After we fell back to Dharchula from Pathankot and assumed our duties, the whole of July and first week of August had passed away. Many of us continued to think over and over about the skirmish which had taken place with Pakistan. There were a few who thought that it was better to sought out matters with Pakistan for once and for all rather than getting involved in the proxy war game that Pakistan was playing with us.
May be the almighty listened to our anguish and had blessed us when in the last week of August, we received a message regarding the re-mobilization of the entire brigade once again towards Punjab, to counter the threat of growing Pakistani infiltration near ‘Akhnoor’. It appeared as if we were being refueled by the enthusiasm to fight, after hearing the news.
…the need of better transport became a hurdle since there were hardly any heavy transport vehicles available during those days. But somehow we were able to reach Ambala as per schedule.
Within couple of hours it was officially declared by our senior officers about the re-mobilization. The same events happened once again but this time instead of Pathankot the new destination was ‘Sambha’, in J&K. Since the things were moving much quickly than before, so we made Ambala our junction from where the respective battalions or brigades would move on to take up their positions.
On the way we were being re-grouped at Petrol pumps, in order to avoid any confusion, as the movement of troops was on a larger scale and was carried out much swiftly.
Once again the need of better transport became a hurdle since there were hardly any heavy transport vehicles available during those days. But somehow we were able to reach Ambala as per schedule. The 69th infantry brigade was instructed to establish their administrative and support base at Pathankot, while the three infantry battalions would move close to the international border.
The 3rd Madras battalion was ordered to move towards Sambha and secure it since there were reports of a Pakistani attack on the bridge made on river Chenab at Akhnoor. The moment we reached at Sambha we got the news of Pakistani Air raid on Pathankot in which the heavy baggage of 69th infantry brigade was lost. Listening to this every single person of the battalion was enraged because that baggage which got destroyed in the raid also contained the personal belonging of the soldiers.
For next two days our respective company commanders along with the battalion commanders held on briefings after briefings about the strategy to carry out the counter attack in Pakistani Punjab sector. I along with other officers was taken at the forward posts to recce the international border, so that at the time of assault nothing goes wrong.
By presenting articles, through www.indiandefencereview.com, related to the operations carried out by the Indian Army, on the western front during 1965 war, I intend not to question anybody’s contribution who had participated in that war. But I wish to tell to our upcoming generations about the significance of this war, which was termed as the “War of Young Officers” as well as ‘The bloodiest war fought by the Indian army ever’, not only owing to the high number of casualties inflicted on the part of the enemy but due to the quality of leadership shown by young recruits irrespective of the kind of commission which was offered to them. – Colonel Baljit Singh.