Operation Jackpot – Part 1

September 3, 2012 2:22 am 14 comments

This is Part 1 of a two part series on Operation Jackpot. Part 2 can be found here

Operation Jackpot was a Bangladeshi naval commando operation, the objective was to take on Naval Special Service Group of the Pakistani Navy.

 

Map of BangladeshInitial planning of Operation

Nine crewmen decided to take control of the submarine PNS Mangro (which was commissioned first on 5th August, 1970) . However, their plan was disclosed causing them to flee from death threats made by Pakistan’s Naval Intelligence. Out of the 9 crewmen, one was killed by Pakistan Naval Intelligence, but the others managed to travel to the Indian Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland. From Geneva, embassy officials brought them to New Delhi on April 9, 1971 where they began a program of top-secret naval training.

After initial training in Delhi under commander Sharma and  Brg. Gupta, from April 25 to May 15,1971, the 8 Bangladeshi submariners started recruiting  volunteers from different Mukti Bahini reception camps to form a strong naval commando unit with help of Indian Navy.

Simultaneously, Indian Commander Bhattacharyya, Major Jalil and Colonel M. A. G. Osmani in collaboration with top regional commanders established a secret camp  codenamed C2P, in Plassey. Meanwhile, the Mukti Bahini launched several  operations in Satkhira, Tangail and Barisal.  Guerrilla attacks were carried out on targets in Dhaka by a crack commando group trained by Major ATM Haider (ex-SSG commando of Pakistan Army), and  the simultaneous mining and damaging of ships in Chittagong, Mongla, Chandpur, and Narayanganj on August 15,1971 . This became known in international media as “Operation Jackpot”.

Setup and training

By the last week of May, 1971 the volunteers joined the Plassey Camp for training. Initially only 300 volunteers were chosen. Later, an additional 200 commandos were trained in the Plassey training camp. The Camp Commander at C2P was Commander M. N. Samanth, MVC.  Training Coordinator was Lt. Commander G. Martis, VrC, NM; both from the Indian Navy.

There were 20 Indian Navy instructors which included:

Lt.S.Das VSM,

Lt.V.P.Kapil, VrC,

Leading seaman M.K.Gupta,NM,

Leading Seaman K. Singh, NM,

Leading Seaman Nana Buz

Along-with The 8 Bangladeshi submariners:

Petty Officer Chief Rahmatullah,

Bir Protik, Radio Operator,

A.W.Chowdhury,

BIr Uttam, Petty Officer,

Moshraf Hossain, Bir Uttam (his award was revoked by Bangladesh Govt),

Submariner Ahsanullah,

Submariner A.U.Sheikh,

Submariner Badiul

Submariner Abedur Rahman

 

Importance of the Naval commando training program :

India and Bangladesh Military high command gave an extra importance to the Naval Commando Operation. Special care were taken on training. The naval commandos received the best food and military rations compared to the other Mukti Bahini.They were given extra allowances shared same medical facilities as the Indian Navy.MARCOS

The naval commando training camp was often inspected  by Chief of Indian Naval Staff Admiral Nanda, Commander of Armed Forces of Bangladesh Col.M.A.G.Osmani and Commander of Eastern Theatre Lt.Gen.G.S.Aurora. During these inspections, officers personally talked with trainee commandos and asked about their training development and discussed their personal and social problems .

In a discussion on 15th June, 1971 at Plassey with trainee commandos, Admiral Nanda said that “Our aim is not only to destroy the ships in ports but also create an international opinion that foreign ships are not secured in East-Pakistan sea port, so once are successful in our operation foreign countries will not send their  ships and supply to East Pakistan ports”.

The second target was to destroy ships as well to cut the cable by which ships are berthed with anchorage post. If the cables are demolished in the mined ships, then the power of the tide shall push the ship to sink horizontally in a port and if few ships sink  in a port horizontally ,then the ports will be damaged for years together. Due to this particular reason, necessary training was given to the commandos as to how to put a cable cutting charge on a berthed ship. The instructors made it very clear to the trainees that ships are to be mined as well as the cables demolished along with the ships.

The training programme was almost 15 to 18 hours daily . The course included swimming, night swimming, survival training, under water demolition, night demolition, object demolition training with strong foundation like bridge or big building, using limpet mines  on ship like objects, hand to hand combat etc.  During training commandos were divided into 8 Grades according to their training results. The best commandos were in Grade A and as per the training result they were posted till Grade H. The commandos were  selected for operation not only based on their results but also on their origin of home district. Information on river tides, weather and East Pakistan naval infrastructure and deployment was collected through the Indian Military report and Mukti Bahini. Selected commandos were sent from C2P to forward bases in Tripura and West Bengal, where a final briefing was given to them.

By mid-July  1971, the first batch of commandos were ready for operation.

 

Final Briefing and Commander Selection for Mongla Port

For Mongla Operation, 60 of the best commandos were selected from Khulna region and they were transported from Plassey to Barackpur Cantonment on 26th July, 1971. After resting for few hours in Barackpur Cantonment, the commandos were transported to Port Canning Matler.

On 27th July at around 1-30 P.M, the Commandos arrived in Port Canning Matler where 200 C and C Specially trained land commandos were per-stationed. The purpose of the land commands was to give the Naval commandos support  and help them navigate  through Sundarban forest to Mongla port. The commandos were stationed by the side of a small canal. There were  24 tents and 15 country boats for the commandos. Naval commandos who  from Plassey were given 5 tents in front.

The C&C Commando group was leaded by Mr.Raja (an Ex-Chief Petty Officer of Pakistan Navy) and Mr.Khijir. The navigator was Mr.Afzal who knew the river route from port canning Matler to Mongla port . There was approximately a platoon of the Dogra Regiment which consisted of  a Major,2 Captain  and 3 Lieutenant  who were present at port canning Matler to receive both the commando groups. The officers informed  the  incoming  commandos that Lt.Gen. J.S.Aurora and Brig Gen Salik, brigade commander of Barackpur Cantonment, and other high-ranking officers arrive soon.

At about 3-30 P.M.two helicopters  carrying Lt.Gen.G.S.Aurora, Brig.Gen.Salik and two other Colonels along with the RD of Calcutta Radio arrived at Port Canning Matler. The Officers took their seats and started a discussion. The whole area was surrounded by the Dogra Regiment who were about 300 meters away  from the main site.

At about 3-45 Naval Commando No 0069, Aminur Rahman Khosru was called He was the only Bangladeshi commando who was present in that meeting.

 

The meeting

In the beginning Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Auroraof the meeting Aminur Rahman Khosru was introduced to all officers present there.  Lt.Gen.G.S.Aurora asked his ADC to give the Operation file.  Apart from operational details, the file contained instructions on certain songs which were to be played for propaganda purposes. RD of Calcutta Radio would be playing the songs

The was song (referred to as the ‘warning’ song) , voiced by Alpona Bhandhopadhay. It began with “Amar Putul Lokkhi Putul Ajke Prothom Jabe Shushur Bari“

The Second song (referred to as the ‘action’ song) , voiced  by Ponkoj Mollick. The lyrics started with Ami Suniechelam Tomai je Gan”. It was briefed to commander Rahman that the songs will be played from Calcutta Radio Centre B in a regular programme for eastern listeners from morning 6 am to 6-30 am or/and night 10-30 pm to 11.00 pm. First the warning song will be played  and with in 48 hours of playing warning song, action song will be played through the same programme and in those scheduled time.

Lt.Gen.Aurora categorically assured Rahman that these two songs will be only played during the time of operation and it will not be played even at the request of Prime Minister Mrs.Indra Gandhi. He then asked a question Rahman “Commander, suppose the warning is played and if  for unavoidable circumstances  the action song can  not be played. What you are going to do at that time?”

Commando Rahman  replied “in the Armed Forces we do not believe in suppose business sir, we only obey a command, it means you will play the song and we will do the operation” .Lt.Gen.G.S.Aurora was very much pleased and said “I am sure commander you can do the job successfully”.

Rahman was then briefed by Lt.Gen.Aurora. He was to reach Mongla port with in 12.00 pm during the operation night and finish the operation with in 2.am under all circumstances. Any  early or late operation put them at great risk. Mr.Raja was chosen as the 2nd in Command of the operation from C&C Commandos.

Lt.Gen.G.S.Aurora gave a short speech, addressing the commandos and briefly described the possible effect of the operation . He said after his departure all necessary equipment will be handed over to commandos by the platoon Commander of Dogra Regiment. He wished the success of Operation and the safe return of all commandos to India.

The operational briefing and command giving meeting was dismissed at 16.15 P.M.  Lt.Gen.G.S.Aurora and officers left Port Canning Matler at about 16-30P.M.

 

Arms and ammunition supplied for the operation:

Commandos received the following equipment from the Dogra regiment:

Cash 150,000 Pakistani rupees,

2 transistors (Radios)

Cooking utensils

15 heavy transport boats

60 limpet mines each with one hour delay.

30 Cable cutting Charges, half an hour delay

20 boxes of hand grenades(each box contained 24 hand grenades).

15 Boxes of plastic explosives (Approx. 30kg).

100 meter Safety Fudges.

200 detonators.

20 Crimping tools.

15 Light machine guns.

145 Stein guns.

100 SLRs with ENERGA bombs which could by fired from  SLR to destroy a target or small patrol gun boats

Dried, tinned foods and drinking water

Compass and Maps for navigation

 

Continued in Part 2

The author  was a Marine Commando during the 1971 Liberation war of Bangladesh

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Discuss here

14 Comments

  • Hi… story is very much interesting. Please post part as soon as possible.

  • Good article.

    Waiting for part 2 eagerly.

  • Mily,Molly and Mandy

    We read the article,its was really and trilling operation.The content of the article have been read us with great interest.The Indian Armed Forces did a great job,we thank the Bangladeshi Naval Commandos for their brilliant operation in Mongla port.Special thanks to commander Aminur Rahman,Khosru and Raja for their heroic action.A very litte and tiny poem for Naval commandos:
    Sailor Life
    Without wife
    Many many harbour
    Many many lover.
    We fall in love with Bangladeshi Naval commandos.
    Mily,Molly and Mandy.London UK.

  • Mily,Molly and Mandy

    Dear Reader,
    Sorry for tiny typing mistakes.Instead of Its was,Please read it was really a thrilling operation…………and content of the article have been read by us……………….
    With lot of k………..s
    M,M & M

  • Jackson C. Macmurphy

    I was posted at Dhaka,Bangladesh from 1979-1983.I joned
    in few parties of Naval commandos.The operation details mentioned above are fact.I know few of the a.m. Naval commandos personally.Please post the 2nd Part soon.
    Regards,

    Jackson C.Macmurphy

  • W.W.Wingstar Pitschall

    Hi,
    The story is thrilling and interesting.Please post part II as soon as possible.
    Regards,
    Dr.W.W.Wingstar Pitschall

  • Nirmalya Chakraborty

    Thrilling story . please give the part II at the earliest

  • Juergen schneider

    Hello
    I am Juergen Schneider from Amsterdam.I read the article Operation Jackpot.Its not pnly thrilling its interesting too.Please Post Part 2 as soon as possible.
    J.Schneider

  • Moushumi Chowdhury

    Hi
    I am Moushumi and I live In Gremany.Operation Jackpot is really interesting please Post
    Part II right now.
    Regards,
    Moushumi

  • Hello
    This is Habib .I am regular Reader of DFI.
    Unlike others,the content of OJP is very thrilling.
    The Editorial Board of DFI should publish 2nd Part
    at once and they should post both Part 1 and 2
    together again.
    I am proud to be Indian citizen.Let the terroist read
    the article and should at One once surrender to CRP.
    Good article,I have read the authors respectful attitude
    to wards Indian Armed Forces in DFI article with further
    Communication with Luker Baba and as a whole to Indian.This
    Kind of author are welcome to DFI.
    Although. DFI is private Organisation but still article which contents
    of threating to our national interested should not be published in
    DFI because it DFI bears the Name of our Motherland
    India.
    Regards,
    Dr.Ahsan Habib
    Asylwej 19
    DK- Copenhagen

  • Captain Ibnul Hossain Miah

    Hi
    I am Commander of A 320 in a commercial Airlines .
    I read the article with great interest.I was only
    3 years old during Liberation war of Bangladeesh.
    My father was a Marine commando and took part
    In Operation Jackpot. The article is Based on facts and
    true until last dot. I thank India for their Great help
    and request Pakistanis to learn from Indians what is Humanity.
    Pakistan should aplogise to Bangladesh for the genocide the comitted
    by their Army in 1971 in Bangladesh.Bangladesh govt should raise a Bill
    In UNO to condem this Genocide.
    We welcome India in all firelds.We thank Indian govt to help Bangladesh
    during liberation war of Bangladesh.
    Please Post Part 2 soon.
    Regards,
    Captain Miah.

  • Dr.Mathias Vollherd

    Hello
    I am Dr. Vollherd from Hamburg Germany.
    I am married to a Bangladeshi woman who
    Is currently studying Machine construction Engineering
    At Hamburg.we frequently visit Bangladesh.
    We have deceided to make a full length film of this
    Operation.My father is well known film producer of
    Germany.I shall soon contact the owner of this
    Website OPERATION JACKPOT MONGLA
    to purchase the article.Thats why I am requesting the
    DFI to Post 2 nd part soon and provide me the address
    Of the author.
    My e mail address is [email protected]
    I hope that I can start the movie soon.It will be first full length
    movie sponcered

  • Dr.Mathias Vollherd

    Dear sir,
    Following the above message our message is
    “Sponcered by Germany.We shall cast both
    German and Bangladeshi film actress and actor.
    It will be a commercial movie on Bangladesh liberation
    War focused on Operation Jackpot Mongla.
    Best regards,
    Jesmin and Mathias Vollherd

  • Very nice list of websites. Great source of inspiration. Thanks of sharing..

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