Military & Aerospace

Liberation of Bangladesh: War in Northern Sector - II
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13 Rajputana Rifles group resumed the advance at 0400 hours on 6 December along the main axis and encountered the first delaying position on the bridge north of Panchar Dhar about 1000 hours the same day. It was cleared by plastering it with air strikes, but at the cost of some 13 dead the withdrawing Pakistani force destroyed the bridge. While our engineers erected a Bailey bridge to overcome the obstacle, the advance was resumed and Panchnar was captured by last light. The bridge was ready by 0600 hours on 7 December, when the guns and the column of vehicle joined the marching troops. The pace of advance was painfully slow.

The roadblocks around the Jamalpur defended locality were by then in position, and there was an opportunity to destroy or capture the garrison so as not to fight the same troops over and over again.

On 6 December, Kler ordered 13 Rajputana Rifles to send out a company block to Kamarer Chak to entrap the withdrawing column. But the company did not move fast enough, and when it got into position at 0400 hours on 7 December the enemy had pulled out an hour before. Kler had to push the battalion personally to contact the river line by 1900 hours the same day, but it was not till about 0800 hours the next day that the battalion was in a position to dominate the line from the northern bank effectively. The battalion had taken more than 48 hours to traverse some 20 kilometres after fighting no more than one platoon action en route.

Under its energetic commanding officer, Lt Col D. S. Brar, 1 Maratha Light Infantry set off from Bakshiganj about 1300 hours on 6 December and reached the crossing over the river near Shyampur by 1700 hours. It covered 22 kilometres in six hours. Good going indeed. But the battalion had to wait for the bullock cart column till the next morning and was not able to cross the river till 1730 hours the same day. Having reorganised his battalion on the south bank, Brar planned and executed a brilliant night approach to his objective so silently that by 0200hours on 8 December it was established in its roadblock position—the Bhapki area two miles southwest of Jamalpur—completely unnoticed by the Jamalpur garrison.

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