Should India have a Air Cavalry?

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Bahamut, Oct 18, 2016.

?

Should India have a Air Cavalry ?

  1. Yes

    81.3%
  2. No

    18.8%
  1. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    somewhere in space time
    @Kunal Biswas , @pmaitra ,@LETHAL FORCE ,@Bornubus, @roma ,@Sakal Gharelu Ustad,@Navnit Kundu @Gessler
    Some Info on air Cavalry with some history
    Air Cav: How Soldiers in the Sky Reshaped Combat on the Ground
    • FACEBOOK
    • TWITTER
    • LINKEDIN
    • PINTEREST
    • GEAR, VIETNAM POINT OF VIEW



      [​IMG]
      Huey door gunner of the 179th Aviation Company in support of the 173rd Airborne Brigade on Sept. 12, 1965. (National Archives)


      Arguably, the relief of Khe Sanh was the war’s most important cavalry raid.
      One of the great battlefield innovations developed by the United States armed forces in its effort to defeat a skilled and often elusive enemy in Vietnam was air cavalry—light infantry deployed by helicopters. While swift-moving aircraft supplanted horse or mechanized ground transport, the theory of rapid deployment of light infantry remained the same. The infantry’s mission is to close with the enemy by means of fire and maneuver to defeat or capture him, or to repel his assault by fire, close combat and counterattack. Only close combat between ground forces gains the decision in battle. Whether on foot, horse or vehicle, parachuting from an aircraft, or jumping from a helicopter, the infantry must maneuver as part of its mission. At all levels of war, successful maneuver requires agility of thought, plans, operations and organizations.

      At the operational level, maneuver is the means by which the commander determines where and when to fight by setting the terms of battle, declining battle, or acting to take advantage of tactical actions.

      As a concept, air cavalry was innovative. As executed by air cavalry units, it was phenomenal, and the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam was the quintessential air cavalry organization. Its prominent and evolving role began in the Ia Drang Valley in 1965, and one of its greatest achievements came at Khe Sanh in 1968.

      Air Cavalry Concept Takes Flight

      On June 15, 1965, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara approved the incorporation of an airmobile division into the Army force structure with the designation 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). The first “air cavalry” division was well trained and equipped when it arrived in Vietnam in August and September 1965. Its official mission was to provide reconnaissance for larger field force commands, participate in stability operations and provide security and control over the population and resources in its assigned area. While airmobile operations used helicopters to fly over difficult terrain and maneuver behind enemy defenses to air assault into targeted objectives, the 1st Air Cav, as it was often called, excelled in the traditional cavalry missions to reconnoiter, screen, delay and conduct raids over wide terrain.

      The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was an organization of about 15,000 men. It had its own infantry, artillery, logistics and other division support capabilities; but most important, it had its own aviation assets assigned to the division to provide aerial reconnaissance, troop transport, aerial rocket artillery fire support and logistical transport. It integrated attack, transport and observation aircraft with the fighting elements of the division.

      The “combat air assault” was the zenith of the attack phase of air mobility. A combat air assault, as a tactical mission, was more than merely transporting troops from point A to point B by helicopters. Once the enemy was located and contact was made, air cavalry troops could be swiftly deployed by helicopters from less critical situations and concentrated at the point of battle.

      The combat air assault was usually conducted by a company commander (a captain) or platoon leader (a lieutenant), with an order to go from one point to another for a particular mission: recon, screen, delay, raid or search and destroy. Huey lift flights, usually four to six helicopters, picked up the cavalry troopers and transported them to the mission’s landing zone. As the Hueys approached, artillery pounded the landing zone, ending with a white phosphorus round impact that let the helicopter pilots know to start their descent. First, Huey or Cobra gunships would strafe the LZ with suppressing fires in case enemy troops planned an ambush before the lift ships landed, and then troopers would dismount to continue their mission.

      Radio communications enabled commanders, often in command and control helicopters, to monitor scout ship transmissions and to direct responsive air landings in the midst of fluid combat situations. As the infantrymen deployed from the helicopters with rifles and machine guns blazing, gunships patrolled overhead providing close-in covering fire with rockets and machine guns. Rapid helicopter airlift of howitzers and ordnance assured that infantry fighting for remote and isolated landing zones would have sustained artillery fire support. Enemy opposition was often stunned and overwhelmed by this quickly executed initial aerial onslaught.

      The maneuverability of the 1st Air Cav was made possible by the helicopters assigned directly to the division. Hueys provided most of the unit’s helicopter transport and gunship capability. They transported food, water, ammunition and personnel, and medevaced the wounded and dead. Prior to the introduction of Cobra AH-1 gunships, Hueys were fitted with machine guns, Gatling guns and 2.75-inch rocket pods. These gunships provided aerial rocket artillery for the infantry. When Cobras replaced Hueys as gunships, they often operated with OH-6 light observation helicopters (LOHs) in “hunter-killer” teams to search and destroy the enemy.

      The Air Cavalry also depended on the twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook to airlift its essential artillery and heavier supplies to support the sky troopers wherever they went. The Chinooks could carry either 44 troops or 10,000 pounds of cargo.

      Into the Valley

      The air cavalry concept was first tested in the fall of 1965 in the Ia Drang Valley against North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars. The campaign that began on October 27, 1965, saw a month of sustained action in which the 1st Cav sought out, located and met the NVA in combat and won some of the fiercest battles of the entire war. Helicopter-delivered infantry dominated the zone of operations, validating the revolutionary role of aerial cavalry and setting the pace of future wartime air mobility. The 34-day Ia Drang Valley campaign was the first division-scale air assault victory.

      Although the division could helicopter troops throughout the battle zone—regardless of terrain restrictions—faster than any other organization in the Army and decisively engage distant enemy units by vertical air assault, this flexible striking power required thorough preparation and sufficient reserves.

      While the Army’s AirLand Battle doctrine was developed after the Vietnam War and the demise of the Air Cavalry, the Air Cav’s unique capabilities and organization in the Ia Drang campaign nonetheless displayed and proved the importance of the doctrine’s tenets of initiative, agility, depth and synchronization, as Lt. Col. Kenneth R. Pierce of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College describes in a 1989 analysis of the campaign in Military Review:

      Initiative. Major General Harry Kinnard, commander of the 1st Cavalry, intended to set the terms of the battle. He was on the offensive and felt he could find the enemy forces and that he had the mobility and firepower to fix and destroy them. He was taking great risk and knew that the unit that made initial contact would be seriously outnumbered, but believed he could reinforce with fire almost immediately and then pile on troops before the enemy could react.

      Agility. The helicopter gave Kinnard the ability to act faster than the enemy. He shifted forces and combat power at unprecedented speed and put field artillery and aerial rocket artillery with great accuracy anywhere on almost a moment’s notice. He reinforced with troops faster than anyone ever in the history of warfare. With excellent communication capability and troops trained in calling in for air, mortar or artillery fire support, he could quickly concentrate on the battered enemy and exploit his vulnerabilities. Cavalry tactics take into account the accumulation of chance errors, unexpected difficulties and the confusion of battle, and Kinnard, by nature, disposition and training, knew that he had to continuously “read the battlefield,” decide quickly and act without hesitation.

      Depth. The helicopter and the cavalry’s training in its use naturally extended operations in space, time and resources. The helicopter gave Kinnard a greater range of vision for reconnaissance, allowed him to provide accurate aerial rocket artillery, adjust fire from the air, reposition his field artillery, resupply his troops and reinforce with maneuver forces almost anywhere on the battlefield. His rear areas were relatively safe, but he still provided an infantry battalion to secure his artillery and his forward command post. He had airstrips built so that the Air Force could resupply his base at An Khe from Saigon, and he maintained enough helicopter lift to move those supplies to the frontline troops. He was mentally prepared for bold and decisive action, and he had personally trained his handpicked brigade and battalion commanders with these same qualities.

      Synchronization. Two years of training together with all the modern technology had taught the cavalry how to arrange activities in time, space and purpose. Kinnard possessed the forces and combat power to produce maximum results at the decisive point. Their training and communications capability allowed synchronization even during heavy conflict without explicit coordination. The concept of searching with a battalion and piling on brigade and supporting units at the decisive time and place using the entire division, field force and Army fire support, was an economy-of-force type operation.

      Despite some significant problems and high cost, the 1st Cavalry’s Ia Drang Valley campaign prevented an NVA victory over the Special Forces Camp at Plei Me, and the lessons learned proved valuable in subsequent airmobile operations after Ia Drang. Notable among them were the 1966 coastal campaign of “sustained pursuit” (offensive action against a retreating enemy) and the 1967 coastal campaign of “clearing operations” (finding and destroying the enemy and implementing pacification programs). The Air Cav also protected Saigon using a “cavalry screen,” executed “cavalry raids” at Khe Sanh and in the A Shau Valley and “cavalry exploitation” in the Cambodia invasion.

      The Pegasus Pirouette

      The Communists’ primary objective in the 1968 Tet Offensive was to seize power in South Vietnam and cause the defection of major elements of the Vietnamese armed forces. General William Westmoreland stated, “There is also little doubt that the enemy hoped at Khe Sanh to obtain a climacteric victory such as he had done in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu in the expectation that this would produce a psychological shock and erode American morale.”

      Khe Sanh was 15 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and about seven miles from the eastern frontier of Laos. The Khe Sanh base functioned primarily as a support facility for surveillance units watching the DMZ and probing the outer reaches of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. To the south, Khe Sanh overlooked Highway 9, the only east-west road in the northern province connecting Laos and the coastal regions. A key feature at Khe Sanh was its 3,900-foot aluminum mat runway that—during favorable weather conditions—could accommodate fixed-wing aircraft, including C-130 transports.

      In the first weeks of 1968, signs of an impending enemy attack at Khe Sanh mounted and as many as four North Vietnamese divisions were identified just north of the DMZ. There were also indications that the enemy was moving up several batteries of artillery in the southern half of the DMZ as well as in areas close to the Laos border—all well within range of the Khe Sanh Combat Base.

      Convinced that the North Vietnamese would strike a massive blow on Khe Sanh, the American command swiftly moved to strengthen its forces in the area. The combat base was reinforced, bringing the troop level to a little less than 6,000. Concurrent with the buildup of the allied forces in the vicinity of the DMZ, B-52s began to systematically pattern bomb suspected enemy locations near Khe Sanh and tactical fighter-bombers stepped up attacks in North Vietnam’s southern panhandle. East of Khe Sanh, U.S. Army heavy artillery was assembled at the Rock Pile and Camp Carroll to provide quick reaction long-range fire support to the Khe Sanh base.

      In the early hours of Jan. 21, 1968, the enemy attacked Khe Sanh with withering artillery, rocket and mortar fire, and probed outlying defensive positions to the north and northwest. South of the base the North Vietnamese attempted to overrun the villages of Khe Sanh and Huong Hoa but were beaten back by Marine and South Vietnamese defenders. In this initial action, enemy fire destroyed virtually all of the base ammunition stock and a substantial portion of the fuel supplies. The all-important airstrip was severely damaged, forcing a temporary suspension of flights into the area.

      For the next two months, worldwide attention was riveted on Khe Sanh, where the North Vietnamese seemed to be challenging the United States to a set-piece battle on a scale not attempted since the great Communist victory at Dien Bien Phu.

      The 1st Air Cavalry was the logical unit to relieve the beleaguered Marines at Khe Sanh, and the Air Cav commander, Maj. Gen. John J. Tolson, was tasked with defining and executing Operation Pegasus, which had a threefold mission: relieve the Khe Sanh Combat Base, open Highway 9 from Ca Lu to Khe Sanh and destroy the enemy forces within the area of operation.

      Although Marines and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces augmented the 1st Cavalry, it was the operational planning and maneuverability of the air cavalry that dominated the execution of Pegasus. Tolson’s planning drew from the lessons the division learned in previous successes, starting with Ia Drang. Tolson described the basic concept of Operation Pegasus inAirmobility, 1961-1971:

      The 3d Brigade would lead the 1st Cavalry air assault…the 2d Brigade of the Cavalry would land three battalions southeast of Khe Sanh and attack northwest and the 1st Brigade would air assault just south of Khe Sanh and attack north….The 3d Army of the Republic of Vietnam Airborne Task Force would air assault southwest of Khe Sanh and attack toward Lang Vei Special Forces Camp. Linkup was planned at the end of seven days.

      Airmobility was the first key to the planning and execution of Operation Pegasus, providing the capability for initiative, agility, depth and synchronization. Tolson constructed an airstrip known as Landing Zone Stud in the vicinity of Ca Lu that would be critical to the entire operation. He also upgraded Highway 9 between the Rock Pile and Ca Lu to allow stocking of supplies at LZ Stud, establishing a forward base there. The second key element to success was the closely integrated reconnaissance and fire support effort of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry. Initial surveillance showed that the enemy had established positions designed to delay or stop any attempt to reinforce or relieve Khe Sanh. As part of the reconnaissance by fire, known or suspected enemy antiaircraft positions and troop concentrations were sought out and destroyed, either by organic fire or tactical air. “The thoroughness of the battlefield preparation was demonstrated during the initial assaults of the 1st Cavalry Division,” wrote Tolson, “for no aircraft were lost due to antiaircraft fire or enemy artillery.”

      Tolson detailed the ballet-like air cav operation:

      At 0700 on 1 April 1968 the attack phase of Operation Pegasus began….At the same time, the 3d Brigade of the 1st Cavalry was airlifted by Chinooks and Hueys into landing zone Stud in preparation for an air assault into two objective areas further west. Weather delayed the attack until 1300, when the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, air assaulted into landing zone Mike located on prominent ground south of Highway Nine and well forward of the Marine attack. The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, went into the same landing zone to expand and develop the position. The 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, air assaulted into an area north of Highway Nine….

      On D+4 (5 April), the 2d Brigade continued its attack on the old French fort meeting heavy enemy resistance….Units of the 1st Brigade entered the operation with the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, air assaulting into landing zone Snapper, due south of Khe Sanh and overlooking Highway Nine….The heaviest contact on that date occurred in the 3d Brigade’s area of operation as the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, continued its drive west on Highway Nine….The troops of the 1st Cavalry Division were airlifted to Hill 471 relieving the Marines at this position….At 0800 on 8 April the relief of Khe Sanh was effected and the 1st Cavalry Division became the new landlord. The 3d Brigade airlifted its command post into Khe Sanh and assumed the mission of securing the area. This was accomplished after the 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry, successfully cleared Highway Nine to the base and effected linkup with the 26th Marine Regiment….At this time it became increasingly evident, through lack of contact and the large amounts of new equipment being found indiscriminately abandoned on the battlefield, that the enemy had fled the area rather than face certain defeat. He was totally confused by the swift, bold, many-pronged attacks.

      Further significance of Pegasus was the interservice integration. Tolson praised “the great team effort of all the services, Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force….The fact that we were able to co-ordinate all of these operations in a single headquarters was a commander’s dream.” However, interservice rivalry also existed and some in the Marine Corps adamantly claimed that Khe Sanh was never under siege as it could be resupplied by airdrops. Some Marines contended that the Air Cavalry relief was unnecessary as they fought their way out of the siege.

      The 1st Cavalry Division’s end of the 77-day siege at Khe Sanh in just eight days was a testament to air cavalry tactics and dramatically illustrated the speed and effectiveness with which a large force can be employed in combat. The enemy’s repeated failure to quickly comprehend the reaction time and capabilities of the Air Cav led to his defeat. Arguably, the relief of Khe Sanh was the war’s most important cavalry raid—a rapid attack into enemy territory to carry out a specific mission without the intention of holding terrain and then promptly withdrawing when the mission is accomplished.

      New Threats, New Cav

      After Vietnam, the perceived military threat to the United States was the Soviet army’s armored and mechanized divisions in Europe. That led the Army to reorganize the 1st Cavalry as a “triple capability” (TRICAP) division in 1971, combining armor, airmobile and air cavalry brigades. The post-Vietnam era saw curtailed airmobile capabilities—reflected in the 1976 edition of the Army Field Manual 100-5, Operations, and the concept of “active defense.” This doctrine, wrote Robert Hamilton of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, had focused “airpower thinking on close air support and anti-armor roles to the detriment of more flexible and independent applications.” Major Kevin J. Dougherty, serving as chief of the Current Analysis Division, Intelligence Directorate, at U.S. European Command, wrote in Joint Force Quarterly in 1999 that “the TRICAP experiment became mired in bureaucratic ineptitude and, by August 1980, the 1st Cavalry was transformed into a heavy armored division.”

      In October 1974, the 101st Airborne Division dropped the parenthetical Airmobile in favor of Air Assault and accepted the implied doctrinal change, which attempted to fuse manpower, weapons and aerial transport with “cavalry doctrine.” Although the 101st took the title Air Assault, it does not conduct “air assaults” or other air cavalry tactics, which integrate attack, transport and observation aircraft with the fighting elements of the division, as did the 1st Air Cav. The 101st Air Assault Division ensures continuous availability of aviation assets to meet unique tactical requirements, but it is not an air cavalry division. A “combat air assault” is an air cavalry tactic—not merely an airmobile transport of troops by helicopter.

      Another contributor to the demise of “air cavalry” tactics was the advent of a separate Army Aviation branch in 1983 and the development of the Apache helicopter, which could “stand off” at some distance and engage targets. Gone was the tactic of close-in fire support for the dismounted sky troopers from an attack helicopter such as a Cobra. This aviation independence and the Army’s new tactics effectively ended the synchronized combat air assault that was the hallmark of the 1st Air Cavalry Division.

      An Air Cav for the 21st Century?

      Dougherty wrote in 1999 that some Army thinkers recognized that “the integration of infantry mobility and target acquisition capability with the speed, agility, and firepower of helicopters is a potent combination; but the current force structure does not capture the helicopter’s air cavalry possibilities.” Noting that helicopter modernization programs make a genuine air cavalry role a promising prospect for incorporation into all divisions, Doughtery concluded, “Doctrine and tactics built around an organization of air assault deployable light infantry and air cavalry brigades would be more in line with a true revolution in military affairs.”

      The future military will be smaller, more technologically oriented and have swift-moving forces to perform its missions. As then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2011, “The strategic rationale for swift-moving expeditionary forces, be they Army or Marines, airborne infantry or special operations, is self-evident given the likelihood of counterterrorism, rapid reaction, disaster response, or stability or security force assistance missions.” President Barack Obama announced in early 2012 that the military will be reshaped over time with an emphasis on countering terrorism, maintaining a nuclear deterrent, protecting the U.S. homeland and “deterring and defeating aggression by any potential adversary.”

      While air cavalry tactics can be executed by Army Rangers, Navy SEALs or Marine or Air Force special operations forces, such as in the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, future military planning should create true air cavalry units, such as the Vietnam-era 1st Cavalry Division, composed of specially trained and equipped personnel—not out of nostalgia, but out of a sense of what is most mission-oriented and best for America’s national security interests.

      Colonel Joseph E. Abodeely, USA (ret.), was an infantry platoon leader in the 2-7 Cavalry during Operations Pegasus and Delaware. He taught AirLand Battle, military law and counterterrorism at the 6224th U.S. Army Reserve School, was an Army Reserve JAG officer and a trial attorney for more than 40 years. He is CEO of the Arizona Military Museum.
     
  2.  
  3. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,678
    Likes Received:
    6,652
    interesting.................................................
     
    Bahamut likes this.
  4. Indx TechStyle

    Indx TechStyle Perfaarmance Naarmal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,955
    Likes Received:
    7,490
    Location:
    21°N 78°E / 21°N 78°E
    Too long to read, though I.got what it is from starting.
    So, yes.
    Best application among mentioned is surgical post mortem of sovereignty sponsor of terrorists. Other is for calamities.
    But for winning wars, we must properly equip army with proper weapons before it.
     
    Bahamut likes this.
  5. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    somewhere in space time
    They are best use in a fluid battle field as they can react faster ,so in case of ambush such unit can rush to the site in matter of minutes .Plus the can be used to as storm trooper ,to quickly send into battle field to make a opening
     
    OrangeFlorian and Indx TechStyle like this.
  6. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    somewhere in space time

    For more info ..........................................................................................
     
    Indx TechStyle likes this.
  7. armyofhind

    armyofhind Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    378
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Air cavalry tactics used by South African special forces or Recces as they're called were instrumental in turning the tide in the Rhodesian Bush War.
     
    OrangeFlorian and Bahamut like this.
  8. Bornubus

    Bornubus Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    6,875
    Not sure about the term but India do have Heli borne Air assault and simultaneous troop transport in Hot zones since 1971 and in IPKF.

    It was thought during Kargil also but Mi 8 and Mi 24 were too heavy to be fly in rarefied climate apart from Rugged terrain.


    1st heliborne ops of Indian Army 1971
    _______________________________________________________________________

    http://bravestofthebrave.com/?p=14





    The Helilift was to commence around 2:30 pm and therefore there was hardly any time even to hold a conference of the company commanders. There was battle confusion without a battle! At such times (when there is not adequate time) troops move with pouch scale of ammunition and shakkarparas as rations for 48 hours. During a war, troops constantly carry these things on their person/in pouches and haversacks. The scale of pouch ammunition, during an action, doesn’t last more than 20 to 30 minutes of a fire fight. This scale of ammunition is more appropriate when troops are deployed ‘In Aid of Civil Power’ during peace time civil disturbances. However, an outline plan was quickly evolved. Since M1-4 helicopters could carry around 6 to 7 persons (with their equipment, weapons and ammunition), a flight of 7 to 8 helicopters was expected to carry about 45 persons in one wave. Therefore itt was decided that Charlie company under its company commander Maj Malik and CO;s party should land initially followed by Bravo, Alfa and Delta companies. Control of the helipad (landing ground) being essential for subsequent waves to land. Charlie company’s initial task would be to fan out and control and area up to 1000 to 1500 meters all around it. *during a war, while physically moving into an enemy territory, we move tactically on the assumption that the enemy is holding out). It was also to send a platoon to ‘occupy’ the rail – Road Bridge nearby. Bravo Company in the following wave was to send on platoon to the radio station and the remaining company (ie company less a platoon – in military parlance) was to ‘occupy’ the airport. Alfa and Delta companies followed Bravo were to remain in heli landing area for any unforeseen contingencies. One wave (consisting of 7 to 8 helicopters) could take about 20 minutes flight time to reach Sylhet from Kulaura. Therefore, time lag between two flights (arriving at Sylhet) would be 40 to 45 minutes. It gets dark early in the evening in the east. Therefore it was also essential to ensure that the entire battalion concentrated in Sylhet by the last light (ie by sunset). This entailed that the first wave landed in Sylhet between 1400 and 1430 hours. There was hardly any time left for normal battle procedures to take place. First to land in Sylhet (from our battalion) was major portion of ‘C’ company led by a cool and courageous officer, Maj Maney Malik. On landing at Miraparam around 1500 hours, they were ‘received’ by the Pakistani regular troops with small arms fire. (In retrospect, it was obvious that our morning reconnaissance flight had given away our intentions and our hovering over Mirapara adjacent to an important bridge over the river Surma gave away likely site of landing. Thus, a part of their mobile reserves must have been earmarked to oppose any helilanding there). The first wave of Charlie Company thus on landing, had no time to organize itself. Its personnel, as they got off, went straight charging in the direction from where the firing was coming, raising the war cry of ‘Ayo Gorkhali’ as they went charging forward. We could also hear enemy’s war cries of ‘Allah – O – Akbar’ coming from different directions. Co’s party – my party – landed in the second wave consisting of remaining part of ‘C’ coy and a major portion of Bravo Company under Capt VK Sharma after about 40 to 45 minutes. Our sections and platoons as they jumped off the helicopters in twos and threes automatically ran to occupy their predetermined (practiced in peace time field exercises by their company commanders) areas in a ‘clock ray’ method. With the landing of our first wave, the enemy was left in no doubt about our landing ground for subsequent waves. The enemy now knew that we will try and quickly build up (get our remainder battalion to land) at this place. Therefore, control of the landing area and area around it was crucial to us and denial of the same was of equal importance to the enemy. In a Heliborne operation, an initial unopposed landing is important for heliborne troops to get control of the landing area. Thereafter, next 2 to 3 hours are crucial for subsequent flights to land, build up and dig in. but there were were facing opposition right from the time of landing. While our helicopters returned to base for subsequent flights, the enemy quickly started concentrating more and more troops against us, as slowly but surely, the increasing volume, intensity and spread of MMG fire indicated. However, in retrospect, I think what benefited us in those first crucial hours, was the enemy’s awareness that the Gorkhas were against them – as our war cries of Ayo Gorkhali indicated to them. It was only later – after the surrender – that we came to know that it was 31 Punjab personnel who happened to be opposing our initial landing, with 22 Baluch joining them that night. Thus, while we were kept under increasingly heavy fire with threatening war cries of Allah – O –Akbar and equally threatening charges of these enemy detachments, we noticed that they preferred to keep a respectful distance from us. (The only way the enemy could have evicted us was through a bayonet charge. But the enemy knew by its previous experiences with our battalion, that the price they will have to pay would be 10:1 as we were like a cornered cat fighting for its very survival). We had to be extremely careful not to waste our ammunition as we were carrying only a pouch scale of it. Our troops while pressing forward (to enlarge area of control around helipad) were equally careful to open fire only when they were sure to hit the enemy. As this ding dong battle was going on, essential for control of the landing pad, our second sortie having already involved in the goings on explained above our total strength (in Sylhet) at that time would have been about 90 to 100 fighting troops. This consisted of complete ‘C’ company and part of Bravo Company besides my group. This total strength had about 15 LMGs an 4 MMGs all scattered in small detachments of 2 to 3 persons each. In spite of all these numbers of LMGs and MMGs we had to be extremely careful about ammunition expenditure. I could see these detachments moving from place to place trying to chase away Pakistani detachments who were trying ot contain us in a smaller and smaller circle, failing their effort to eliminate/evict us. Maj Segan and his detachment of 99 Mountain Regiment had been with us at Atgram and Gazipur. He not only volunteered but insisted on accompanying my party. He and his detachment played an important part in Sylhet battle.
     
    angeldude13, Kunal Biswas and Bahamut like this.
  9. Bornubus

    Bornubus Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    Messages:
    4,129
    Likes Received:
    6,875
    Heli borne assault by Mi 8 and Mi 24 armed with S 8 rocket would've been a success but Pakis have Stingers on every Peaks and low accuracy of Rockets due to the climate.

    Otherwise S 8 Rockets are nightmare for Infantry and light Vehicles


    MI 8 during Kargil with some 120 ~ S8 Rockets something what soviets did in Afghanistan


    mi 8.jpg
     
  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,630
    Likes Received:
    17,105
    Location:
    EST, USA
    What on earth is an air cavalry?

    The word cavalry comes from the word cheval, which means horse.

    Why do we still use historical terms? We don't use horses anymore, so let's get rid of these legacy terms. On a related note, a tank is not a horse.

    If we need to refer to heliborne troops, then let's call them just that, heliborne troops.

    For me, an air cavarly is pegasus riding troops.
    [​IMG]
     
    sorcerer and Adioz like this.
  11. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    somewhere in space time
    The first unit was initial a cavalry unit so when it was raised again they called themselves the air cavalry.
     
  12. Navnit Kundu

    Navnit Kundu Pika Hu Akbarrr!! Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    2,903
    Best thing to say if you want to annoy those who write long posts. :pound:

    Happens to me all the time, gets me every time. :scared2: One could simply exercise the god given options of not reading, or scrolling down or hitting the ignore button for those whose posts are too long to read, instead of saying that it was too long to read. It might trigger a heart attack in writers with a weak heart and you could be arrested for abatement to homicide. :shock:

    I remember there was another thread where we were discussing Cold Start, where this came up, I believe even @Mikesingh and @Sakal Gharelu Ustad were arguing that we don't need anything extra, we have it all figured out, while I was arguing that we need more mechanized warfare capabilities (artillery, air lift).

    Check the thread here :

    http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/...ng-these-war-movies.76196/page-3#post-1158141

    Also, relevant :

     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
    Bahamut likes this.
  13. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    somewhere in space time
    An air cavalry has helicopter attached to the unit and move it. It may have 10 - 20 helicopter, maintainces crew and infantry that are specialists in heliborn operation in the unit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,630
    Likes Received:
    17,105
    Location:
    EST, USA
    I know. :)
    ________________________
     
  15. Navnit Kundu

    Navnit Kundu Pika Hu Akbarrr!! Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    2,903
    We haven't amassed even 10% of the equipment and war material required to execute the Cold Start doctrine. Acquiring the material is just one aspect, then there's training and mock drills to execute your plans, these are necessary to validate your doctrine and to serve as an overt deterrent to the enemy. This doctrine was cooked up more than 15 years ago but we still haven't inducted the requisite artillery regiments. We need land mobile artillery, and air mobile artillery. an order has recently been placed for Smasung K9 and M777. These systems will start arriving after 2018 and the last unit will arrive in 2015, after which our fancy doctrine can have some teeth. What were they doing for 15 years? By the time we induct all the armament required for our doctrine, the security ecosystem and the threat matrix will have already changed.

    When the West threatened Russia, they rapidly came up with new doctrines, their military research and design departments rapidly came up with prototypes to suit their doctrine, their manufacturing sector stood up to the challenge of mass manufacturing the systems on time, their army underwent a rapid restructuring in their training and hierarchy to align themselves seamlessly with the new doctrine, they did their exercises and validated their doctrines on the ground, this is how they were able to outfox a larger enemy like the US in Ukraine and Syria. This is how winners are made, not by patting ourselves on our own backs. A doctrine is only successful if the people who envisage it have a perfect synchronization with those who manufacture the weapons and those who use the weapons. In our case, there is complete dissonance between these three entities, with each department doing whatever entertains its own vanity. It doesn't seem like our higher ups are taking this seriously either.

    The simple fact is that if Cold Start were operational doctrine, we would have used it after 26/11. We need strategic airlift capabilities (air mobile artillery and capabilities to airdrop multiple divisions of troops simultaneously, instead of just special forces having that capability). Land warfare doctrines like Cold Start just don't cut it anymore. Wars of future will be high intensity but short wars where those who are able to quickly move a large number of troops and war materiel are going to win. This requires massive airlift capabilities which need to be under the command of the army or a joint strategic command and NOT under IAF.

    Check the critique of the sluggish military and unimaginative political elite by Bharat Karnad and the statements made by the military men on this panel, they exude the same complacent sense of accomplishment, despite having not been able to alter the status quo in the subcontinent.

     
    Bahamut likes this.
  16. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    somewhere in space time
    To some extend I agree, look at the pace Of C 295W, it is being neglected,India is nearly MTA, at tanker are not brought, state of artillery is bad so is the air defence of navy, army and air force is not integrated and the is only one trilateral command, Navy lack ASW capability and with sub fleet in shambles is spending billions on one aircraft carrier which could have brought 10 sub. Money is not being spend on right things.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
    Navnit Kundu likes this.
  17. Navnit Kundu

    Navnit Kundu Pika Hu Akbarrr!! Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    2,903
    In case of the acquisition of the M777 which was stalled for so many years because the US was acting up, there was nothing stopping the IA from getting an alternative. A good alternative was in fact available in the same category (ultralight howitzer 155mm), it was the Singaporean Pegasus. If the M777 is ~4 tons, the Pegasus is ~5 tons, which was still within our airlift capacity so we could have simply got this instead of blaming the US for not giving us the M777.



    Look at that Pegasus.

    It has self propulsion systems too unlike the M777. If you remove the self propulsion module, then the weight of the Pegasus will be the same as, or even less than the M777. I don't know why this option was not considered seriously. We did similar blunders for our armored forces (to Arjun or not to Arjun? that is the question), and after all the drama about our Bhim self-propelled artillery, now we have opted for Samsung K9 artillery from S.Korea. This is not a problem of just lack of industrial complex. Even if we assume that insinuation at face value, the army was in fact given the cash to acquire from other providers if Indian industry was not ready. Are they forthcoming to take the blame for not doing so? They just keep blaming the lack of industry for all their woes.

    Take a look at what other nations of interest are doing, they have retained only the most skilled and the most highly equipped personnel who are indispensable to operating their industrial war machine and removed everyone else. They are increasingly outsourcing the small-arms/ infantry type jobs to paid mercenaries and jihadi assets, so their own soldier casualties are low. One might argue that their threat matrix is different but then one can also argue that these nations are also engaged in more theaters simultaneously than India is. For every western infantryman deployed on the ground, there are at least 10X mujaheddin assets who are already fighting on behalf of the crown. By the time the first soldier lands in a foreign theater, most of the gritty tasks have already been taken care of, and the soldier simply acts like some sort of a technician who designates targets for their artillery, and airsupport to pound. This also reduces casualty rate. It's a completely different mindset from our "DIY" mindset.

    Having a smaller force allows you to spend more on transportation and logistics, which allows quick maneuver dominance over your adversary. Have we really learnt any lessons from our sluggish mobilization during OP Prakram? Somehow it hurts our pride to discusses our weaknesses so we'd rather not discuss them and cover them up with a sense of overconfidence. "We can crush Pakistan, what more do you want?" the army brats say. Well..if we want to become a serious power then we need to have a vision for how our force structure will look after Pakistan is balkanized. Too much attention on Pakistan has induced a sense of tunnel vision.

    Force projection is the need of the hour. Long range naval troop insertion, strategic airlift capabilities, air mobile artillery, amphibious/air mobile armor. Basically every fighting vehicle you have should be able to fit in a bigger ship or plane to be taken to the field of operations at will. We can't have our equipment ported by railways while the enemy spies gather intelligence and leak our ORBAT to their commanders back in Pakistan/China. Air mobility adds a layer of mystery about our next moves owing to the speed of deployment.

    Somehow India seems to have some sort of allergy to this sort of quick maneuver doctrines, hence the reliance on Mahabharat style mobilization (OP Parakaram). A million troops from your side, a million troops from the other side, let's assemble at the border and stare at each other eyeball to eyeball. *Slow Claps*
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
    Bahamut likes this.
  18. Bahamut

    Bahamut Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    1,816
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    somewhere in space time
    M777 was pure stupidity, SK give ToT without any problem and Pegasus is an excellent gun but then the MoD blacklisted SK.
    Arjun MK2 is a excellent tank the problem in support as it was 60 ton tank and are army was not ready to built infrastructure for it support fearing it will hit T 90 which, there should have been a program to maximise commonality between Arjun and T 90 but now the train has left the station. Same with Tejas engine, it could have AL 31 and have more commonality but we crossed a vastly different engine.
    I read a article in FORCE magazine that said the Indian military prefers to get weapons and then make strategy rather then to do the opposite.
     
  19. Navnit Kundu

    Navnit Kundu Pika Hu Akbarrr!! Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    2,903
    All of this was going on because the military operated under a curtain of secrecy and the public was blissfully ignorant in the 70's, 80's and 90's given that the economic conditions in India were poor and we didn't have an angry/aware middle class. Now that people are questioning everything, accountability is not optional anymore.
     
    Bahamut likes this.
  20. Mikesingh

    Mikesingh Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Messages:
    1,061
    Likes Received:
    1,331
    You hit the nail on the head! :cool3:
     
  21. Dark Sorrow

    Dark Sorrow Respected Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,627
    Likes Received:
    416
    Location:
    Mumbai
    Tejas's air-frame can't support AL-31 class engine.
     

Share This Page