Military & Aerospace

Liberation of Bangladesh: War in Northern Sector - II
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The Pakistani troops managed to impose a holdup of more than 24 hours at every delaying position they occupied. At no time were they attacked or trapped, and they managed to get away intact each time.

Some wireless intercepts had indicated that Qadir planned to vacate both Jamalpur and Mymensingh on the night of 10/11 December. While Kler was already besieging Jamalpur, Sant was still about 11 miles north of Mymensingh. He was ordered to push forward with speed. Marching all night, he reached Mymensingh the next morning, only to find it vacated. Qadir seemed to have left in a hurry as the pursuers found cooked food in warm pots, and a large dump of ammunition and rations. 6 Bihar was now overstretched because of lack of transport and did not fetch up as a body till the last light of 11 December. The BSF companies working along Baghmara-Shyamganj also joined up about the same time. Except for an initial fight at Durgapur they did not meet opposition.

Nagra later boasted about this thrust as having duped the Pakistanis regarding its strength. According to him, Qadir felt it was a division less a brigade. He felt this impression was based on the physical presence of Sant Singh with the forward troops at two places at almost the same time while shuttling between the two columns.

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Nagra’s performance belies his boasts. The Pakistani troops managed to impose a holdup of more than 24 hours at every delaying position they occupied. At no time were they attacked or trapped, and they managed to get away intact each time.

Book_India_wars_sinceIn fact, Sant Singh, having split his battalion in two, had taken a great risk, as he was nowhere capable of tackling a delaying position of company strength had the Pakistanis decided to fight on. The Bihari columns lacked both manpower and fire support to simulate brigade strength each. Nagra was just kidding himself. In the overall context of sector operations, the progress of the main thrust at Jamalpur was jeopardising the holding of Mymensingh. Qadir feared that once Jamalpur was gone there would be no depth position in the rear to cover the withdrawal of the Mymensingh garrison. His decision to withdraw from Mymensingh was therefore based on sound military logic to take a defensive position somewhere near Tangail and not due to any threat Nagra posed.

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