Baptism Under Fire: Anti Aircraft Artillery in India Pakistan War 1965
The Second India Pakistan War of 1965 ended in a clear victory for India not only thwarted Pakistan’s designs of annexing Kashmir but annexed large tract of Pakistani territory and inflicted heavy damage on Pakistani War machine. If there was one aspect in which Pakistan redeemed itself, it was the role played by Pakistan Air Force- a much smaller force taking on a numerically superior IAF. Both Air Forces suffered heavy losses. IAF in terms of number and PAF in terms of higher attrition rate. What is generally ignored and overlooked is that in this war of attrition, AAA played a pivotal role. Of the 43 PAF aircraft lost during the war, 25 were to AAA against 17 shot down in air to air combat by IAF. Similarly, Indian Air Force lost 69 aircraft during the war, of these 35 were lost on ground to PAF air raids. What is of interest is that of the 34 lost in air, 15 aircraft were lost to PAF in air combat and 10 were shot down by Pak AAA. In addition, at least two IAF were lost when they crashed on the way back to base after being hit by Pak AAA ie more than one third of IAF losses were to AAA. This is the story of the unsung heroes of AAA who played a key role in the War of 1965.