BATTLE OF BATAPUR 6 SEPTEMBER1965 -THE DEFENCE OF LAHORE

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive
By Brigadier Muhammad Ajmal (Retired)

It has been now 47 Years that on this day India crossed international border, unannounced and attacked Lahore. Credit goes to the Pakistan Army who not only repulsed the Indian attack but successfully defended Lahore. The entire nation in general and Lahorites in particular backed their Armed Forces against this naked aggression of Indians. Today when our third generation is celebrating the “ Defence of Pakistan Day,”while visiting Wahga border notices the existence of war monuments along BRBL ( Bambanwala-Ravi-Bedian Link) Canal and Grand Trunk Road and obliviously get curious about their history and background. One of these war monuments is located right in the middle of dual carriage GT Road on home side of BRBL, while driving along Lahore canal one hits the GT Road near Jallo Park and turns right towards Wahga where every evening the Flag lowering ceremony is witnessed by thousands of people from both sides of the border.

Batapur Monument on Bank of BRBL Canal

This monument was built in the memory of those 39 brave soldiers of 3 Baloch Regiment (Shwebos) of Pakistan Army who laid their lives while defending Lahore and denied Indian crossing over BRBL canal. Our young generation would like to know the details of this battle and while googling may come across different versions which distorts the true story as to what happened on 6 September 1965, who was the aggressor and in what state the Lahore Garrison was on night 5/6 September 1965. Therefore, an effort is made to pass on the true details to new generation in simple language without going into military terminologies and jargon.
Brief background. During early 1965 an indigenous uprising in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) against Indian occupation forces gained momentum. As usual Indian blamed Pakistan and in August Indian forces launched attacks against Pakistan Army posts across Cease Fire Line (CFL) and captured Hajipir Pass. Pakistan Army launched its counter offensive in Chamb Sector which threatened Indian city of Akhnoor. Indians being under pressure from Freedom Fighters and Chamb offensive in IHK, violated international border and launched an attack against Lahore as their Army Commander General J N Chaudhuri declared to hold a Barakhana ( feast for troops) in Shalimar Gardens and Grand Dinner with his officers at Gymkhana Lahore on 6 September 1965.
Indians Plan.On 9 August General J.N Chaudhuri had finalized the plan to capture Lahore as he wanted to celebrate it at Shalimar Garden and Gymkhana Club and ordered Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh who was General Officer Commanding in Charge (GOC in C)Western Command to execute this plan with his 11 Corpse to capture Lahore as under:-
15 Infantry Division. To attack Lahore across BRBL along GT Road( Amritsar- Wagha )
7 Infantry Division. To attack Lahore across BRBL along Kharla- Barki Road.
4 Mountain Division. To attack Lahore along Khem Karan – Kasur Road.
Pakistan’s Plan. Pakistan had never visualized that Indians will violate the International Border and attack Lahore without declaration of war. However, in view of intelligence reports General Headquarters (GHQ) issued warning orders to its formation at 2230 hours on 4 September to occupy battle locations at Lahore Garrison despite request by Commander 114 Brigade to move to battle location along BRBL, he was not cleared, however, on night 5/6 September 114 Brigade was allowed to move forward. The Divisional Defence Plan was as under:-
114 Brigade. To occupy defensive positions along BRBL starting from Ravi Syphon to GT Road.
103 Brigade. To occupy defensive positions along BRBL from Barki Bridge to Bedian Head works.
22 Brigade. As Divisional reserve force.
The Battle Of Batapur : On 6 September at 0400 hours by Indian Standard Time, 15 Infantry Division under World War 2 veteran Major General Nirinjan Parsad crossed international border and started advancing along GT Road towards Lahore. 15 Division was supported by 14 Scinde Horse, the tank regiment equipped with Sherman tanks. The attacking force was followed by 2 Independent Armoured Brigade Group. On Pakistan side it was 3 Baloch(Shwebos) under command of Lt Col Tajammal Hussain Malik which started for BRBL canal. It was at 0600 hours that leading marching troops of 3 Baloch(Shwebos) started reaching banks of BRBL and saw GT Road jammed by villagers evacuating towards Lahore in face of advancing troops of Indian 54 Brigade. At that time there was only a one way bridge on BRBL at Batapur which was clogged by refugees. Commanding Officer 3 Baloch(Shwebos) could see Sherman tank of 14 Scinde Horse heading for this bridge. At the same time a bullock cart loaded with fodder also crossed over the bridge. Commanding officer immediately ordered one of his recoilless rifles to get hold of the cart and release the animals and deploy their rifle to take on advancing Indian Sherman tank. In the meantime rest of the soldiers took positions in the open on home bank of BRBL and opened fire on advancing troops of 3 Jat Regiment of 54 Brigade. As the Indian Advancing Sherman tank reached the bridge, the recoilless rifle of 3 Baloch(Shwebos) which had taken position behind the bullock cart fired its first round and Indian Sherman tank went into flames, thus blocking the bridge. It is pertinent to note that Pakistan Army did not blow up this particular bridge over BRBL as it served the main GT Road and all villages up to international border used to commute on it daily. The battle for destruction of bridge by own troops and control of bridge continued till 13 September when Pioneer Platoon of 3 Baloch(Shwebos) was able to destroy it with improvised explosive devise by tying down anti tank mines and blowing them off. The scene of destruction of Indian Sherman was later painted by Ms Anna Molka, the head of Department of Arts, Punjab University.

BRBL Bridge destroyed Painting by Ms Anna Molka

Photos:- Courtesy 3 Baloch( Shwebos ) and ISPR
Role of PAF: On 6 September two fighter jets of PAF were on armed reconnaissance at first light which was 0530 hours Pakistan Standard Time. These two Jets while over Wagha saw Indian tanks advancing along Amritsar –Lahore along GT Road and immediately took them on. The Indian advancing column proved sitting ducks for those fighters, while they emptied their guns on them the Indians ran for cover leaving their tanks and vehicles with engines running. The Indian advancing Infantry met with a bloody nose as BRBL Canal proved a complete obstacle the Indian high command panicked as they could not fulfill the desire of their Army Commander to have a CHOTTA at Lahore Gymkhana in the evening.
Sacking of Maj Gen Parsad. Veteran of World War 2 got so desperate that on morning of 7 September he wanted to by- pass Batapur Bridge as brave soldiers of 3 Baloch (Shwebos) would not let him crossover and he wanted to please his Commander in Chief. Gen Parsad to explore breakthrough from Ravi Syphon/Bhini bridge side came forward himself and was ambushed by counter attacking force of 18 Baloch(3 Sindh now). He had to abandon his jeep and escaped on foot. It was not only Gen Parsad who was desperate to capture Lahore , his General officer Commanding in Chief Western Command Lt Gen Harbaksh was equally anxious. He along with Commander 11 Corpse visited Gen Parsad same day urging him to over run BRBL and open the gates of Shalimar Garden and Lahore Gymkhana for Gen Chaudhuri but Gen Parsad was so demoralized that he refused to continue operations. Gen Harbaksh in his “War Dispatches” writes, ”GOC 15 Division was drained of all will and vision……his attitude was passively negative and there was unmistakable air of the defeatist about him. He stated his inability to under take any further offensive action on the plea that his formation has lost all capability of operations.” Gen Parsad was sacked and replaced by Maj Gen Mohinder Singh. Presence of General Officer Commanding in Chief Western Command, along with Commander 11 Corpse on the front line within the range of Field Artillery shows how serious Indians were for capture of Lahore and bellies their propaganda that their aim was to capture area up to BRBL Canal only.
The New GOC and fresh reinforcements: With the change of command fresh reinforcements were sent to 3 Jat to capture Batapur Bridge and deny its destruction by 3 Baloch (Shwebos). The accurate fire by soldiers of 3 Baloch (Shwebos) did not allow Indians to reach near the bridge till 13 September when the Pioneer Platoon was able to make an Improvised Explosive Devise by making a necklace of anti tank mines under the bridge and blowing them off along with bridge and any Indian evil designs of having BARAKHANA at Shalimar Garden and Grand Dinner Party in honour of Gen J N Chaudhuri at Lahore Gymkhana.
The Ceasefire: Indians kept on banging their heads against BRBL Canal where they found every vigilant 3 Baloch Regiment (Shwebos) of Pakistan Army but every time they had to retreat leaving behind dead and wounded. In this sector 15 Division of Indian Army lost 486 soldiers whereas 39 soldiers of 3 Baloch (Shwebos) including one officer Capt Anwar Ul Haq embraced Shahdat. On 22 September the Security Council of United Nation passed a unanimous resolution for the ceasefire between both countries which came to effect at midnight 22/23 September 1965. Later, President Field Marshall Mohammad Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Lal Bhahdur Shastri signed an agreement known as Tashkent Declaration to withdraw their forces to pre August lines by 25 February 1966.

The author is a second generation officer and commanded 3 Baloch (Shwebos). His son is also serving in 3 Baloch (Shwebos).

BIBLOGRAPHY

-Memoirs of Gul Hassan- Oxford University Press- Karachi-1993
-War Dispatches Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh- Lancer International- New Delhi 1991
-The Pakistan Army War 1965 Maj Gen Shaukat Riza Army Education Press 1984
-History of Indian Armoured Corps 1940-71. Maj Gen Gurcharn Singh Sandhu- Vision Books New Delhi 1991
-Story of My Struggle- Maj Gen Tajammal Hussain Malik- Jang Publishers- Lahore-1991
-My Version- Indo Pakistan War 1965- Gen Musa- Wajid Alis- Lahore- 1983
-The Battle for Ravi- Sutlej Corridor 1965 by A H Amin 30 December 2001

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Comments

  • Dr.Anwar Haque  On September 6, 2012 at 1:32 am

    9/11 Fraud of the millennium when an Israeli Zionist evil act was falsly asctibed 2 Muslims, killed thousands through war & Heroin.

    ———-
    Sent via Nokia Email

  • Manoj Padhi  On September 6, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Yasmeen,

    I would suggest you to inform Brigadier Muhammad Ajmal to go through the following article of Bilal Farooqi.
    Per Indian History books, Pakistan was the aggressor in all the Indo-Pak wars and the latest I remember in my lifetime is Kargil war.

    Please take a look, how fairly the History books of Pakistan are presenting the Kargil war; you people may find – who is corrupting history.

    thanks
    Manoj Padhi

    My Hindu friend

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-129063-My-Hindu-friend

    Bilal Farooqi
    Thursday, August 30, 2012

    There is a distinctive pattern to how the Pakistani media handles
    developments and issues – like a womaniser holding on to a
    relationship as long as it gratifies him then ditching it and looking
    for another ‘conquest’. Our media operates in pretty much the same
    way. A recent ‘crush’ it has moved on from is the issue of Hindu
    families in Sindh migrating to India.

    There is still a fair degree of ambiguity surrounding the matter. It
    is unclear whether the families are on a pilgrimage or have left for
    good after deciding that they cannot put up with the unfair treatment
    they are receiving back home. The government sees it as yet another
    ‘grand conspiracy’ to give it a bad name, while the representatives of
    the Hindu community exemplify the crab mentality – pulling each other
    down and denting their own cause in the process.

    Whatever the truth is, one thing is for sure : being born a Hindu in
    Pakistan means the start of a despairing journey, treading a path
    laced with thorns. It is generally perceived that the trauma of being
    a Pakistani Hindu is only faced by the poor. That is not true. The
    wealthy may not be forced to leave their homes or be flogged by a
    landlord but they too have much to contend with in a society where
    only a small percentage would actually be willing to share a glass
    with them.

    My mind goes back to a mild-mannered Hindu classmate and friend, with
    whom I spent much of my school years. I still remember how he always
    stood arms crossed in the morning assembly line at school, motionless,
    his gaze continuously fixed on the ground, as the rest of us recited
    Quranic verses.

    Then there were all those countless hours he had spent head down in
    the classroom when we studied Islamiat. After the eighth grade, he was
    allowed to take a stroll outside rather than doing that, but the
    torment he suffered in the Pakistan Studies period was inescapable.
    The pile of misery poured on that poor soul, in fact all of us, was
    unbearable.

    Much of our Pakistan Studies book was a pack of lies. It was a
    malicious tool to inject young, gullible minds with hate and
    vindictiveness. It glorified Muslim marauders as heroes and portrayed
    rulers of other faiths as villains.

    I often wondered how my friend dealt with that. Studying a book which
    preached that followers of his religion were evil and despicable and
    Muslims the epitome of goodness and piety must have been tremendously
    painful for him.

    The biggest relief to my friend was that his classmates had no qualms
    about his faith, the only exception being an air force official’s
    eccentric son, who not only used to taunt him, but also once kicked
    him several times while reciting the Kalima.

    My friend and I never discussed the ordeal he was going through, but
    despite the shell of insouciance he had surrounded himself with, his
    eyes were a giveaway. That void of loneliness, the hurt of not
    belonging; sometimes his glazed look showed it all.

    He is now a doctor residing in the US and has a beautiful family. The
    bitter experiences of his childhood and adolescence days will be
    distant, but probably recurring, memories.

    Growing up in another country, my friend’s children will surely be
    spared the anguish that their father has suffered, and that must be a
    very comforting thought for him. After all that he has endured, he
    deserves a happy ending.

    The writer is a staffer at The News. Email: bilalfqi@gmail. com.
    Twitter @bilalfqi

    • Naveed Tajammal  On September 6, 2012 at 7:21 am

      Manoj
      The issue or topic is indian agression on 06 september 1965,on this sector
      i.e astride G.T.Road.When they atttacked Lahore[ via wagha sector],and their general[Chaudari] had given,a open invitation to his officers to have a chota peg in Lahore Gymkhana later in the evening.
      You may put across any question on the same topic to Brig.Ajmal and i am
      sure he will reply accordingly.

    • Naveed Tajammal  On September 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Manoj
      And who was the aggressor
      on the wagha sector in the early morning
      of 06 September 1965 ?
      Kindly do not divert from the topic.
      And quote a article which has nothing
      to do with the subject under discussion.
      regards.
      Naveed Tajammal,

    • Abdul  On September 2, 2013 at 4:39 am

      you all are just fuckers India was main culprit in all wars

  • Ijaz Khan  On September 6, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Tremendous, factual piece.Thank you.

  • Syed Tanzeel Gilani  On September 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

    What a great history we have and great heros in it but again its still easy to fight the enemies from out side but very difficult to fight the enemies within…….Allah hamaray mulk per Apna Karam Qaim Rrakhay………Aameen

    • Naveed Awan  On September 7, 2012 at 2:59 am

      not only enemy within but also from out side, just a few months ago how easily our 24 soldiers got killed and we could do nothing….. its same Pakistan but i dont know whats wrong there….. really sad situation

  • Saroor  On September 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Thanks for sharing. Subah Bakhair.
    Regards, Sarwar, Islamabad
    Sent from my Nokia phone

  • Kausar Bajwa  On September 6, 2012 at 10:38 am

    My Unit was there too.

  • Tariq Haider  On September 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Yasmeen, appreciated this great post, thank you.

  • Javed Helali  On September 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Where was the East Bengal regiment fighting then?

    JH

    • Naveed Tajammal  On September 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      None of them were fighting on this sector.

      • Pasha  On March 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm

        My Dear mr naveed tajamul, it is extremely exciting for me to find you here on the net. I as a ten year old kid was rescued by the battalion of Col tajamul on 10 sept 1965 from village lakhanke which was 2 kms accross the BRB. Fate left me alone in a uncle house on 6 sept and I witnessed the battle for 4 days and nights from a trench dug by indian soldiers outside the Dera / house i was staying at. My parents had gone to karachi on 3 sept to attend a marriage and had made arrangements for me to stay at my uncles house near lakhanke so that i dont miss my school which was to open on 6 sept after a long vacation. My uncle and aunt had to leave for rawalpindi on the evening of 5 sept due to a death in the family and i ended up alone in that house along with a bengali cook servant. The events of the battle described in the above article has made my hair stand with the horrific scences of death that i was made to witness.
        The author has also mentioned that PAF jets bombed indian army vehicles running along the GT road towards the BRB canal. I surely witnessed that event from a distance of 500 meters or so. I was standing on the GT road on my bycycle in my school uniform when the jets made the first pass hardly 20 meters or so above the ground. I was actualy blown away by the jet stream and fell from my bycycle. One of the events which still make me shudder with horror is that the indian troops were getting ready for an attack around sunset on 7 or 8 sept and an officer was addressing some 300 soldiers to put up a good fight. While they were raising war slogans, shells from pakistan cannons fell right in the middle of the congregation. Human body parts, flesh and blood spread everywhere in the air and fields and those few who survived this heavy pounding ran for their Iives to village dyal which was some 2 kilometers towards the border. I was horrified to see so much death and destruction, though it was our enemy who had raided our homeland. I cried and wept all night and desperately wanted to be with my family.
        My father on return from karachi on 7 or 8 sept had approached general sarfraz to help find me and was reffered to col tajamul sahib. Then on 10 september, pakistan army along with tanks crossed the BRB canal from ravi syphon and attacked the indian army. The attack was so furious that the indian army again vacated the area beyond village dyal wothout any resistance. Some pakistani soldiers walked towards my uncles Dera and asked me my name. I gave them my name and they all smiled back. Then an officer of Pak army was informed about me who deputed 2 soldiers to take me to col tajjamul sahib. We walked for about four hours to the ravi syphon and then crossed the BRB and from there was taken on an ambulance truck to batapur along with some injured pak army soldiers. The truck after dropping the injured to a field hospital or first aid center took me inside the bata shoe colony where col tajamul and my father were waiting for me. How glad i was to see my father is not describeable. My father from then onwards had been indebted to the kindness of col tajumal who made special efforts to recover me from the other side of the BRB. Thank you once again to the family of Gen Tajamul sahib and to all those soldiers of the pakistan army who put up a great fight on the BRB and did not let the indian army cross this canal.

  • GRK  On September 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    i endorse mr naveed as his late father maj gen tajjamul hussain fought himself on this front.regards grk

  • Ghias uddin Babar  On September 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Many thanks for your article on Battle of Batapur and the snaps.
    Battle of Batapur is in fact the story of timely actions in shape of courageous and bold initiative of General Tajammal(then Lt Col Commanding Officer 3rd Baloch), his professional integrity, competence and vision; and the sacrifices of our brave soldier that Indians suffered a shameful defeat on Lahore front.
    Write up presented in the “Battle of Batapur” is very comprehensive, crispy and covers planning and execution
    of war actions of both sides in simple and clear words.
    Narration about such an important and vital role and contribution of our sister arm PAF in the Battle of Batapur for the Defence of Lahore is praiseworthy and highly appreciated.
    Remembering our War Heroes and Shaheeds and paying them homage and tribute on this day “6September”
    is indeed a pious act by you – reminding us the level of motivation and patriotism of 1965 we all shared as a Pakistani nation.
    With best wishes and regards, Ghias uddin Babar

    • Ajmal  On September 9, 2012 at 7:19 am

      Thank you, sir.

  • Qazi Ebadullah  On September 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Manoj Padhi,
    If you want to talk of Kargil why do you not talk of the the sinister invasion of East Pakistan where India had nothing to do with our internal affairs. It would tantamount to China cutting across your border in the Himachal and come up with justifiable reason(s) for invasion. Nuclear deterrence is the only option that India understands and will not dare any Military misadventures of the 60’s and 70’s. Better Not.
    Qazi

  • Manoj Padhi  On September 7, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Dear Naveed Bhai,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pakistani_War_of_1965

    I am wondering whether you are aware of the context of the war..

    Please pursue this link..; if you find incorrect, try to correct it and I bet Wikipedia won’t allow correction..

    I am not surprised because half of Pakistan still believes that Dr. Afia is innocent and 9/11 was caused by CIA/President Bush. I am not talking that they are wrong and rest of the world is right. I am just saying that, that is not a mainstream belief supported by facts.

    The Free Dr. Aafia Campaign: Was Dr. Aafia a Terrorist ? Ramsey Clark in Pak for Aafia; Empty Eid; High Level Pak Committe for Aafia; Resolution for Release; Sept 2nd in DC

    My intention was not to divert or run away from the discussion. I just wanted to let you know that there are still rational Pakistanis, who trust in genuine history and speak out.

    “naked aggression of Indians” – I was reacting to this. If someone fingers first and invite trouble – the onus of the conflict goes to whom ?

    Hope you are doing fine.. It has been long time we engaged in discussions.

    regards
    Manoj Padhi
    thanks
    Manoj Padhi

    • Ajmal  On September 9, 2012 at 7:36 am

      Manoj Ji,
      You have your side of story as your Wikipedia very innocently admits that Indian forces crossed over the Cease Fire Line and captured Haji Pir Pass. Was that not aggression? and what about Gen Chauduri”s directive to hold BARAKHANA at Shalimar Gardens…….will you call it a step towards Aman Ki Asha?
      Aim of this write up was to highlight my unit’s action for defence of Lahore while defending Batapur bridge of BRBL at Grand Trunk Road which was shortest route to Shalimar Gardens; and not to start another war.
      Thanks for reading the article and your views.

      Regards
      Ajmal

  • Naveed Tajammal  On September 7, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Manoj bhai
    Thank you for your point of view,well you see India
    as your very own state and see its forward policies
    as acts of very genuine needs for a emerging state.
    Well that may be your contention,however from across
    the border,we see it very differently,especially your Aqua bombs
    The long line of Dams,built on our share of IWT 1960,upper
    three rivers.
    And the past track record and even since pre-1947 congress moves
    to break our trans-Indus regions,or what your agencies did
    in East Pakistan.
    Lastly the topic,the naked Indian aggression on Pakistan
    on 06 September 1965,discussed in this article.
    regards.

  • Naveed Tajammal  On March 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Dear Pasha Sahib,i am sorry for the delay,my email address is indusperson@yahoo.com,and my cell,
    number is,03085551646.
    Do get in touch.
    Regards and best wishes.

  • Daily Talk Shows  On November 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    That’s why we celebrate 6th September as our deference day. This month reminds the will power of our nation.

  • Burton  On April 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    What’s up to all, it’s genuinely a pleasant for me to go to see this
    site, it consists of important Information.

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