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Thread: What if Nixon Succeeded

  1. #211
    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Colonel, the Pakistanis need not have looked that far. '65 war, Battle of Asal Uttar. A Pakistani armoured force, consisting of about six Armoured Brigades backed by an Inf Division, launched an attack in Punjab and took the IA by surprise (which was outnumbered by about 2:1). The IA simply broke the irrigation canals, flooded the plains, and had a field day, picking out and destroying bogged down Pakistani armour. That battle completely changed the momentum of that war; prior to which the Pakistanis seemed to have had the upper hand.

    So in EP, it is without a doubt that the Pakistanis lost the plot very early. The original IA plan actually took this into account and envisioned the invasion to be carried out over a period of one month. That the IA rolled into Dhaka in less than 14 days goes to show the speed at which the PA capitulated, due to lack of proper planning and leadership. Once the IA brushed aside the Pakistani Brigades, the terrain advantage in EP would become their disadvantage, providing they still had the will to fight.
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

  2. #212
    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    OOE, the IA conducted the entire campaign like in 10 days. IA planned for speed because they did not want to give the eastern army time to build up defenses against IA's axises of attack. IA's axises of attack were kept secret until the first couple days of war.
    The Pakistanis were already anticipating war for quite some time. They carried out a preemptive strike, Operation Chengiz Khan.
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

  3. #213
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    Oh, don't get me wrong. It was a brilliant operation no matter how you look at it. They caught the enemy unprepared and they kept the enemy unprepared. Do recall what I said that you present a picture to the enemy that they expect to see. The Pakistanis saw what they wanted to see until it was too late.

    But the Major's question was what can you do to defeat or impose an intolerable situation onto the InA. It's a sandbox exercise. The Major wanted me to be in the Pakistani shoes and show him what I would do. Mihais and I presented 3 battles that could be models for a Pakistani defence.

    Now, you see the Major rushing off to study these battles and in his mind, contigencies are already rushing through his head on how to counter ... and there are counters, there always are.

    It's a fun little exercise, nothing more. Put yourself in the Pakistani shoes and come up with a plan. After all, this is a "what if?"

  4. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    The answer to overwhelming numbers have always been terrain and from the photos, this is an engineers defensive dreams. I have to flood, not build up, which leaves narrow axis of attacks, aka kill zones.
    Sir, please don't go by the photos of flooded paddy fields in post #201.
    The war was planned for winters by Fd Marshal SAM Manekshaw, for the following reasons:-
    - Ensure no Chinese support as the passes would be blocked with snow.
    - The argo harvest would have taken place in India's bread basket - Punjab, and troops would not have to worry about destroying standing crops.
    - The ground in East Pakistan would be firm enough for using armour and cross country advance. The terrain was not water bogged, and the only obstacles were the rivers. To maintain momentum PT-76 amphibious tanks were used to cross them and launch attacks on enemy defended positions. East Pakistan was not tank country hence armour deployment was not much.

    Actual images of the ground conditions during the war:-





    Below: Navarang in Bangladesh during war on December 12, 1971.

    Cheers!...on the rocks!!

  5. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    The Pakistanis were already anticipating war for quite some time. They carried out a preemptive strike, Operation Chengiz Khan.
    Yes still they did not know the IA's plan of attacking axises. IA took PA attacks into contigency and made sure that the PA attacks would not derail their planned attacks.

  6. #216
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Nobody KNOWS nothing before,during and a bit of time after a war.Multiple COA's need to be planned.
    The ground being dry during the invasion doesn't fundamentally alter the situation.the IA still has to conduct numerous river crossings,the PA can still conduct delaying ops along secondary axis and concentrate against a selected target.Indian HUMINT superiority can be turned with some skill to work in the PA's favor. With a well crafted disinformation plan,put into action at the moment of the decisive maneuver.
    Here's an idea.You take a real platoon,you create mockup btn and march this force with much beating of drums and severe ''security measures''. You count on many of these units and you also plan the particular peculiarity of the subcontinent to create RUMINT.
    An adaptation of the use of decoys by Rommel in Africa
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  7. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    Yes still they did not know the IA's plan of attacking axises. IA took PA attacks into contigency and made sure that the PA attacks would not derail their planned attacks.
    Hitesh, the Major gave you a thought exercise. Here's a challenge. You're the Pakistani General, you've just figured out the Indian attack (generally, not specifics) within 10 days of the attack. What do you do?

    There is so much fun you can have with this. Go at it. If it makes you feel any better. You're the Venusian General and you've just figured out the Martian plan of attack, what do you do?

  8. #218
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    OK given the terrain and the weather at the time which meant dry conditions and fair weather, and taking into account of the hostile population which means I can only rely on my own troops and being surrounded by all 3 sides and getting no support from the sea, I would create a staggered defense like Gen Zhukov did in the Battle of Kursk but on a lesser scale given the limited manpower available due to the alienation of the local populace. The goal is not to stop them but to string the IA units along giving the PA a chance for a counteroffensive strike and encirclement and cutting the IA off from its main LOC and pound the IA units with artillery.

    I am no military man but given the crisscrossing of rivers, I would use the strategy of entrapment and encirclement if feasible and pick off the supply units. Once the supplies have been cut off, the IA units become sitting ducks and become bogged down, thus dragging out the war and forcing the IA to the table. Sort like Finland scenario with USSR before WWII.

  9. #219
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    You Indian gents would know better than me but what is the Pakistani qualities of Majors, LCols, and Cols? Hitesh, your plan basically boils down to splitting the Pakistani Army into battalions and companies and giving each their own AOs. Actually somewhat ingenius. No one big battle but forcing the InA to stop and fight a lot of small battles which takes time and co-ordination ... and slows down the entire advance. You need to mass a battalion to take on a company which in turns slows down the brigade and you need the brigade to take on the battalion which in turns slows down the division.

  10. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    You Indian gents would know better than me but what is the Pakistani qualities of Majors, LCols, and Cols? Hitesh, your plan basically boils down to splitting the Pakistani Army into battalions and companies and giving each their own AOs. Actually somewhat ingenius. No one big battle but forcing the InA to stop and fight a lot of small battles which takes time and co-ordination ... and slows down the entire advance. You need to mass a battalion to take on a company which in turns slows down the brigade and you need the brigade to take on the battalion which in turns slows down the division.
    You don't need to break the entire IA corps but just the front line units and some secondary units as to create, like a for better or worse analogy, a backlog traffic jam. The front units of IA would waste valuable time trying to sort out and create a coherent line of attack and the back units of the IA would be waiting for the front units to move forward thereby stretching the war more than 14 days perhaps into a couple months which would give US and China some ample time to apply necessary pressure and give the western PA army some time and opportunity to seize some Indian land. When you said coordination and time problems for IA, it also applies to PA because some PA units would be cut off as well and they need to know how to make an orderly retreat and make the IA pay in blood for each inch given.

    I do not know about the quality of the PA lower echelon commanders but I surmise not that well just because there is no real advanced warfare school program that the PA has. PA has to send its officers overseas if they are to have any chance of becoming a higher commander. That, in itself, tells me that there is not much independence or creative thinking on the part of Majors and LCols because the lessons would not be applied at that point of their careers. Only when they go overseas for advanced warfare training do they get exposed to creative and independent thinking.

    I may be totally wrong and blowing smoke from my ass but that is my best educated guess, albeit a non-versed/non military man.

  11. #221
    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemontree View Post
    Sir, please don't go by the photos of flooded paddy fields in post #201.
    The war was planned for winters by Fd Marshal SAM Manekshaw, for the following reasons:-
    - Ensure no Chinese support as the passes would be blocked with snow.
    - The argo harvest would have taken place in India's bread basket - Punjab, and troops would not have to worry about destroying standing crops.
    - The ground in East Pakistan would be firm enough for using armour and cross country advance. The terrain was not water bogged, and the only obstacles were the rivers.
    To maintain momentum PT-76 amphibious tanks were used to cross them and launch attacks on enemy defended positions. East Pakistan was not tank country hence armour deployment was not much.

    Actual images of the ground conditions during the war:-
    LT, addressing the two bolded points;

    -In Punjab, the only "flat" month for the fields is in October. By November, winter crops such as wheat and barley are planted which are harvested around April during the 'Rabi' harvest. So December would have standing crops.

    -There are two ways to make low-lying EP water bogged; Wait for monsoons or bust open the canals and divert water from the countless rivers. The Pakistanis could have easily made EP look like those pics had they planned their defences accordingly. They didn't.
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

  12. #222
    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    You Indian gents would know better than me but what is the Pakistani qualities of Majors, LCols, and Cols?
    Sir, theoretically, since the origins of both armies are the same, you'd expect the make of men on both sides of the border to also be somewhat the same.

    That said, there may have been a cultural rift developed in the past six decades. The Pakistanis don't seem too open to acknowledging defeat. The '65 stalemate is celebrated in Pakistan as a great Pakistani victory. While post-'71, books written by their officers show that even some Pakistani commanders on the Western front were kept under the false illusion that Pak was winning the war in the East. Furthermore, Pak military circles solely blame the loss of East Pakistan on either Bhutto or on the "Bengali betrayal". If you don't admit to your failures, you won't learn from your mistakes. Now, I don't know if this same culture has plagued their military institutions, but I have doubts on the calibre of Pakistan's higher echelon, gauging by the Kargil conflict. A half baked operation where the Pakistani plan relied on having the Americans step in before the IA retaliated.. The basics of the plan were not bad, but they went in without any contingencies.
    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.

  13. #223
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    There's no reason to doubt the skill and quality of their junior and mid-level officers. There will be exceptions but that is true for all armies. Their basic officer training programs should also be similar to those of the IA due to the shared heritage, albeit with a large dose of Islamic chauvinism thrown in (which leads to statements like 1 Pakistani soldier = 10 Indians by Ayub Khan being taken seriously).
    It is the higher defense staff where things get murky. The appointments there (especially in the Army) tend to be made on the basis of a lot more than seniority and merit. A guy like Musharraf could have never climbed to the level of COAS otherwise.

  14. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tronic View Post
    LT, addressing the two bolded points;

    -In Punjab, the only "flat" month for the fields is in October. By November, winter crops such as wheat and barley are planted which are harvested around April during the 'Rabi' harvest. So December would have standing crops.
    In ordinary circumstances you are right, but in 1971, our troops were in forward locations by October-November 1971, and civilians in Punjab were already being moved to rear areas. So no new crop was sowed (in the East the war had already started by 19 November).

    -There are two ways to make low-lying EP water bogged; Wait for monsoons or bust open the canals and divert water from the countless rivers. The Pakistanis could have easily made EP look like those pics had they planned their defences accordingly. They didn't.
    (a) In Bangladesh, there were no canals to speak off, there are three main rivers Ganges, Jamuna (Bhramaputra) and Meghna and about 793 tributaries.
    (b) In December you cannot breach the rivers to floor areas - and if you can, it may or may not affect the advance of the InA.
    (c) The advance by InA was at a very high level of momentum - for example, my battalion which was the van guard for 101 Communication Zone, completed over 250 kms advance on foot from 8th Dec to 14th Dec, when they reached the out skirts of Dhaka, after fighting battles along the way. They entered East Pakistan from the north towards Jamalpur - Madhupur - Tangail - Dhaka (linked up with 2 Para on the bridge 11th Dec) and moved towards Dhaka.
    (d) They were just side stepping any strongly defended location and moving towards Dhaka.

    Having the enemy in your rear areas is very, very unnerving, this caused a big psychological collapse within the Pak Eastern Command, that is why a 24,000 strong garrison in Dhaka surrendered to a brigade (101 Communication Zone).
    Last edited by lemontree; 05 Sep 13, at 10:44.

    Cheers!...on the rocks!!

  15. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    You Indian gents would know better than me but what is the Pakistani qualities of Majors, LCols, and Cols?....
    Sir, the majority of Pakistani officers are well educated and well trained, but some where down the line they seemed to have alienated themselves from the troops - the feudal lord system - may be a reason. But a majority of their officers so not rub shoulders with their men, baring a few exceptions. This was evident in 1971 and even when I was serving on the LOC.

    Actually somewhat ingenius. No one big battle but forcing the InA to stop and fight a lot of small battles which takes time and co-ordination ... and slows down the entire advance.
    You are right sir, but that is why we (my bn and bde) avoided all the strongly defended localities and raced towards Dhaka. All minor opposition was overrun and stronge points were avoided. The enemy did not manuever out of their strong points for fear of the Mukti Bhaini.

    Cheers!...on the rocks!!

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