I'd like to start a thread dedicated to the IAF and its history. Specifically, I'd like to get people's views on good books by Indian and non Indian authors on the History of the IAF. Of special interest is IAF's war record and historical interpretations of it. I do not consider books by Chuck Yeager or John Fricker in this category.
Since relatively few titles are avaialble solely dedicated to the IAF, I'd like to know if some general Air Warfare books have sections on the IAF.
I'd like to kick start it with a book that I recently bought.
AEROSPACE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AIR WARFARE (Volume 2 1946-present) by Chris Bishop, AIRTime publishing, USA
This is one of the few Western books that almost completely vindicates the IAF's role in 1965. I do not mean the IAF's official claims, but rather the (well researched - unofficial) claims such as Jagan's. This book has a few typos and minor detail errors but is worth a read.
Some excerpts from this book about the 1965 air war.
To me, the best part in this book was that it had a photo of Sq. Ldr. M.M.Alam and the caption read:The Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 is often presnted as a 'David and Goliath' struggle, though in fact, the two sides were remarkably evenly matched,since India had to keep many of its best units in the East, to guard against Chinese intervention and played no part in the fighting. Clever post war propaganda by the PAF created the illusion that the war had been something of a Turkey shoot for the PAF, but while the Pakistani enjoyed a 26:12 kill:loss ratio in air combat, they were unable to prevent offensive operations by India's bombers and fighter-bombers.
The PAF lost 25 aircrafts (12 in air combat) while the IAF lost lost 60 (26 in air combat). This was an impressive result but was simply not good enough. Pakistan ended the war having depleted 17% of its frontline strength while India's losses amounted to less than 10%. Moreover the loss rate had begun to even out and experts have estimated that another three weeks of fighting would have seen Pakistani losses rising to 33% and India's losses totalling 15%. Air superiority was not achieved and PAF was unable to prevent IAF fighter-bombers and recce Canberras from flying daylight missions over Pakistan. Thus 1965 was an expensive "victory" for the PAF and one which was tainted by ridiculously exaggerated propaganda which claimed a 4:1 or 5:1 kill:loss ratio. The PAF had begun to believe their own propaganda that the kill:loss ratio had been 4:1 rather than the actual 2:1, still an imressive achievement, but simply not enough to win a war against India. They were completely unable to percieve that whatever happened in the air, the war ended in a draw. They had also failed to realize that despite a slightly higher kill tally, they could not win a war of attrition against India.
Any others interested in this topic, please share your favourite books and some excerptsSquadron Leader Mohammed Alam was credited with the downing of five Indian Hunters in a single engagement over Sargodha during the 1965 war, but the IAF lost only 3 Hunters that day, two of them due to enemy action. Two of the "Hunter Pilots" named by the PAF as victims actually flew Mysteres on another strike.