P.V.S. Jagan Mohan and Samir Chopr
Manohar, New Delhi, India, 2005, $34.

This is an unusually well-done book on a subject that
has been almost completely overlooked in the American
press. Apart from a very few magazine articles
(including Ion Guttman's "Pakistan's Sabre Ace" in the
September 1998 issue of Aviation History), almost
nothing has been written about a conflict that has
important implications for today's world.

Kashmir was the flashpoint for the short but bloody
India-Pakistan war of 1965, and it remains so today,
with a horrifying difference. Both India and Pakistan
now have nuclear weapons, and there is little doubt in
anyone's mind that they would use them in the event of
another conflict. Perhaps even more important from the
American point of view is that another India-Pakistan
conflict would almost certainly result in Pakistani
nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.

The air war between the two countries, once united as
a part of Great Britain's Imperial India, was
conducted by highly trained, motivated pilots flying
modern equipment. Many of the senior pilots, including
the respective commanders of the two opposing air
forces, had flown together in the Royal Indian Air
Force and had been friends. The authors have
interviewed many of the participants, and in doing so
have greatly enlivened their story with personal
accounts. These form the heart and soul of the book,
with their fascinating mixture of Eastern and Western
fighter pilot slang.

While neither author is a pilot, their liking for
airplanes is reflected in the excellent descriptions
of jet fighters that have long since departed the
combat arena. They use the personal narrative of the
pilots who flew them to impart the real flavor of the
time. One of the most interesting aircraft was the
Folland Gnat, a tiny, highly sensitive light fighter
that proved itself in combat - and was descended via
the design group from H.R Folland's famous S.E.5 of
World War I. Another fascinating comparison is made
between the English Electric Canberras supplied to the
Indian Air Force and the Martin-built Canberras
supplied to the Pakistani Air Force, While the two
planes had comparable performance, the Pakistani
version had the great advantage of tandem seating and
ejection seats for both crew members - a feature sadly
lacking in the Indian version.

The authors give a brief account of the history of the
Indian Air Force, which became the Royal Indian Air
Force in 1945, and was thus the sire of both the
present Indian and Pakistani air arms.

After independence came to the two countries in 1947,
both had difficulties in creating a modern air force.
India chose to spend money on new hardware as a
political statement, although it failed to back up the
new hardware with adequate spares and maintenance.
Pakistan labored along with inadequate equipment until
it became a part of the South-East Asian Treaty
Organization (SEATO) in 1954, and became the
beneficiary of a large-scale reequipment by the United
States. The Pakistani Air Force received a substantial
number of North American F-86s, along with a handful
of Lockheed F-104s.

India maintained an Anglo-French connection by
purchasing de Haviland Vampires, Dassault Ouragans and
Mystères, Hawker Hunters, Folland Gnats and other
aircraft. It tried to meet the threat of the Pakistani
F-104s by acquiring MiG-21s in 1962.

The reader is walked through the incidents that led to
the 1965 war and then plunged into the sharp but
relatively brief conflict that took place in September
of that year. The authors do a very evenhanded job in
describing the combat via personal accounts. They
conclude with an excellent series of appendices.

This book is highly recommended, especially for the
aviation history collector who thought he had
everything.

~~~~~~~~

By Walter J. Boyne


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright of Aviation History is the property of
Primedia Special Interest Publications. Copyright of
PUBLICATION is the property of PUBLISHER. The
copyright in an individual article may be maintained
by the author in certain cases. Content may not be
copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a
listserv without the copyright holder's express
written permission. However, users may print,
download, or email articles for individual use.
Source: Aviation History, Mar2006, Vol. 16 Issue 4,
p58, 1p
--------------------------------------------

Reproduced with permission from Col Boyne.


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