1 (SP) Field Regiment Artillery

Incorporating 2 (K) (SP) Field Battery (FF) and 3 (P)(SP) Field Battery (FF).

1 (SP) Regiment was moved out towards Gujranwala in early May, 1965, since war clouds were clearly gathering after the Rann of Kutch. Here it continued training and became acquainted with its operational role. On September 6th it was moved into a gun area on the Daska-Sambrial road.

It will be appreciated from the account of 3 FF and 9 FF subsequently, that 24 Brigade was the first to take up a position in the Chawinda area while a covering force, containing 9 FF and an armored regiment (11 Cavalry FF) was deployed in the area of Gadgor.

1 (SP) Regiment brought its guns into the action in a reinforcing role to support the artillery which was affiliated to 24 Brigade. The regiment was the first unit of the division to fire a shot against the enemy when it took on some enemy tanks which were coming from the direction of Chobara. I t is believed that this shoot, which included medium artillery, knocked out three enemy tanks.

Once the covering troops had taken up their covering position on the night of September 10/11, 1965 in Gadgor, and 24 Brigade had moved to Chawinda, l (SP j was responsible for the fire support for the covering troops.

9 FF group took over the position from 24 Brigade group by dawn soon after the enemy started shelling the positions of 9 FF. The Commanding Officer of l ( SP ) Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Abdul Rahman, moved forward on September 11th to Phillaurah and contacted Lieutenant-Colonel Aziz, the C.O. of 11 Cavalry ( FF). At about this time a tank attack was developing from the north-west towards Phillaurah. From a wall near a ruined Rest House, Lieutenant-Colonel Rahman could see the approaching tanks. From this vantage point lie started adjusting the fires of the medium guns and he set three enemy tanks ablaze by direct hits from his artillery.

The wall, on which Lieutenant-Colonel Rahman was standing, was fully exposed and bullets and bits of shrapnel were flying around but he did not come down from his vantage point until the enemy tanks had started to withdraw. Later he came down and was speaking on his wireless set to his adjutant when a medium artillery shell burst close by, killing Lieutenant Colonel Rahman and seriously wounding Lieutenant-Colonel Aziz and Major Muzaffar Malik of 11 Cavalry ( FF).

1 (SP) Regiment was in direct support of 9 FF, whose action at Gadgor is shown subsequently in this chapter. Major Sarwar was the battery commander affiliated to the battalion while Captain Gul Bad Shah and Lieutenant Qaddus were the observers.

Captain Gul Bad Shah was the observer with C Company 9 FF on a dominating height of 40r. From here he could see for thousands of yards all around. All of a sudden, soon after daybreak, enemy shells started falling around 40r. Gul Bad Shah could see some tanks moving towards Gadgor and these tanks were supported by infantry. He coolly brought his training into play and engaged the enemy. The enemy infantry started falling back, as did the tanks a little bit later.

Lieutenant Qaddus Mirza was the observer with B Company 9 FF, commanded by Major Akabar who had earned and was awarded a Sitara-e-Jurat in the Kashmir operations in 1948. Lieutenant Qaddus was in fact also supporting A Company. While he was locating a suitable O.P. he heard noises in A Company area and realised that it was being heavily attacked. There was a melee of men and tanks all mixed up. Since it would be dangerous to fire in support of A Company, Lieutenant Qaddus got hold of a recoilless rifle team, positioned it close to where he was, and gave it fire orders.

It appears that the first shot found its mark but before another round could he fired an enemy tank scored a direct hit on the jeep, which wounded Lieutenant Qaddus. Since the covering troops had attracted enough enemy and had made them deploy, thus gaining time for the defences further back, 9 FF group was permitted to withdraw, but 9 FF being cut off in the rush decided to filter through to reach safety. Major Akabar did not forget.

Lieutenant Qaddus and had him picked up by a jeep which crashed through a road block at Phillaurah and got away with it. Piffer co-operation!

The divisional commander, in order to inflict maximum casualties on the enemy, decided to launch a counter-attack at the base of the enemy penetration with two armored regiments. The inner hook was to be led by the Guides Cavalry f FF), commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Amir Gulistan Janjua, while 22 Cavalry was to make the outer hook.

Guides Cavalry (FF) were to attack the villages of Chahr and Libbe with a squadron on each objective. Captain Riaz was the observer with A Squadron Guides Cavalry FF which was to attack Chahr. The fire support directed by Captain Riaz on Chahr was so successful that Chahr was easily captured and five Centurion tanks, which had been abandoned, were taken over. After the capture of Chahr, A Squadron was ordered to move towards Bhagowal to counter a new tank threat. Captain Riaz directed the necessary fire support but soon his jeep was hit and he had to move on to the squadron commander’s tank. The squadron commander, Major Latif, was also wounded in this action.

B Squadron, whose objective was Libbe, ran into a nest of enemy anti-tank weapons around Khakanwal Gill. The squadron commander, Major Z.A. Abbasi, and Lieutenant Hussain Shah, both Guides, were fatally wounded, Major Abbasi was awarded a posthumous Sitara-e Jurat.

Lieutenant-Colonel Amir Gulistan Janjua found that both his leading squadron commanders were casualties and quickly went forward, accompanied by his battery commander, Major Mustafa Jan. The battery commander brought down a complete divisional concentration of fire on the anti-tank nest and broke it up completely, thus ensuring success for the Guides Cavalry (FF).

On the evening of September 11th, Corps Artillery, viewing the fluid battle of the covering troops extricating themselves from Phillaurah cross-roads, decided to pull back the guns of 1 (SP) Regiment and ordered them to redeploy south of Chawinda. Major Raschid Ahmed, who was now commanding 1 (SP) Regiment, realized that the Guides Cavalry (FF) was committed in its counter-attack and obtained approval from Headquarters Corps Artillery to leave one battery behind, regardless of the danger that there might be to this position. The battery, 3 (P) battery, pulled out later in the night after completion of its task.

In order to keep on inflicting casualties on the enemy in their offensive into Pakistan, it was decided to put in a limited attack with the Guides Cavalry (FF) and 22 Cavalry from the direction of Badiana. A Squadron of 22 Cavalry, with Lieutenant Nazar Hussain as observer, was drawn in to the village of Kagha and was quickly surrounded from all directions by the enemy. Lieutenant Nazar Hussain called for maximum artillery support, which included the corps artillery and two divisional artilleries, all of which were directed by an air observer. This mass of fire enabled the squadron to extricate itself.

Once Corps Artillery was fully established, on the night of September 9/10, it assumed control and co-ordination of all the artillery in the area. l (SP) Field Regiment was nearly always used as a screen for the remaining field, medium and heavy regiments. Its equipment gave the marked advantage of being able to get into action quickly and also, if the situation arose, get out of action just as quickly.

September 16th was the day when the most furious tank battle of the war was fought, when all units of the division except those in Zafarwal were fully committed. 22 Cavalry position was attacked by the Indian 16 Light Cavalry but the enemy was beaten back.

Since the lamented death of Lieutenant-Colonel Abdul Rahman, 1 SP; Field Regiment had been ably commanded by Major Rashid Ahmad. On September 17th Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad Aslam Khan took over command. The regiment continued to give excellent support to the forward troops. Affiliations, owing to the reorganization of the defenses, had been changed and now Major Sarwar was an observer with 6 FF.

The Indian offensive waves had been broken by the doughty defenders of Gador-Phillaurah and Chawinda. By September 20th this spirit had spread to the other ranks and they were all asking when we were going to start our offensive. Preparations for a major Pakistani thrust were being made and certain redeployment took place but the cease fire on September 23rd, 1965 brought to an end all actions in this war.