Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 24 May 2014 09:29


DAY 1 + 0045 HRS

“Mongol-two-three here, two long-range mobile radar sources detected on bearing two-five-two and three-one-five magnetic! Airborne and coming over the horizon.”

Verma looked up from the comms console and to the EW operator who had called out the warning. He then pressed the transmit button on his intercom: “Designation and source?”

“Bandit on bearing three-one-five is inbound southeast. Possible source Peshawar. Bandit on bearing two-five-two is inbound easterly. Possible source Multan. Tagging as bandits Vortex-one and Vortex-two Beginning track.” Verma saw the EW operator use the control mouse on his console to tag the contacts. The screen panel to the side immediately populated with the two active sources. VORTEX-ONE and VORTEX-TWO.

The Phalcon was detecting these two inbound sources based on their long-wavelength radar signatures as these waves bent over the horizon to reveal themselves much before the aircraft themselves became visible. Much like how a man with a torch in the dark is seen long before he sees what he is looking for, the EW operators on the Phalcon were seeing the light of the torch emitted by these two Pakistani aircraft.

But who were they? Verma mulled that over quickly. Peshawar made sense for the Pakistani air force. It was far enough behind the border to base their precious airborne control assets. But Multan was far closer to the southwest. Pakistani aircraft based near the dispersal fields at Multan were effectively forward-deployed as far as this war was concerned. Forward-deploying airborne control aircraft was as risky a strategy as could be imagined.

They must know where we are the same way we know about them. At least we must run with that assumption…Verma thought just as the EW operator came back on comms: “Vortex-two has boosted signal strength to full power!”

They are looking for a fight…Verma concluded and changed comms to the flight controllers on board: “Mongol-two-five and –two-six, be advised that we have inbound enemy airborne control aircraft to the south and west. Contact designate Vortex-one and –two. They will have strong protection alongside on passive radar modes. But they will be centered around the control aircraft. Vortex-two is the higher priority. I want that bird taken down before we are forced to split resources in two directions. Divert flights as necessary. Out.”

Verma watched in silence as the operators went to work, passing messages to the individual combat flight commanders whose aircraft were filling up the skies all around his Phalcon. He felt the sudden sensation of sweat and absently looked at his hands, which had become sweaty. Perhaps a part of him knew what he was committing his fighter pilots to. The Pakistanis liked to overrate their equipment and tactics beyond reality, but they were still deadly in their own right. And he knew he was going to lose pilots and airframes in this fight. But that was war. As a commander, his job was to ensure that the losses incurred amounted to something gained in the overall war. Was this a fight he wanted to commit to?

That was a question as old as war itself. Which battles should a commander commit to? Which others to retreat from until the time was right? Good commanders were those that knew the difference. Bad commanders committed to every fight on delusional grounds of honor. There was no honor in any of this. The idea was to win. If it required him to withdraw his forces from one front and commit them to the other, then that was what he would do.

But this was a fight he wanted to commit to. The Pakistanis only had a handful of airborne control aircraft on hand. Taking them out quick and dirty would nullify the PAF’s ability to wage war in the skies, leaving the IAF in control. That painful lesson had borne out of the war with China.

The side that lost its airborne command and control ability, lost control of the skies.
The side that took control of the skies won the war.

“Mongol-two copies all, War-hammer, Dagger and Scabbard.” Verma woke from his reverie and found himself still staring at his palms. He wiped them on the side of his flight-suit and took a deep breath as the Phalcon controllers handed the fight over to the three fighter flights directed towards Vortex-two. There was, after all, yet another rule to war:

Once committed, there were no if’s and buts allowed.
Finish the fight. Fight to win.

The radar-operator concluded his thought for him as he spoke to the flight commanders: “Kill them all!”
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 24 May 2014 09:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 24 May 2014 09:31


DAY 1 + 0055 HRS

Grewal copied the message from the Phalcon and took a deep breath of his own. He transitioned mentally to what needed to be done now. He gripped the control stick tighter and could feel his senses moving into hyper-drive. Everything registered in his head. The smell of the leather straps holding him to his seat. The fabric of the flight-suit. The rumble of the single engine powering his aircraft. The individual stars in the night sky above. The bluish-white color of the clouds below.

Everything registered. Everything.

He switched comms to his flight: “Gents, here we go. Over the border and taking the fight to the enemy. We have twelve enemy Foxtrot birds and six Mirage birds surging east in front of their airborne radar. Mongol-two has committed us to the fight alongside the Flankers. We are keeping a low profile. Dive for the soup below. Mongol-two will be leading us. We are going under the fight between the Flankers and the enemy birds, boys. Our goal is the enemy airborne control. Keep a tight formation and follow my lead. Give me affirm chime!”

“Affirm, Dagger-leader”
“Dagger-three copies all.”
“Wilco from Dagger-four.”

All right, here we go…Grewal thought. To his north, he saw the sixteen Su-30s of No. 8 squadron in four finger-four flights spreading into a line-abreast. They were going parallel to Grewal’s flight of four LCAs. This force was aptly named “War-hammer”. A similar group of eight Su-30s to the north, call-sign “Scabbard” was already a veteran of the war when they had led the fighter sweeps into occupied Kashmir during the strikes against terrorist targets.

These powerful Flankers would draw fire and mix it with the Pakistani F-16s and Mirage-IIIs. They would not worry about the Erieye AEW behind this Pakistani fighter force. War-hammer and Scabbard were the blunt tools of this engagement.

If they are the blunt tools, I guess that makes us the scalpel then! Grewal thought as he lowered his helmet-mounted night-optics. The black-blue-white environment around him gave way to the green-white-black hell-scape he had gotten used to. In many ways the analogy of a scalpel was true, Grewal thought. The Flanker drivers had come out of the China war with a sense of proud. Their chests swollen and laced with arrogance. They had been the knife that had been used to slit the Chinese air-force’s wrist over Tibet. And despite some losses, had established their dominance both within IAF circles as well as in the hearts of their enemies. Now their pilots exuded confidence. Perhaps overly so.

They were not to be denied a fight.

As if to dramatize the dominance exerted by the Flankers, Grewal saw them pull ahead into a long line-abreast formation along a north-south axis. He could see the glowing exhausts of their twin-engines as pairs of light specks spread all the way from south to north till his eyes could see. No tactical formations. No flanking maneuvers here. They were letting the Pakistani pilots know who the big dogs were. Wars are often won even before the first shots are fired when the enemy is convinced that he cannot defeat his opponent no matter what he tries. Would the Pakistani pilots see that and back off?

Perhaps not…Grewal thought as the Flankers punched their afterburners in unison and thundered across the border into Pakistan…
“Dagger-leader, Mongol-two. War-hammer and Scabbard are committed. Come to bearing two-zero-zero.”
“Roger, Mongol.”

Grewal flipped his LCA to the port and dived into the cloud cover below. His flight did the same. Within seconds the muck hit the windscreen and washed all over his aircraft. Two seconds later he pulled out from the cloud cover and was greeted with a nightmarish view of the border below. white tracers flying left and right across both sides of the border and artillery explosions ripping up the border posts on both sides. The flashes were enhanced on all their optics. He even saw tracers climbing up towards him and his pilots…

“Dagger! Triple-A fire coming up! Break! Break! Break!”

Grewal flipped his aircraft violently as he still dived towards the ground below. The tracers snaked past his cockpit and flashes erupted all across the skies, rocking his small and light aircraft from side to side. Grewal managed to evade the lines of tracers and saw below the source of the explosions. That was when the horror of the situations struck him.

“Mongol-two, this is Dagger-leader! We are taking friendly triple-A fire from forward-deployed ground troops! I…” the thunderclap from a nearby string of detonations jerked his aircraft aside.

“Say your last, Dagger! Mongol-two reading you one-by-five!”

No shit! Grewal growled and snapped to low level to evade the consistent barrage being put up in a box around him. The amount of fire from the army guns below was considerable. Grewal thanked his stars that these were not radar directed, else they might have been ripped to shreds…

“Mongol-two! Get those triple-A ba$tards to stop shooting at their own air-force!” Grewal thundered over the radio.
“Roger, Dagger. Stand by…” The voice trailed off for several seconds.

Grewal had his hands full to worry about that. He was still violently evading the ground fire when the explosions seem to stop just as abruptly as they had started. The last of the tracers flew off into the cloud cover above them.

The radio came alive: “Dagger, confirm that the Triple-A has stopped. Over.”

“Roger, Mongol. Ground fire has stopped.” Grewal said without hiding the relief in his voice. The last thing he had wanted was fratricide from this. But his LCA did look like a Mirage delta in its silhouette. Especially in a light sky and when it was flashing over the Indian forces below. The gunners were probably on hair-trigger mode down there.

Not an auspicious start…Grewal noted to himself as he saw the other three LCAs pulling up on either side of him. All three of them sharing black-scars and grime. He wondered what his own aircraft looked right now…

The cloud-cover above them flickered with light amplified by the optics they wore. The radar-warning receivers on board the aircraft were screeching now as it detected all sorts of threats. Grewal’s heart missed a beat when the radio suddenly squawked:

“Mongol-two here. War-hammer and Scabbard have engaged the enemy. Your target is at fifty kilometers west, twenty-thousand feet AGL. Dagger has the ball. Go get them.”
“Wilco, Mongol.” All right.

Grewal powered up the throttle and pushed it into afterburner. The engine rumbled to life and the sudden acceleration of the afterburning fuel punched the aircraft forward. They were eating up fuel rapidly now. But they also knew that the Erieye radar would pick them up against the ground clutter at any time now. Grewal could not allow them that warning to escape from the battle…

A Pakistani Mirage-III flashed through the clouds as it dived towards the west in order to escape. Grewal and his pilots saw in amazement as the Pakistani aircraft thundered high above their heads, oblivious to the four Indian fighters climbing from below. Grewal almost switched to guns to engage before two Su-30s punched through the cloud cover as well, chasing the lone Pakistani pilot across the sky. The lead Su-30 fired a R-73 heat-seeking missile that flew into the flares and chaff punched by the desperate Pakistani pilot. But the Flanker drivers were not giving up that easy. The leader and his wingman lined up behind the wildly evading Mirage-III pilot. Tracers filled the sky before some of them found their mark. The Pakistani aircraft turned into a shower of sparks and smoke before striking into the ground amidst a fireball. The two Su-30s punched afterburners and climbed into the cloud cover, disappearing out of view seconds later.

God. These guys aren’t taking any prisoners today! Grewal thought as they too climbed into the cloud cover and continued on their westerly path. Several minutes later, they came through the clouds and the starry night above re-emerged. Grewal saw the wild melee of F-16s, Flankers and Mirage-IIIs behind them to the east. To the west, the radar blips showing the Erieye and its two F-16 escorts showed up. The Pakistani pilots and crew on board the Erieye were already evading and diving away, having detected the incoming Indian threat. The two F-16s went active on their radars as they attempted to stop the threat to their command and control aircraft.

Grewal had already selected the Astra BVR missile on the inner pylons of his aircraft. The two F-16s became visible on his HUD as dotted diamonds. The audio tone in his helmet changed as he managed a lock. The weapon release was near instantaneous after he depressed the launch button on his control stick. The LCA became lighter and climbed a bit as the Astra fell away and lit its rocket engine, propelling it past the launch aircraft. Three other missiles from Dagger flight did the same. Unlike the R-77, the Astra left a nearly invisible exhaust. Perhaps the night-optics on board the two F-16s would enhance it enough to make it visible during the night. But it would still be difficult for the two Pakistani pilots to escape all four missiles.

The Pakistani pilots weren’t far behind, however. Grewal heard the desperate audio tone of his radar warning system telling him that the two enemy pilots had launched two missiles as well. Time to evade like hell!

Grewal punched cloud after cloud of chaff and the four LCAs broke pattern and dived in four different directions. The Pakistani pilots did the same. At such close ranges and high closure rates, the response time was in seconds. And as Grewal spotted the incoming AMRAAM missile headed straight for him, he dived in front of it and left a cloud of chaff in his wake on a parabolic arc. The radar clutter line was nearly continuous and just enough for the AMRAAM missile to explode in a ball of fire at the very top of the arc, two dozen meters behind the LCA. Explosion fragments ripped through the skies and tore into the skin of Grewal’s aircraft. He felt the jerk and a crash through the cockpit seconds before he saw slight smoke coming from near his feet.

A second massive explosion ripped through the skies to his north as the second AMRAAM missile slammed into Dagger-two, shredding the LCA to smithereens as the mass of fire and metal streaked towards the ground…

But there was no time for that at the moment. Grewal recovered his aircraft and saw warning lights going off inside the cockpit. But the controls felt good. The engine was still running. The weapons were good. But the HUD was smashed and the cockpit glass cracked in front of him.


Further south, he saw yet another fireball as the flaming wreck of one of the two F-16s disappeared into the cloud cover. The second F-16 was nowhere to be seen.

“Dagger-three, -four! Get the buggers before they escape! I am weapons ineffective and Dagger-two has been blotted out! Go! Go!”
“Wilco, Dagger-leader. I am on him!”

As Grewal saw the two LCAs punch burners and launch Astra missiles towards a non-visible target, he felt the control stick shudder. Looking over his starboard wing, he spotted several holes and what looked like fuel splatter. The fact that it had not ignited had probably saved his life. But the list of problems didn’t end there. The fuel indicator was slinking away. Grewal realized he was trailing fuel.

Before he could say or do anything, a flash of light on the horizon showed up. He jerked his head up just in time to see it flicker away and head earthwards. The RWR changed tones by itself as the source of the radar waves disappeared a few seconds later.

The radio came alive: “Splash one bandit!”
“Dagger-leader, Mongol-two. We no longer detect Vortex-two on our scopes. Is that your handiwork?”
“Looks like it, Mongol. Dagger-three and –four claimed the target! Also count two Foxtrot birds in the bag. I am damaged goods over here and Dagger-two has been lost. We are egressing the heck out of here!”
“Mongol copies all. Good work.”

Grewal pulled his aircraft around and felt the shudder in his controls all the way through the turn. Dagger-three and –four took flanking positions on either side of him as he fought to keep his aircraft in the air. As an extension of his body as it was, he could literally feel the airframe barely holding itself together. He would be lucky if he made it back across the border, let alone get back to base. The fuel indicator was now flashing red. He needed to put this aircraft down. Fast.

“Dagger-one declaring emergency!”
“Mongol-two copies, Dagger. Proceed to Bathinda. Airbase notified.”
“Wilco, Mongol.”
“Mongol-two-actual here, Dagger-leader. You can make it. Put the bird down on the tarmac.”

Grewal tightened his grip around the control stick as the aircraft continued to vibrate. The vibration becoming more pronounced as they lowered altitude just after crossing the border. Some solace was to be had when the patrolling Mig-21 Bisons around Bathinda lined up in a pair to his starboard just after he lowered his undercarriage. They would follow them in. The runway at Bathinda showed up to the east…

Almost there. Don’t fail me now!

As the runway became much more pronounced and the tarmac disappeared underneath on either side, Grewal prepared for the eventuality that his landing gear might collapse. When the rubber of the tires hit the ground and didn’t collapse, Grewal was already breathing a long breath of relief even before the engine flamed out. The LCA slithered to a stop half way down the tarmac.

Grewal removed his oxygen mask and helmet as several vehicles rolled up to his crippled aircraft. Firemen ran on either side of his aircraft, showering the wing with foam. Grewal turned to the floor of the cockpit and saw what the source of the smoke had been. He used his gloved hand to pull out a piece of metal shard lodged just inches from his boots. The rubber on his boots had been scarred by the shard. One inch to the right and it could have severed his feet entirely. He glanced at the shard in his hand as the ground crews snapped open the shattered cockpit glass.

He had been lucky and he knew it. His wingman had not been so lucky. The war had already taken a toll on his squadron.

And it had just begun.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby sattili » 24 May 2014 11:02

Gripping narrative, absolutely breathtaking !!! Bravo Vivekji.

Waiting for more....

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28539 » 24 May 2014 13:51

Vivek Sir! too good this is...it is so engrossing! Please keep it coming sir..waiting for more! :)

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Manish_Sharma » 24 May 2014 15:22


Tejas + Astra = killer of pakistan



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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 24 May 2014 18:14

Vivek Sir, where did the Babur missiles strike? and Where our bramhos?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 25 May 2014 00:03


DAY 1 + 0240 HRS

“Fluids, people. Fuel and Water.” Kulkarni said as he walked over to the large plywood board covered in maps. On it, the friendly forces were marked with pins with units IDs written on paper tags nearby. He pointed to the dust-off point on to their objectives across the border and then turned to face the assembled hundred officers and NCOs standing in the large tent:

“We are going to be pushed hard for resources and reinforcements out there. Our biggest worry is not going to be ammunition for the main guns but the smaller details. Fuel for the tanks and water for the troops to drink. Steel-central advises us that despite their best attempts to keep us hydrated and fueled, we must be prepared for the worst.” Kulkarni looked around at the faces of the men under his command. “And I agree.”

Kulkarni was indeed worried about the logistics of the upcoming battle. It was always the same. It had been the same when he had been fighting it out against the Chinese T-99s in Ladakh. What did both sides in was not the presence of enemy forces but the lack of friendly ones. Without fuel, the tanks were simply sixty ton steel pillboxes, immobile and vulnerable. Without water, the crews who manned them would be in no condition to fight long before they ran out of ammunition.

However, in Ladakh, Kulkarni and his fellow commanders had had one advantage. They weren’t going anywhere far. The PLA had been on the offensive there since the very first day. All Kulkarni’s tank detachments were doing was holding back the tide. They could rely upon whatever logistics made it up to them without stretching them to breaking point.

Not so out here.

The Thar desert would sap the strengths of his forces long before they met the Pakistanis in combat. Native water resources would be scarce until they reached their final objective areas. Same went for fuel. Each Arjun tank had enough fuel to take them on a one way trip down the road for two hundred kilometers. But that on a road. And there were none here. Besides, even if one existed, Kulkarni wasn’t stupid enough to have his tanks roll on them right into ambushes every one kilometer. No. They would have to stick to the desert. They could not move in straight lines either. Maintaining tactical formations and strategic flanking maneuvers would dramatically eat up the on board fuel of the tanks. So would the rough terrain of the desert. As would the inevitable combat and incessant waiting on idle. Two hundred kilometers of fuel would translate to only a few dozen kilometers of combat maneuver once the first bullets went over their heads. They would need fuel. And lots of it.

And that represented the Achilles heel of the whole plan.

For every tank that would move forward on the front lines, there would be a dozen supporting vehicles that would be needed to keep them fueled, armed and running. Brigadier Sudarshan’s two Arjun heavy-armor regiments here had over a hundred tanks on roster. They would require several hundred supporting trucks and other mechanized vehicles to keep them in the field. But only half of these were available. The Indian army was not equipped for high intensity combat operations. Especially those involving deep armor strikes inside enemy territory. And that limited options for Sudarshan and his regiment commanders. The buck kept moving down the chain of command to field commanders like Kulkarni, who had to deal with the consequences of ill-preparation by the army…

“We will load up the external fuel barrels on each and every tank,” Kulkarni continued, “One pair each. They will extend our range. Use that fuel first but for god’s sake, remember to punch them off at the first sign of combat! The enemy can’t destroy our frontal armor, so they will aim for those exposed barrels! Understood?”

He got nods from all his officers as they made notes from the briefing. There was a lot to take in. Locations, times, call-signs, radio-frequencies, attached forces, aerial units, artillery, objectives, enemy units, threats and rules of engagement in civilian areas.

Kulkarni continued: “And water. Stack up as many bottles and cans of drinking water you can scrounge from the supply units. Pile them wherever you can. Under your seat, on the sides or outside. I want each of your crews to be able to survive in a closed hatch mode for over forty-eight hours on stretch without passing out for lack of water. Keep your men hydrated at all times. We may encounter significant resistance from the Pakistanis once they start realizing the threat we pose. They will aim for our logistics. Expect to go without being supplied with food or water for extended stretches. I, for example, plan to have every available free space in my tank lined with bottles of water. I suggest you do the same.

“Moving on. Nuclear conditions. The supply units outside have trucks pulling up with N-B-C filtration masks and suits for your crews. Disperse them and make sure the sizes work for each of your crew. Don’t expect to get adjustments once we move out. No need to wear the suits when we leave, since our tanks will keep us safe inside. But keep them handy in case we have to step out for repair, rearming or refueling work.” Kulkarni noted the shared looks amongst the young officers in the group. “Questions, gentlemen?”

One of the Captains in the back row of seats raised a hand: “Sir, are we expecting the war to go nuclear?”

Kulkarni nodded as he heard the question. It was a legitimate concern. Why else had the Brigadier asked him to disperse the individual contamination suits in the field?

“The Pakistanis armed terrorists with a nuclear warhead with the sole aim of leveling Mumbai. Thousands are dead as a result of that failed attempt. Now, nearly a month later, we are preparing to roll over Pakistani soil in thousands of armor vehicles and troops. Of course there is a nuclear threat. Corps H-Q has issued a field warning of elevated threat. Expect that threat indicator to climb higher as we pummel over the Paki forces. They have nothing to lose at that point.”

“We are combating savages!” One of the other Captains noted from a corner of the room.
“Let them use their nuclear card!” Another voice said, laced in anger. “These ****** tried to level Mumbai and kill millions of my countrymen! We will roll over them regardless!”

“That’s quite enough, gentlemen.” Kulkarni said, bringing the chatter to a silence. He had been quite aware of the low morale amongst many of his men for some time now. Especially those with family or relatives in Mumbai who had been displaced, missing or killed in the chaotic aftermath of the tsunami that have struck Mumbai from the premature, offshore nuclear explosion. This was as good a time as any to remind his men of the rules of engagement once they crossed over into Pakistani soil.

“I want no screw-ups once we roll over into enemy territory. We will engage and destroy legitimate Pakistani forces in the field without remorse or regard. But once we reach civilian areas, I want the utmost care and restraint in what you shoot at. I want no revenge attacks or I will have the heads of the attacking parties! Is that understood?”

He got a near-unanimous “sir!” from the group but was hardly convinced. Only time would tell how that order would pan out in the field…

Kulkarni looked at his wrist watch and then faced the group: “We have a two hours before we jump off. Get your men kitted out and your tanks ready to roll. Dismissed.”

The silence of the room was replaced with the rustle of men as they got up and talked to each other on the way out of the large tent. Kulkarni watched them leave and wondered how many of those faces he would see again…
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 25 May 2014 00:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 25 May 2014 00:06


DAY 1 + 0300 HRS

Pathanya looked at the heavy backpack he had put together for himself and sighed. It weighed more than he did. And that didn’t include his rifle and shoulder and thigh-strapped equipment.

Time to get on with it…He reminded himself and leaned over to pick up the heavy backpack. He lifted it with a grunt and lofted it over his back. He then picked up his favorite boonie hat and fitted it snugly over his head. The INSAS rifle with the under-barrel grenade launcher was leaning on the nearby wooden crates. That was one of the last things he picked up. Up till now the magazine had been stowed away from the rifle for safety reasons. He picked the rifle up and slapped the magazine in but made sure the safety was off. Bringing it up to shoulder level, the red-dot sight came up in front of his retinas. All good.

When he stepped outside the tent, he found Vikram, Kamidalla and the rest of Pathfinder lined up and waiting for him. Vikram had his single-ocular night-scope tilted on its hinge above his head. Kamidalla was armed with his preferred Dragunov scoped rifle whilst the others had a variety of arms with them for suited for their specific role. Pathanya nodded approval and waved to the drop-zone in the open field past the tents. The clearing had been leveled by the army engineers with their bulldozers and was now serving as the helipad for the Paras deployed here. Right now it was empty except for two men in berets silhouetted against the faint moonlight. Pathanya immediately recognized them both.

“Pathfinder good to go, Major?” Ansari asked as he returned the salute.
“Absolutely, sir.”

“Excellent.” Ansari nodded and then checked his watch: “Panther is inbound imminent.” Pathanya nodded. Lt-Colonel “Panther” Jagat had taken them into Deosai in occupied Kashmir when they had apprehended Muzammil and eliminated his top lieutenants. Now he was to take them into Pakistan proper. Pathanya could not think of a better man for the job.

The whipping noise of the helicopter rotors filled the air and increased in intensity. Pathanya and the others turned to see three Dhruv helicopters approaching low from the east and heading in. Ansari looked at Gephel who nodded. Time to leave. Ansari walked past the Pathfinder team, holding on to his beret in the rotor downwash. Gephel patted Pathanya on the shoulder as he walked by. No words were exchanged. They didn’t need to be.

As the helicopters landed on the muddy clearing, Pathanya saw Jagat behind his helmet and night-optics in front of the eyes. He then turned to his team and waved them forward to embark. He patted Kamidalla and waved to the second helicopter. He did the same to Vikram and pointed to the third. He headed to Jagat’s bird. This way, if one or more helicopter was shot down, not all the senior officers on the team would be killed and Pathfinder would still have a chance to complete their mission.

Boarding through the side-door of the helicopter, Pathanya smiled back at the now-familiar loadmaster and then waved to Jagat’s co-pilot before stowing his backpack inside. A minute later the whine of the rotors increased and the three helicopters of Panther flight dusted off. They fell in line with Jagat leading the pack as they skimmed past the trees and headed west, over the border into Pakistan…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Karan M » 25 May 2014 01:09

vivek, that LCA mission with the ground fire, the detailed descriptions was your best yet, visually. kudos!!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby hpatel » 25 May 2014 03:08

A great skill, Vivek.
So enjoyable to read...

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 26 May 2014 21:46

What happened to the Su30s of Hammer and Scabbard flights? How many returned?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby sudhan » 27 May 2014 02:17

Excellent write up, Vivek saar.!!!

Personally, I would like to see you take us to the porki side of the war.. Your take on their mindsets and thought processes.. that would be swell..

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28305 » 27 May 2014 10:10

Amazing details and beautifully narrated. Literally I could see the ground fires and the tracers zipped pass my ears... :) :)

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28305 » 27 May 2014 10:11

Bought the Chimera through Pothi.. went to india and collected it. :)

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 28 May 2014 10:14


DAY 1 + 0330 HRS

This isn’t China. Declare it a small victory.
Verma took a deep breath. His inner voice may have a point, he conceded. The battle numbers supported it. But it went beyond that.

The Pakistani air-force differed significantly from that of the Chinese air-force that Verma had faced off against earlier. The Chinese had the numbers on their side during the war in Tibet. That difference margin was massive compared to the Indian side. On paper, it had been a three-to-one fight stacked against the Indian air-force. At least in the initial days of the war. But war was rarely, if ever, a game of numbers. Quality and training often offset massive numerical advantages in real life despite the best numerical simulations pre-war. The Chinese had the numerical advantage, the Indians had the qualitative one backed by significant advantage in training of its pilots and closer infrastructure to the frontlines over Tibet.

But this wasn’t Tibet.
The enemy wasn’t China.

The Pakistani air-force was not even close to resembling the strength of its Chinese ally. It had neither the numbers to fight three-for-one against India nor the quality advantage of airframes. And despite propaganda statements to the contrary, its training and efficiency had suffered during the decade long bleeding against the Pakistani Taliban. The latter had attacked airbases over the years inside Pakistan and had leveled many Pakistani aircraft where they sat on the tarmac. In return, Pakistani combat pilots had been busy striking on friendly soil with bombs and rockets. They were in no position to take on a battle-hardened, albeit depleted, Indian force.

The battle for Vortex-two had already cost the Pakistanis dearly. The gambit of drawing out Indian pilots into combat was a deadly one. It had succeeded in its plan, of course. Mainly because Verma had obliged to his Pakistani counterpart and committed to battle in full view of Pakistani airborne radars. The importance of airborne systems if often over-played. And while it was true that in presence of large fighter forces it could prove lethal, there was little that it could do when its supporting aerial forces were weak. And so the PAF had lost one of its Erieye airborne radar aircraft, eight of its precious F-16s and six of the nearly obsolete Mirage-IIIs during that battle. In return, they had taken down three Indian Flankers, one LCA and had heavily damaged another LCA.

The morale within the PAF high command had plummeted at the near-complete wipeout of their first large-force attempt against the IAF. Verma had observed as Vortex-one, flying out of Peshawar, had dispersed its assembling aerial force into smaller groups just after Vortex-two had gone down. It had then withdrawn further west, away from the aerial frontlines.

Somebody at PAF Operations had lost his nerve…Verma thought as he walked over to his seat and strapped in while the large Phalcon AWACS turned to port and departed station-keeping to rendezvous with its tanker further east into Indian airspace.

So what is next? Will they stop challenging us in the skies?

Unlikely. Verma reminded himself. This was a war to the end. There was no after-the-war for the Pakistanis after this. If the PAF ran to protect its aircraft from destruction and Islamabad lost the war, the first to hang from lamp-posts in the streets of Rawalpindi will be the air-force commanders. No. They wouldn’t give up this easily. They will send smaller groups of aircraft at the ground forces as they move across the border into Pakistan. That will be their game. No more big battles. But a lot of little ones over the moving frontlines below.

They will change tactics. They will adapt.

Verma rubbed his eyes.

And so will we!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 28 May 2014 10:19

DAY 1 + 0515 HRS

Damn this to hell!

Lt-General Tufail Haider patted the shoulder of the driver sitting next to him, gesturing him to stop. The vehicle, and three others behind them, came to a skidding stop on the tar road heading into the city. He opened the door and stomped out, angrily slamming the door behind him. His adjutant, Major Akram, and the other soldiers from his security detail looked at each other for a brief second and then jumped out from either side of the vehicles before running after their General.

Haider walked over to a soldier walking over to him, silhouetted against the blazing orange-yellow fires in the fields behind him. As Haider approached the soldier, he noticed the man’s uniforms were in rags, and blood splattered over his arms. The man walked as though in a daze.

“Good god!” Haider said as the man collapsed in front of him. He ran over and helped the wounded soldier to sit up. Major Akram ran over and knelt beside the soldier as Haider tried to get the soldier to spit out the blood in his mouth and try to breathe.

“What’s your name?” Haider asked as the man on the verge of death. “What unit do you belong to? Speak up!

The man mumbled something incoherent before slipping away within his hands. His body had given in under the massive internal wounds. Haider lowered his body back on to the tar road and then stood up, straightening his digital-camo uniform and sidearm holster. He looked at the blazing tower of flames and smoke roaring to the east. He could make out the charred wreckage of what looked like command trailers and trucks…

“Akram!” Haider thundered. “Find out what unit this man belong to. And find out what unit that command center belonged to. Looks like a Brigade H-Q based on the type of vehicles, doesn’t it?”
Major Akram walked over to Haider’s side and saw the blazing fires from the command vehicles. He noticed the nearly circular line of fires in the cultivated fields around the vehicles. There was no doubt in his head what had happened here.

“Cruise-missile strike, sir. The Indians decimated this Brigade command post. We should get back and report this!”
“Get to it!” Haider ordered.

“Yes sir.” Akram replied and ran back to the parked vehicles. One of the other soldiers walked over to him with something in his hands. Haider took what turned out to an identification card from the soldier who had died in his arms. The papers had his current unit information on it.

11TH Infantry Division…Haider thought as he went through the card. Part of the Corps level forces in charge of defending Lahore and surrounding areas. They were all part of a command whose job it was to prevent the Indians from breaking through whilst allowing other forces to maneuver and strike into Indian territory. In theory.

“They won’t be holding anything when they are ****** dead!” Haider grunted and threw the identification paper into the bushes past the road. The soldier who had brought it to him watched the papers of the dead soldier flying off into the bushes on a parabolic trajectory. He continued to stand next to the General, who caught the gesture and looked at him in the eyes: “Yes? Anything else?”

“I…uh, what about the body?” The soldier gestured to the road where the rest of the men were standing around the body of the dead soldier. Haider looked at them and then back to the soldier:
“We don’t have the space in the vehicles. Push it to the side of the road so the poor man doesn’t get run over by a tank.”

That answer caught the soldier by surprise. His mouth opened to say something against the ignominy of the deceased man who had just died fighting for his country. Haider turned to face him and the other soldiers:

“Did I not make myself clear? Get rid of the body! I will not be bothered with giving an Ahmedi an Islamic burial when a jihad is waging all around us.” He pointed to the body on the road: “This man should simply be happy that he fought and died for this country.” His voice then trailed off as he watched the eastern skies lit up by tracers and flashes of explosions. “Perhaps that will earn him some consideration from Allah.”

“Sir! Over here!” Akram shouted from where he stood near the hood of third truck in Haider’s convoy. Haider walked over as the other soldiers picked up the body of the dead soldier by his limbs and carried him past the road and into the bushes. Haider saw that Akram had set up the radio on the hood of the truck. The vehicle’s engine was rumbling away on idle.

“Well?” Haider asked in obvious irritation.

“Command net is going haywire with all sorts of traffic. The Indians struck hard against the 10TH and 11TH Infantry Divisions in the field east of here. I am hearing all sorts of back and forth chatter filled with chaos and confusion. Supposedly somebody up the line issued orders for the 3RD Armored Brigade to advance to contact to the east in anticipation of Indian forces preparing to cross over on to our territory.”

Haider banged the hood of the truck with his fist: “Who passed that order? Find out! Don’t they know what is happening here?! The Indians are striking hard against all openly exposed forces in the fields. When those tanks move past the outskirts and on to the roads and fields, they will be destroyed before they even get a chance to fire their main guns! The Indians are already taking control of the air!” Haider unstrapped the chin-strap of his helmet before removing and placing it on top of the hood of the truck. He ran his hand over the sweating bald head bordered with remnants of his once luscious hair. It was time to consider options.

“Akram,” he noted after a full minute of consideration, “We need to marshal the irregulars under our control and keep them at bay inside the city lines. Whoever is running the war from our side is either clearly deluded or completely out of touch with what is happening out here. The Indians are going to break through the lines of the 10TH and 11TH Divisions east of here. If not today, then tomorrow or the day after. Let the army bleed the Indians as much as they can and while they can. We need to stay out of it until it is the right time. That will come when the Indians reach the outskirts of this city, tired and depleted from incessant combat, hoping for a respite. That is when we will release the wave of Islamic warriors on to them like a tidal wave of death!”

Akram smiled cruelly: “I understand, sir!” Then the smile went away: “But it will be difficult to hold the jihadists back sir. They will not want to wait around in the city while the jihad against the Hindus is waging just kilometers east of them. They are not disciplined soldiers.”

“Valid point, Major.” Haider nodded. “But we must convince them somehow. If they charge into the open in front of Indian forces, they will die like flies and gain nothing!”
“They won’t see it that way, sir.” Akram replied. He knew most of the so-called jihadists would happily charge into Indian armored vehicles with a bomb strapped to their chests. Their only driving concern would be to get to heaven where the promised female companions awaited them. Military gains on the ground and combat strategy were nuisances to them. Mere hindrances on their path to Allah. And certainly they were not going to take orders from the Pakistani Punjabis from the army!

“Akram,” Haider said finally, “we need to head back into the city and speak with the commanders of the irregulars. They must be made to see the flaw in their plans! Else we stand to lose this city!”

Haider turned to see the fires in the charred remains of the commander center east of the road.

“But if we succeed, then we will fertilize these very fields and roads with the blood of the Indian soldiers! Inshallah.”

God willing indeed.
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 28 May 2014 10:27, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 28 May 2014 10:20

DAY 1 + 0535 HRS

“All section leaders on Rhino net, this is Rhino-actual.” Kulkarni said as he adjusted his helmet around his head. “Give me op-con status. Over.”

As the various platoon commanders in the 43RD Armored task-force chimed in, Kulkarni pressed the power button on the small screen installed next to his commander-sights on the Arjun. This was the new Arjun-Battlefield-Management-System or ABAMS, as one of his junior officers in the unit had christened the new piece of hardware. It was the next-generation force-multiplier that increased the lethality of the Arjun tank beyond its own sixty-ton mass. The ABAMS allowed better command and control of friendly tanks from within the command vehicle. Kulkarni had used an earlier version of the same system during the bitter armored knife-fights in Ladakh against the Chinese. He knew the technology worked. But this would be the first time he would be using it to command a force far larger than any he had commanded in the plains of Daulat-beg-oldi…

Kulkarni noticed that the last of the section leaders had chimed in and reported full readiness. Time to change frequencies:
“Steel-central, this is Rhino-one. We are green across the board, over!” The response came in a few seconds later:
“Steel-central copies all, Rhino. Jump off as planned. Out.” The radio-static chimed out. Kulkarni pushed his shoulder sleeves back and checked the wristwatch despite having a digital readout on the optics in front of him. Old habits.

Okay. Two minutes to Zulu time.

He then grabbed his binoculars and opened the turret hatch above him. He pushed himself out and took a seat on the rim of the hatch. He surprised his loader as the latter sat behind his turret machine-gun mount, watching for targets via his night-vision goggles. Powering on the night-scopes of the binoculars, Kulkarni looked into the pitch-black darkness on either side of him to see dozens upon dozens of Arjun tanks lined up through the vast expanse of the desert. To his south, the 75TH Armored Regiment also had hundreds of vehicles rumbling on readiness. They would cover his southern flank when the westward advance began.

Kulkarni lowered the binoculars and rubbed his eyes to allow him to adjust to the darkness engulfing his vision. After a few seconds his pupils dilated and he saw more of the surroundings. To his east, he thought he saw the first dull-red lines of morning. The timing of the offensive was by no means random. Both the 43RD and the 75TH Armored task-forces would assault into Pakistan with the early morning sun riding low behind them. That would enhance the sights on the Indian side and blind the Pakistani defenders facing them.

Hopefully we would be hunkered down at our objectives before the reverse happens to us at sunset…Kulkarni thought silently. He then checked his watch again. It was time. He lowered himself back down the hatch just as his loader did the same. The gunner looked at Kulkarni.

“Zulu time, sir?”
Kulkarni smiled faintly: “Zulu time.”

As the driver up front brought the rumble of the diesel engines to a roar, Kulkarni plugged into his task-force radio net once again:

“All elements, this net, this is Rhino-one. Advance! Advance! Advance!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Mihir.D » 31 May 2014 17:50


Is Fenix coming out this months ?


Can this thread be tagged to be one at the top like some of the other threads ?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_24793 » 03 Jun 2014 12:15

Vivek Saar, eagerly waiting for your next post.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby srai » 04 Jun 2014 14:13

vivek_ahuja wrote:Image

DAY 1 + 0240 HRS

Not so out here.

The Thar desert would sap the strengths of his forces long before they met the Pakistanis in combat. Native water resources would be scarce until they reached their final objective areas. Same went for fuel. Each Arjun tank had enough fuel to take them on a one way trip down the road for two hundred kilometers. But that on a road. And there were none here. Besides, even if one existed, Kulkarni wasn’t stupid enough to have his tanks roll on them right into ambushes every one kilometer. No. They would have to stick to the desert. They could not move in straight lines either. Maintaining tactical formations and strategic flanking maneuvers would dramatically eat up the on board fuel of the tanks. So would the rough terrain of the desert. As would the inevitable combat and incessant waiting on idle. Two hundred kilometers of fuel would translate to only a few dozen kilometers of combat maneuver once the first bullets went over their heads. They would need fuel. And lots of it.

Isn't Arjun MBT's range listed as 450-500km (or around 280-310 miles)?

IJEMS (Jan 2013) - Financial Conflicts Between DRDO and Indian Defence: A Case of Main Battle Tanks - Arjun
Check page 18 and 21 for operational range figures. It is listed as 450 km (or 280 miles).

Other sources:
armyrecognition.com - Arjun Mk-I main battle tank - 450km
armyrecognition.com - Arjun Mk II Main Battle Tank - 500km

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby VKumar » 04 Jun 2014 19:30

A tank battlegroup would need sat and air reco, at least unmanned battleground surveillance, artillery barrage, artillery traveling with the group, heli support. Some special forces inserted ahead. Infantry to hold ground. AA support. Maybe CAS and fighter cover.
Just some thoughts.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby narmad » 05 Jun 2014 07:56

Review of Chimera

Mihir Shah seems to be active on this forum.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby rkhanna » 05 Jun 2014 09:51

Some special forces inserted ahead

A Commando / Scout formation needs to be ahead (Paras/Ghataks) not SF. SF is doing strategically important operations which should always be the essence of their tasking.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby sarabpal.s » 09 Jun 2014 08:31

Where are you Janab? karchi underattack and next part is overdue.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Yagnasri » 09 Jun 2014 15:08

Hope you are not planing to attack their oil tanks or their airport. :D Waste of time. They are already burning. :rotfl:

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby nits » 12 Jun 2014 18:47

Vivek Sir - All good? its half a month now sir :(

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby chaanakya » 12 Jun 2014 22:30

vivek_ahuja wrote:
“All elements, this net, this is Rhino-one. Advance! Advance! Advance!

By this time they would have reached IRAN Border.Have some mercy on us Vivek Bhai.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Ajit.C » 13 Jun 2014 03:29

chaanakya wrote:
vivek_ahuja wrote:
“All elements, this net, this is Rhino-one. Advance! Advance! Advance!

By this time they would have reached IRAN Border.Have some mercy on us Vivek Bhai.
:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 16 Jun 2014 17:08

Apologies for the delay, folks. My health has been playing fast and loose with me over the last couple weeks. Has prevented me from doing much work of anything. :(

Back in action from today.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby chaanakya » 16 Jun 2014 20:30

Please take care of your health.Posting here is secondary.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby asbchakri » 28 Jun 2014 20:52

hi vivek how is u'r health. please take care. we can wait np :)

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 04 Jul 2014 23:12


Thanks for your patience while I recovered from some health issues and squared away some issues in my personal life. Hopefully this weekend will go some way in recovering for lost time on this thread. :)

Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 04 Jul 2014 23:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 04 Jul 2014 23:12


DAY 1 + 0600 HRS

“I see flashes on the horizon! Twenty degrees positive off axis.”
Kulkarni looked away from the ABAMS scope and to his gunner’s back before looking through his sights on top of the turret. He swiveled his sights to the right by the angle provided and saw the whitish flares erupting on the horizon against a jet-black night horizon. They were still too far west for any noise to be heard over the constant rumble of the tank’s diesel engines.

“Ours?” The gunner asked.
Kulkarni backed away from the eyepiece of his optics and looked at his watch. “Can’t be ours. We are still off by five minutes.”
“Well, somebody is lighting up the morning sky out there.”
“I see that.” Kulkarni noted off-handedly even as he switched comms for Brigadier Sudarshan. “Steel-central, this is Rhino-one. I copy explosions to my west. Looks like heavy tube-arty. Over.”

As he waited for the reply, Kulkarni peered through his sights and saw the target of the attack, whatever it was, being hammered mercilessly. He moved the optics to the side to see the dozens of other Arjun tanks menacingly silhouetted against the reddish skies of the morning. All vehicles were rumbling in unison towards the Pakistani border…

“Steel-central here. Uh…that’s not ours, Rhino. Looks like the border posts are being hammered by Pakistani arty from the west.”

Shit. Kulkarni depressed his transmit button again: “Rhino-one copies all. Those guns need to be silenced, Steel-central. They are hammering our border posts into oblivion!” As if to prove a point, there was a massive snap of light to the west visible on his thermal sights that flared and then disappeared as smaller balls of white light fell across the night sky away from the point of impact. This one made its way to the tanks and Kulkarni felt the slight rumble from that explosion. Something got hit hard…

“Steel-central copies all, Rhino. Head to L-O-D as planned. Over.”

“Advance to L-O-D. Rhino-one copies all. Out.” The line was replaced with static once again. Kulkarni swiveled his ABAMS screen back in front of him and pressed the zoom button to identify who was on his north-west flank at the border. The blue markers showed up BSF posts, regular army infantry units and others spread along the border in staggered layers…a defense in depth.

To his west showed the inverted triangles showing Rhino’s advance line to the jump-off point, called the Line of Departure or LOD in army parlance. The screen also showed combat-engineers deployed before him on the LOD. These would be responsible for creating a safe passage through any enemy minefields in Rhino’s path. Aside from the elite recon troops, these combat-engineers were the most valued infantry forces as far as Kulkarni was concerned. They would be moving with his force in mechanized columns consisting of BMP-II armored vehicles, bridge-layer tanks, repair vehicles and mine-clearing equipment. Kulkarni had some tanks in each Arjun tank company equipped with mine-ploughs in case they ever had to make their own paths through minefields while under fire. But these were less reliable, slower and hence more dangerous. The explosives-based techniques employed by the combat-engineers to make passages for his tanks were much faster and reliable. The last thing he wanted was to lose tanks in his force to broken treads…

The small blue text on the screen next to the engineers unit was “Trishul”. The Trishul task-force would be moving alongside Rhino in the advance into Pakistani territory. And Kulkarni was glad to have them on board. By the looks of things, Trishul was already deployed on the LOD. At their current rolling speed, Kulkarni’s Arjun tanks would reach Trishul in about fifteen minutes.

Good. Kulkarni noted and pulled out his folded paper maps from his overall pockets. It was already heavily marked with pencils. He could never bring himself to trust the electronics all around him. Old habits die hard.

“Rhino-two here,” the radio squawked in Kulkarni’s helmet: “We are bypassing explosions on our right flank, Rhino-one. Does not look pretty!”
“Roger, -two. Command says to ignore it and move on. So we are ignoring it and moving on. Over.” Kulkarni thought he heard a muffled grunt from his second-in-command. That merited a smile on his part that seemed to rob the moment of its danger…
“Rhino-two copies all. Keeping our eyes and ears peeled for enemy action. Out.” The line chimed off.

As the tank rolled over the sand dunes, Kulkarni had a moment to consider the ABAMS screen yet again. The enemy arty concerned him more than he let on to his subordinates. Unlike the Indian army, the Pakistani’s had invested heavily in tube artillery over the past decade. The Indian army, for example, was just now beginning to import home-made guns for its forces. But they were far from completed in terms of production for the vast numbers needed for the army. And what heavy guns were available were earmarked for the offensive in the Punjab that would be happening at that moment. Kulkarni did have some heavy rocket units covering his force, but these were marked for taking out enemy guns and batteries, not providing his own force with non-line-of-sight fire. That represented the biggest weakness in the attack plans. His force lacked the heavy teeth of tube artillery that the Pakistanis possessed in this sector. If those enemy guns weren’t taken out of the equation soon, they could jeopardize the entire schedule and perhaps even the end result…

The border security troops were already suffering under the murderous fire. The ABAMS screen showed several border posts to his north having been removed from the roster by Steel-Central as the units there pulled back to avoid destruction. Kulkarni hoped that was true. That these units had pulled back and not been destroyed. From inside the congested confines of his tank, he could not be sure.

West of the border, inside Pakistani territory, showed up units in green coloration and text. The Pakistanis. Command had added an apt color to match this particular enemy, Kulkarni thought and let out a smirk. Somebody up the chain of command had an incisive line of thought and perhaps a sense of humor. Good to know.

The biggest threat for Kulkarni’s force emanated from the Pakistani 1ST Armored Division, staggered in a southerly axis from Bahawalpur, south of Multan. That put this enemy force roughly northwest of Kulkarni. It was also his first target of elimination as well as a tough target. The Pakistani 1ST Armored was an elite force and manned and equipped with the best tanks and tankers that country had to offer. They would put up a stiff fight for their home turf. Kulkarni found it hard to underestimate their determination and capability. That precision artillery fire hammering the Indian border only added to his concern. He was sure that these artillery units were deputed to over the tank forces of the 1ST Armored.

A dangerous enemy to watch for. Kulkarni sighed as he remembered what Sudarshan had reminded him before they had left their staging areas. Most of that threat came from their heavy compliment of Al-Khalid and some T-80 tanks. It wasn’t hard for Kulkarni to see why his force was being committed to battle here. These Pakistani tank forces were part of the reserves that the Pakistani command intended to preserve for counterattacks in the Punjab sector. If they could be destroyed in battle here by the Arjun tank forces of the Indian army, they would cease to pose a dangerous threat to the offensive in Punjab. At the very least, threatening the Pakistani southern front would bog down these units and prevent them from moving anywhere, effectively taking them off the table for the Pakistani high command. Besides, for all their bombastic chest-beating, these tanks within their forces were the only ones capable of surviving on the modern battlefield. Remove them from the list of options and suddenly the Indian armored forces would have a serious advantage on the ground…

Would they take the bait?
We will soon find out…
Kulkarni replied to his own question and looked away from the screen. He saw the face of the loader as the latter stared at him in silence, his face covered with grease and sweat. Kulkarni smiled at him: “We will be fine.”

The radio squawked: “Rhino-Four here. I have several BMP-IIs at two kilometers. I also make out several dozen other trucks and what look like engineering vehicles. Over.”

“Roger,” Kulkarni replied quickly as he peered through his own sights. “That will be Trishul on the LOD. Weapons on hold. We are passing through friendly lines. Prepare to enter marked lanes for each Rhino element. Let’s make this quick. I don’t want to be stuck in single file columns exposed to enemy fire any longer than we have to. Out.”
“Trishul-one to Rhino-one,” a grizzly older voice on the comms chimed in. “We see your columns on our rear. Request weapons stowed. We are in your line of fire. Over.”
“Rhino-one here, Trishul. We see you. Weapons on hold. Requesting sit-rep. Over.”
“Mines, Rhino-one. Anti-personnel and anti-tank. Three-hundred meter depth to our north and south. The Pakis went overboard on this one. Almost as if they were expecting us! Makes me feel very comfortable knowing that. My boys have secured four lanes through the field and have established a small bridgehead beyond. You are good to go. Over.”
“Rhino copies and sends thanks. We are rolling. Out.”

Kulkarni’s tank jerked to the side as the driver aligned the vehicle axis to match that of the lanes marked by the engineers. The lanes were wide enough to allow one Arjun tank to pass through with ease or two lanes for the smaller all-terrain vehicles used by the recon forces. Kulkarni swiveled his sights back to see the dozens of Arjun tanks in his task force lining up by sub-units and columns to pass the border minefields into Pakistani territory. With four lanes and one tank passing through every minute on each lane, a force of one hundred tanks would need about thirty minutes to clear the minefield. The engineers and other columns coming up behind them meant that they would still be clearing this position an hour from now.

Not good.

Kulkarni chimed into the Rhino net: “All elements, this net: let’s make this quick and painless as we can! I want to be clear of this obstacle and on to the Islamgarh road within thirty minutes! Out.”
Kulkarni noted that his tank was the amongst the first four tanks making their way past the minefield. It took his driver exactly two minutes to clear the path and enter on the other side. As the tank made it past the end of the lane and past the standing combat-engineers, Kulkarni noted the two BMP-IIs of Trishul force parked on the southern embankment of the tar road heading west. The map on the ABAMS screen confirmed it: Islamgarh road.
They had entered Pakistani territory.
The driver chimed in: “Stand by. We are climbing over the embankment.”

The tank pitched up thirty degrees as it rolled over the sand embankment and landed horizontal on the tar of the road. Three other Arjun tanks did the same further south. There were now four Indian Arjun tanks blocking the Islamgarh road as their turrets swept left and right for targets. All they found was a smoke column from a kilometer away where an abandoned Pakistani border post was smoldering. There were no other targets to see except for some villagers escaping on civilian vehicles far to the west.

Kulkarni opened his tank comms: “Move forward, two hundred meters. Let’s create some breathing space beyond the breach point.”

The tank jerked forward with a rumble and spoke spewing from its diesel engine as the moved over the tar of the road, heading west. The gunner continued to swivel left and right for targets as the blazing morning sun already began heating up the desert.

“See any targets?” Kulkarni asked his gunner.
“No sir. All clear.”
“That’s not good. Where are the Pakis?” Kulkarni said as he opened comms with Sudarshan: “Steel-central, Rhino is conducting LOD and preparing to advance to waypoint Baker. No enemy to be seen. Requesting sitrep on over the horizon threats. Over.”

“Rhino, this is steel-rain. We copy your advance to Baker. Expect enemy infantry positions west of your position, two kilometers. Expect armored and mechanized forces on your right flank beyond three kilometers. We are seeing inbound enemy columns. Out.”

As the link chimed off, Kulkarni nodded slightly. The enemy was on their way to meet them in battle. As other Arjun tanks expanded the breach point and headed towards the road, two tanks from Rhino-Four rolled past his line on the road and began to take up position north of it. Kulkarni looked through his sights to the west and saw nothing but sand, rocks and shrubs. But the enemy was out there, somewhere, just out of sight.

As he watched, three Mig-27s streaked past at low level to the west, disappearing out of view within seconds. Kulkarni hoped they were going after the enemy rear columns…

“Sir, I see a green road sign, five hundred meters west down the road. Can’t read the language. Is it Urdu?” the gunner observed. Kulkarni decided to take a look at what it was. Sure enough, it was a road sign, gathering dust.
“It says Rahin Yar Khan road, twelve kilometers. In Urdu. Written in an Arabic style. Get used to it. You will be seeing a lot more of this in the next few days!”

Kulkarni looked at his watch. Ten minutes since they parked on the road and about thirty percent of his force had crossed the breach point. The minutes were ticking away at a murderously slow pace…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby hpatel » 05 Jul 2014 04:34

Glad to hear you are well and to see you back

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28652 » 05 Jul 2014 06:27

Great writing Vivek. Your work is the first thing I look for every morning. Please keep it up.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby jamwal » 05 Jul 2014 22:52

Great way to announce the return.
Garh of Islam breached by Arjun !

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 07 Jul 2014 01:15


DAY 1 + 0730 HRS

“Okay, let’s move out.” Kulkarni replied as the last of his tanks began clearing the breach point in the minefields.
The tank rumbled forward on the tar road leading twelve others in a single column. The bulk of the force was spread south and north of the westward stretch of the road. Kulkarni wasn’t stupid enough to bring his main force into battle on a narrow road. Especially when advancing to contact…

The view from his sights revealed a Pakistani border outpost further west, abutting the road from the south. These border posts were evenly distributed along stretches of the road that ran parallel to the border. Mirroring similar Indian deployments on the other side. Rhino force had breached in a location where the road ran close to the border and was roughly between the two nearest Pakistani posts. The one to the north was not Kulkarni’s concern. It had been struck by Indian artillery two hours ago and was deserted by now. A small column of BMP-IIs from the Trishul force had already reached its perimeters after Rhino had arrived on scene. That column of BMP-IIs would secure and hold that position to provide security for the northern flank of the breach point.
The border post west of the breach point was more in Kulkarni’s direct path and had not been reconnoitered by Indian forces except for airborne drones launched by Steel-Central.

This border post was Kulkarni’s first objective over Pakistani soil.

For all that, it showed no signs of occupation. Kulkarni looked through his sights to observe any signs of movement on the post and saw none. Just the regular group of small buildings and positions painted sand-brown. A small flag post visible on top of the mound in the center of the post was barren: signs that the Pakistani troops here had retreated tactically over the last few hours to better held positions further west.

Regardless, caution was the order of the day. Kulkarni couldn’t care less about the post. He would roll over it, crush it under his tank treads and move past towards his strategic objectives. He had no intention of making his way through any and all booby-traps laid by the Pakistanis to welcome him on their home turf…

“Any activity at the post?” Kulkarni asked his gunner who was also reviewing the abandoned sand bunkers as they slowly rolled towards the post.
“Negative. No signs of life.”
“Time to knock on the Paki doors and see if anyone is home. Level those bunkers!” Kulkarni ordered on the comms.

The tank shuddered with recoil as the gunner launched a high-explosive shell towards the Pakistani border post. A second later it hit the slit of the bunker and exploded, sending a ball of concrete dust and sand rolling into the sky. Three other tanks in the front column did the same, decimating most of the buildings at the post.

No enemy response.

Perhaps the position really was deserted, Kulkarni thought. As his tanks rolled close to the perimeter of the post and past it, the smaller dust columns from the shells merged into a larger haze, hanging above the post against a bright blue morning sky.
“So much for that position,” the gunner offered as their tank rolled past the main gates of the post and continued westwards. The driver made it a point to roll over the signpost at the main gate marking the name of the Pakistani unit that occupied this position just hours before.

“All Rhino elements, make sure you cover any activity on our flanks,” Kulkarni ordered. “The Pakis here have retreated to better positions in the west. They will not be giving up these lands without a fight. Don’t get complacent out here!”

Now the road turned generally northwest, meandering all the way. Eventually it would turn into the Rahim-Yar-Khan road which would take them all the way to the town by the same name and the highway N-5 that passed through it. That was fifty kilometers away. And right now they hadn’t even made it past the first two. There was a long way to go.

Kulkarni pulled up the ABAMS screen to see how his other tanks were holding on his right flanks. He had just pressed the zoom-out button when the tank shuddered violently and a thunder rolled through the interior of the tank. The ABAMS screen flicked off and then on again as the shockwave dissipated.

“What the hell…!”
“Enemy artillery fire!” The driver yelled over the tank comms. “A shell landed just twenty meters on the road in front of us!”
Kulkarni peered through his sights to see what the hell was happening as more shells began impacting around them. The view from his sights was not pretty: Enemy heavy artillery shells were hitting the ground all around the Rhino tanks. Inverted cones of sand and dust were erupting all over the green shrubbery around them. The air was a screaming cacophony of inbound shells and exploding thunderclaps…

Kulkarni felt the tank jerk to a stop and he looked away from the sights: “What’s going on?! Why have you stopped? Are we hit?”
Negative! Negative!” The driver shouted over the sounds of the thunder around them. “I have a huge crater on the road in front of us! The road is destroyed!”
“Then get us the fu@k around it! Get off the road, goddamn it!”

The tank jerked again to the side and them rumbled forward, skirting the smoldering crater carved out of the tar road in front of them. Kulkarni got on the Rhino comms again: “All Rhino elements, keep moving! Do not stop! I say again, do not stop or they will bracket us in their kill zones!”

He switched comms instantly: “Steel-Central, this is Rhino-one! We are taking fire from enemy tube artillery two kilometers west of the breach point! We are maintaining advance! Over!”
“Any casualties?” Sudarshan’s voice asked.
“Negative, sir. But that won’t last. Somebody needs to go put those damn enemy guns out of commission, sir!”
“Roger, Rhino-one. We are working on it! Ferrite-actual is moving into position. In the meantime, continue the advance to waypoint baker! Out.”

The tank shuddered again as another explosion ripped through the ground nearby. Kulkarni had to hold on to the turret frame to prevent himself from being smashed against the sides. Advancing through the incoming fire prevented the Pakistanis from bracketing Rhino force into a stationary kill zone. It reduced the artillery’s accuracy and chances of scoring a direct hit against the top turret armor of his tanks. But how long would that luck hold out?

“Enemy positions!” The gunner shouted. “One kilometer northwest! They have optics on us!”

At least that explained the shifting artillery fire…Kulkarni thought as he peered through the sights. He saw the optical reflections against the morning sunlight hitting the Pakistanis directly. That was helpful to the Indian forces. The east-west attack route in the morning was blinding the Pakistanis facing east and silhouetting the Indian forces heading west. Kulkarni had every intention of grabbing that advantage…

“All Rhino elements, enemy defensive lines nine-hundred meters west. Open fire! And do not stop! Fire on the move and roll over the enemy! Force their artillery to either fire over their own troops or to check fire. Either way, we have nothing to lose! Execute!”

The sound of two dozen high-explosive tank rounds leaving their barrels was actually loud enough to drown out the noise of the incoming artillery. A rare thing in combat. First the line of Arjun tanks disappeared into a cloud of flame and smoke…and the Pakistani lines did. The high-explosive shells slammed into their positions. The smoke from the main guns washed over the ever advancing mass of Arjun tanks as they kept moving forward, firing tank rounds into the enemy positions as fast as the loaders on board each tank could ready them…

It was all about maintaining fire superiority. It didn’t matter if the tank rounds hit any specific target or not. If they did, that was great. If not, they at least forced the enemy to keep their heads down and deal with the explosive concussions ripping through their bodies. The vibrations affecting their aim and the thunderclaps that forced them to lose focus and coherence. War as much psychological as it was physical. Kulkarni understood that only too well…

Peering through his sights in thermal mode allowed him to see past the clouds of smoke, sand and dust that had enveloped the Pakistani positions on either side of the road, less than half a kilometer away now. The sights were already having difficulty now from brown-outs. They couldn’t see through all the hot particles flying all over the place. That cloud was now dozens of feet into the air and threatened to envelop their entire view. The enemy artillery fire slackened off as well. For similar reasons, he suspected.

Kulkarni opened comms to all his unit commanders: “All Rhino elements! Check fire! Halt! Halt! Halt!”

The tank shuddered to a halt and the guns stopped firing. Kulkarni continued to peer through his sights alongside his gunner as they waited for the view to clear. He depressed the button to flick the view on his optics from thermal to visual, changing the white-black monochrome view into shades of brown, green and blue of the sky above. For his purposes, however, the view was no better. They couldn’t see anything.

“Rhino-two, three and four. Do you have targets?”
“No targets.”
“Uh…we are brown-out on this side. Can’t distinguish anything!”
Kulkarni realized that they had driven up right in front of the Pakistani infantry lines. He must have been facing perhaps two companies of troops at best. The rest of that Pakistani battalion must be nearby somewhere…

“Rhino-four,” he said without peering away from his sights, “peel off here and flank southwest with your boys. I want to see how far south this Paki defensive line stretches. Rhino-three, do the same to the northwest. Rhino-two, you are with me. We are rolling over these ******** to our front. Rhino-three and –four, rendezvous with us down the road, two kilometers out. Don’t get bogged down fighting your way through. I want you guys scouting, not slugging it out. Understood?”

“Roger. Rhino-three copies all. Out.”
“Rhino-four at your service. Combat recon all the way. Out.”

Kulkarni saw the twelve tanks of Rhino-four to the south swiveling to the southwest and spewing smoke and sand as they began rolling in formation. He swiveled his sights to the north and saw another twelve tanks of Rhino-three doing the same. That left the bulk of Rhino still staggered around him, however. Looking west, the dust cloud was settling.
Okay. Time to take them forward.

He switched frequencies to his units: “All elements, Rhino-one and Rhino-two. Charge on my mark. Engage and destroy all enemy forces. Watch for enemy infantry who might let you roll over their positions and engage you from the rear. Gunners, prepare for close in fight!”

As if to prove a point, a Pakistani large-caliber artillery shell landed on the edge of the road some distance away, showering his parked Arjun with sand and gravel. The shadow of the airborne gravel drifted over the tank against the blue sky above.

Kulkarni smiled cruelly.

“All Rhinos charge!”

The tank jerked into motion and accelerated against the rising growl of the diesel engines. The main guns spoke up again and pummeled what remained of the few Pakistani infantry positions lined with trenches. They were now close enough to the position to see past it. Kulkarni and his crews got their first glimpse of what was behind the Pakistani lines. The force supporting this defensive line. He could make out silhouettes of trucks and what appeared to be a box shaped armored vehicle moving abruptly behind the smoke…

“Gunner! Enemy M-one-one-three moving behind the lines! Five degrees off, seven hundred meters!”
“I have it!”

The tank shuddered and the turret filled with smoke as the gunner let loose a high-explosive round. Kulkarni never took his eyes off the sights and saw the round fly almost horizontally and reach out like a finger of death to the boxy M113 personnel carrier. The latter exploded in a fireball that also shove it to the side of the road before it started bellowing thick black smoke.

Hit!” Kulkarni exclaimed.

The driver chimed in: “I see enemy soldiers moving to my left, three hundred meters! I see some heavy weapons!”
The gunner swiveled the turret to the left. “I see them!”

Kulkarni heard the metallic snapping noises of the co-axial machine guns as they raked the enemy positions. The loader snapped the next high-explosive round into the gun in the meantime. The machinegun fire stopped for a couple seconds and the turret shook as the high-explosive round went on its way. The machinegun fire started up again and the cycle repeated as they prepared to overrun this first line of Pakistani defenses.

Kulkarni had other things to worry about than keeping an eye on his crew. They were a well-oiled team and didn’t need his constant supervision. But the rest of the taskforce did. He saw that several other tanks on his left and right were moving almost parallel to him as they approached the enemy lines. He also noticed that the Pakistani artillery had stopped fire now that Rhino tanks were literally over the defenders. The sixty-ton Indian tanks had less to worry about getting hit than the Pakistani infantry and thin-skinned APCs holding this line. Kulkarni noticed the trucks behind the Pakistani defenses beginning to roll with all due haste to the west, abandoning their soldiers here.

So much for brothers in arms…Kulkarni thought as he saw high-explosive rounds from Rhino-four to the southwest, slamming into the convoy of trucks with lethal effect. He could see the tank rounds slicing across his view from left to right as they slammed into the trucks…

“Rhino-four, I see you to the southwest. Be careful of your fire! We are on your right, five hundred meters east of the convoy you are engaging! Over.”
“We see you, Rhino-one. No worries.”

Kulkarni smiled at that. Nothing calmed men in combat more than a simple gesture of calmness from their leaders. Rhino-four units were professionally mopping up the Pakistani rear echelon units, one kilometer away.

The tank comms chimed in from the driver again: “Trenches in twenty meters. Hold on.”

Kulkarni gripped the turret frame tighter in anticipation. The tank jerked down, hit the other end of the trench and climbed back up, its engines groaning all the way. They were passing through the enemy positions now. The constant clatter of machinegun fire was dying now.

A flash of light caught Kulkarni’s peripheral vision. He looked just in time to see an RPG-29 round fired from a nearby group of shrubs hit the left tread of an Arjun parked to Kulkarni’s right, a hundred meters away. The small explosion ripped through the treads and the links flew in all directions along with two wheels. The latter slammed into side of Kulkarni’s turret with a massive clang just before smaller debris showered all around…

The radio came alive instantly: “Rhino-one-three is hit! I say again, one-three is hit! We just took a ****** anti-tank rocket to our tread!”
“This is one-seven! Who fired? Does anybody see the shooter?”
Negative! Negative! I don’t see anybody.”
“Shooter in the shrubs near the burning M-one-one-three!” Kulkarni shouted as Rhino-one-three staggered to a halt on broken treads. “One-fifty meters west!”
Kill those ba$tards!

Five separate tanks fired a combination of tank rounds and machinegun rounds into the shrubbery pointed out by Kulkarni. The latter location disappeared into a ball of fire and dirt. Two other surviving Pakistani soldiers made a break for it from behind the wrecked M113. They were ripped to shreds by the massive volley of machinegun rounds from the array of tanks standing over their positions.

Kulkarni noted that the gunners didn’t stop there. They were still hammering the shredded bodies of the soldiers with rounds out of sheer rage…

“Check fire! Check fire!” Kulkarni ordered. “You got them, damn it!” He then swiveled his sights to Rhino-one-three, bellowing smoke now from the front chassis. “What’s your status, one-three?”
“We are mobility killed over here, one-one. Driver injured. We need to get him out. Over.”

“Roger,” Kulkarni replied. He looked around and saw no signs of surviving enemy soldiers. Still, it was highly dangerous for the crew of any of his tanks to unbutton their turrets to help a crew member out here. It was time to bring up the combat-engineers…
“Rhino-one to Trishul-actual. We have one tank immobilized three kilometers east of your position on way to waypoint Baker. Also one casevac needing medical assistance. Suggest you get some of your boys up here. Over.”
“Trishul-actual copies. Standby for support. Out.”

Of course, Kulkarni couldn’t wait around for the engineers to fix his one tank. He switched comms back to Rhino-one-three: “Can you guys hold out here while Trishul catches up? What’s your weapon status?”

“We can hold it here, sir. Main gun and co-ax are operational. We are a sixty-ton pillbox. Don’t wait around for us. We will catch up with you before you know it!”
Kulkarni let out a faint smile. “Roger. Don’t take too long. All other elements, prepare to ro…”

That sentence stopped in his throat as a massive rain of artillery shells slammed into the parked tanks, enveloping them in a dense cloud of dust and smoke filled with the fast-flying shrapnel. Inside the turret, Kulkarni felt the cling-clang of ricocheting metallic pieces.

God. Damn. It.” He yelled and realized the comms were still open: “All elements, move! Now! The Pakis are shelling their own positions! I guess the figured we have already taken it!”
Kulkarni got on the comms to Sudarshan just as his tank rumbled forward, followed by the others.

“For the love of god, will somebody please take care of the Pakistani artillery guns?!”

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Cain Marko » 07 Jul 2014 09:24

Wow! Rivetting stuff Vivek saheb, for the love of God, please don't stop now. Btw, would the last line read - Khuda ke wastey, un haraamiyon ko udaao or perhaps, if it was an old parsi friend from dpc, it might be - saalo maaderchod, ani artillery maari gandmari naakus, tamey baddajana soo karech?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby narmad » 07 Jul 2014 09:36


Won't there be use of real time Sat Imagery / Drones over the battlefield ?

In the past, you depicted extensive use of them during the rhino battles in the eastern sector.

Is there a difference in these two theaters ?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_25399 » 07 Jul 2014 10:34

Vivek saar,
It feels as if I am riding one of those beauties !! bless your keyboard :D

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