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How India brought down the USí supersonic man
IDRW.ORG ^

Posted on 01/19/2012 4:23:21 AM PST by MBT ARJUN

The 1971 India-Pakistan war didn’t 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.

Yeager’s 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 wasn’t 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 Pakistan’s northwest mountains.

Yeager: Loyal Pakistani!

Yeager may have been a celebrated American icon, but here’s 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 wouldn’t 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, we’re assigned to Pakistan,” he said. “What’s 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 couldn’t 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 India’s defences on the Western frontier.”

Getting Personal

Yeager’s 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 Yeager’s 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 Yeager’s 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 don’t think we ever got an answer.” With the Russians on India’s side in the conflict, the American defence establishment had its hands full. Nobody had time for Yeager’s 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 Wolfe’s much-acclaimed book “The Right Stuff” and a Hollywood movie, wrote a lot of nasty things about Indians, including downright lies about the IAF’s 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 subcontinent’s skies. A measure of the IAF’s 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 couldn’t 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 Yeager’s lies is military historian Pushpindar Singh Chopra’s “A Whale of a Fighter”. He says the plane’s 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 aircraft’s 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 Yeager’s biased testimony can take that away from Indians.


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: india; pakistan; russia; us
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1 posted on 01/19/2012 4:23:32 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
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To: MBT ARJUN

Good read


2 posted on 01/19/2012 4:35:28 AM PST by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: MBT ARJUN

I wonder what his views of Pakistan are now, given their complicity in the WOT.


3 posted on 01/19/2012 4:45:18 AM PST by edpc (Wilby 2012)
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To: MBT ARJUN
What nonsense... To make the claim "brought down" would imply "air-to-air combat". IAF blew up a parked aircraft... That is a long way from a "shoot down".

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that the author means it in a "symbolic" way. But the title doesn't reflect that. This is nothing more than an attempt to bolster Indian nationalism while working to tear down the reputation of an American (everyone's favorite target when they don't actually have to go face-to-face with the American.)

Yeager is an old school fighter pilot that raised a little hell when things didn't go his way... That is just fighter pilots in general. To try and paint him as a psycho is just a poor attempt to try and change people's perception of the man.

It becomes even more evident that this is a "hit piece" when you see the claim that Yeager was the subject of The Right Stuff... Yes he was part of the story, but he was hardly what one would call the main protagonist. That is even more evidence of the authors attempt to build up the man so that the "tearing down" of him would be even more dramatic.

Hope this makes the IAF feel better about themselves... /s

4 posted on 01/19/2012 4:48:58 AM PST by Raven6 (Psalm 144:1 and Proverbs 22:3)
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To: reed13k

Why did we ever choose to ally ourselves with the Pakistanis?


5 posted on 01/19/2012 4:54:32 AM PST by Haiku Guy (We don't need to Occupy Wall Street... We need to Occupy K Street!)
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To: MBT ARJUN

Interesting.

My reading on these events isn’t as complete as I would like it to be, but it seems that one of our major foreign policy blunders of the post-war period was getting on the wrong side concerning India.


6 posted on 01/19/2012 4:56:49 AM PST by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Raven6

You didn’t even read the article ..And why should India want to bolster her nationalism when its already there .
Chuck was there to train pakis pilot against Indians.
Indian aircrafts flew in a special mission to destroy Chuck plane and let US get the message that they are not yet another country to bow down to them.
Why should India want to face US in her own home ground when russian nuclear submarines were already there to ward off any therea from US, as I said Indians are force to reckon with and american simply wanted to avoid 1000 times more debacle than vietnam war.


7 posted on 01/19/2012 5:10:40 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
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To: MBT ARJUN
Total BS!

In the opening graphs, the MAAG is called a “bunch of thugs.” US Military MAAGs served around the world as ad visors. They were the earliest American troops in Vietnam, and many died.

Listen to the rancor in the rest of the article.

“Clearly, Yeager appeared blithely indifferent to the Pakistani killing machine which was mowing down around 10,000 Bengalis daily from 1970 to 1971” and so many other idiotic derogatory comments.

” 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 Yeager’s plane.”

“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”

This all nothing but a BS propaganda piece.

8 posted on 01/19/2012 5:17:55 AM PST by MindBender26 (New Army SF and Ranger Slogan: Vengence is Mine, sayeth the Lord.... but He subcontracts!)
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To: MindBender26
From the outset you can tell those was written by an anti-war type lib.

BS is polite...

9 posted on 01/19/2012 5:20:35 AM PST by ejonesie22 (8/30/10, the day Truth won.)
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To: Haiku Guy

Ask your current President and do ask why are you giving
>F16 with Amraam ?? Taliban don’t have airforce untill they come up with Flying Carpet
>Why you providin M 109 artillery
>Why you are providing Oliver class Frigates
>Why are you providing offensive weapons for free when non of them is of no use or very lil Use in WOT..
Hope he reply to your Questions .


10 posted on 01/19/2012 5:20:45 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
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To: MBT ARJUN

By the way, are you a serving Indian Army Officer, since MBT ARJUN is the term for the Indian Army Main Battle Tank or "Argun" since "Argun is the Sanskrit word for "military fighting vehicle" or "tank."

Troll!

11 posted on 01/19/2012 5:23:41 AM PST by MindBender26 (New Army SF and Ranger Slogan: Vengence is Mine, sayeth the Lord.... but He subcontracts!)
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To: Haiku Guy

“Why did we ever choose to ally ourselves with the Pakistanis?”

The Indians were in bed with the Soviets.


12 posted on 01/19/2012 5:28:55 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you really want to annoy someone, point out something obvious that they are trying hard to ignore)
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To: MindBender26

Didn’t you read your own president frustration ,when pakis lost war within 14 days ??Trust me it still an epic .
guardian.co.uk/world/indira-gandhi


13 posted on 01/19/2012 5:29:59 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
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To: MBT ARJUN
You know, there is a pretty sizable number of Indian immigrants in my town.

Should I consider them friendly to American interests, or not?

14 posted on 01/19/2012 5:32:49 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass
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To: AppyPappy

The Russians supplied India with armaments when America refused to sell them to the latter, and even forced Britain to stop such sales - one of the Soviet premiers famously gave India’s Nehru tours of Russian aircraft factories with promises of supplying India with the latest of Russian weaponry - at a time when the West refused to entertain any such efforts.

The American bet was on a religiously “cohesive” Pakistan to survive over the long term, in comparison with what was thought to be a very unstable, secular India. On top of that, the Russians quite early on shored up support for India in booting out French and Portuguese territorial claims from within her territory - especially Goa.

Things turned out quite differently, for all parties, through the years. India, no doubt, acted in India’s interests and stuck with it.


15 posted on 01/19/2012 5:34:14 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: MBT ARJUN

Biased hit piece trash.


16 posted on 01/19/2012 5:35:14 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Haiku Guy
Why did we ever choose to ally ourselves with the Pakistanis?

Because the Indians chose to ally themselves with the Soviets. For all of the Cold War, Pakistan was a pretty dependable ally. Zia Islamized the country, but it's hard to say whether he was in the lead, or merely saw the writing on the wall. Islamization has been the trend in Muslim countries for decades, driven in large part by popular sentiment, against the wishes of relatively more cosmopolitan* political elites, who go along for fear of violent revolt and/or assassination**. Muslim countries that practically never saw the hijab (the kind of head scarf a Catholic nun might wear) forty years ago are now infested with full burkhas (the tent-like garment that covers all but the eyes). What's happened to Pakistan is pretty sad, much like what happened to Iran.

India is a lot like France - an ally that will always be there for you when they need you. During the 1970's, India came close to invading the British base at Diego Garcia - which we use under longstanding agreements with the Brits - so as to annex it.

* The fact that Yahya Khan ruled Pakistan during Yeager's stint tells us something about how secular Pakistan was during the period. Khan was a Shiite and a known hard drinker (alcohol is religiously forbidden to Muslims of all denominations, but was legal for Muslims in Pakistan at the time) ruling a majority Sunni nation. FYI, Shiites are viewed by Sunnis more or less the way evangelical Christians view Mormons - as slightly deranged cultists.

** The Egyptian leader before Mubarak was assassinated by Islamists, and just about every Muslim leader, including Saddam and Gaddafi, has been the subject of death threats and/or assassination attempts from that quarter.

17 posted on 01/19/2012 5:35:55 AM PST by Zhang Fei (Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.)
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To: MindBender26

Troll for what because I posted something that put chuck or US in line of fire ?? well if you search a bit ,i do also use to post Indo US honeymoon related story in FR.
Indo - US are now virtualy allies with common interest .
BTW am not an army officer but served my country as a part National Cadet Corps (NCC),a kinda reserve .


18 posted on 01/19/2012 5:36:12 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
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To: MindBender26

Troll for what because I posted something that put chuck or US in line of fire ?? well if you search a bit ,i do also use to post Indo US honeymoon related story in FR.
Indo - US are now virtualy allies with common interest .
BTW am not an army officer but served my country as a part National Cadet Corps (NCC),a kinda reserve .


19 posted on 01/19/2012 5:36:19 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
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To: MindBender26

Troll for what because I posted something that put chuck or US in line of fire ?? well if you search a bit ,i do also use to post Indo US honeymoon related story in FR.
Indo - US are now virtualy allies with common interest .
BTW am not an army officer but served my country as a part National Cadet Corps (NCC),a kinda reserve .


20 posted on 01/19/2012 5:38:01 AM PST by MBT ARJUN
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