Of a glorious Indian ship & sunken enemy submarine

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by JAISWAL, Jan 17, 2012.


    JAISWAL Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 13, 2010
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    Source~~> The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum - Lead Article

    HMS Hercules, a 20000-tonne aircraft carrier,
    was still under construction in the United
    Kingdom when Germany and Japan surrendered
    after World War II. Admiral White Hall laid off the
    ship in Garelockhead Scottish lakes near Glasgow
    at anchorage in a preserved state. To maintain all
    metal and wooden parts under vacuum
    conditions, powerful machines were employed in
    the cocooned ship.
    One fine morning in 1957, the Government of
    India decided to purchase this ship. It is now 46
    years since this grand ship was acquired from
    the British by India. It was renamed ‘Vikrant’ and
    commissioned on January 16, 1961. It served
    gloriously for more than 30 years as a flagship of
    India. On January 31, 1997, it was decided to
    decommission it and convert it into a floating
    naval museum.
    On arrival at Mumbai for the first time, it was
    received by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on
    November 3, 1961. From that day onwards up to
    her decommissioning, it visited Trincomalee,
    Singapore, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lakshadweep, Iran
    and several other countries, showing our flag as
    a gesture of goodwill. During this period,
    thousands of VIPs and foreign dignitaries visited
    the ship.
    On these visits, the overseas Indians were elated
    to see and touch the great ship which symbolised
    the strength and maritime glory of their
    motherland. The most important role of the
    Vikrant commenced on December 3, 1971, when
    hostilities against Pakistan commenced. Vikrant
    gave a star performance in these operations. Her
    Alizes and Seahawk aircrafts pounded ships and
    harbour structures relentlessly at Cox’s Bazar, Hat
    Hazar, Dohazari and Chittagong, causing
    extensive devastation and rendering all harbour
    facilities useless. This superb feat hastened the
    final surrender of the Pakistani forces. The
    hundreds of sorties launched by the steam
    catapult from the angled flight deck had a
    devastating effect on the enemy’s morale.
    On decommissioning, all sensitive equipment has
    been removed from the vessel, anchored near
    oyster rock in Mumbai. The public can have a
    close look at the flight deck, deck-landing mirror
    site which costed more than a crore each, the
    aircraft lift which can raise 400 persons at a time
    and the aircraft arresting wires, etc.
    Besides, this aircraft carrier’s name has been
    associated with a historical happening to which
    much publicity has not been given so far. This
    episode relates to the failed but well-planned
    attack of Pakistani submarine PNS Gazi just before
    the commencement of the 1971 war. The news
    of the deployment of India’s flagship Vikrant in
    the Bay of Bengal made Karachi plan a
    devastating pre-emptive move against INS
    Vikrant. The enemy planned that PNS Gazi would
    rush to the Bay of Bengal and target the Indian aircraft carrier.
    The INS Vikrant played a crucial role in the 1971 operations against Pakistan
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012

    JAISWAL Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 13, 2010
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    The deployment of the submarine PNS Gazi was
    kept secret as a measure of utmost strategic
    caution. Vikrant took its position in the Andaman
    and Nicobar Islands. Thus, she was away from
    the direct gaze of the enemy intelligence as well
    as the international media. The strategists at
    Karachi guessed that Vikrant, deployed in the Bay
    of Bengal, was likely to visit the prime naval base
    at Vishakhapatnam for logistics and other support
    or to seek harbour protection there. PNS Gazi,
    therefore, chose to wait under the surface in a
    fully dived condition outside Vishakhapatnam
    harbour. Subsequent analysis of the sequence of
    events by defence specialists later confirmed this.
    Those days, I was on duty with the Eastern Naval
    Command. On declaration of war at 7.30 pm,
    December 3, 1971, the destroyer INS Rajput was
    ordered to leave for the Chittagong area, with full
    despatch. As she raced northwards, she fired
    depth charges on both sides. This was done as a
    matter of utmost caution in the theatre of war
    waters likely to have enemy submarine presence.
    At that time, the captain of the destroyer did not
    realise that the routine firing of depth charges had
    grievously damaged the Pakistani submarine
    beneath. It was a prize trophy, the eventual
    finding of which was to be a historical and
    glorious achievement for the Indian Navy.
    Within 40 hours, a fisherman operating close to
    the Bimlipattam coast reported finding a lifebouy
    with PNS Gazi painted on it and some other
    floating debris. These were personally taken to
    the Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Naval
    Command, Vice-Admiral N. Krishnan, who
    rewarded the fisherman suitably. In order to
    verify this, a team of divers was sent to the spot.
    Divers confirmed that the Pakistani submarine
    was in fact lying badly damaged on the seabed
    and there was no sign of life on board. It was
    essential to recover the ship’s log book from the
    sunken and dead submarine tilting on one side to
    ascertain the motive of the enemy ship and the
    route followed by her in reaching there. After
    weeks of preparation and at a hefty cost, divers
    retrieved the ship’s logbook as well the famous
    tapes containing the Pakistani Prime Minister’s
    These, along with some other artifices, are now
    displayed in the Naval Museum at
    Vishakhapatnam. The divers, while going around
    the ship’s silhouette lying on the seabed and
    covered with mild coral growth, had noticed that
    some of the ship’s crew had attempted to
    wrongly come out of the submarine through the
    conning tower hatch. The Indian Government
    also decided that no bodies of dead naval
    personnel on board were to be removed ashore.
    The precise point where the submarine is lying
    has been marked on sea navigational charts by a
    marker bouy. Many visitors like to have a look at
    the sunken hull but every trip is a costly affair.
    The rescue vessel INS Nireekshak, commissioned
    recently, makes the underwater trips more
    organised but the cost is still beyond the reach of
    the common man. While the Gazi lies silent in a
    dark and dingy seabed, the Vikrant is majestically
    awaiting a new role in Mumbai .
  4. HeinzGud

    HeinzGud Senior Member Senior Member

    Nov 26, 2011
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    Colombo, Sri Lanka
    Salute to the glorious ship! :namaste:

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