Skip to comments.How India brought down the USí supersonic man
Posted on 01/19/2012 4:23:21 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
The 1971 India-Pakistan war didnt turn out very well from the US point of view. For one particular American it went particularly bad. Chuck Yeager, the legendary test pilot and the first man to break the sound barrier, was dispatched by the US government to train Pakistani air force pilots but ended up as target practice for the Indian Air Force, and in the process kicked up a diplomatic storm in a war situation.
Yeagers presence in Pakistan was one of the surprises of the Cold War. In an article titled, The Right Stuff in the Wrong Place, by Edward C. Ingraham, a former US diplomat in Pakistan, recalls how Yeager was called to Islamabad in 1971 to head the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) a rather fanciful name for a bunch of thugs teaching other thugs how to fight.
It wasnt a terribly exciting job: All that the chief of the advisory group had to do was to teach Pakistanis how to use American military equipment without killing themselves in the process, writes Ingraham.
Among the perks Yeager enjoyed was a twin-engine Beechcraft, an airplane supplied by the Pentagon. It was his pride and joy and he often used the aircraft for transporting the US ambassador on fishing expeditions in Pakistans northwest mountains.
Yeager: Loyal Pakistani!
Yeager may have been a celebrated American icon, but heres what Ingraham says about his nonchalant attitude. We at the embassy were increasingly preoccupied with the deepening crisis (the Pakistan Army murdered more than 3,000,000 civilians in then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh). Meetings became more frequent and more tense. We were troubled by the complex questions that the conflict raised. No such doubts seemed to cross the mind of Chuck Yeager. I remember one occasion on which the ambassador asked Yeager for his assessment of how long the Pakistani forces in the East could withstand an all-out attack by India. We could hold them off for maybe a month, he replied, but beyond that we wouldnt have a chance without help from outside. It took the rest of us a moment to fathom what he was saying, not realising at first that we was West Pakistan, not the United States.
Clearly, Yeager appeared blithely indifferent to the Pakistani killing machine which was mowing down around 10,000 Bengalis daily from 1970 to 1971.
After the meeting, Ingraham requested Yeager to be be a little more even-handed in his comments. Yeager gave him a withering glance. Goddamn it, were assigned to Pakistan, he said. Whats wrong with being loyal?!
The dictator of Pakistan at the time, the one who had ordered the crackdown in the East, was a dim-witted general named Yahya Khan. Way over his head in events he couldnt begin to understand, Yahya took increasingly to brooding and drinking, writes Ingraham.
In December of 1971, with Indian supplied guerrillas applying more pressure on his beleaguered forces, Yahya decided on a last, hopeless gesture of defiance. He ordered what was left of his armed forces to attack India directly from the West. His air force roared across the border on the afternoon of December 3 to bomb Indian air bases, while his army crashed into Indias defences on the Western frontier.
Yeagers hatred for Indians was unconcealed. According to Ingraham, he spent the first hours of the war stalking the Indian embassy in Islamabad, spouting curses at Indians and assuring anyone who would listen that the Pakistani army would be in New Delhi within a week. It was the morning after the first Pakistani airstrike that Yeager began to take the war with India personally.
On the eve of their attack, the Pakistanis, realising the inevitability of a massive Indian retaliation, evacuated their planes from airfields close to the Indian border and moved them to airfields near the Iranian border.
Strangely, no one thought to warn General Yeager.
Taking aim at Yeager
The thread of this story now passes on to Admiral Arun Prakash. An aircraft carrier pilot in 1971, he was an Indian Navy lieutenant on deputation with the Indian Air Force when the war broke out.
In an article he wrote for Vayu Aerospace Review in 2007, Prakash presents a vivid account of his unexpected encounter with Yeager. As briefings for the first wave of retaliatory strikes on Pakistan were being conducted, Prakash had drawn a two-aircraft mission against the PAF base of Chaklala, located south east of Islamabad.
Flying in low under the radar, they climbed to 2000 feet as they neared the target. As Chaklala airfield came into view they scanned the runways for Pakistani fighters but were disappointed to see only two small planes. Dodging antiaircraft fire, Prakash blasted both to smithereens with 30mm cannon fire. One was Yeagers Beechcraft and the other was a Twin Otter used by Canadian UN forces.
Fishing in troubled waters
When Yeager discovered his plane was smashed, he rushed to the US embassy in Islamabad and started yelling like a deranged maniac. His voice resounding through the embassy, he said the Indian pilot not only knew exactly what he was doing but had been specifically instructed by the Indian prime minister to blast Yeagers plane. In his autobiography, he later said that it was the Indian way of giving Uncle Sam the finger.
Yeager pressured the US embassy in Pakistan into sending a top priority cable to Washington that described the incident as a deliberate affront to the American nation and recommended immediate countermeasures. Basically, a desperate and distracted Yeager was calling for the American bombing of India, something that President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were already mulling.
But, says Ingraham: I dont think we ever got an answer. With the Russians on Indias side in the conflict, the American defence establishment had its hands full. Nobody had time for Yeagers antics.
However, Ingraham says there are clues Yeager played an active role in the war. A Pakistani businessman, son of a senior general, told him excitedly that Yeager had moved into the air force base at Peshawar and was personally directing the grateful Pakistanis in deploying their fighter squadrons against the Indians. Another swore he had seen Yeager emerge from a just-landed jet fighter at the Peshawar base.
Later, in his autobiography, Yeager, the subject of Tom Wolfes much-acclaimed book The Right Stuff and a Hollywood movie, wrote a lot of nasty things about Indians, including downright lies about the IAFs performance. Among the things he wrote was the air war lasted two weeks and the Pakistanis kicked the Indians ass, scoring a three-to-one kill ratio, knocking out 102 Russian-made Indian jets and losing 34 airplanes of their own.
Beyond the fog of war
The reality is that it took the IAF just over a week to achieve complete domination of the subcontinents skies. A measure of the IAFs air supremacy was the million-man open air rallies held by the Indian prime minister in northern Indian cities, a week into the war. This couldnt have been possible if Pakistani planes were still airborne.
Sure, the IAF did lose a slightly larger number of aircraft but this was mainly because the Indians were flying a broad range of missions. Take the six Sukhoi-7 squadrons that were inducted into the IAF just a few months before the war. From the morning of December 4 until the ceasefire on December 17, these hardy fighters were responsible for the bulk of attacks by day, flying nearly 1500 offensive sorties.
Pakistani propaganda, backed up by Yeager, had claimed 34 Sukhoi-7s destroyed, but in fact just 14 were lost. Perhaps the best rebuttal to Yeagers lies is military historian Pushpindar Singh Chopras A Whale of a Fighter. He says the planes losses were commensurate with the scale of effort, if not below it. The Sukhoi-7 was said to have spawned a special breed of pilot, combat-hardened and confident of both his and his aircrafts prowess, says Chopra.
Sorties were being launched at an unprecedented rate of six per pilot per day. Yeager himself admits India flew numerous raids against Pakistani airfields with brand new Sukhoi-7 bombers being escorted in with MiG-21s.
While Pakistani pilots were obsessed with aerial combat, IAF tactics were highly sophisticated in nature, involving bomber escorts, tactical recce, ground attack and dummy runs to divert Pakistani interceptors from the main targets. Plus, the IAF had to reckon with the dozens of brand new aircraft being supplied to Pakistan by Muslim countries like Jordan, Turkey and the UAE.
Most missions flown by Indian pilots were conducted by day and at low level, with the pilots making repeated attacks on well defended targets. Indian aircraft flew into Pakistani skies thick with flak, virtually non-stop during the 14-day war. Many Bengali guerrillas later told the victorious Indian Army that it was the epic sight of battles fought over their skies by Indian air aces and the sight of Indian aircraft diving in on Pakistani positions that inspired them to fight.
Indeed, Indian historians like Chopra have painstakingly chronicled the details of virtually every sortie undertaken by the IAF and PAF and have tabulated the losses and kills on both sides to nail the outrageous lies that were peddled by the PAF and later gleefully published by Western writers.
In this backdrop, the Pakistani claim (backed by Yeager) that they won the air war is as hollow as a Chaklala swamp reed. In the Battle of Britain during World War II, the Germans lost 2000 fewer aircraft than the allies and yet the Luftwaffe lost that air war. Similarly, the IAF lost more aircraft than the PAF, but the IAF came out on top. Not even Yeagers biased testimony can take that away from Indians.
The partition involved large scale massacres of Muslims by Hindus in India and of Hindus by Muslims in Pakistan. Most of the Muslims who fled to Pakistan were pretty secular. The Mohajirs (non-native Pakistani Muslims who fled from India) are known to be the least religious of Pakistan's Muslims. They fled for their lives.
As to non-Muslim girls being forcibly kidnapped and married, do you have any sources that chronicle incidents from the time of partition in 1947? Let me point out that both Muslim and non-Muslim girls are kidnapped for forced marriages, probably because polygamy creates a shortage of eligible women. I don't think it's an issue of religious discrimination so much as it is an issue of poor/powerless people of all religious denominations being picked on. Islam requires that marriages between non-believers and Muslims involve conversions to Islam. Why don't forced marriages between Muslims involve forced conversions? Because that additional step isn't necessary when both parties are Muslims.
Muslims kidnapping non-Muslim women and forcing marriage on them is a near-universal phenomenon with regard to Islam - happens among other places, in Canada, the UK and parts of Europe. You cannot tell me this practice has no religious dimension with a straight face.
Actually, Texans and Californians defeated the Mexicans, before joining the US.
Outside of Muslim countries? Practically none that I've heard of. Honor killings of relatives do occur from time to time. But forced marriages between Muslim and infidel are not a problem, at least stateside. I don't think it's even a problem between Muslim and Muslim, given that we do - unlike Australia - execute people for
honor killings premeditated murder.
“The United Front of Goans, led by Francis Mascarenhas drove out the Portuguese from Dadra; a small landlocked enclave bordering Nagar Haveli; on 21 July 1954. A group of volunteers of National Movement Liberation Organisation (NMLO), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Azad Gomantak Dal commenced an attack on the larger enclave of Nagar Haveli on 28 July 1954 and liberated it on 2 August.”
“India did not assimilate these enclaves immediately and they existed as a de-facto independent body, administered by the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli.”
“The liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli gave the dormant Goa liberation movement an impetus. On August 15, 1954, mass Satyagrahas were launched where hundreds of people from all over India entered Goa, defying a ban by the Indian Government. The Portuguese killed many Satyagrahis and injured hundreds.”
“In 1955 the Satyagrahas continued and the Portuguese replied with brutal repression. Borders were sealed leaving people form each side stranded in the other territory. The attitude of the Indian Government towards the Goan situation was clear : that they supported the movement and intended to liberate Goa. Between 1955 and 1961 six political parties were formed to fight for freedom: Azad Gomantak Dal, the Rancour Patriota, the United Front of Goans, Goan People’s Party, Goa Liberation Army and Quit Goa Organization.”
“The Portuguese had portrayed a falsified image to the world of Goans as being entirely Luso-Indian or Portuguese. P. D. Gaitonde, after his release from prison conducted a series of lectures around the world to dispel this notion. The armed struggle in the Portuguese African colonies also served to draw international opinion in favour of India’s position.”
“In 1961 India reasserted its stand that Goa should be liberated “either with full peace or with full use of force”. In August 1961 India began military preparations. On 1 December Nehru publicly asserted that India would not remain silent regarding the Goa situation. Troops were concentrated at the important towns near Goa.”
Teotonio R. de Souza, “The Church in Goa: Giving to Caesar What is Caesar’s?”
Larsen, Karin (1998). Faces of Goa. Gyan Books. ISBN ISBN 8121205840, 9788121205849.
Professor Froilano de Mello, MD (1887-1955): A short biography of his life and achievements Goacom.com
Leitao, Lino (Friday, December 23, 2005). “Blood, nemesis and misreading quite what makes Goan society tick” by Ben Antao, review by Lino Leitao”. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
P S Lele, Dadra and Nagar Haveli: past and present, Published by Usha P. Lele, 1987.
I guess it’s not marriage, in that case, but forced sex - rape, of non-Muslims in Europe and Canada by Muslim immigrants there. Pakistanis have turned this into an artform, forcing this violence on non-Muslims, especially the Christian, Sikh and Hindu minorities there.
The way I see it, India liberated Goa the way China liberated Tibet. Naked aggression abetted by local quislings.
What’s that country up north of India? Oh, yeah, China.
I suspect a lot of unreported rape goes on in Muslim communities, given that the Muslim rape victim runs the risk of being killed by her relatives if she reports the crime. The Muslim rapists are probably operating under the erroneous assumption that foreigners are equally squeamish about reporting such incidents, thus leading to a lot of the perps being locked up. Once they get past the learning curve (and many prison terms), I suspect the rape epidemic with respect to non-Muslims will die down, and they'll limit their unwanted attentions to Muslim women.
Well, local quislings did throw the British out of a significant portion of North America (British America)... and likewise, California, Texas, et al.
Nonetheless, there's a fundamental difference between all of those (including Goa) and Tibet - no widespread, free elections under Chinese rule.
I doubt the Koranimals are getting a hint. The learning curve is flat for them now... and the rapes are only escalating:
Muslim Rape Gangs roaming Europe seeking White Victims.
This has been going on for decades, now.
Quislings is when a foreign power does your work for you, and then annexes you. The Continental Army evicted the Brits. Texans and Californians evicted the Mexicans. In Goa, your Indian brethren did what the Pakistanis are doing in Kashmir - sent, paid and armed regular servicemen in the guise of guerillas. And when the guerrilas couldn't win, the Indian Army invaded.
The way you see it? Are you a Goan? Do you see Goans fighting for independence like Tibetans? Do you see them revolting, rioting, protesting and agitating against the Indian government like in China. Goa is actually more peaceful then rest of India.
“Naked aggression abetted by local quislings.”
“local quislings” ....that would be the whole population of Goa.
Why would that make him a troll vs. someone with an opinion (pretty much like anyone else here)?
Most Indian folks I know wish their country had been more independent and truly stayed non-aligned. They unofficially sided with Russia - which, well, didn’t turn out to be the best bet. Consider first that we aligned with China which was a traditional enemy of India. Bygones.
You're right. The Continental Army, aided by the perennial British enemy, the French.
Texans and Californians evicted the Mexicans.
A settler revolt / uprising, like in Goa?
It’s very simple; when you post something calling Chuck Yeager a “military thug,” you are far from in agreement with the morals, ethics and baseline beliefs of people on FR.
Its very simple; when he posts something calling Chuck Yeager a military thug, he is far from in agreement with the morals, ethics and baseline beliefs of people on FR.
If the entire population of Goa were in revolt, the Indian Army wouldn't have needed to invade with a force of 30,000 men against the 3,000-strong Portuguese garrison. The fake Indian-staffed and -sponsored guerrilla movement would have been unnecessary. A simple boycott by the Goanese would have ended Portuguese sovereignty.
you even know where is Goa in map of India mate ?
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