Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 23 Oct 2014 09:07


DAY 1 + 1545 HRS

Wing-commander Grewal walked into the underground ready room and instantly the idle chatter ended, replaced instead by the noise of chairs grinding on the floor. The seven other pilots in green overalls stood at attention and saluted, which Grewal returned.
“At ease, gentlemen.”

As the pilots took their seats, he walked over to the projector and powered it on. The screen came alive with what looked to be a true-color, daylight satellite image of a complex of whitish-brown buildings. The center of the image was dominated by the near-vertical image of a large cylindrical structure within the builds. The bottom-right corner of the image was indented: CHUSHMA NUCLEAR REACTOR COMPLEX, PAKISTANI PUNJAB

Grewal looked at the screen and then the pilots to let that image sink in. He saw the slight shifting on the seats and the exchanged glances amongst the senior pilots of his squadron. The body language amongst his pilots was aggressive. Good.

“As you are aware,” he said after a few seconds, “the primary strategic objective for the Indian military has always been to punish Pakistan for the strike on Mumbai. On a strategic level for the air-force, that has translated to surgical strikes against Pakistani-harbored terrorist encampments, infrastructure and support elements within the Pakistani military establishment. And these have since been carried out by the long-range fighter and strike squadrons. These operations have since been escalated by Rawalpindi, for reasons unknown, into a full scale war. Perhaps the perception there is that we are weakened by the China war three years ago. In any case, we are now involved the whole hog.

“The air-force has been directed to take apart the enemy air and missile capabilities on the ground and in the air. This we are aggressively prosecuting. The Pakistani air force has been pushed far from the border and is being stretched to breaking point. Soon it will snap, not with a bang, but with a whimper and disappear into the background of this war. New Delhi realizes this. And as such certain elements are now already transitioning to phase-two of the air war: strike and interdiction. Elements have also been directed by high command to begin strikes against specific Pakistani national infrastructure. We are one of these elements.”

“Okay,” Grewal said as he pointed to the screen showing the satellite image of Chushma nuclear complex, “this right here is the Chushma nuclear complex, two hundred kilometers inside Pakistani territory. It is heavily protected and is one of only two functioning reactor complexes in that sad country. The second location is near Karachi. We won’t worry about that one. The navy is going after it with gusto this evening. We will focus our attention on this target right here. Other elements will strike numerous other coal and hydro power plants across the length and breadth of Pakistan. Questions?”

Grewal looked around and saw three raised arms. He nodded to the first pilot in front of him.
“Sir, are Pakistani civilian infrastructure now allowed as legitimate targets?”

“Not across the board. Selective only. All civilian infrastructure hits must be authorized by command. Do not consider them free-for-all secondary targets!” Grewal said with a cruel smile and saw the suppressed smiles within his pilots. He noted the morale, which was high despite the three pilots they had lost so far in the squadron over the past day. He nodded to the next pilot behind:
“Sir, Why are we striking these targets at all? Why not just launch some Brahmos missiles at them from a safe distance?”

“Good question,” Grewal noted and turned to the screen. He pressed a button that moved the image out and showed the red-circled locations around the complex like a star pattern.
“These,” he gestured to the screen with his head, “are battery locations showing the Spada-2000 medium-range SAMs deployed northeast and southwest of the complex. Further east, between the complex and Lahore is this one HQ-9 long-range SAM battery. The reason these are alive and active is because we haven’t had the chance to go after them yet. But rest-assured, we will. The HQ-9 is a Chinese copy of the S-300s and we have plenty of experience of taking those down from the China war. The HQ-9 is not as effective as the S-300s. Lesser range and lesser reliability of onboard systems. But rest assured, it is still lethal.

“So it will be taken down by the usual suspects. Airborne Brahmos missile strikes will nail this HQ-9 site and open the gates for us all the way to western Pakistan and the nuclear complex. We will be trailing behind strike elements of Jaguars who will then nail the Spada battery near the nuclear complex. Once the battery is down, they will initiate a strike against the nuclear complex. We,” Grewal turned to the pilots, “will provide overhead security to the Jag boys.”

“What’s the airborne threat picture for that region? We are going to be deep inside bad-guy territory here.” One of the pilots asked.
“Expect limited resistance from the PAF survivors at Peshawar and Multan. The Flanker boys are going to be sweeping north and south of us to keep the Paki pilots hunkered down on their airbases while we do our jobs. However, any enemy aircraft that slips past the Flankers is fair game for us. We are going in with eight birds in two flights of four. Call sign Dagger-alpha and Dagger-bravo. I will lead Dagger-alpha. Ramesh, you have Dagger-bravo.”

“Air to ground?” Ramesh asked speculatively.
Grewal looked back at the screen and thought about that for several seconds. Their job was not air-to-ground on this one, but the opportunity could present itself. And it wouldn’t be good to be caught without options.

“That sounds reasonable. We may get some targets to mop up,” Grewal nodded. “Say, one bird each flight, two thousand-pounders with guidance kits and a offset-centerline designator each? Keep all other birds loaded for air-to-air. And centerline tanks.”

“You read my mind, sir.”
“Okay,” Grewal sighed, “other questions?”

He looked around the room and didn’t see any other raised hands. So he walked over to the podium and sorted through his papers:
“The usual suspects here for you all to memorize. Call signs, airborne radar and tanker coverage, friendly assets on the ground and in the air. Departure times and time-on-stations etcetera. Copies for each one of you here.” He then looked at his wristwatch and then back at his audience: “We are dust-off at nineteen-hundred hours. That will give us some time to arrive on station well after sunset so that the sunlight in the western skies has died down enough for us to enable night optics. That gives us precious enough time to memorize the targets and all this other info,” he waved the papers in his hands and then smiled.

“So get to it!”
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 23 Oct 2014 22:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 23 Oct 2014 09:11

DAY 1 + 1620 HRS

The skyline in the eastern part of the city was already awash with black smoke. The sounds of merciless artillery and tank fire was deafening. And as the sun began to set to the west, casting long shadows over the war-torn city, the blazing fires were beginning to make their presence felt by casting sickening hues of yellow-orange to the thick smoke clouds.

As Lt-general Haider stood on the rooftop of a former apartment complex near the center of the city, he could see the eastern parts of the city being torn asunder. As he watched, a barrage of fireballs ripped into a section of buildings near the international airport, causing them to implode and collapse under a dark-brown cloud of dust. The thumping and crashing noises reached his positions a couple seconds after the flashes of light.

Haider grabbed the sidewall on the roof as the shockwave dissipated past the building he was on. He scowled as the series of noises followed. His aide, Major Akram, lowered his binoculars.
“Well?” Haider asked curtly.

“Precision rocket artillery fire. Looks like they struck the northeastern sector of the airport. 10TH Division territory.”

“Likely some battalion headquarters just got levelled,” Haider noted with disgust. The war was not going well. The Indians had made to the edge of the city despite heavy losses to both sides. There just was no stopping the Indian juggernaut east of Lahore. Now the Lahore airport was almost inside mortar range of the enemy. And reinforcements weren’t making their way into the city as Haider had hoped. The loss of air control in the skies above had been swift and decisive. The PAF had been swatted away to the western parts of the country, leaving this city and its defenses at the mercy of Indian air power. And the latter had been decimating the long convoys of armor that was trying to fight its way to the city or pushing back the Indian forces from the northwest and southwest directions.

And Haider knew that organized resistance by the Pak army here was no longer an option. With mass exodus of the city’s civilians clogging every possible route out of the city, the logistics were crammed and jammed while the Indians pushed onwards.

He sighed as he unstrapped his helmet chinstrap and wiped the sweat off his brow using his arms. Akram was looking at him as he stated the obvious: “if this doesn’t work, we are about to lose control of this city. Where are they?”

Akram waved over the radioman standing behind them and took the comms speaker. Haider waited patiently for news as the smoke clouds from the explosions rose silently into the darkening, pinkish skies. The rumble of jets overhead caused him to look up and see white circular contrails in the cold skies above. Indian jets looking for targets. He wondered whether they could see him. Maybe. Maybe not. Could they home in on his communications and then hit the rooftop he was on while he stood here staring at the sky? Would he even know if that would happen in the very next instant? Would Allah be merciful and understanding of his actions against the kaffirs? Could he not take responsibility for the death of thousands of unbelievers in Mumbai as part of his contribution in the jihad? Had he not done his duty to Allah?

“Sir,” Akram said a bit forcefully to get his commander out of his reverie. Haider shrugged his thoughts away and stared at the young Major standing next to him with his palm over the radio speaker. He nodded to his aide to continue.
“The Ghazi group is in play. They report a force of Indian armor vehicles approaching the road past one of the outskirt villages. They are about to move.”
“Get some eyes overhead,” Haider ordered.

Akram nodded and then removed him palm from the speaker and gave out some terse orders. A few seconds later he handed the speaker back to the radioman and looked at Haider: “Done.”

“Let’s go then,” Haider said as he walked past the men and towards the staircase entrance. He then walked down the six flights of stairs and reached the bottom floor where several dozen officers and soldiers manned his command post. This was now the beating heart of his defenses in the city. What the Army command and the defensive Corps did outside the city was not his botheration, but everything inside the city, was. And this center was where he ran his show from. The place was alive with comms chatter and men running back and forth with orders and news. Chaos reigned.

Outside, the city was made to look as normal as possible. The streets were deliberately devoid of all military vehicles for at least one block in any direction. Haider had even forced the civilians to be made to stay visible in the streets outside to ensure the Indians could see them and continue to believe that this block of houses was nothing special. Just one block away, the army field hospital was overflowing with casualties and convoys of military vehicles ferrying them from the frontlines. A few hours ago it had been possible to bring in helicopters to the rooftops. But the swift demise of the PAF had meant that the helicopter pilots were now no longer allowed to fly into the city. Haider himself had placed that order when he had seen an army liaison helicopter shredded from the sky by a strafing Indian Su-30. The charred wreckage of that helicopter still lay inverted between the gaps of two rooftops a kilometer away…

“Sierra-two-two is active.” Captain Saadat said as Haider and Akram walked up behind him. Saadat was in charge of the short-range, man-portable unmanned vehicles as well as the liaison for the feed from the larger unmanned platforms when available. The latter platforms had not been seen or heard from over the past two hours, though. Maybe that’s what those circular contrails above were for, Haider thought. The Indians hunting for any and all Pakistani airborne platform left in the skies above Lahore?

“You have the feed yet?” Akram asked.
“Hold on,” Saadat said as he spoke into his comms mouthpiece and then flipped open the battlefield computer as it powered on. He talked as he walked through the boot-up process and then turned to the senior officers behind him: “The boys just sent up a hand-held drone a kilometer away from the road that the Ghazi group is going after. It will have limited endurance so there might be down times when we recover the birds and rearm the batteries.”

“Understood, captain,” Haider noted. “It will have to do.”

Saadat smiled briefly and then turned back to face the screen as it lit up with a birds-eye view in thermal monochrome lighting. They could see the road on the top of the screen and what were dark black-blobs of vehicles driving up on it, turrets swiveling on either side. Indian T-90 tanks. The screen also showed blobs on the marshy fields on either side of the road and much smaller blobs showing humans moving tactically alongside the tanks.

“Go white-hot,” Akram ordered.

Saadat pressed one of the buttons on the side of the screen marked “B/W-HT” and inverted the monochrome color. The thermals were now white. The coloration changed just as one of the leading blobs let loose a tank round and the screen flickered. Saadat zoomed out and saw a building one kilometer away with an entire sidewall blown to smithereens. A battle of sorts was on. The Indian soldiers were shepherding the civilians caught in the crossfire away from the convoy of armor.

“Wait for it…” Akram said, holding his breath.

The screen flickered again as the group of Indian soldiers and group of civilians disappeared in a massive flash of white that faded to black as the optics software reorganized the colors. Haider saw as the battlefield turned into an instant confusion with surviving civilians running in all directions while other Indian soldiers ran towards the smoking remains of half-a-dozen or so of their comrades. In all the confusion and chaos, some of the civilians ran towards the Indian vehicles…

One of the Indian tank commanders caught on when he saw a jihadi dressed as a civilian run up to his tank and shredded him with the co-axial machinegun fire. But there were a lot more of them now. One of the jihadis ran straight to the side of an Indian T-90 a split-second before a terrific explosion ripped through his body. Pieces of metal and the tank wheels flew in all directions.

Other Indian soldiers were now engaging the jihadis dressed as civilians and were engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Some of the jihadis pulled out rifles from underneath their dresses and mowed down a two Indian soldiers who had taken them to be civilians just a moment ago. They then took out grenades and began tossing them around the other Indian tanks nearby.

One Indian T-90 gunner let loose a continuous volley of machinegun fire directly on a group of jihadis who had run out of a few small huts nearby and were clambering atop one of the BMP-IIs. The machinegun fire riddled the top of the vehicle with sparks as the two jihadis were ripped to shreds with their war-cry still lodged in their throats. A moment later an rocket-propelled-grenade slammed into the T-90 turret and exploded the external reactive armor panels. The shrapnel cut down several Indian soldiers in close proximity to the tank, trying to protect it from further jihadis. A few minutes of chaotic combat later, the Indian tanks and other vehicles began rolling backwards, engaging their newfound enemies as they did so. They left behind three burning T-90s and one disabled BMP-II. As Haider watched, the jihadis scrambled on top of the disabled BMP-II covered with the remains of the their fellow jihadis and dragged the body of a dead Indian crewmember out. They began to behead the dead body with a curved knife right on top of the turret. They never did get there, as one of the retreating T-90s fired a high-explosive round into the BMP-II and destroyed it in a massive fireball. The half dozen victorious jihadis with the head of an deceased Indian soldier on the top of the vehicle disappeared inside the resulting explosion a split-second later…

The screen in front of Saadat blinked off. He took a breath and then turned to the two officers behind him: “power down on the bird. We are recovering it now.”
Haider patted him on the shoulder and gestured to Akram as he walked away, leaving Saadat stroking his flowing beard in a satisfied way.

“That went well,” Akram muttered sarcastically once they were out of earshot of the others. Haider sighed reflectively.
“You disagree with the results, Major?” Haider asked curiously.
“Well it certainly wasn’t a glowing success,” Akram responded. “The idiots are more savages then soldiers. They could have inflicted a lot more damage with the surprise element if they had just been more disciplined.”

“Perhaps.” Haider ceded. “But perhaps that brutality is what will petrify the enemy from entering the city. If they know what awaits them around every corner and in every civilian, they will be far from enthusiastic in trying to take the city one block at a time. The war is as much psychological as real, my young colleague. And while I don’t disagree with your assessment, I would add that you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of what we just saw. The Indians retreated under the brutal surprise they were just delivered. A few more such attacks will blunt their invasion far more than anything conventional we could throw their way!”

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Nikhil T » 23 Oct 2014 09:39

Thanks for the mithai, Vivek! Let's light up Lawhore on Diwali!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby nash » 23 Oct 2014 10:54


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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 23 Oct 2014 20:42

Yeh Dil Maange More :D

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28468 » 26 Oct 2014 13:45

As always good one vivek je
Yagnasri je very nice try at least we can have something in vivek absence . A minor nitpick if you dont mind you should use word to check spellings and missing word . :roll: overall nice efforts thanx

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Khalsa » 27 Oct 2014 14:27


I once met an elderly Pakistani Gentleman who was sharing the 65 War Experience from the other side.
Although he did not happen to be outside Lahore he did narrate the following.

Apparently in 65 our tanks were on the outskirts of Lahore and threatening the city.
At that moment Lahore University became the collecting point for idiots wanting to wear vests and run into Indian tanks.

Now although I know what he tried to feed me was complete BS it does show the mentality and where it swings to in the face of overwhelming force.

All I want to say is.... you read them very well

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 29 Oct 2014 22:47

Waiting waiting waiting.....

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 31 Oct 2014 10:12

Vivek Sir. Having serious withdrawal symptoms please help :(

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 03 Nov 2014 05:41


DAY 1 + 1825 HRS

The massive crashing rumble tore through the room. Grewal and his pilots instinctively looked up to see mounds of cement dust fall clear off the roof over their heads. The rumble began to dissipate away.

“What the hell was that?” one of the pilots asked, more to himself than anyone specific. Grewal didn’t have time to answer. The klaxons were already whining!
“We are under attack!” He responded and then turned to grab his papers and maps. The other pilots saw their leader and sprang into action as well. Grewal turned to his pilots after grabbing his critical flight items:
“Gentlemen! Stay here! If we are indeed under attack, I don’t want you all running into the open and getting fragged! Ramesh, you are with me. We need to find out what’s going on. Let’s go!”

The corridors outside the Ops room was abuzz with ground control officers and men rushing past each other. Two more loud booms and then crashes rippled through the bunker. Grewal looked to see if he could grab someone from Base Ops who he might know. But his No. 45 Squadron was merely a temporary guest on this base for now. He didn’t know hardly enough people here.

Oh to hell with it! He grabbed the nearest Squadron-Leader who was passing by. Before the man could utter a word, Grewal was in his face:
“What’s going on outside? Who’s attacking us?”
“We are getting hit with Pakistani cruise missiles. The base is encountering severe damage! Sir, I need to go here!” The man resisted the arm grab that Grewal had placed on him. Obviously he was on his way somewhere within the Base Ops facility, but Grewal needed information too…
“Hold on!” Grewal responded angrily, “any news on damage topside?”
“Two hardened shelters took direct hits. The control tower is destroyed. And we have more probable inbounds!”

“All right. Go!” Grewal released his hold and the man ran off to where he needed to be. Grewal watched him go and turned to Ramesh:
“We need to find out if any of our birds were burned and if the runway is still operational. If both those criteria are clear, we need to get the ****** off this airbase before it is completely wrecked and shut down! The Paki ba$tards will have us by the balls if the runway is destroyed and we are on the ground. And those Jag boys are going to get stuck deep inside enemy territory with no friendly air cover!” He looked at his wristwatch. “We are already getting late to make our various rendezvous points! Let’s go!”

The two men ran through the corridors bypassing the various people heading the other way and down the deep, narrow corridor that led to the nearest of the two hardened shelters. It was claustrophobic especially with the threat of imminent collapse should another missile strike happen on the shelters directly at the end of the tunnel. Two minutes later they emerged on the other side where the fresh outside air was cold and chilly winds blew through the domed concrete shelters housing two LCAs. Grewal recognized his bird and saw his ground crews running about. He walked to the aircraft and squatted underneath to see the drop tanks, Astra missiles and the R-73s hanging underneath. His bird was also outfitted with a low-optics designator on an offset pylon next to the centerline external fuel tank.

This LCA was ready for war.

Now for the bad news. He and Ramesh walked past the parked aircraft and towards the taxiway that led past the massive concrete protection walls to reveal that Ambala airbase was ablaze. Massive fires were raging with a roar where the control tower used to be. Now all he could make out was a blackened carcass of the building amidst the bellowing licks of flame. Further east he could see more muffled flames within towers of bellowing smoke from a destroyed hardened shelter. That section of the base was occupied by a gaggle of Jaguars from the No. 5 “Tuskers” Squadron. Unless those aircraft were out somewhere on a mission, they had just been dealt a body blow.

The sounds of jet engines overhead caused Grewal to look up. Obviously there was nothing to see in the darkness above except for small clouds silhouetted against the moonlight. The corner of his eye just caught a flash and he instinctively turned away just as another Babur missile detonated in airburst mode towards the end of the runway. The spherical flash of white light turned yellow, then orange and the disappeared behind a mushroom shaped dust cloud. The shockwave swept past and then over the curved tops of the hardened shelter and ricocheted off the protection walls. Still, a small wall of light dust and smell of petroleum swept past the shelter and the parked LCAs. Grewal spat out the dust caught on his tongue before grabbing Ramesh, who was sprawled on the tarmac nearby.

“Okay,” he said as he shook Ramesh and the latter got up, “we need to get out of here. Our birds are fine. Get the rest of the boys moving to their birds. I am going to spool up my bird and get Mongol and Base Ops to get us permission to leave.” He saw Ramesh still a bit shaken from the rapidity of the strikes taking place outside. Grewal grimaced and shook Ramesh by his flight-suit: “Hey! You listening?”

“Yeah. I got you. Get the boys, get the planes. Leaving this place ASAP! I heard you!”

“Then move it!” Grewal released the hold on his flightsuit as Ramesh got up and ran back towards the entrance corridor that led them back to the underground facility.

Grewal turned to see a warrant-officer waiting with his helmet that had fallen on the floor. “You ready to depart, sir?” The senior NCO had white hair and a smile on his face. Grewal returned it as he took the helmet. “Yes, warrant-officer. Time for us to go do our jobs. I see you have already done yours?”
The two men walked up the parked aircraft as Grewal fitted the helmet on his head. A ladder wasn’t necessary. Grewal simply hoisted himself up the side and into the cockpit. Despite his seniority, he made he retained his fitness for times like these. He looked around the cockpit. This was his aircraft for the moment but it wasn’t his own. That aircraft had been damaged severely during the heavy air operations earlier in the day.

Oh yes…he remembered as he looked at his boots to see the scarred leather from one of the shrapnel pieces. A reminder to himself to be careful and aware at all times. For death was always one mistake away in a war like this one.

Time to get to business.

He went through the process of spooling up the airplane systems. Within a minute the tiny aircraft’s engines were spooling away, making a gradually increasing whine as they did so. He turned his head on either side to see the ground crews pushing all equipment away. He also saw another of his pilots rushing past the entrance to the shelter and on his way to board the second aircraft here. So Ramesh had passed the word and his pilots were getting down to it.

He plugged in his oxygen mask and made sure it was working with a deep breath. Then the night-optics, which he lowered from their mount above the helmet to bring in front of his eyes. The green-light of the sights reflected off his visor. The engines were already making a din in the background now. Finally the comms. Before he could leave anywhere, he had to make sure that their original mission had not been scrubbed by recent events. The complex operation needed the closest of coordination between different elements. Even the absence of one or more elements might cause Verma, the operational leader on board the Phalcon “Mongol-two” to scrub and withdraw all elements to safety to fight another day.

“This is dagger-actual to mongol-two, dagger is preparing to depart. Requesting sit-rep, over.”

There was static on the comms for several seconds in which Grewal felt his heartbeat. Was mongol-two still alive? Had it been shot down? Given the savage attack being delivered here, had other airbases suffered similar fates?

“Uh, mongol-two here.” Grewal started breathing again. “We copy, dagger. Understand you are in the hot seat at the moment. Confirm your status, over.”
“Dagger is fully operational, mongol-two,” Grewal said whilst nodding to the warrant-officer outside and gave him a thumbs up on all systems. The latter returned it. “We are preparing to roll. The tower is out so we are switching to secondary flight control, pending departure, over.”

The comms were again filled with static for several seconds. Grewal was convinced that Verma would be getting confirmation from Ambala Base Ops that the runway was still operational. The latter would probably have some guys on a vantage point with some thermal optics to survey the damage to the concrete. Or perhaps the Bison boys patrolling overhead could confirm…

“Roger, dagger. We have you cleared to depart. Get yourselves out of there and report to I-P Satin as per original flight plans. Mongol-two, out.” The line chimed off.

Grewal nodded to himself. Okay. Time to check on the rest of dagger to see if they were all ready. He realized he had already told Mongol-two that dagger was operational before having actually checked that. He just didn’t want to provide any excuse for getting themselves fragged from the current operation. Oh well. He could always make up a story about engine problems if any of his boys failed to depart. It was a pilot tactic as old as air combat itself!

Thankfully, the other seven LCA pilots chimed in and were ready to roll. Grewal changed frequencies on the comms for Ambala Base Ops: “Dagger-actual here. We are rolling for immediate departure. Over.”

“Roger…dagger-actual. You are cleared to depart. Watch for debris and damage to primary runway. If in doubt, abort departure and return to shelters immediately. Over.”
“Dagger-actual copies. Out.” Grewal felt like saying “like hell!”, but that would have been unprofessional. He had already lied to Verma. He didn’t want to make it a habit.

He powered up the engine and released the brakes. The LCA’s nose emerged from inside the shelter and he lowered his night-optics to make sense of the complete blackout at the base. The moonlight reflecting off the concrete taxiway was further enhanced in the greenish hell-scape of the night-vision systems. As he cleared past the shelter walls, he could see the full scope of the damage to Ambala. It made him feel vulnerable inside the cockpit. The sooner he was off the ground and in his element, the better it would be.

To his side he saw the other LCAs moving out of their shelters and three of them were following him at easy intervals on the taxiway. So far so good, he thought. The blazing fire from the tower was beginning to die down now that the fires had consumed all combustible materials there. His enhanced night-optics vision also showed him the black silhouettes of point-defense Mig-21 Bison fighters flying in pairs overhead.

As he reached the runway and began to align the nose of the aircraft with the centerline on the concrete, a brilliant flash of light erupted over the main Ambala parking tarmac further away. He had to close his eyes because the flash was enhanced a hundred-fold in his optics. Bringing his shoulder in front of his eyes as a shield was instinctive. The LCA began to roll to the side and he corrected it before the aircraft started drifting off the concrete and into the adjoining grass!

His comms came alive: “Those Paki ba$tards trying to nail us on the ground with staggered strikes! Well, they won’t get us so easy!”

Grewal just took a deep breath instead of responding to that. The statement from Ramesh was accurate, though. The Pakistanis were launching strikes in staggered times so that the Indian defenders could be lulled into thinking the strike was over, step outside and then get hammered when they were most vulnerable. There was a reason, after all, why this last strike had just smashed the empty apron that would normally be used to house aircraft in the open if the shelters were full. Now that apron was a smoldering crater, but it had failed to knock out any Indian fighters on the ground. It was a strategy of sorts, Grewal mused as his LCA began rolling down the tarmac.

The LCA had a good short-field launch capability. It allowed the pilot to take off from small stretches of the runway that were intact after enemy strikes. So it was being put to the test here. Grewal powered up the afterburners, released the brakes and the aircraft ran down the length of the runway approaching the crater from an earlier strike. The aircraft lifted into the air much before it reached that crater. Grewal smiled at that and got down to business.

Dagger was now airborne.
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 03 Nov 2014 05:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 03 Nov 2014 05:49

DAY 1 + 1920 HRS

The international border was visible enough even in the night sky. The battles raging in and around the city of Lahore were like a waypoint on the flights into Pakistan now. Both Amritsar and Lahore were dark right now, but the former was dark because of mandatory lights-out orders by the Indian military. The Pakistani city, however, didn’t have a choice. Its power supply sources had been hammered into oblivion by laser-guided bombs dropped by Indian Mirage-2000s earlier in the day. But the city was still visible from fifteen thousand feet, mainly as a result of the blazing fires and explosions as Indian artillery hammered the city to dust…

Grewal looked around to the port side of his cockpit and down and saw the green-black landscape of the city and the surrounding countryside peppered with white balls of light that flickered in and out. Mongol-two had given the eight pilots of his flight a clear berth away from the artillery trajectories mapped out by the Indian army. Even so, it was an awe-inspiring sight.

“You seeing this, dagger-leader?” Ramesh’s voice crackled on the radio.
“Yeah,” Grewal noted after a couple seconds in silence. “Lots of our boys won’t see the sunrise tomorrow down there. Perspective, daggers. It’s all above perspective.” Did that even make sense to his pilots, he wondered. Probably not. They were not privy to his thought process. They would probably just put it down to “one of the old man’s musings” and let it be. The radio crackled again: “Mongol-two to dagger-actual.”

Grewal shook his head and flicked comms: “Dagger-actual here, reading you five-by-five. Over.”
“Dagger, we copy you approaching I-P Satin. Hold at the I-P while other elements of Starlight deploy. Airspace west of Satin is under enemy ground-to-air control and should not be ventured into until Starlight is in play. Will advise. Confirm message. Over.”

“Dagger copies all. Holding at Satin until you say otherwise. Don’t take too long: we are burning fuel over here. Out.” The link chimed off.

Grewal looked to the side and saw his other LCAs staggered in two finger-four formations. Ramesh’s flight was northeast of him. They were currently northeast of Lahore and continuing west, deeper into Pakistani airspace. Operation Starlight was aptly named by the Indian air-force’s Western Air Command. Once it was done, star light would be all that the Pakistanis would work under at night. Its objective was the decimation of Pakistan’s power and energy facilities. The strike on Chushma Nuclear Complex was Grewal’s little piece of that particular pie.

He looked below and to the sides of his aircraft hoping to see the reason why they were on holding status for the moment. The Brahmos missiles heading west to take out the Pakistani HQ-9 missile battery west of Lahore would be happening already. Perhaps he could see these missiles as they flew past at supersonic speeds at fifteen thousand feet…

Probably not, the voice in his head told him. They wouldn’t be placed anywhere near the trajectories of the missiles for safety reasons. Their only indication of the strike would be the termination of the noise being made by their on-board radar-warning-receivers when the long-range surveillance radar of the battery was destroyed. They weren’t even close enough to see the impact from the missile strikes. Too bad.

But he did see the company he would be having as they headed into Pakistan. Three flights of four Jaguars were approaching the Initial Point Satin from the northeast…

The radio crackled to life again: “Dagger, this is warhawk-actual. Be advised, you have friendlies approaching from your five-o-clock, three-thousand feet below.”
“We see you, warhawk. We have you at our five,” Grewal responded.
“Glad to hear it, dagger,” the Jaguar squadron leader responded. “I understand you boys will be our escorts for this milk run?”
Grewal grunted. A heavy SEAD mission against a guarded Nuclear reactor complex inside enemy territory is a milk run to these guys? It made him wonder how bad it must have been during the China war by comparison for the Indian Jaguar community…
“Roger, warhawk. dagger has your back.”

Grewal noted that the enemy HQ-9 was no longer being detected on his warning receivers. That meant only one thing. Time for civilities was over. Sure enough, the radio crackled to life: “Mongol-two to warhawk and dagger: Starlight is in play. I say again, Starlight is in play. warhawk, you are clear to proceed for suppression missions. Dagger, be advised, warhammer and scabbard flights are sweeping south and north respectively. Remain at I-P satin until warhawk has suppressed enemy air defenses at target and then move to provide cover. Warhawk-leader has the ball. Out.”

Grewal saw the Jaguar pilots instinctively diving for the deck. Their flight of twelve aircraft dived away to the west to do what they do best: flying low amongst the weeds and shocking the enemy with their appearance. But for the moment, he found himself holding station while everyone else got to play. It wasn’t fair, but nobody ever said it would be. LCAs weren’t designed to be long-range fighters at any rate. That was what the Su-30s were doing right now. No. His job was escort and that is what he would do while the Su-30 and Mig-29 drivers were slashing across Pakistani skies looking for PAF scalpels. The only scalpels he would get would be leftovers…

He sighed. The Jaguar pilots were already out and away. He would cruise further west at high altitude to preserve fuel. They were currently burning the fuel in the centerline tanks so that it would be the first thing they dropped if the shit hit the fan. But their cruising speeds meant that the Jaguars had already accelerated ahead of them on their targets. They would be going after the Spada-2000 missile systems defending the Chushma complex. Grewal checked his moving-map-display and saw that he was scheduled to arrive over the target just as soon as the Jaguars had suppressed the enemy defenses…in a seven minutes as per the time.

These were the longest seven minutes for him and his pilots. Nothing to do but scan the comms and the skies and their radar screens. Looking for trouble. Of course trouble was everywhere. The comms were alive with the Jaguar pilots talking to each other as they smashed the enemy’s defenses. He could also listen in on the chatter between the Su-30 pilots to the south as they tangled with whatever fighters the PAF could muster into the air to defend their precious nuclear reactors. To the north the Mig-29 pilots were doing the same with a pair of Pakistani JF-17s. But their own radar screens were clear. No enemy had made it past these two screens of Indian fighters north and south of him.

The radio crackled: “Well, this is shaping up to be the most boring escort mission of my career!” Ramesh said for all his pilots and then added: “and I include the training flights before the war!”

Grewal chuckled internally but said nothing. The man was right. If things kept going as they are, they just…

“Contact at extreme range!” Grewal said abruptly as his radar showed him something at the extreme range of his detection. “You see it, dagger-two?”
“I have it, dagger leader! “ Ramesh responded. “Must be something large to even show up here. What the hell could it be? Not a fighter surely!”
Grewal went through his mental checklist on that. Ramesh was right: the contact was too large to be a fighter. But what else could it be? An airliner? No. All airlines had ceased operations from Pakistan hours ago. Could it be a transport aircraft? Certainly a multi-engine aircraft. Either way, a juicy target!

He opened his comms: “Dagger-two, maintain cover for warhawk with dagger-bravo. Dagger-alpha, on me! We are going after this contact!”

The four LCAs punched off their mostly-empty centerline tanks and punched afterburners. Grewal was pushed into his seat as the nimble aircraft accelerated away, gaining momentum and closing range on the contact. A few minutes into the chase and he had a clear contact on his radar. A multi-engine aircraft with two escorting fighters. The group of three aircraft was heading northwest, into Afghanistan and perhaps beyond? Now his curiosity was spiked even more. The two escorts guarding the enemy aircraft were now breaking formation and diving towards his LCAs. Some Pakistani ground radar was vectoring them into combat with his flight…

“All right boys,” Grewal spoke as he switched for long-range Astra missiles, “spread out for a long-range shot at the two ba$tards protecting whatever that aircraft is carrying. One shot and we are in the merge. Take them down!”

The four LCAs spread out from a finger-four formation to a line abreast as they prepared to take shots. The Pakistani pilots fired off two missiles before the LCAs did. But with the fast closure rate and the conditions for the shot, the two Pakistani missiles swept past the diving LCAs and into their chaff clouds and did not turn back. Two of the Astra missiles did the same. But the last two slammed into one of the fighters and it was blotted out of the sky into fragments, disappearing from all radar screens. The other Pakistani pilot flipped his aircraft to the side and dived past the LCAs.

Grewal saw the Mirage-III dash past his cockpit and lose altitude. He flipped his aircraft and did the same. Behind him his wingman followed his maneuvers like a shadow. The pilot of the Mirage-III looked experienced and was weaving like a wave in three dimensions. Grewal had to call on all his experience to stay behind this prey. All the while, the Pakistani pilot was maneuvering into position behind one of Grewal’s LCAs that had dived to avoid the initial Pakistani missile salvo…

This guy is good!

Grewal could feel the sweat inside his mask and the dryness of his mouth. He had to get this ba$tard before that guy got one of his boys. The skies were now alive with tracers as the Mirage-III pilot began to rattle dagger-alpha-two, a relative novice pilot. Time to end this!

Grewal tried lining up for an IR shot with an R-73. But the Pakistani pilot kept avoiding him at the very last second. He would make a violent maneuver just as Grewal would try to get a shot off, dumping chaff and flares into his wake and directly in front of Grewal’s aircraft. These represented a kind of hazard in their own way, considering the close distances between the Mirage-III and the LCA. Grewal knew he must be dealing with a senior Pakistani pilot here. This guy was keeping four LCAs at bay with his outdated Mirage-III!

Of course, that kind of luck is hard to come by and doesn’t last long. And Grewal knew it. All he needed was that one mistake. And it happened a split second later when the Pakistani pilot maneuvered yet again to nail the LCA in front of him. He slid across Grewal’s gun optics and Grewal let loose a long salvo of cannon rounds. The tracers ripped into the Mirage-III from above like a deadly scythe and the aircraft detonated into a fireball. Grewal had to maneuver violently to avoid passing through that fireball. He barely managed to avoid it.

As he pulled away to the west, he saw the flaming debris of the Mirage-III disappear into the white clouds below. He didn’t see a chute from the pilot. Grewal made a mental note to find out who it was that he had killed here today. It certainly had been no average Pakistani PAF officer…

But that was for later. Right now, they had to catch the enemy transport that had been so vehemently protected by these two dead enemy fighters. Where was it? He checked his radar and found that the transport had tried to make a dash to lower altitude under the clouds and was now trying to head north towards Peshawar. It had to be stopped!

Grewal opened his comms: “All dagger-alpha elements! Regroup on that transport aircraft! Don’t let it escape!”
He checked his fuel and found it to be safe for the moment. So he punched afterburners again and dived through the cloud cover. The enemy contact was not far off. As he cleared the clouds below, he could see the unmistakable silhouette of a Boeing-777…

Grewal’s comms opened up as one of his pilots chimed in: “What the hell?! What’s a civilian airliner doing out here? And why was it being protected by the PAF?”

“I have no clue, dagger-alpha-four. Dagger-alpha elements: stand by. Do not kill this bird. We need to call this one in.” He changed comms: “Mongol-two, dagger-actual. We have a bit of situation up here! A Pakistan International Airline B-triple-seven is in the skies and we intercepted it heading west out of Pakistani airspace under fighter protection. We nailed the two fighter escorts without loss, but the escort pilots were also well experienced and probably senior. There is something going on here, Mongol-two. We require instructions. Over.”

“Uh, roger, dagger-actual. Can you force the aircraft to comply? Over.”
Grewal pulled up alongside the B-777 and looked it over. “Out here in the middle of enemy territory? That’s a big negative. This aircraft is heading to Peshawar. It diverted course just as we showed up!”

There was several seconds of silence on the comms. Grewal took that time to look closer at the airliner. The windows on the side began opening and he could see passengers inside.
Good god. Could this be an evacuation flight?

“Mongol-two, there are possible civilians on board! I am currently alongside and can see passengers on board! Over.”
“Roger that, dagger-actual. You are advised to let the aircraft go. I say again, let it go. Over.”

Grewal shook his head: “Mongol-two, understand that this aircraft may have originated from Sargodha. This may be an evacuation flight. Dagger out.”

Grewal gave the aircraft one last look and then pulled away, not exactly sure what he had just seen or what it meant. In his mind ran the scenarios. Could it be the families of the senior Pakistani military officers? If so, that would explain the determined escort efforts of the two Mirage-III pilots they had encountered: they were fighting to protect their families. Maybe. But why not evacuate by road? Well, any association with the Pakistani military was liable to get you killed out in the northwestern tribal hinterlands. And the sea option was not possible now that the Indian navy was laying siege in the Arabian sea. The aerial route had been a desperate and risky choice. But why do it at all? Why not just leave them where they were. Surely they would be safer there? The only reason the Pakistani high command might be wanting to get their families out using such a high risk way was because staying where they were in the Pakistani cities was now considered by them to be even riskier…

Grewal felt a shiver go down his spine at that realization. As his aircraft flew over the burning remains of the Chushma reactor complex below, his mind was occupied by that realization. An hour ago he would have considered it impossible that something other than the destruction of Chushma would have taken priority in his mind. But now the blazing reactor buildings below and the sweeping jaguar strike fighters strafing what remained of the complex was just a sideshow to him.

A dreaded feeling took over his body as he wondered how close they were to pushing Pakistan over the edge…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby amitvora » 04 Nov 2014 01:10


Love reading your posts. Just saw this on the tech site that you may want to incorporate in your storyline.

http://www.engadget.com/2014/11/03/chin ... e-defense/

Thank you and looking forward to another great story.

Amit Vora

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby nits » 05 Nov 2014 12:31

Vivek Sir - No SAM \ Air Defense at play while airbase was attached via Cruise Missiles... ?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby rkhanna » 07 Nov 2014 17:01

Outstanding posts sir. When can we expect to see pathfinder again?

Also a few Nitpicks

Our birds are fine. Get the rest of the boys moving to their birds. I am going to spool up my bird and get Mongol and Base Ops to get us permission to leave.

Way too many "Birds" in this sentence

Pakistani skies looking for PAF scalpels. The only scalpels he would get would be leftovers…

Do you mean scalps or Scalpels?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby aditp » 08 Nov 2014 23:30

Just back from weekend show of the movie FURY. Would be a massive understatement to say that the pitted tank on tank engagement between our hero's M4 Sherman and the bad guys' PzKmpfW Tiger UK (was it?) was just aweeeeesooooommme.

Vivkeji this gruffy mujahid's dil is beating faster for some pitted engagement between the Arjun and PakiCheeni T-whateevers. Wonder if you would send APFSDS rounds ricocheti off the Kanchan armour like in the above scene

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 11 Nov 2014 21:52

Vivek Sir somehow Phenix is not as gripping as Chimera :( . Sorry my personal opinion only.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Hobbes » 12 Nov 2014 09:32

That is because it is TSP, and as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28803 » 13 Nov 2014 09:06


For your inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RwCrPR1b98

Please have a scenario or two, where one of the Indian soldiers (who lost is entire family in the Mumbai nuke attack) gets surrounded by the peacefool abduls and a fierce, legen-wait-for-it....dary hand-to-hand combat takes place. Of course, I don't wanna influence your decision on how it ends! :D :mrgreen:

Yeh dil maange more! 8)

PS. I finished your Chimera in less than 48hrs, now following your Fenix with great pleasure. You have a gift, and off course your hard work to match that. Keep on going, mate. You got a big fan here. May the force be with you!!

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 17 Nov 2014 18:27

Vivek Sir :(

Just to bring it back to page 1 :D

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 24 Nov 2014 00:30

:( :( :(

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_26730 » 30 Nov 2014 11:37

Time..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... is relative...

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vila » 06 Dec 2014 22:38

Vivek Sir, Hope you are ok

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby member_28652 » 07 Dec 2014 06:13

We really need another dose.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby hpatel » 19 Dec 2014 17:54

Hi Vivek, hope all is OK?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 23 Dec 2014 09:54

Apologies, gentlemen. But I have been on a binge-writing and organizing spree for Fenix to get it out the door for publication by mid-January 2015.

The plan right now is for Fenix to go the Chimera route for a publication by end of January.

So expect a flurry of posts between now and mid-Jan for Fenix as I take the scenario through its third and final act. 8)

P.S.: Don't forget to buy a copy when it comes out! :oops:

Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 23 Dec 2014 10:06, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 23 Dec 2014 09:54


DAY 1 + 2215 HRS

“Surely you are not surprised?” General Potgam asked blandly.

The room went silent as all eyes focused on the PM. The latter looked around and then back at the General: “Just that it is all going down so fast! It is cascading out of control!”
Potgam nodded. And so did Ravoof and several others. The PM was right, after all.

“The decision to strike their power complexes and nuclear reactors was correct and the execution has been successful,” Bafna said as he reviewed his notes. “Pakistan is dark in the major cities and other areas will become so in the next few days. Our armored forces are deep inside Pakistan in the desert and the Pakistani line of control defenses have been smashed.” Bafna cleared his throat and then looked at Potgam: “The strike across the Punjab border and near Lahore is proving costly…”

“It is.” Potgam said flatly. “The advance to the city has been costly for our forces. The enemy is defending the city like a lion. But mark my words, the city will fall. If not tomorrow, then few days from now! We will not allow that cesspool of jihadist activities to remain standing. Our artillery is already turning the city to rubble. The airport is already destroyed. And…” Potgam stopped as Ravoof jabbed his finger on the table and leaned forward:

“And what happens after that?”
“What do you mean?” Potgam said with a raised eyebrow.
“I mean what is the end-game scenario here, General? Assume for a second that we reduce the resistance in the city to ashes and march in. Then what happens? How will the Pakistanis react?”

Potgam sighed and leaned back in his chair: “Isn’t that what we are here to determine? I am not that ba$tard Hussein. I cannot imagine what he will do next.”
“On that note,” Bafna turned to Bhosale: “What’s the debrief on your pilot who intercepted the escaping Pakistani airlines plane?”

“What’s this about?” The PM asked with a worried tone and turned to the air-force chief as well. Bhosale nodded slightly and then looked to the wall clock before looking at the PM:
“Roughly two hours ago, a group of our combat aircraft intercepted a Pakistani airlines aircraft escaping out of what we believe to be Sargodha airbase in Pakistan. The aircraft was being escorted by two enemy aircraft which our boys destroyed. The airliner turned north and flew out of the combat zone.”

“And why is this important?” Ravoof asked, getting intrigued by this.

“It’s important,” Basu interjected before Bhosale could say anything, “because we believe the Pakistani high command is ferrying the families of their senior commanders and personnel out of the country.”
“But why?” The PM asked, now concerned and confused.
“Isn’t is obvious?” Basu replied neutrally, as though teaching a bunch of students. “The Pak army doesn’t want their families to be on the ground when all hell breaks loose. They are getting ready to deploy nuclear weapons. This is the surest sign. We are getting indications of this from all our intelligence sources.”

Good god!” The PM said and let out a breath as he stared at the table.
“My god, man,” Bhosale said angrily to Basu, “how about you boys let us in on things like this as you get them?! I would prefer not to get these snippets of information as a fu@king ‘by-the-way’!”

“What the hell are you shouting at me for?!” Basu retaliated and then looked at Potgam sitting next to Bhosale: “If your military intelligence boys weren’t shutting us ‘civilians’ out of the loop, I would be much more happy to share what my boys are gathering from deep inside enemy territory! And what the heck is your vaunted M-I doing anyway? How is it that this is the first you are hearing about Pakistani nuclear plans?”

“Gentlemen! Please!” Ravoof interjected with a wave of the hand before the seething service chiefs could pounce on the diminutive RAW chief. “We are all on the same team here! Check your inter-departmental rivalries for later! Coordinate amongst each other or we are all dead by the end of the week!”
“So what do we do about all this?” The PM asked. “Should we let the Pakistani government know that any use of nuclear weapons will be responded in kind?”
“They already know all that!” Basu said irritably. “Why do you think they are trying to get the families of the generals and air-marshals out of the country?”

“Besides,” Ravoof continued, “who would you even talk to on their side? All our indications are that the Pak military in charge. That means Hussein and his cronies. The civilian government has been shunted out of the process by the Pak army commanders. Considering the jihadist fervor on the streets, there isn’t much even the Pak army commanders can do now.”

“So what are you saying?” Bafna asked on behalf of the PM.

“I am saying that Hussein has already demonstrated that he is not above using nukes against us. Just ask the citizens of Mumbai. I don’t think he is going to stop now. Especially with us pounding down the door on Lahore and putting the entire country in darkness. This has only one outcome, and you know what that is.”
“My god…” the PM muttered under his breath as he rubbed his hands over his face. Bafna looked at him and then turned to the service chiefs: “What are our nuclear contingency plans in case this entire thing goes south?”

“The usual,” Potgam stated. He had been through all this before. He still remembered the dusty mushroom clouds over the snowcapped mountains of Bhutan from three years ago…
“All missile defense batteries went live around the major cities ever since the strike on Mumbai. The strategic forces command is online as well and the aerospace command is monitoring the skies above Pakistan as well as known missile launch sites. On the defensive side,” Potgam turned to the navy commander: “Admiral?”

The latter looked at the PM, who was still holding his face in his hands: “The nuclear ballistic missile submarine Arihant left its dock some time ago. It is now in the Bay of Bengal, armed with long-range ballistic missiles capable of targeting both Pakistani as well as Chinese mainland from its launch positions in the bay. I…”

“Wait!” The PM looked up abruptly with his hands still hanging in front of his face: “Why the hell are we talking about China now?!”

“Well,” Potgam replied, “considering their massing troops in the Tibetan plains, we have to assume that they are going to side with their Pakistani allies in all this.”
“But why?” The PM asked again.

“It is true,” Ravoof replied on behalf of the PM, “Islamabad left their erstwhile allies hanging high and dry during the last war. Why would Beijing come to their aid now?”
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Basu said to no-one in particular, but all heads turned to him. He sighed. “Wencang and his crony Chen are no fools. They know which side of the bread to butter. They are already sending much needed arms and ammunition to the Pak army via the northern mountains. They are almost certainly sharing electronic and satellite intel with Rawalpindi. How else do you explain the precision strikes the Pakistanis are launching against our airbases? Beijing is deploying its fleet to the Arabian sea. On the face of it, to protect their merchant shipping assets. But if push comes to shove, they won’t hesitate to start attacking our ships that are now beginning to blockade Pakistani ports. Gwadar is a good example. One strike there from us and that is all the provocation Wencang needs to pile into this war. But whether he will join the nuclear fight? We don’t know…”

“But we have to be prepared,” Potgam stated. “Hence the defensive measures by the navy to provide Beijing some pause should they consider some nasty plans.”
“A cheerful thought.” Ravoof said as he leaned back into his seat, dejected at where this discussion was going, logically or otherwise…
“What can we do to prevent Chinese help to the Pakistanis?” Bafna asked.

“Short of declaring war on China?” Potgam replied. “Not much. We just have to roll with the punches on that one. We just don’t have the capability to take both countries on at the same time and hope to win over either one. You remember our last experience? It sapped our strengths to breaking point before we were done. And that was without the Pakistani ba$tards piling on top!”
“We should at least put out some strongly worded statements to the public and the media warning Beijing to stay away,” Ravoof suggested.
Agreed!” Potgam replied with a nod.

“Will it do any good?” The PM asked.
Ravoof grunted and shook his head: “Not in the least. Wencang will ask for peace and continue to arm the Pakistanis behind his back. But we should at least make them uncomfortable to the fact by revealing that we know what they are up to.”
“What about us here?” Bafna asked, his self-preservation kicking in.
“We should consider evacuating all of the senior government officials out of New-Delhi. Nuclear command protocol needs to be invoked,” Potgam stated for the room, looked around, and then faced the PM. “And that’s a decision that needs to be made right now!”

The PM leaned back in his seat, pushed it back and then got up.

“We are leaving.”
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 23 Dec 2014 10:07, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 23 Dec 2014 09:55



DAY 2 + 0230 HRS

A ball of white disappeared into green nothingness in his view. The thunderclap ripped through the tank seconds later.

Hit!” Kulkarni’s gunner exclaimed without looking away from his optics.
The comms came alive: “Target destroyed, Rhino-actual! Good kill!”

Kulkarni was lost in other thoughts, however. He eyes were away from his commander’s sights and focused intently on the paper map unfolded in front of him. The scribbled marker comments and highlighted routes visible in the dim interior lights of the turret. He compared the ABAMS moving map grid coordinates and followed it through on his paper map, traversing the route they had taken so far.

Islamgarh road from the breach point till here…
Now coming up…Rahim Yar Khan road…

His marker followed up the road on the map. All the way to the target area circled in red from his previous briefings with Sudarshan. He jabbed the center of the circle with the marker and then folded the map around the square they were in now and stuffed it to the side of the his seat. He then pulled himself up and saw through the optics, rotating a full azimuth.

His tanks were staggered in a wide area on either side of the Islamgarh road, visible as stoic dark manmade silhouettes against the flickering green-lit horizon as displayed through his night-optics. Their turrets moved deliberately and menacingly. To the east, behind them, he could see columns of vehicles making their way to and fro on the road. These were the engineer vehicles from the Trishul taskforce assigned to support Rhino. They were bringing up supplies and evacuating the wounded from Kulkarni’s tanks. The skies above were a sickening shade of green with a smattering of white stars and drifting black and white smoke clouds.

As he shifted the sights to the west, the view changed. Now he could see the columns of smoke rising high into the greenish sky. Flashes of white flickered in and out of existence as the air force pounded some Pakistani column or the other as they made their way east to fight Kulkarni’s tanks. They way Kulkarni saw it, the more the air force destroyed of these columns, the less there would be for him to fight through to his ultimate target: the N5 highway. A critical lifeline of the Pakistanis. If not physically, then symbolically and certainly psychologically…

“Rhino-actual, this is steel-central. Over.” The radio chimed in his ears.
“Rhino-actual reading you five-by-five. Over.”
“Rhino, what is your status? Over.” Kulkarni recognized Sudarshan’s voice straight away. His demeanor stiffened instinctively, even though his commander was still near the breach point somewhere to the east, far out of view.
“We are refocusing the columns at waypoint ‘purple’. Preparing to move once Trishul catches up. Over.”

“I see that, Rhino-actual! I have you on visual!” Kulkarni cocked an eye up and then realized the turret was buttoned up. He smiled at his own instincts. Sudarshan had his unmanned drones up there somewhere… “
“If I can see you, the enemy can too.” Sudarshan continued. “They have drones up here. Count on it. And our anti-air boys haven’t delivered on clearing the skies as they were supposed to do. I don’t want our tanks sitting in the open if the enemy starts lobbing cruise missiles or laser guided munitions. Refocus your fighting elements ASAP and push on! You get that?”
“Roger. Rhino-actual copies all! Proceeding with all due haste in five!” Kulkarni said and the radio chimed off and got replaced with static.

Okay…time to get to it then.

Kulkarni peered through his sights again. The town of Rahim Yar Khan was visible on the horizon. All dark except for a few lights here and there. The enemy hadn’t managed to enforce light discipline amongst the civilians here. Perhaps the chaos and rapidity of Kukarni’s tanks had preempted any rapid defensive measures by the Pakistani defenders? Perhaps. The main issue now, though, was what to do with this town?

It was a question that had plagued planners in army headquarters ever since the Arjun forces had been earmarked for the desert battle. Assuming they got to the outskirts of the critical town, then what? The assumption had always been that the battles here would be one of attrition, designed to bleed the Pakistani army white before advancing to the highway and cutting it off. Either the war would be over by then, or the capture of the town would become insignificant once nuclear weapons were deployed. Nobody had anticipated the tank forces reaching the town before any of those two larger events came into play…

Taking the town by force would require the kind of infantry support that was not available this deep inside enemy territory. Same for the artillery. What artillery was available was the precision kind, designed to strike enemy military targets and command centers. But to level each house and building in order to take this town would require immense blunt force firepower delivered by gun batteries. Of the kind that weren’t available to the Indian forces in general.

By comparison, the battle for Lahore was being supported by massive commitments of infantry units mainly because of the relatively good road networks in the farmland areas of Punjab and the proximity of the combat zone from pre-established Indian army infrastructure. Out here in the desert and on the wrong side of the border, there was nothing. Nothing at all except what Sudarshan and Kulkarni had brought along with them. It was at times like this that Kulkarni lamented the lack of self-propelled artillery guns in the armored forces. While even the Pakistanis had these, the Indian forces did not.

The only option left was for Kulkarni to bypass the town along its perimeter, leaving a screening force along their flanks and dash to the highway west of the town. Kulkarni had decided to do that from the south. Rhino-one and –two taskforces had suffered heavy casualties in the day’s fighting. Enough to force Kulkarni to roll them into a single entity under his command as Rhino-alpha. Rhino-three and –four had also been coalesced into a single force and were now tagged as Rhino-bravo. The farther they went into Pakistani territory, the thinner the Rhino columns became…

How long before we are rendered ineffective for further advance? Kulkarni thought as swiveled the screens around him and shifted in his seat.

“Driver, take the road in to the junction in front of us and take the left axis on to Rahim Yar Khan road.” He said calmly into his tank’s comms.
“Roger. I see it.”

Kulkarni looked around and saw the grime, soot and sweat-covered faces of his crew. Exhausted after twenty-four hours of no sleep. Scared to their very bones at hearing the screeching enemy tank rounds ricocheting off the turret. Tired of seeing their colleagues die one or few at a time. Tired of this country and this war…

But they had done well so far, Kulkarni knew. The Pakistani 1ST Armored Division had been severely mauled. It’s main combat element of modern tanks had been destroyed in the sands east of where Rhino was now. The forces being thrust into battle now were, at best, second-line tanks. And the Pakistanis knew better than to throw them into battle head on with the Arjun tank forces out here. No. The Pakistani commanders were playing defensive now. They were digging in their forces inside Rahim Yar Khan and were determined to hold the town.

“Rhino-actual to all elements,” Kulkarni said into his speaker, “we are moving on to waypoint ‘red’. Rhino-bravo, take the flank. Rhino-alpha is leading the charge to ‘red’. Expect heavy resistance. Kill any Pakistani foolish enough to try and get in your way! Civilians or otherwise. You all heard what the so-called jihadists did to our tank forces near Lahore yesterday. Expect the same here! Do not allow any Pakistani to come close to your vehicles. Kill anyone who does! Rhino will not be prevented from accomplishing our objective! Out!”

Kulkarni changed comms: “Driver, push on!”

As the tank rumbled to life and jerked forward, Kulkarni collected his thoughts. He was only too aware of the kind of war the Pakistanis were waging east of Lahore. The jihadists were leading the charge against Indian forces now. It didn’t take much for Kulkarni to anticipate the same sort of battle for Rahim Yar khan. As his tanks rolled up and on to the tar of the Rahim Yar Khan road, the battle for Islamgarh road was officially over.

The battle for Rahim Yar Khan was just beginning
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 23 Dec 2014 10:08, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 23 Dec 2014 09:55


DAY 2 + 0345 HRS

“Sir, wake up!” Major Akram shook Haider as he slept in his sleeping bag on top of a bed owned by the family that once stayed here. Haider mumbled something and turned around, his eyes barely adjusting to the pitch darkness around him.
“What is it?” He said finally as rubbed his eyes and tried to read the watch on his wrist. Removing the headphones he had confiscated from the kid’s bedroom in this house to help him sleep, the muffled thunder and rumbling instantly magnified many times, leading Haider to wince.

Akram kneeled beside his General, realizing the man was still groggy from sleep deprivation. They all were, but for the old man, it was worse.
“Sir, a convoy from Sargodha has just made it into the city from the west. They have something that you need to see right now!”

Akram’s tone struck Haider. He had known the Major a long time and this tone was reserved for only the most grim of situations. Haider instantly rotated himself off the bed and tried to read his watch. A series of flashes from some artillery strike to the east of the city provided just the illumination he needed for a second.

“It’s just three fifty!” Haider let out an expletive and sighed before looking up at Akram: “All right, Major. Let’s go.”

The two men walked out of the bedroom of the apartment that now served as a rest area for Haider’s command staff and tiptoed around the various sleeping bags sprawled around the place. It never ceased to amaze Haider how his men could think of sleep, let alone actually do it, with all that was happening around them in this nearly besieged city. But when faced with sleep deprivation and exhaustion, even the most scared of individuals can sleep in the midst of chaos. And it was true here as well.

One floor below, the radios were alive with chatter as men rushed back and forth. The signs of exhaustion and fear written on their faces as the battles to the east invariably brought bad news. Here one unit was decimated. There some units were overrun. Another position lost to a laser guided bomb dropped from the skies above. And so on. The question written on everyone’s faces, Haider saw, was: how long before it was all over and the city was lost?

Haider wasn’t as worried, however. He had done the numbers and the bottom line was that there were more jihadists inside Lahore right now than the Indian forces could possibly kill off. For every building and position, they were encountering furious resistance. And while he agreed that the lack of formal military training in the cadres of the mujahedeen ensured that the losses in manpower were colossal, the general effect it had on the Indian forces was worse. The momentum of the Indian army was being drained by the battles against the jihadists. The regular Pakistani troops were doing what they could and providing flanking security, logistics and indirect fire support, but the main resistance force under Haider’s command were the holy warriors willing to strap explosives around their waist and run into an Indian tank or vehicle. The latter were being forced to level each building in order to advance further. And so they were making slow progress into defeating the city.

Haider had to concede that eventually the city would collapse under the massive pressure. That no matter what, once the flanking Indian columns now north and south of the city met up west of it, they would choke off all logistics to the city. And then the battle would be lost. He hoped that the war would be over by then. After all, how long could India resist the international pressure to declare a ceasefire?

Haider followed Akram out of the apartment and into the cold winds raging through the streets, carrying the smell of blood and spent ammunition and fuel. He spat out the taste in his mouth and then followed Akram towards a group of soldiers standing by their parked trucks, half a block away. Haider saw some M-113 armored personnel carriers and some jeeps and a large group of soldiers gathering their weapons and equipment as they disembarked. Moonlight reflected off the shiny metal of the vehicles in the otherwise dark and dreary street. One of the officers conferring in a group saw Akram and Haider approaching and saluted in a group. Haider returned the salute and then cocked an eyebrow to Akram, who took the cue:

“Sir, these are the reinforcements from the 6TH Armored Division at Gujranwala. They were sent here to bolster our defenses on orders from army command.”
Haider was surprised at that. He looked at the new faces and then back to Akram: “You woke me up for this?”

“No, sir,” Akram replied in the same tone as before. “It’s what these men have brought with them that I woke you up. Come with me.” He walked past the assembled men to the special trucks parked farther down the convoy. Haider followed him, in turn being followed by the new officers. Haider saw the several trucks marked with the international ambulance sign on their sides and top. But the large number of well-equipped soldiers standing nearby pointed to something much more strange than ambulances.

Akram got up into the back of the second of three “ambulances” and folded the flap over the top. Inside were specially marked containers that Haider knew only too well. In fact, he had handed exactly one like this to Muzammil and his men three weeks ago…

“What the hell is this? What is going on here?” Haider turned to the assembled officers, all of whom were shaken by the thunderous outbreak of the General in front of them. Haider continued: “Who is in charge of this convoy? And where did you get these warheads?”

One of the young Captains in the group gathered the strength to speak: “That would be Brigadier Rashid Minhas, sir. He was attached to our convoy along with these vehicles on our way in by headquarters, 6TH Armored.”
“And where the hell is the Brigadier?” Haider thundered back.

“He’s dead.” Akram said flatly as he jumped from the bed of the truck on to the tar road. “Killed in an airstrike on the convoy thirty kilometers north of the city. This,” he waved at the trucks and the convoy, “is all that made it. Apparently Rawalpindi thought this convoy protected enough to send this ‘cargo’ embedded within it, but the situation for our logistics has gotten much worse in the last few hours. It is hard to get anything into the city without it being mauled by the enemy airstrikes.”

Haider sighed as he calmed down and considered the situation. He removed his helmet and ran his hand through the white hair as he thought this over. A minute later he recovered from his thought state:

“Akram,” he said, putting on the helmet once again, “Get this cargo away from these trucks and this open road as soon as possible. There is no telling when we might get hit again. And for god’s sake disperse those armored vehicles to our command perimeter. Don’t send them into the fight to the eastern front. We may need them intact soon enough. I am going to make some calls. Understood?”

Akram nodded and waved to the other officers nearby who sprang to life. As vehicle engines rumbled to life, Haider fixed his helmet chin strap and walked back forcefully towards his command center. Once inside, he walked up to Captain Saadat sitting by the comms stations, monitoring the traffic:
“Get me General Hussain in Rawalpindi. Now!”

Saadat turned around in surprise and then picked up his radio comms. As he went through the motions, Haider considered his thoughts. The front and foremost on his mind was what Hussein was thinking? Minhas was Hussein’s right-hand man. At least he had been, Haider corrected himself. If Minhas was involved, it meant Hussein was involved. Considering the cargo at hand, it wasn’t that acute a deduction, of course. But why now? Yes, the war was going bad for the Pak army. Yes, the situation out here was dire. But that bad? Had they run out of options?

“General Hussein’s headquarters on the line, sir.” Saadat said as he handed the speaker to Haider.

“What are you doing?” Haider said bluntly as he waved Saadat and the others from the room.
“What am I doing? I am trying to win the war. I take it that Minhas has filled you in?” Hussein replied.
“Minhas is dead.” Haider said flatly. “Died in an airstrike while fighting his way into the city.” There was no sympathy in Haider’s voice. “So I guess we will never know what he had to say. So you might as well fill me in.”

“I rather not,” Hussein replied after several seconds of consideration. “At least not over these comms. Minhas was supposed to fill you in on the plan. I take it that at least some of his cargo arrived intact else you wouldn’t have been calling me right now?”
Haider took a deep breath. “It did. What the hell do you want me to do with it? We are holding this city. Send me more men and supplies instead!”
“The city is lost and you know it.” Hussein replied fatalistically. “If not today or tomorrow, then the day after.”

“And I disagree.” Haider countered. “I can hold this city.”
“You don’t get it. It’s not about whether we hold this city or not. It’s about what the Indians will do to the city when they realize they cannot take it. And then what we will do to them in return. Are you following what I am saying? If we use first, we are all dead.”

We already used the nukes first. Or have you forgotten Mumbai…Haider wanted to reply, but checked his words. He knew what the words meant and if this conversation ever leaked to the outside world, the outrage would be uncontrollable. The world community would just stand back and let the Indians turn this country into a radioactive wasteland. No. The Indians had to be seen to be the ones who used the first nuclear warheads in the war. Mumbai would remain a terrorist strike in the eyes of the world. And if the Indians attacked Lahore first with nuclear warheads, then Pakistan would have to respond. With all available force as well. The losses being incurred by the Indian forces would be enough reason for New Delhi to resort to nuclear weapons.

What was it about believing a lie when it was shouted enough times? Haider shook his head as he understood finally what Hussein was saying. And resistance to it was futile. The decision had already been made at Rawalpindi. That he had been forced into the sidelines by his own inner circle was a question that still simmered in his mind, but it would have to wait. His next questions were more practical:

“Five hours.” Hussein replied after a couple seconds. “Indian tanks have reached the outskirts or Rahim Yar Khan and are poised to advance towards the N5. We are attempting to hold them at bay. If we do sap their strength, you will receive orders to back down from me personally.”

“And if not?” Haider said as he sat down.
“Then do what you must for this nation, my friend. Remember Allah’s promise to his holy warriors after they reach the heavens!”
“Spare that for the mujahedeen!” Haider cut in forcefully, and the checked his words: “But I will do what I must. Out.”

As he placed the speaker back on its holder, Haider remained lost in thought. He checked his watch. Five hours. That would be just after sunrise on this winter morning. He walked outside the room and nodded to Saadat and Akram, who had arrived back. As the comms people rushed back into the room to take up their stations once again, Akram and Haider stood with crossed arms in front of their General.

“Well, sir?” Akram asked. Saadat still had no idea what the issue was about. Haider rubbed his hands on his stubble of a beard and then shook his head. This was unbelievable even to him. He then motioned to both officers and walked past them out of the busy command center.

Akram and Saadat looked at each other and then followed the General out.
Last edited by vivek_ahuja on 23 Dec 2014 10:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Yagnasri » 23 Dec 2014 09:58

J&K and JH results and we have VA back with Posts. Great.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby raj.devan » 23 Dec 2014 11:33

vila wrote:Vivek Sir somehow Phenix is not as gripping as Chimera :( . Sorry my personal opinion only.

Actually I find the content in Fenix far more engrossing than in Chimera. In Chimera, the enemy's point of view was limited to that of the PLAAF's top brass. In Fenix, there is much more 'boots-on-the-ground' perspective from the Pakistani side. This, in itself, gives the whole scenario a lot of real realism and depth.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby hpatel » 23 Dec 2014 19:09

Great to have you back Vivek.
Looking forward to Fenix in print.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Mukesh.Kumar » 23 Dec 2014 19:48

Now that's a Christmas present to warm up the cockles on long winter evenings.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 25 Dec 2014 08:49


DAY 2 + 0510 HRS

The phone rang on the bedside table several times before Wencang got it. He shuffled across the quilts and switched on the lights in the room before picking the phone up:
“Yes?” He cleared his throat and went for the glass of water nearby. “General Chen on the line for you, sir. He says it is extremely urgent.”
“Put him through.” Wencang drank the water as the secure comms encryption made noises as it switched connections to the operations center at the CMC. A few seconds later Chen’s voice came online over the background noise of a military operations command center.

“You need to get up here right away! I am sending a car to pick you up!”
“Pakistan?” Wencang said as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.
“Yes.” Chen replied.
“What the hell are they up to now?” Wencang said as the doors to his bedroom opened and his orderlies walked in with his uniform and some energy medicines.
“I would rather not say over the phone. How soon can you get here?”

Wencang looked at his watch and then at the pressed uniform laid out on his bed and then sighed. “I will be there in twenty minutes. Give me summary.”
“Very well.” Chen replied. “We just got a message from General Hussein via the Pakistani military attaché here asking us to get our people out of Gwadar and other places in Pakistan. Those that haven’t let already, that is.”

Wencang jerked wide awake at that. The message meant only one thing.

“I will be there in ten minutes. Increase readiness for all our combat forces! Warn the air force and naval commands that a forced evacuation through the Indian blockades for our citizens may be required. I want plans and options by the time I get there.”

“Yes sir. I have the command staff coming up with our options already. Twenty minutes?” Chen asked.
“Is it doable, Chen?” Wencang asked after a few seconds.
“In the midst of a shooting war in another country and on such short notice? I don’t think so.” Chen replied with anger. “This warning is not meant to be real and Hussein knows it. He just wants to cover his ass and to be able to say that he did what he could to help us! That son of a bitch!”

“Indeed,” Wencang added grimly. “They are certainly in a desperate situation, aren’t they? He knows that if he gave us enough warning, we would act on it and the Indians would see it exactly for what it was and prepare themselves against what’s coming. This way, there will be no warning whatsoever. The real question is whether we should play along and risk what military people we have in Pakistan right now or try and get them out and convert the whole thing into a shambles and inadvertently provide our enemies with the warning they need.”

“A difficult choice.” Chen added.

“Is it really, my friend?” Wencang replied. “Is it really a hard choice? If the net result of our inaction is the unleashing of full-scale nuclear war against our enemies, isn’t the price of lives of our men in Pakistan worth it? This is what they signed up for, after all! We all signed up for this. Considering the lives lost in the great war three years ago, what’s a few more if it helps finish the job?”

Chen remained silent on that. It was not his call. His concerns for his people, he kept in check.

“Do what we can.” Wencang said finally. “Get the word out to our men to get as far away from potential target zones without raising a warning either for the Indians or for their Pakistani liaisons. We don’t know far Hussein has spread his plans yet even within his own commanders. As for our own forces, increase readiness but otherwise do nothing to raise an alarm for the Indians. We will see how this plays out and determine the best time for us to step in and finish the job.”

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 25 Dec 2014 08:53


DAY 2 + 0545 HRS

A TOW missile slammed into the engine compartment of the Arjun tank and ripped it apart, tossing pieces of engine and track treads in all directions as the massive hulk of the vehicle caught fire and shuddered to a halt. Fifty meters behind, Kulkarni’s tank also shuddered to a halt.

Oh shit!” Kulkarni let out the expletives just as the chaotic comms chatter lit up all across the board.
“Where did that come from?” His gunner screamed as flames leapt out of the burning tank’s hatches.
The radio squawked: “Rhino-two-five is gone! Oh my god!”

Then another thundering crash rippled through the tank from the rear and Kulkarni turned around to see another tank towards his rear emitting smoke and flames as its crew leapt to safety out of open hatches. It was happening too fast to process. But his brain finally caught up…

“We are under attack from enemy helicopter gunships! Deploy smoke cover now, now, now!!”

“Roger that!!” Hid gunner replied just as a tube of sparks and streaking tracers reached horizontally across from his south as the Tunguska anti-air vehicles from the Trishul taskforce went into action. The initial gunfire from these vehicles was supposed to be a distraction for the Pakistani Cobra attack helicopter pilots; to get them to evade and thus lose track of their additional missiles. As the gunfire bursts of tracers went their way, one of the Tunguska vehicles ripple fired three of its anti-air missiles from the turret-side tubes. The missiles arced across the early morning sky and accelerated towards the west…

Kulkarni didn’t get to see where they went, however, because his optics were instantly obscured by the aerosol smoke clouds. His optics disabled temporarily, he pulled up the ABAMS screen and saw that three Arjun tanks were no longer registering their onboard ABAMS handshake protocols.
“Goddamn it!” Kulkarni muttered in frustration.

The driver and his tanks were reversing the vehicles through the smoke. Through it all, he could hear the rumble of distant explosions…as well as nearer ones. With no vehicle-to-vehicle connection between Rhino and Trishul, there was not much he could do to see how the latter anti-air forces were doing against the enemy Cobra crews. He pulled himself back to his optics and saw only the things very close to his vehicle as the manmade fog cleared. And then he heard the radio:

“Breaker, breaker. Trishul-actual to Rhino-actual: skies are clear. Out.”
“Rhino-actual copies all.” Kulkarni added over the sounds of his own heart trying to punch its way out of his chest. And then to his driver: “Stop reverse. Bring us out of this smoke.”

The vehicle jerked to a stop and then rumbled forward again. Within a few seconds they were out of the smoke and rumbling past the viciously burning Arjun tank that had been in front of them. Kulkarni saw through his optics the burning remains of that tank crew as they had attempted to leave their burning vehicle from the top hatches.

It could have so easily been us…a voice in his head said to him. He noticed his hands shaking. The turret swiveled to the side.
“Looks like we aren’t the only ones who took losses,” his gunner replied.

Kulkarni swiveled his sights to see a burning Tunguska vehicle to the south as some supply trucks from Trishul drove past it. Another Tunguska had already taken over and was now keeping pace with the Rhino tanks. The only solace for Kulkarni were the two smoke columns to the west on the horizon which could only be downed enemy helicopters.

“Be mindful of the enemy,” Kulkarni ordered. “We are the lead tank now.” He received a nod from his gunner.

As Kulkarni wondered how weak his voice might have sounded to his crew, he realized he had to grip the handles for his sights tighter to prevent them from shaking? What was this? This wasn’t his first time in combat. Hell, it wasn’t even his first war! So what was this? War weariness? Whatever it was, he concluded, he couldn’t let it take control of his body. Not right now. His men looked to him for stability in the midst of all this madness and chaos. He could not let them down. He could not let himself down, either.

“Rhino-actual, this is Rhino-bravo-leader,” the radio came alive. “We are encountering increasing civilians evacuating from the town towards the highway. Indications exist that the highway may be clogged with traffic as well. Suggest you proceed accordingly, over.”
Kulkarni nodded. “Agreed, Rhino-bravo. Stay the fu@k away from the civilians and shoot to kill anyone, and I mean anyone, who comes close to your tanks. We will do the same. Out.” The link chimed off.

“You heard what I said?” Kulkarni asked his gunner.
“I did, sir. Shoot first, shoot to kill. Ask questions later.”
“Good.” Kulkarni then switched comms to the driver: “we should have sight of the highway soon enough. There will be massed civilian traffic out there. Proceed with caution and watch for mines.”

Kulkarni then went back to his sights. The sky was just slightly pink and red to the east now. The second day of the ground war was now starting in earnest. To the west the skies were still greyish-black. Night optics were of no use under such “twilight” conditions. Just enough light to ruin night optics and not enough light to see anything with the naked eye. Wonderful conditions for a…

The streak of tracers from the bunch of houses on the south-western edge of Rahim Yar Khan reached out and over his turret. Several of them slammed into the turret armor with metallic snags and clangs. Kulkarni opened unit-wide comms even as his gunner swiveled the turret to bring the main gun to bear on those houses…

“Rhino-actual is taking fire from the cluster of houses on the south-west edge of town. Trace back the tracers for target identification! Follow Rhino-one tracers if required. Engage and destroy!”

The turret shook violently as the main gun recoiled and the spent sabot round left the barrel and slammed into the sidewalls of the cement buildings from where the enemy fire was emanating. The sabot round is designed for tank combat. Against a cement and sand structure, it just passed through without much damage. It did leave gaping hole in one of the walls on the second floor of the building.

The gunner now loaded the explosive rounds more suited for urban combat and the second round caused the entire second floor to erupt in a cloud of smoke and cement dust.
“Target building destroyed!” The gunner exclaimed happily.
“Good kill!” Kulkarni replied, confirming the destruction through his own optics.
“Why are the Pakistanis engaging us with light guns?” The driver asked from his front compartment. “What did they expect was going to happen?”

“These are the amateur jihadists, probably.” Kulkarni replied. He had made a similar observation when the gunfire had started. “Or a rear-echelon unit caught unawares. Expect more asymmetric warfare from the enemy from now on. They will try and fight us like the way the Taliban did against the Americans in Afghanistan. Mines and suicide attacks coupled with the regular army forces like those helicopter crews we encountered. They won’t try and meet us in battle like they did yesterday!”

“Certainly not after what we did to them!” The gunner added arrogantly.
The sound of tank fire to their rear abruptly ended the conversation.

“I spoke too soon!” The gunner replied and began searching for targets once again. Kulkarni brought his optics to their rear and saw friendly tanks firing main gun rounds against enemy infantry forces within the civilian buildings inside Rahim Yar khan…

“Rhibo-bravo is engaged in combat,” Kulkarni added for the benefit of his crew, who couldn’t see what he was seeing.

As he watched, over a dozen Arjun tanks engaged a cluster of buildings to their north, inside Rahim Yar Khan. An entire line of buildings disappeared in balls of fire, smoke and dust. A few of the buildings collapsed. Mortar fire erupted around the slowly moving Arjun tanks, but could not possibly do any damage except perhaps to their treads and mobility. The tanks of Rhino-bravo were moving east to west along the road and were flanking Kulkarni’s tanks. So they moved sideways as their turrets were swiveled at ninety degrees to the right to engage their northern targets. The tanks were following up main gun rounds with the rattle of co-ax machinegun barrages, oblivious to the light caliber mortar explosions erupting around them.

The indirect enemy mortar fire worried Kulkarni, though. Time to call in a favor from Sudarshan:
“Rhino-actual to Steel-central. We are encountering enemy indirect mortar fire from within Rahim Yar Khan. Requesting counter-battery support for Rhino-bravo and Trishul, over.”
“We see it, Rhino. Working on it. Steel-central out.”

For Kulkarni, this was like a roadside view of the battle his tanks were involved in. He could do little than to watch from the side as it played out and trust the training and caliber of his men to ensure they came out okay. He almost missed a heartbeat when an enemy tank round slashed from between some buildings and just barely missed the front of an Arjun tank rolling sideways to the threat. The latter Arjun crew got into action and brought their front armor to face towards the yet unseen threat just as a Pakistani T-80 tank rumbled between the narrow buildings to the north. Both it and the Arjun tank fired at each other simultaneously and the two tank rounds hit their targets. On the Arjun side, the enemy round hit square bang into the center of the Kanchan composite armor plating on the turret and the Arjun literally shuddered backwards under the impact behind a cloud of sparks and minor debris. The T-80 received a round straight into its reactive armor panels and the latter exploded on the side, jerking the tank turret slightly to the side.

The T-80 was disabled. Its crew scampered out of the turret just as smoke began appearing out of the open hatches. The Arjun tank on the other side of the road, however, shrugged off the hit and despite a nasty scar on its turret armor panels, rumbled back on the road as though to prove a point. A second tank round from it passed straight through the destroyed reactive panels on the T-80 and demolished the tank in a fountain of sparks and smoke.

There were other T-80s in the town. Hiding. And Rhino-bravo tanks all maneuvered to now bring their main frontal armor to bear on the besieged city.
This was no longer a minor skirmish but a major battle.

And Kulkarni knew that there was no way he was sending his tanks inside Rahim Yar Khan to engage the enemy tanks in a cat and mouse game in the narrow roads and alleys. No. The enemy had to be hunted on terms in which he could not respond. Kulkarni thought about talking to Sudarshan about it. But he noticed that the latter had already come to the same conclusion when the first air-force AH-64 Apache gunship helicopters streaked over the Rhino tanks from their rear…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby Khalsa » 25 Dec 2014 09:31

vivek_ahuja wrote:Apologies, gentlemen. But I have been on a binge-writing and organizing spree for Fenix to get it out the door for publication by mid-January 2015.

The plan right now is for Fenix to go the Chimera route for a publication by end of January.

So expect a flurry of posts between now and mid-Jan for Fenix as I take the scenario through its third and final act. 8)

P.S.: Don't forget to buy a copy when it comes out! :oops:


Let me know when its available... can't wait to get my fingers on it.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby nevin » 25 Dec 2014 13:17

wow, gripping narration and terrific build up .. can't wait for the next post

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 26 Dec 2014 13:28


DAY 2 + 0758 HRS

“What am I about to do?”

Haider had asked himself the same question for the last two hours. He asked it again, muttering it to himself as he rubbed his hands on his face. And still he had no clear answer. He sighed and then looked to the side of the table to see some picture frames on the floor. He pushed his chair back and then picked up one of the frames, blowing the dust off its face. It was the picture of a young child who had once stayed here in this apartment…

Where are you now? A voice in his head asked him. Did you make it out of here in time? You probably did. Inshallah.
The picture of the boy seemed to speak to him as though the boy himself was standing in the room. Perhaps a manifestation of his conscience? Haider didn’t care much if it were. He looked at the boy as though he were real.

Forgive me for what I must do to your house and that of so many others in this great city of ours. Perhaps Allah will understand that we did it for the safety of your generation against the Hindu threat to our way of life. Perhaps he will have mercy on those of us who shoulder this grave responsibility.

He put the picture frame back on a shelf on the wall where it had presumably fallen off from and adjusted it so that it looked as it should have. The boy reminded Haider of his own kids. They and his wife were on a truck convoy heading to Afghanistan via Peshawar along with other families of senior Pak army commanders who knew what was about to happen in the next few hours.

Will I see them again? Haider asked himself. Do I deserve to after what I am about to do to so many other families? Both Sunni and infidel ones? Will Allah really be merciful to us?
I doubt it.

His face frowned and his eyes narrowed. He turned and picked up his sidearm and helmet stacked on the table he had been using and stormed out of the room. The chaotic noise of the war and his operations center enveloped him. The serene thoughts were now gone. It was time to get the job done.

“Akram!” Haider shouted over the ambient noise and waved the Major over from where the latter was, conferring over the map table with the Colonels and Lt-Colonels commanding the frontlines around the city. The latter all turned to see Haider and saluted from where they were. Haider returned the salute but did not bother walking over. These mid-level commanders had their own evacuation plans to play out. Haider’s plan was to withdraw his forces out of the city within the shortest possible timeframe, leaving only the jihadists to keep fighting blissfully until the very end. They would not be warned. The jihadists had one final role to play before they went to meet Allah. They had to hold the frontlines as they were doing now and keep fighting the Indians, providing the Pak army time to evacuate from the city in time…

“Akram,” Haider said as he took the Major’s arm and took him aside, “it is imperative that we coordinate all of our forces pulling back uniformly from the western and north-western escape routes. And the jihadists mustn’t expect a thing! If they do, they will drop their weapons and run, and the Indians will overrun our retreating columns. It will be a massacre!”

“I understand, sir.” Akram said grimly. “The battalion and brigade commanders have been notified to that effect. And the 6TH Armored units northwest of the city are notified about expected columns withdrawing from Lahore as well.”
Haider nodded agreement. “Good. What about our special cargo?”
“Captain Saadat and his men are setting it up near the field hospital. They just need the go ahead to set it up.”
“Excellent.” Haider looked at his watch: “Time to start moving. Let’s go.”

“Yes sir.” Akram said and then turned to face the room and everyone in it: “Everyone. Time for us to leave. Let’s go! Let’s go!”

As Haider watched, the room became an instant flurry of personnel and equipment. The radiomen started packing up their equipment and antennae. The battlefield computers were shut down and closed. The maps on the table were rolled and folded and swept off by the staff personnel.

Within minutes, the room was already semi-vacant. That was when Haider put the helmet on his head and snapped on the chin-strap. Akram walked over after slapping a full magazine in his M-4 rifle. Haider slipped his sidearm in his thigh holster and nodded to Akram, who led the way out of the room. Haider followed him out along with the compliment of his soldier bodyguards.

Outside, the fresh cold winter morning air was sweeping across the roads. The sky above was turning dark blue and the topmost floors of the buildings were reflecting the red-yellow sunlight from the east. In the shadow-covered street below, dozens of Pak army trucks and light vehicles rolled in a hurry, leaving dust clouds hovering in the air. Haider took all this in as he stepped out of the building.

The rumble of Indian artillery to the south reminded him that this city was nearly surrounded. Only the western and northwestern roads out of the city remained in Pakistani hands. And the 6TH Armored division to the north manned them. This would be the unit that would receive Haider’s columns as they pulled out of the town.

“Sir! This way!”
Haider turned to see Akram waving to him to follow him across the road. He looked both ways to make sure he wouldn’t be run down by an army vehicle in the chaotic traffic and then ran across, following Akram as he led them down one block away.

There they found the field hospital next to what used to be a civilian emergency care center. Parked ambulances and wounded and bloodied soldiers being loaded on them made for a poignant sight. Their screams as they were hurriedly being evacuated under Haider’s orders only served to add a macabre touch to the dreadful morning. Haider’s only solace was in the fact that they would at least live and that he wasn’t leaving them behind. It wasn’t much, but in his mind it was something.

Away from these ambulances stood the more guarded “ambulances” that Brigadier Minhas had led into town before dying. Heavily armed soldiers patrolled nearby as Haider and Akram walked up. They found Captain Saadat kneeling beside one of the nuclear devices inside one of the vehicles. He got up and saluted the two officers. Haider quickly returned the salute and pushed on:
“All set to go here?”

“Ah yes sir,” Saadat said as he stroked his beard. “The brigadier’s men have this set up and command sent us the remote detonation codes. We can detonate this via the Chinese SATCOM link. Same as the air force ones.”
Haider exhaled as he glanced over the nuclear device and then nodded, first to himself and then to Saadat: “Good job, Captain.” He then turned to Akram: “Are we ready to leave?”
“Ready when you are, sir.”

Haider jumped off the bed of the truck on to the dirt just as the rumbling of jet engines spread through the area. All of the soldiers and officers instinctively looked up. Of course they saw nothing in the dark blue skies. No contrails. No silhouettes. Nothing. But the sounds were very familiar to each and every one of them: Indian bombers.

Haider turned to say something to Akram just as the first massive explosion ripped through the air and the shockwave knocked them down behind a wall of dust…

When he woke up, Haider found himself covered with dust. The painful ringing in his ears would not stop. He saw that he was sprawled across the dirt next to an overturned ambulance as soldiers ran past, helping the wounded. He saw one soldier in front of him screaming as his legs lay crushed under the overturned ambulance. But Haider couldn’t hear the screams over the ringing in his ears. It was a surreal feeling for him. All these years of waging war against the Hindus from behind the desk and he had never imagined them fighting back like this. He had underestimated their rage. And here and now was the price for that folly…

“Sir!” He heard that noise and recognized it. Moments later Akram ran over and was kneeling beside him. “Are you all right? Sir?”

Akram helped Haider up on to a sitting position and looked around for his helmet. It had fallen a few meters away and the chin-strap was ripped. The helmet had been clearly shorn off Haider’s head by the blast wave. But a replacement would have to wait. He handed Haider the helmet, and Haider took it shakily.

“What…?” Haider said and then shook his head forcefully to clear the remnants of the headache he was feeling. “What happened? Who got hit?”

Akram helped Haider up as he spoke: “Indian bombers dropped some precision munitions from high altitude against our command center a block away. We were lucky to leave when we did!”
Haider looked at the Major as if he were crazy. He had been inside that building just a few minutes ago. He had known that it was possible that the Indians would triangulate his location based on all the comms chatter emanating from there. But he had expected that to take longer. Or perhaps he really did have nine lives?

“Major, let’s go. We have tested our luck enough for today!”

Akram nodded and motioned Haider to follow him towards the parked utility vehicles and trucks forming his convoy. They would follow the ambulances leaving this place and hope that the Indians would let the convoy leave on humanitarian grounds. Abusing the Geneva conventions was not new to Haider. In fact, he relied upon them for survival against a vastly more powerful enemy. And so it would be today.

As the convoy pulled off, they passed the street where their former command center had been. Now it was enveloped in a dust cloud and the debris of collapsed buildings filled the street entirely. Haider saw two M-113 armored personnel carriers buried in the concrete; one of them burning furiously with a rumble heard over the noise of his vehicle engines. Soldiers were still pulling their comrades out of the rubble.

Haider shook his head and thanked Allah for his luck. He had no intention of stopping the convoy to help these soldiers he saw. It was every man for himself now as they abandoned Lahore. He leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes to rest as the vehicles finally pulled clear of that street and began rolling past the few civilians that remained in the city. Haider didn’t want to see their faces. Not now.

It would only make more difficult, what was to inevitably follow by his orders…

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby jamwal » 26 Dec 2014 14:35

Excellent ! One minor query though. The command center which was bombed by PGM was some distance away (one block ~ 55-60 meters) from where Haider was standing. Are PGMs so powerful so as to overturn vehicles at this distance ?

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby shaun » 26 Dec 2014 14:41

during kargil porkies mizziles went haywire and musharaff begged uncle to save his ass, how about a faulty triggering mechanism this time! your narration is top notch! may god give you all the strength, keep writing.

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Re: Possible Indian Military Scenarios - XIII

Postby vivek_ahuja » 27 Dec 2014 12:39

jamwal wrote:The command center which was bombed by PGM was some distance away (one block ~ 55-60 meters) from where Haider was standing. Are PGMs so powerful so as to overturn vehicles at this distance ?

A 500 lb bomb has a blast radius (pressure wave effects) out to 20-30 meters or more along the ground when it encounters funneling (such as that found in an urban environment). A 1000 lb bomb will create about 12-15 meters crater and have lethal pressure wave and blast fragments out to about 100 meters or more along a clear line. Obviously, funneling will enhance the pressure wave effect and absorb the fragmentation effect.

Which is what Haider encounters above.


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