Lessons of 1962 War for a possible new Sino-India conflict

Raj Malhotra
BRFite
Posts: 997
Joined: 26 Jun 2000 11:31

Lessons of 1962 War for a possible new Sino-India conflict

Postby Raj Malhotra » 20 Nov 2005 13:54

Let's discuss the 1962 Sino-Indo War

We have discussed this issue off and on for a very long time from a lot of angles like :-

Nehru should have funded the military better

We should have taken pre-emptive forceful action by moving slightly ahead on some features and ridges

Kaul was a politically appointed disaster

We should have used Airforce etc etc.


Now I want to re-discuss the issue, as how we should have fought the war, assuming same Geopolitical, internal, intelligence failure and military situation.


The reason is that if there is a squabble with China again then it will be of the similar nature. I really don’t think there will be major commitment of naval or deep strike aircrafts by both sides.

I think it will be replay of kargill or siachin action.

The biggest mistake I think we made was that we did not commit our airforce.


Assuming the reasons for not commiting IAF were true and even if it was very possible that we would have lost more territory and men by pushing China further but we would have made war costly for China rather than a walk over.

This would have made it pause and re-think.This would have increased problems for them on their eastern fronts.


We have still failed to (since then) develop the straetegy of making it costly for enemy. Sometimes, one just fights a loosing action or retaliates, to protect the future and also to tell the enemy that if you hit a lot then we will also land a few.

We should have simply made the war more costly for China This psyche is still prevailing in our dealing with Pakistan and Nangadesh. We have failed to make things costly for our enenmies.

The reason I am posting this is that I feel personally that we don't have any meaningful policy of military action against China.

Like how will we react if they do a kargill on us?

It must be noted that operation Parakarm continued to suffer from lack of innovative idea/s even after mobilizations of 1986, 1990-91, 1999

With China, I wonder whether we have gone into full comma!
Last edited by Raj Malhotra on 27 Nov 2005 10:41, edited 2 times in total.

Jagan
Webmaster BR
Posts: 3037
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Earth @ Google.com
Contact:

Postby Jagan » 20 Nov 2005 18:11

The biggest mistake I think we made was that we did not commit our airforce.


Just to make the discussion interesting, some questions to ponder:

What was the orbat of the IAF, Squadrons, Trained Pilots etc.
What is the number of ground attack ac the IAF could have committed.
What are the targets that the IAF could have hit in NEFA / Ladakh
How many aircraft had the range to hit rear bases in Tibet like lhasa
How many pilots had familiarity flying in the mountainous terrain of NEFA
Did the Army/AF had a reliable FAC System in place to make effective use of airpower?
Was the Army / AF Joint planning sound enough to make effective use of airpower?
Was the Indian and Air Force Intelligence reliable enough?
Did the Indian higher ups actually know that the Chinese AF was grounded or was not operating in Tibet at that time?
How many units of the PLAAF could the have committed if Indian air power was thrown into the action?

All stuff for a staff college exercises. ;)

Raj Malhotra
BRFite
Posts: 997
Joined: 26 Jun 2000 11:31

Postby Raj Malhotra » 20 Nov 2005 19:59

Jagan wrote:
The biggest mistake I think we made was that we did not commit our airforce.


Just to make the discussion interesting, some questions to ponder:

What was the orbat of the IAF, Squadrons, Trained Pilots etc.
What is the number of ground attack ac the IAF could have committed.
What are the targets that the IAF could have hit in NEFA / Ladakh
How many aircraft had the range to hit rear bases in Tibet like lhasa
How many pilots had familiarity flying in the mountainous terrain of NEFA
Did the Army/AF had a reliable FAC System in place to make effective use of airpower?
Was the Army / AF Joint planning sound enough to make effective use of airpower?
Was the Indian and Air Force Intelligence reliable enough?
Did the Indian higher ups actually know that the Chinese AF was grounded or was not operating in Tibet at that time?
How many units of the PLAAF could the have committed if Indian air power was thrown into the action?

All stuff for a staff college exercises. ;)



And off course i have all this information and will not give it to you! :P


The point that is made that IAF was not commited because it was assumed that it will lead to heavier losses because of strength of PLAAF.

I am saying that even assuming that was true, (which subsequent analysts doubt), we should have made the overall war costlier for China.

I am talking about the policy level thinking of Indian leadership.

In fact the IA as usual was crying about lack of equipment. They demanded so many mortar rounds that it was estimated that the factories of France will take 20 years to manufacture them.

This cry for toy and make excuses of brass was evident in 1965 (ammo for 40mm guns?) and 1999 kargill.

The only time Indian brass has performed is when they were told in no uncertain terms from Political leadership in 1971 that they had a job to do.

This love for toys is still evident in (say) SPGs.

The point is that if China captures some heights a la Pakis in Kargill, what will be our (Non?) response?

Tilak
BRFite
Posts: 733
Joined: 31 Jul 2005 20:19
Location: Old Lal Masjid @BRFATA (*Renovation*)

Postby Tilak » 20 Nov 2005 20:22

Raj Malhotra,

Can you please consider renaming the title of the thread to a more appropriate one, something like "Discussion: Indo-China war of 1962".

Thanks.

Murugan
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4188
Joined: 03 Oct 2002 11:31
Location: Smoking Piskobidis

Postby Murugan » 23 Nov 2005 16:14

Who was Chief of Air Staff at that time?
was the defence minister at that time was 'red'dy?

satya
BRFite
Posts: 715
Joined: 19 Jan 2005 03:09

Postby satya » 23 Nov 2005 16:28

Hi guy,

try this link below for a very in depth and to a great extent neutral analysis of the 62' war from political as well as military point of view, worth reading:

http://www.centurychina.com/plaboard/uploads/1962war.htm

Ashok
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 20
Joined: 08 Jun 2001 11:31

Postby Ashok » 23 Nov 2005 16:55

Satya, Neville Maxwell is not an unbiased source or whose words are considered the gospel truth this side of the Himalayas. Of course, he is
inevitably cited by the Chinese as an impeccable source re. the '62 war.

Mihir
BR Mainsite Crew
Posts: 863
Joined: 14 Nov 2004 21:26

Re: What are the lessons of the 1962 Sino-Indo War?

Postby Mihir » 23 Nov 2005 17:44

Raj Malhotra wrote: [b] The biggest mistake I think we made was that we did not commit our airforce.


You may be right. But was our Air Force large enough to repel the Chinese forces, even if air superiority was achieved? Did the IAF have any experiece in 1962. The Chinese had the experience of the Korean War.

Secondly, it should be remembered that Iraq had achieved almost total air superiority during the Iran-Iraq War. But this still did not neable them to repulse Iranian human-wave attacks. The same might hold true in this case. I wonder what the gurus have to say about this.

satya
BRFite
Posts: 715
Joined: 19 Jan 2005 03:09

Postby satya » 23 Nov 2005 18:36

Ashok,


i have read this article and i didnt find the author biased rather he told us out certain strategic mis calculations tht were made by Nehru and his 'bhagats' in their moves pre 62' war.

Though u can say tht he did show tht chinese were trying to thwart the conflict but not succeeding but his take on PLA movements and IA 'r rxn seem pretty much true considering more or less has been told or written by various indian authors stating the same 'facts' so i dont know where u find this author totaly biased frankly.

daulat
BRFite
Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Postby daulat » 23 Nov 2005 18:55

there is a military strategic policy vis a vis china. it is about containment and balance and therefore maintaining an ugly status-quo. however one that is tipped over by chinese nuclear capabilities, hence agni, etc.

as china modernises her armed forces, to maintain the ugly status quo we have to be able to keep containment realistic - which means upgrading our capabilities - and it is all about causing sufficient pain to deter aggression. all in all, they cant break through to the Brahmaputra and we cannot liberate Lhasa, anything less is not worth the effort

CPrakash
BRFite
Posts: 126
Joined: 04 Sep 2000 11:31
Location: Mahboobnagar

Postby CPrakash » 23 Nov 2005 20:49

Neville Maxwell is a closet communist. He once predicted that India will break up by the late 80s or 90s... I would not touch what he writes with a barge pole.

Raj Malhotra
BRFite
Posts: 997
Joined: 26 Jun 2000 11:31

Postby Raj Malhotra » 23 Nov 2005 20:59

Actually I am not trying to discuss the Indo-China war but what have we "learned" from it.


OK, let me put it in another form.


Let us say we get news tomorrow morning that China has made shallow but permanent intrusions in 10 places a la Kargill.

What do we do?

RayC
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4333
Joined: 16 Jan 2004 12:31

Postby RayC » 23 Nov 2005 21:43

I will only add one issue that might be of interest and which one forgets.

Troops from the plains were moved into High Altitude without acclimatisation.

Those who are aware of the hazards of going into High Altitude (HA) without acclimatisation on men' health, and the effects of High Altitude on the physical efficiency degradation as also the degradation on the weapon effectiveness will understand that it was not merely the oft repeated reasons for the debacle, but also the effects of HA, which played an important role.

The Chinese, on the other hand, were already acclimatised being on the Tibetan Plateau!

Tim
BRFite
Posts: 136
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: USA

Postby Tim » 23 Nov 2005 21:59

Relating to Jagan's posts, there were relatively contemporary accounts stating that the IAF lacked the logistics infrastructure to support operations for any length of time, particularly in the (then) top-of-the-line Hawker Hunter force. I can find the cites if anyone's interested, but Jagan probably has more on this than I do. According to RAND studies, there were over thirty aircraft types in the IAF at the time. Add to that the problem of operating at Himalayan altitudes with inadequate intelligence, and goodness knows what limitations due to available air bases (that's one I don't have much info on...)

All that said, this could be a very interesting thread. If I might be so bold, however, if the focus is on relevance to problems today, starting a parallel thread on Falcon/Checquerboard in 1986/87 would be extremely useful. I'm not sure there are any really complete studies of those events that are widely available (in the US, at least - there may be Indian accounts). Even putting together a reading list of available sources would be a very useful task, and maybe somebody could create an article out of it.

satya
BRFite
Posts: 715
Joined: 19 Jan 2005 03:09

Postby satya » 23 Nov 2005 22:05

Cparkash,

when i read this article , i didnt know tht the author has communist leanings nor did they show in his article so i will suggest u read it first then make ur judgement .


Daulat,


IA's assessment of PLA is tht it cant sustain more than 17 divisions for any kind of operation across the tibet border and i think IA is more than prepared to face this eventuality atleast this is the impression i have about IA.

Considering IA has beeb prepared till now to fight ''Two theater war'' , they r more than ready for 'containment' and maybe's tht why chinese never tried to again 'settle' this dispute after '62 through use of force except those two incidents in Arunchap Pradesh in late 67 and again in 87 .

ramana
Forum Moderator
Posts: 50624
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Postby ramana » 23 Nov 2005 22:07

Raj, Try to get hold of Ambassador J.K. Galbraith's autobiography. He refers to hs inputs to GOI.

Tim, I think you should post those cites and also for whatever you have on Checkerboard and Falcon. I recall old issues of India today had some stuff on it. Again after Gen. Sunderjis' died there were reports in India Today about those two exercises. For all we know you might have better access to all those reports.

daulat
BRFite
Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Postby daulat » 23 Nov 2005 22:17

Satya - think what containment means. if PLA cannot break through to the Brahmaputra, their forces will be pretty decimated, their lines very stretched and their infrastructure in Tibet strained. IA can counter attack and the PLA will leave a long line of corpses back to the LAC. but beyond that, the IA will have an initial run into Tibet, but when the PLA reserves are brought in (or worse, the M9 options are exercised) then IA have a hard time holding on, given our logistics in the Himalayas. We cannot dominate using air alone - which i have no doubt we will have an upper hand in

Arun_S
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2800
Joined: 14 Jun 2000 11:31
Location: KhyberDurra

Postby Arun_S » 24 Nov 2005 10:05

Raj,
1962 was not just about reverses in the first round but inability to payback by entering stage-2 by cutting/harassing the Chinese supply lines which were precarious and very thin.

Reading Sun Tzu, it appers that Cimmunist China PLA used treaditional Sun Tzu teachings. India should have see those tactics and played the available counter options to make them pay the price and gain back our pound of flesh.

For example Chinese in AksaiChin and Ladhak overstreached themseves in terms of supply line. The Chinese came full northern tip of of Pungong-so lake but could not hold it thus withdrew almost 30 Km south on Pungong-so lake to location that can be supplied and the fellows could survive the winter. The northern edge of Pungong-so still has uncleared chinese minefield till this date.

See these photo I took from northern edge of Pungong-so lake to get a feel.
Image

Image

Image

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c109/ ... ng-cap.jpg
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c109/ ... ng-Chi.jpg
http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c109/ ... ng-Chi.jpg

satya
BRFite
Posts: 715
Joined: 19 Jan 2005 03:09

Postby satya » 24 Nov 2005 12:21

Daulat,

As far as i can made out the picture from IA's prespective , its one of 'holding operation' and not 'counter attack' as u said where IA will have run all the way to Tibet , and when i said 17 divs for PLA , tht assessment from IA is based on 'full logisitics' not stretched line or tht . IA doesnt have the capability to counterattack , its out of question.

Another thing Daulat tht comes into my mind is tht normally in mountain warfare the attacker needs a minimum of 8:1 against the defender so if we make an assessment based on this ration , it clearly means PLA's 17 divisons can not clearly make much head way [ meaning we will need only 3-4 divs at most to stop this attack rite?]

In btw Daulat , do u have any idea on how many mountain divs we have on eastern front [ total Mountain Divs r 11 or 12 i guess]

Another thing Daulat, IA's current strength is under projected , its more than 1 million for sure cuz wht i found out was tht contrary to prevailing views regarding RR as a purely CI force based on deputed men from other regular divisons , it has led to an increase in nos under IA belt .

satya
BRFite
Posts: 715
Joined: 19 Jan 2005 03:09

Postby satya » 24 Nov 2005 13:55

Arun_S wrote:
Raj,
1962 was not just about reverses in the first round but inability to payback by entering stage-2 by cutting/harassing the Chinese supply lines which were precarious and very thin.



1] China started the war at the location and time tht suited it best , so IA response was 'reactionary' , we were merely playing the game whose rules they set not us

2] IA was not in position to counter attack considering COAS was dumb struck by the chinese attack

3] chinese achieved their operational aims and hence declared unilateral ceasefire.

4] where were the resources for all this imaginatory 'counter attack' ? IAF ? do u think IAF alone could have done the job ? we also had a hostile enemy sitting on the western front , we dindt have enough manpower for all this sort of counterattack nor a military leadership

daulat
BRFite
Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Postby daulat » 24 Nov 2005 14:16

some of the previous discussions on BR on this topic talked of strategic surprise working for China against India. Given those conditions, the military response was almost predictable (with 20/20 hindsight of course). We know more now, we can deal with it better

satya
BRFite
Posts: 715
Joined: 19 Jan 2005 03:09

Postby satya » 24 Nov 2005 16:09

Daulat,

chinese leadership is very secretive and considering very less interaction they have with the outside world and their very special ability of always hiding their real purpose , prediction china's future course of action with india is still 90% guess work but u r rite we can be sure only of our preparation and by tht i mean military one ,for political one bette left aside than commented on.

CPrakash
BRFite
Posts: 126
Joined: 04 Sep 2000 11:31
Location: Mahboobnagar

Postby CPrakash » 24 Nov 2005 19:48

satya wrote:Cparkash,

when i read this article , i didnt know tht the author has communist leanings nor did they show in his article so i will suggest u read it first then make ur judgement .



The 'article' you mention was collated from a book by the name "India's China War". A good read no doubt, but biased. Now its my turn to suggest that you go to your nearest library, borrow that book and read it.

You can also google and try where Maxwell is nowadays and what he is doing. He is to China, what Cohen is to Parkistan.

Anoop
BRFite
Posts: 310
Joined: 16 May 2002 11:31

Postby Anoop » 24 Nov 2005 20:19

A couple of years ago there was a thread on BRF by DANK which discussed the forward deployment of the IA and the PLA along the Arunachal border. Although the antecedents of the posts were not made public, it seemed to me that they were at least seeded by IA personnel deployed along the frontier.

The thrust of DANK's posts were that Chinese infrastructure along the border were being seriously upgraded e.g. motorable roads to their outposts, while IA jawans still had to trek to ours.

IF this is true, Raj's questions about our response PLA's mountain sniping are timely.

Why would the Chinese do that? It would only be a negotiating gambit, serving to remind India that they remain firm on delineating the border to their benefit. The military value of such actions are likely to be low. It is also possible that upgradation of border infrastructure is a case of psy-ops intended not for use in war, but for the people at the negotiating table.

My questions are:

1. Does the IA vacate mountain posts in winter like we used to in Kargil? It is unlikely that PLA will resort to a forced takover of the posts and more likely that they will occupy vacant ones and claim it is theirs, thereby putting the onus on us to respond.

2. Will we risk a wider conflict with China to reclaim those posts by force? I hope we do; anything less would be a cave-in and impact adversely on our border negotiations.

daulat
BRFite
Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Postby daulat » 24 Nov 2005 20:39

the chinese are mostly on a plateau and motorable roads are easy. just think, when they cross over, do we really want them to have good roads to drive down, or would we rather they slogged their way over rough terrain? away from their roads their lines get clogged and if we fall back, ours get better

we have plenty of roads further back to allow lateral movement, especially artillery so that we can keep them bottled up in the passes and then we can hit their logistics using air assets

once stranded, their men will not be doing too much, although knowing the PLA history, they will fight to the last

all this is amply discussed by tellis in his book on india's nuclear posture

Anoop
BRFite
Posts: 310
Joined: 16 May 2002 11:31

Postby Anoop » 24 Nov 2005 21:23

Daulat,

My point is that the PLA would not try to come down and take territory. Unlike the PA that fantasized about cutting off Siachin while sitting on a few peaks, the PLA wouldn't - what is there to cut-off, except the entire NE and that is beyond China's capabilities.

PLA aims would be much more modest - (a) present a fait accompli and guage the response - will it be flag meetings, diplomatic protests or armed action? (b) Signal to India that border delineations are going to get tougher with time in order to extract concessions.

Will India resort to air attacks on Chinese logistics in Tibet to recover 10 mountain peaks (say) that are not worth anything more than place markers on a map? I am not sure, but I suspect that it would not.

As I had stated in that thread a couple of years ago, what we lack vis-a-vis China is a gradual escalatory ladder, where we can match their provocations without getting ahead of ourselves. At least, that's my perception and am willing and eager to be corrected.

daulat
BRFite
Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Postby daulat » 24 Nov 2005 23:19

anoop, i am not disputing what you say, i was responding to satya

Shankar
BRFite
Posts: 1905
Joined: 28 Aug 2002 11:31
Location: wai -maharastra

Postby Shankar » 26 Nov 2005 11:46

62 was all about being unprepared on the military front . About a political leadership somewhat etopic on ground reality and about a secrative ruthless regime bent to humiliate india on the world stage . The first two factors helped make the third strategic objective bear fruit .The unilateral ceasefire was part of the chinese game plan .

cut back to 2005 the ground reality is totally different and any conflict with india will hurt chinese interests many times more than ours -they wil not do it atleast not in next 5 -10 yrs .Border skirmishes like in nathu la 67 will occur for sure as aggressive forward patrolling is carried out by both sides more frequently more the asses the others preparednes level than a purcussor to serious teritorial conflict.

62 was also a consolidation extension of Tibet so that in future no one questions it is an integral part of china by pushing and claiming more than they really want also a move to make emerging frienship with pakistan more concrete aand then to make pakistan feel confidan enough to keep india militarily off balance with small wars sadly it misfired for pakisatn badly in 71 but for china it was better now it has the sad state of pakistan firmly in its fold .

They are doing just that in bangladesh now and next war for our interest may be once again much closer to home .China will not engaga in a direct military conflict with us in near future they will do it thru proxies -that is their strategy as long as dont have taiwan completely which they will have for sure may be at a great cost and then may be we need to seriously worry .

Raj Malhotra
BRFite
Posts: 997
Joined: 26 Jun 2000 11:31

Postby Raj Malhotra » 27 Nov 2005 10:37

I think that any border skirmish with China will be fought soley by Light infantry with (perhaps) artillery support.

Therefore there is great need to increase our commitment and morderniztion of light infantry.

Most of the brass want fancy toys, which have no relevance to possible conflicts like J&K-PoK, Indo-China, COIN etc. These border wars have high possiblity of taking place but there is no strategy to deal with them.

We need better night sights, thermal imagers, rifles, anti material rifles, comms etc. While we are concentrating on SPG, heavy LHPDs etc.

If an all out war takes place then China will try to cut chicken neck. They need not accupy it but just heavy air and artillery barrage on it.

(I am certain that Indian brass will loose confidence even if there is likelyhood of chicken neck getting cut off.)

To counter it, our alternative strategy should be to use IAF to cut off the Tibetan plateau from mainland mid china.


Tibetan plateau is flat but if we use PGMs against the roads-bridges climbing the plateau then we will pitch the logistics of holding even the tibet against chinese.

So we should have more long range deep strike aircraft, read MKI plus AEW read phalcons, for all out war against china-pak

While for border wars and COIN we must have WAY BETTER infantry equipment.

While scorps are good but US$ 4 Billion would have gone a long way in fighting a ONGOING war of COIN in J&K and NE, by better equippping infantry.

Brass should realise that bribes are automatic, so they should just order equipment which is more relevant to Indian defence and comes more useful for soldiers who are still dying in COIN

H Sen
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 10
Joined: 27 Nov 2005 10:58
Location: St. Louis

62 war

Postby H Sen » 27 Nov 2005 11:31

Some thoughts about the air war in 1962, or the lack thereof. The reasons why Nehru did not commit the IAF is pretty clear: Galbraith basically told him that it would escalate the war, that it would lead to Chinese bombing of Indian cities, and that the US would not back up the Indians in that event. The US was occupied with the Cuban missile crisis at the time, and not inclined to send dozens of squadrons to fight for India (as Nehru had requested). Also, Galbraith feared that if the IAF entered the war, and the USAF was forced to back up the Indians, it might lead to Soviet intervention on the Chinese side. Nehru gave in partly because he was more or less paralyzed by the situation, and partly because he needed to keep the Americans happy. If he went against Galbraith's "advice," there was a chance that the US might cut off all military aid. This, undoubtedly, was a miscalculation on Nehru's part, because Kennedy would have been under tremendous domestic pressure to support the Indian war effort.

The question I want to raise is this: would the IAF actually have been effective against the Chinese in 1962? We all know that the Indians had a topographical advantage, because Chinese aircraft operated from Tibetan airfields were limited in the tonnage of weaponry that they could carry. But there is another way of looking at numbers. Let's consider fighter strength. In 1962, the IAF would have had maybe 10 squadrons of Hunters and Gnats, and perhaps another five squadrons of Mysteres. (If somebody has actual numbers of aircraft available, I would be very interested in seeing that info.) The rest of the fighter force was made up of obsolete types - Vampires and Ouragans.

The PLAAF, in comparison, would have had several hundred Mig-15s and Mig-17s, and probably substantial numbers of Mig-19s also. The Mig-15s and Mig-17s - in the hands of pilots with combat experience from the Korean War - would have posed a serious problem for the limited numbers of Gnats and Hunters, and the Mysteres would have stood no chance. Under the circumstances, air superiority over the Himalayas would have been very difficulty to achieve, and IAF Canberras attacking Chinese supply lines would have been very vulnerable. If the Hunters and Gnats took major losses, then there would have been no alternative to sheltering under the USAF umbrella, or even begging the US for nuclear strikes against China (as Nehru is rumored to have done at one stage).

What do you all think? Am I missing something obvious?

Satadru

Arun_S
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2800
Joined: 14 Jun 2000 11:31
Location: KhyberDurra

Postby Arun_S » 27 Nov 2005 12:00

Hunterwala: Please read and follow forum guidlines when you sign-in to a new web site. Per BR Forum rules your name has been changed to 'H Sen'. You can change the user name yourself if you want another name with in BRF guidelines. If you have any question pls contact Admins. {Arun_S: Admin hat on}

Singha
BRF Oldie
Posts: 63356
Joined: 13 Aug 2004 19:42
Location: the grasshopper lies heavy

Postby Singha » 27 Nov 2005 12:16

H Sen, did you by any chance happen to be involved in that conflict ? just curious.

Chinese ambitions in a future conflict would be to inflict a short and very painful lesson to India by wiping out a brigade or two, taking of a limited patch of territory in conjunction with diplomatic blows to the known frailties in our political system - activate its people in the media, left parties, NGOs, local terrorists to create confusion and FUD in the minds of indians.

The general intent would be to make India "lose face" and "look small and be forced to bow and beg for territory back". A great show would also be made of handing over indian KIA via the IRC to rub it in.

Pls note the battle would always be fought in India territory (some disputed patch) and they would attempt to come out looking generous in the end giving it back after ceasefire is declared.

in short, a bigger and more sophiticated political hit - 1962 style.

they could also encourage "pirates" to romp into some lightly defended Andaman islands and create a bit of mayhem there and lob RPGs on kolkatta bound shipping to create another headache for Delhi.

H Sen
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 10
Joined: 27 Nov 2005 10:58
Location: St. Louis

Postby H Sen » 27 Nov 2005 12:36

Singha - No, I wasn't involved, but I've always been fascinated by it. One of the great "what if" situations of Indian history! Several years ago, I actually telephoned Galbraith in his office at Harvard, and asked him some questions, including why he had told Nehru to keep the IAF grounded. He was startled and a bit annoyed to be cold-called by a total stranger, but was polite enough to answer some of my questions. Basically, he said that the IAF was too weak to stand up to the PLAAF, and that it would inevitably have escalated the war and dragged the US into the fighting. I'm guessing that he based his assessment on CIA reports on the relative capabilities of the two air forces. Not that the CIA is always the most reliable source.

The thing is, there is no doubt that the PLAAF had more Mig-15s and -17s than we had Hunters and Gnats, and in that sense Galbraith was on the money. But was the PLAAF in a position to deploy hundreds of fighters in Tibet? Did they have the logistical capability to support major air operations in that theater? If the answer is no, then the Chinese numerical advantage is reduced or nullified. Over the Indian cities, certainly, the IAF would have an advantage over Chinese fighter escorts operating at extreme range, and here I think Galbraith's assessment was wrong. (Besides, I doubt whether the Chinese would have actually bombed Indian cities - the political fallout would have been pretty serious.) But the big question is air superiority over NEFA, Ladakh and Tibet.

Sanjay M
BRF Oldie
Posts: 4892
Joined: 02 Nov 2005 14:57

NEFA conflict

Postby Sanjay M » 27 Nov 2005 13:32

Anoop wrote:And the Chinese could not have sustained their positions in the face of a counter-attack by the IA due to overextended lines of communication. They avoided addressing that question by their unilateral withdrawal.


This is tantamount to saying that 1962 was our victory. I don't agree.

The very reason that attacking near RYK is not the best idea. A geographically vulnerable point is most heavily defended.


I find this to be overconfident. As per our own 1971 advance into Bangladesh just below, or even WW2 fighting against Japanese in the NorthEast, you just go around the hard-points, and envelope. Sri Lanka lost Elephant Pass to the Tigers the same way.


Two Corps in the region. Terrain in Tibet that does not permit much concealment, hence little element of surprise.


They seem to be maintaining their territorial claims despite the hostile terrain and the border "agreements". Also, what recent arrangement were they making with Bhutan? Apparently, they are alive to but not fazed by our 2 corps in the region.

Doing things on the quiet carries with it the limitation of how much force you can bring to bear. As the Pakistanis found out at Kargil. If China wants to avoid that issue, it can't keep things hidden.


I didn't see that Pakistan retreated from us under military duress at Kargil, but rather under political duress.

A battalion in dug-in defence would suffice on certain mountain passes! One is hopeful that were shooting to erupt, the IA would not repeat the mistakes of the past and neither would our political leadership.

Btw, this discussion is more apt for the "Lessons of 1962" thread in the Mil Forum


Dug-in positions were available at Kargil too, but they were not manned. As you say, hopefully such practices would be avoided in the future. Our forces would still face tough odds against the conventional force superiority the Chinese could bring to bear there.

Shankar
BRFite
Posts: 1905
Joined: 28 Aug 2002 11:31
Location: wai -maharastra

Postby Shankar » 27 Nov 2005 13:38

To make the discussion more factually correct and interesting here are some figures

PLAF

MIG 15/17 - 1350 NOS
MIG 19 - 150 NOS
IL - 28 - 600

IAF

VAMPIRE - 224
OURAGAN - 57
MYSTERE - 105
HUNTER - 140
GNAT - 33
CANEBERRA - 50 ESTIMATE

Anoop
BRFite
Posts: 310
Joined: 16 May 2002 11:31

Re: NEFA conflict

Postby Anoop » 27 Nov 2005 18:58

Sanjay M wrote: This is tantamount to saying that 1962 was our victory. I don't agree.


What?? It is tantamount only to saying that your fears of a large Chinese force cutting off the NE has not yet been established as anything other than your fears. To recap - you said Chinese forces could cut-off the NE and so we needed a tactical nuclear strike ability to prevent it. You provided the instance of the 1962 war to back up your assertion. I responded by saying that the 1962 war cannot possibly serve as proof of this assertion because the Chinese forces in 1962 could not sustain themselves logistically and so opted to withdraw. Where did this become my assertion that 1962 was our victory? It was a case of excellent war termination by the Chinese.

As per our own 1971 advance into Bangladesh just below, or even WW2 fighting against Japanese in the NorthEast, you just go around the hard-points, and envelope.


Ah, but then, it does not remain a case of cutting off the NE at the Siliguri corridor as you had implied in your previous post anymore, now does it? Particularly since cutting it off from all sides as in the examples you quoted requires a large force (whose build-up can be identified) and the OPFor fighting dispersed instead of concentrated (which allows time for reserves to be brought up).

They seem to be maintaining their territorial claims despite the hostile terrain and the border "agreements". Also, what recent arrangement were they making with Bhutan? Apparently, they are alive to but not fazed by our 2 corps in the region.


As are we - maintaining our territorial claims despite hostile terrain. Apparently we are alive to their famed 2 Arty Div, but not fazed by it. So how does either of these realities translate to Chinese plans to invade and occupy the NE, anymore than it translates to Indian plans to free Tibet?

And please tell me more about the recent arrangement with Bhutan. I am unaware of it and would appreciate a link.

I didn't see that Pakistan retreated from us under military duress at Kargil, but rather under political duress.


:shock: And one appeared magically without the other? Besides, I am going by the (unpublished) remarks of a Flag officer who served in Kargil who stated that Pakistani positions in Kargil were untenable logistically. In that they would have starved themselves to death or run out of ammo soon enough anyway. Not a successful strategy for cutting of anything, except your own nose.

Dug-in positions were available at Kargil too, but they were not manned.


Now we're on the same page. This was the question I raised a while back on this thread regarding our forward posts in the NE. Do you know the answer?

Our forces would still face tough odds against the conventional force superiority the Chinese could bring to bear there.


Sorry, you lost me again. What is this superior force and how would it brought to bear there? I am looking for an open source Orbat here, not the generally accepted premise that the PLA being much larger can sacrifice more people. That last bit may be true, but the questions remain. Why would they? What would be their objectives? How would they go about it? These would make for a valuable discussion.

H Sen
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 10
Joined: 27 Nov 2005 10:58
Location: St. Louis

Postby H Sen » 27 Nov 2005 23:28

Shankar, thanks for those numbers. 140 Hunters is more than I thought we had in '62 - very interesting.

Re some of the other posts, it would be a good idea to remember that Chinese goals in the 62 war were very limited. They had some territorial ambitions in Aksai Chin (primarily because of their new roads), which is why they held on to Aksai Chin after the ceasefire. In the northeast, I would argue their goals were more political than territorial. They expressed a claim on NEFA, but did not try to hold on. One explanation is that their supply lines would have become untenable once the winter set in. But another factor is that the actual territory was less important to them than their need to put Nehru (and India) in his place. Arguably, the territorial claim in NEFA was less of an issue than their resentment of the "bada bhai" attitude that they felt Nehru had. In the bhai-bhai relationship, they wanted to be big brother, and the border issue gave them the opportunity to make that clear. (Plus send a warning to the Soviets.) In all the excitement and panic, Nehru and company thought the PLA would try to sweep into Assam, and so the less-than-Churchillian PM said goodbye to the astonished Assamese, but there was really no reason to expect this. In any case, the PLA would have been slaughtered in the plains - there was no way that their logistics could support a full-scale invasion over the mountains.

It's also worth keeping in mind that the war was not simply a matter of Chinese aggression, but also one of our own stupidity. Not just because we were unprepared - that goes without saying. But the border issue could have been resolved in the 1950s through negotiation and some land-swapping in NEFA and Aksai Chin - the Chinese were open to it, whereas Nehru was not. Either you negotiate, or you prepare for war - we did neither. And on top of that came the Forward Policy, in which we responded to encroachments across the MacMahon Line with aggressive patrolling (and Nehru's famous "I have asked the Army to throw them out" remark), which of course gave the Chinese the ability to say that India started the war.

It's interesting to realize that even today, the basic issues between India and China are quite similar to the 1962 situation. Now, as then, the tension is not really territorial, but existential - a matter of power, influence and prestige in the world. Even the material issues, like access to oil, are secondary. To some extent, the border continues to provide a convenient excuse and venue for military posturing, but it's not realistic to think that the Chinese are about to sweep into Assam. It is more likely, I think, that a confrontation with China will come at a place like Myanmar or the Cocos Island, or even Nepal, should the Nepali regime collapse.

H Sen
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 10
Joined: 27 Nov 2005 10:58
Location: St. Louis

Postby H Sen » 28 Nov 2005 00:42

600 IL-28s is a lot of Beagles! The Beagle was inferior to the Canberra in most respects (including range and payload), but 50 Canberras seem quite insignificant compared to the 600 bombers on the other side.

Our limited Canberra numbers means that the Hunters and Mysteres would have been flying a lot of bombing missions. The Hunter was a great ground-attack aircraft, but one of the things we discovered in the '65 war is that bomb-laden Hunters are extremely vulnerable to enemy fighters unless they are given adequate escort. On the other hand, we also learned in 1965 that a small airforce can hold its own against a numerically superior enemy if it marshalls its resources intelligently. Perhaps we could have used our frontline fighters in concentrated formations in the war zone proper, leaving air defence of the cities to the Vamps and Ouragans. (It's amazing that we bought more than 200 Vampires in the 1950s, when they were already obsolete, instead of going for Mig-15s. Shows how much influence the Brits still had in Indian defence.) I guess we'll never know how Aspy Engineer compared with Nur Khan in his strategic thinking.

By the way, about those massive PLAAF numbers: any ideas about whether (and how) the Chinese actually had trained aircrew available for 2000+ combat aircraft? The Beagles were 3-man bombers. Chinese pilots didn't do so well in the Korean War in spite of their excellent equipment, and I'm guessing that IAF pilots would have been better trained, man for man.

manpreet
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 5
Joined: 15 May 2002 11:31

Chicken neck thing

Postby manpreet » 28 Nov 2005 00:47

I am no expert in military affairs but surely a fight in the Northeast with China would automatically bring into play a fight with Bangladesh.

Why? In order to negate the disadvantage of only having access via so called chicken neck. Hilli in West Benagl to Tura in Meghlaya looks like something that should be in the planning, any territory taken would be tactical and withdrawn from once finished with.

But I suppose the Indian establishment could not come up with courage or wherewithall for such audacity.

Raj see my post in other thread; Rajdeep Sardesai was on my flight home, see you next time..

Anoop
BRFite
Posts: 310
Joined: 16 May 2002 11:31

Postby Anoop » 28 Nov 2005 04:14

I think H Sen is on the money when it comes to Indo-Chinese conflict coming over China muscling in on Nepal or Bhutan, supported by their proxies in these countries. It throws the ball back in India's court and it will be a serious political challenge that will test our will and nerves.


Return to “Military History Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest