Battle of Burki

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Battle of Burki
Part of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Date8–11 September 1965 [1] [2]
Location
31°28′38″N74°30′45″E / 31.4771°N 74.5125°E / 31.4771; 74.5125 Coordinates: 31°28′38″N74°30′45″E / 31.4771°N 74.5125°E / 31.4771; 74.5125
Result

Indian victory [3] [4]

  • Failure of the Pakistani tank assault and counterattack towards Lahore [3] [4]
Belligerents
Flag of India.svg  India Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Commanders and leaders
Flag of India.svg Har Krishan Sibal
Flag of India.svg Anant Singh
Flag of Pakistan.svg Raja Aziz Bhatti  
Units involved
18th Cavalry Regiment
5th Gorkha Rifles
17th Punjab Regiment
Strength
1 infantry division [1]
1 armoured regiment [5]
(3 Regiments)
2 Companies of 17th Punjab Regiment
10 F-86 Sabre jets
Casualties and losses
3 tanks [3] 88–100 tanks destroyed or abandoned [3]

The Battle of Burki (Barki) was a battle fought by Indian infantry and Pakistani armour in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. [3] Barki is a village that lies south-east of Lahore near the border with Punjab, India. [6] and is connected with Lahore by the Bridge of Ichogil canal. During the fighting, the relative strengths of the two sides were fairly even and Indian infantry clashed with Pakistani forces that were entrenched in pillboxes, dug-outs and slit trenches that had been carved into the canal banks. The Pakistanis were supported with a large number of tanks, as well as fighter jets. [3] The battle resulted in an Indian victory. [3] [4]

Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 culmination of skirmishes between India and Pakistan in 1965.

The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. The conflict began following Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule. India retaliated by launching a full-scale military attack on West Pakistan. The seventeen-day war caused thousands of casualties on both sides and witnessed the largest engagement of armored vehicles and the largest tank battle since World War II. Hostilities between the two countries ended after a United Nations-mandated ceasefire was declared following diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and the United States, and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration. Much of the war was fought by the countries' land forces in Kashmir and along the border between India and Pakistan. This war saw the largest amassing of troops in Kashmir since the Partition of India in 1947, a number that was overshadowed only during the 2001–2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan. Most of the battles were fought by opposing infantry and armoured units, with substantial backing from air forces, and naval operations. Many details of this war, like those of other Indo-Pakistani Wars, remain unclear.

Barki, Pakistan Place in Punjab, Pakistan

Barki, or Burki, is a village in Lahore District of Punjab, Pakistan near Lahore. It is located near border with Punjab, India before the creation of Pakistan in 1947 it joined through Harikey Road. You have to travel about 11 kilometers from Allama Iqbal International Airport to reach village Barki. It is on the bank of Bambawali-Ravi-Bedian Canal where Major Aziz Bhatti was martyred in 1965 war between Pakistan and India. Its importance is as a central place for many border small and big villages and towns on Pakistan side. The village was also captured by the Indian forces during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965

Lahore Metropolitan area in Punjab, Pakistan

Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab. Lahore is the country's second-most populous city and is one of Pakistan's wealthiest cities, with an estimated GDP of $120 billion (PPP) as of 2017. Lahore is the largest city, and historic cultural centre of the Punjab region, and one of Pakistan's most socially liberal, progressive, and cosmopolitan cities.

Contents

Background

Pakistan launched Operation Grand Slam on 17 August 1965 in an effort to relieve infiltrators who had been surrounded after the failure of Operation Gibraltar on 15 August and to attempt to cut off the Indian supply lines. [7] With supply lines under severe stress due to Operation Grand Slam, India launched an offensive towards Lahore to open up a second front in the war and distract Pakistani attention from Kashmir. [7] After opening the Lahore front, Indian troops advanced towards Lahore along three axes— Amritsar-Lahore, Khalra-Burki-Lahore and Khem Karan-Kasur roads—overwhelming the small Pakistani force. [8]

Operation Grand Slam was a key operation of the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War. It refers to a plan drawn up by the Pakistan Army, in May 1965, to attack the vital Akhnoor Bridge in Jammu and Kashmir. The bridge was not only the lifeline of an entire infantry division in Jammu and Kashmir, but could also be used to threaten Jammu, an important logistical point for Indian forces. The operation ended in a failure for the Pakistan Army as the stated military objectives were not achieved and they subsequently were forced to retreat following a counterattack by the Indian Army.

Operation Gibraltar was the codename given to the strategy of Pakistan to infiltrate Jammu and Kashmir, and instigate the locals in starting a rebellion against Indian sovereignty.

Kashmir former princely state, now a conflict territory between India and Pakistan

Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.

Indian infantry, supported by the only Indian armoured division, quickly pushed back unprepared Pakistani defenders with the aim of encircling and possibly besieging Lahore. Due to the element of surprise, India was able to capture a large amount of Pakistani territory from the town of Khalra, an Indian border town which lies on a straight road to Lahore through Burki. [2] [3] In the meantime, the Pakistani Army mobilized the troops in the region and mounted a three-pronged counter-attack to recapture lost ground. The Battle of Burki was subsequently fought on Khalra-Burki-Lahore road. [3] [8]

Khalra Village in Punjab, India

Khalra is a village located near to the India-Pakistan border in Tarn Taran district, Punjab, India.

Pakistan's main goal was to force the Indian infantry into retreat before their armoured support and supply lines could catch up. The Pakistani Army's aim also was to capture much of the territory it had lost earlier in the fighting. [2] The Indian infantry's aim was to capture and hold the town of Burki until reinforcements, including armour and supplies, could arrive. [1] [2] [4]

Battle

India began their advance from Khalra under Major-General Har Krishan Sibal and tank operations under Lieutenant-Colonel Anant Singh with a village called Jahman being the first major Pakistani outpost to fall. [2] Pakistani troops pulled back towards the next major town, which was Burki, leaving small pockets of resistance at each village to slow down Indian advance. [9]

On 8 September, Pakistan began the counter-attack with Pakistani artillery pounding the Indian advance on 8, 9 and 10 September. [2] This constant shelling slowed down the Indian advance but was unable to stop it completely. [2] This was followed by a counterattack by Pakistani armor consisting of considerable part of Pakistan's 1st Armored Division. [1] Indian infantry eventually clashed with Pakistani tanks at Burki, which resulted in most of the Pakistani armor being mauled by 10 September. [3]

The Indian infantry were able to hold off the Pakistani armored onslaught until Indian tanks from the 18th Cavalry Regiment arrived. They were then able to subsequently launch the main assault on 10 September with armor support. As most of the Pakistani tanks had already been destroyed, the Pakistani defenders had little armored support from the remaining tanks. A few Pakistani fighter jets were called in to provide air cover for Pakistani troops and to target Indian positions. [4] However, the use of fighters against ground troops instead of bombers, and the use of mounted machine guns and ground strafing instead of bombs and missiles, meant that little was achieved through air support. [4] The limited number of jets and the easy availability of trench and defensive structures for cover added to the ineffectiveness of Pakistani air operations. As a result, after intense fighting, Indian infantry captured Burki on 11 September and held it throughout the rest of the war despite the use of defensive structures like trenches and pillboxes as well as anti-tank weapons by Pakistani defenders during the defence of Burki. [4]

Aftermath

After the capture of Burki, the Indian advance continued towards Dograi ( 31°31′42″N74°26′46″E / 31.528300°N 74.446087°E / 31.528300; 74.446087 ), a town in the immediate vicinity of Lahore. They subsequently went on to capture Dograi on 20 September, thus bringing the main city of Lahore within range of Indian tank fire. [10] However, no attempt was made to capture Lahore and the main assault on Lahore was not launched because a ceasefire was to be signed in the following couple of days and it was known that the city would have been given back to Pakistan even if it was captured. [11]

Awards

The Fighting Fifth Battalion of the Indian Army, which played an important part in capturing Burki, was later was conferred with the Battle Honour of "Burki" and Theatre Honour of "Punjab". [12]

The Pakistani commander, Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, was later awarded the Nishan-e-Haider, the highest military decoration given by Pakistan, posthumously. Each year he is honored in Pakistan on 6 September, which is also known as Defence Day.[ citation needed ]

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References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Gupta, Hari Ram (1967). India-Pakistan war, 1965, Volume 1. Hariyana Prakashan. pp. 154–157 via archive.org.
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  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Singh, Gp Capt Ranbir (2009), Memorable War Stories, Ocean Books/Prabhat Prakashan, ISBN   978-81-88322-66-4
  5. Das, Chand N. (1997), Hours of Glory: Famous battles of the Indian army, 1801-1971, Vision Books
  6. Gopal, Ram (1967), Indo-Pakistan war and peace, 1965, Pustak Kendra, p. 118
  7. 1 2 "Indo-Pakistan War of 1965". globalsecurity.org.
  8. 1 2 Johri, Sitaram (1967), The Indo-Pak Conflict of 1965, Himalaya Publications, pp. 129–130
  9. Saxena, K. C. (1966), Pakistan, Her Relation with India 1947-1966, Vir Publishing House
  10. fgdd. The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2002. ISBN   978-0-85229-787-2.
  11. Dodwell, H. H.; Mahajan, V. D. (eds.). "Political Developments since 1919 (India and Pakistan)". The Indian Empire. The Cambridge History of India. 6. S. Chand. p. 1013 via archive.org.
  12. "War memorial inaugurated". Tribune News service. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2011.