12 Cavalry (FF)

The reader will recall that we left 12 Cavalry FF ) after their strenuous time in the Rann of Kutch at Kharian. The regiment was deployed prior to the Pakistan-India War of 1965 in a preparatory role as it was quite obvious that war was not far off. Detachments of the regiment were sent to the Chamb area and to guard Baloki headworks.

When hostilities actually broke out with India we find the regiment deployed along the B.R.B. Canal and it prevented the enemy’s repeated attempts to make headway in this area. By September 9th, 1965 12 Cavalry (FF) was concentrated in the Khem Karan sector.

No sooner had it crossed over the B.R.B. Canal on the way to Khem Karan than it was subjected to enemy air attack. The regiment was ordered to protect the left flank of its formation and at the same time one squadron was ordered to move on the axis Khern Karan-Bhura Karimpura-Sankhatra with the task of capturing the Lakhan bridge. The squadron advanced under heavy enemy shelling and in one action captured one enemy tank, together with a soft vehicle.

The other two squadrons also advanced to fulfill their flank guard role. One squadron moved towards Mehdipur and the other guarded the bridge over the B.R.B. Canal. Major Shah Rafi Alam, whom we have met before in the Rann of Kutch, commanded the squadron which went towards Mehdipur. This squadron captured the village of Machile.

The Indian forces realised that the threat from the troops in Khem Karan was a most dangerous one. According to one source, it nearly made the Indian Army withdraw on a large scale from the borders of Pakistan. Instead they reacted strongly on September 12th, 1965. They launched a major counterattack on this day on Khem Karan which came in on two axes, i.e. BikkiwindKhem Karan road and Voltoha-Khem Karan road.

Though the enemy failed to recapture their town of Khem Karan, there were many tank battles in the area and many courageous and gallant actions took place. It was here that Major Shah Rafi Alam was awarded a Sitara-eJurat and that one squadron of the regiment ‘got in’ amongst a Gurkha Battalion and inflicted heavy casualties on them.

The Pakistan Army, which was far inferior in numbers to the Indians, had to move troops between one sector of fighting and another to make up this imbalance. 12 Cavalry (FF) was thus ordered to move to another area of operations, leaving behind a squadron in the Khem Karan area.

Before we describe the operation of the regiment as a whole, we will just complete the story of A Squadron which was left behind. The record shows that this squadron, commanded by Major Asif Hussain who was subsequently awarded the Sitara-e Jurat, shot down an enemy aircraft and captured the pilot alive. The record further shows A Squadron destroyed in the subsequent fighting some fourteen enemy tanks, captured an AMX-13 tank intact, captured some five Indian officers and generally gained ascendancy over the Indians. In these actions, the squadron lost four tanks.

12 Cavalry ( FF) having left A Squadron behind at Khem Karan, moved to the Jummu and Sialkot sector and concentrated on September 16th in the Pasrur-Qila Sobha Singh area. The regiment then moved up on the Chawinda road to defend the gun areas and was involved in the heavy fighting at Chawinda. Here it stayed until the cease fire

The following officers were present during these actions;

Lieutenant-Colonel Bashir Ullah Khan Babar
Major Sultan Khan
Major Mohammad Asif
Major Shah Rafi Alam
Captain Umar Hayat
Captain Syed Abdul Khaliq
Captain Bashir Ahmed
Captain Jamshed Malik
2/Lieutenant Muhammad Maqbool
2/Lieutenant M.H. Safdar