11th Battalion – The Frontier Force Regiment (11 FF)

11 FF was serving under the command of 10 Division as reconnaissance and support battalion, covering the main approaches of Lahore sector when the Indian Army attacked on September 6th, 1965 without formal declaration of war. While all the reconnaissance and support companies took the initial thrust of enemy attacks from Ravi Syphon to Kasur, delaying, deploying, inflicting casualties on enemy infantry and armor, and giving early warning. The main brunt of the Indian attack fell on D Company, commanded by Major Arif Jan (Shaheed), at the divisional advance position, covering the Lahore-Wagah road.

After passing information to Headquarters 114 Brigade about the Indian attack on a ranger post at Wagah at about 0430 hours on September 6th, Major Arif Jan faced the Indian attack of tanks and two infantry battalions, inflicting heavy casualties, delaying and deploying them until about 0630 hours, thereby giving early warning and time, and enabling other elements of the formation to occupy their main defensive positions in full strength.

The Indian `surprise’ attack on Lahore turned into a disaster for the enemy, largely due to the gallant action of D Company and Major Arif Jan who stood rooted to their position until it was by-passed or overrun, in the very best tradition of the Piffers – “last man, last round”.

From the accounts of the survivors and enemy commanders after the cease fire, this gallant action of Major Arif Jan was worthy of the highest honour. A, B and C Companies gave a good account of themselves in Ravi Syphon, Burki, Kasur, and later Khem Karan sectors throughout the period of hostilities, bearing the brunt on the front, and exposed and extended flanks of brigades and the division. The following officers were present:;

Lieutenant-Colonel Dost Mohammad
Major Mohammad Akbar
Major S.M. Safdar
Major Arif Jan
Captain F.A. Khilji
Captain Inayat Ullah Khan
Captain K.A. Afridi
Captain Q U. Bangash
Captain Ahmed Mukhtar Khan
Captain Khizar Hayat Khan
Captain Mohammad Fazil
Captain Irfan Mohammad Khan
Lieutenant Amjad Hussain
Lieutenant Moin-ud-Din Durrani
Lieutenant Naseer Ahmed
Lieutenant Khurshid Ahmed Khan

It should be noted that reconnaissance and support battalions were a new organization for the Pakistan Army and, as such, their correct role and employment was not fully appreciated. Their weapons and manpower were more often than not merely issued to various infantry sub-units to boost up fire power. Any good actions that were done by these detachments remained unnoticed, while any poor action on the part of an infantry sub-unit was attributed to the reconnaissance and support detachments.

It was after 1965, when the lessons of the war were analyzed, that it was decided that the specialized role of the units of the FF Group should be shared by other regiments as well. Consequently some of the battalions of the FF were converted to normal infantry, though 11 FF was reconverted back to its specialized role in 1971.