Military & Aerospace

Liberation of Bangladesh: War in Northern Sector - II
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With sunrise, fog lifted from the battleground, which was seen littered with bodies and discarded weapons. About 235 bodies, 23 wounded and 61 prisoners and assorted weapons were collected by Kler’s search parties. A wireless intercept picked up an appeal from a Pakistani officer for acceptance of surrender. At 0630 hours on 11 December Kler, accompanied by Brar, drove in triumph to accept the surrender.

A wireless intercept picked up an appeal from a Pakistani officer for acceptance of surrender. At 0630 hours on 11 December Kler, accompanied by Brar, drove in triumph to accept the surrender.

But by then the valiant Mahmood had escaped with some 200 men to fight in defence of Dacca. His second in command offered the surrender of 376 all ranks, of whom two officers, nine JCOs and 209 other ranks belonged to 31 Baluch, nine other ranks to artillery, and the remainder to paramilitary forces, including a doctor. A large booty of small arms, three 120-mm mortars, one 106-mm and three 57-mm guns with 2,500 tons of assorted ammuntion and 1,500 tons of rations fell into Indian hands. The Indian casualties were ten killed and eight wounded, all belonging to 1 Maratha Light Infantry, and 1 JCO of 13 Guards killed.

Interrogation of prisoners later revealed that Mahmood’s brigade commander had ordered him to pull out on the night of 10/11 December and occupy the rear defences near Tangail. Although Mahmood had persistently refused to withdraw, he was obliged to obey the order. He personally led the breakout attacks the same night and managed to get away with some strength to meet the advance of 95 Mountain Brigade Group at Jaydebpur defences along the Turag river. Qadir’s decision to withdraw was lucky for Kier as it saved many Indian lives. Attacking such a fortified locality as Jamalpur fortress would have proved very costly in casualties.

It was pitch dark and difficult to make out who the marching troops were. Kler however concluded that it could not be our troops marching in three columns. So he ordered the machine gun next to him to open up.

A comparison of casualties on both sides reveals the miscalculation on the part of Mahmood. He sent out jitter patrols along the Jamalpur-Tangail road around midnight of 10/11 December and asked them to fire at random, but the discipline of 1 Maratha Light Infantry was so good that this fire was not returned. Mahmood there upon deduced that the Indians had vacated these positions. He marched his troops through the roadblock defences and lined up his transport. The leading troops, marching in three columns, were allowed to go through unmolested till they got to just about 20 yards from the trench where Kler had taken position.

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