How Chachro Raid of 1971 Became the Bravest Surgical Strike by Indian Army
India’s equation with Pakistan has always been unstable. while there have been multiple attempts from the neighboring country, the Indian army has been competent enough to strike back.
The most important event that took place in 1971 was the Indo Pakistan war, which was a confrontation between the two countries. While a lot of tension remained between India and Pakistan, both countries were no strangers to warfare. What Pakistan did not see coming, turned out to be one of the bravest operations carried out by the Indian army.
In 1971 specially trained commandos of Indian army’s 10 para SF infiltrated 80kms inside Pakistan. They attacked the opposition covering almost 500kms area in Pakistan and returned home without any casualties. This is why, Chachro raid of 1971 is considered one of the bravest and most successful surgical strikes carried out by the Indian army.
At 7am on December 6,1971, commandos of 10 para SF moved in a steal mode on a mission. What no one saw coming was an MMG hidden somewhere in the sand dunes which opened fire at the commandos. While the Indian commandos hustled around to look for cover positions, an LMG mounted jonga vehicle charged towards the enemy and opened fire in every direction. The LMG was being controlled by Naik Nihal Singh. No sooner than he opened fire Indian commando’s 18 LMGs opened hell fire on the enemy. They took over the enemy positions while the Pakistani soldiers ran to look for cover.
This took place 70kms inside the Pakistan border in Kita. India’s desert commandos were out for revenge. This firefight started world’s most audacious commando operation of that time. This operation was carried out by 10 para SFs Indian army also named as the desert scorpions. The success of the operation was extremely crucial as this would establish Indian’s dominance over the desert. This operation was led by Lieutenant Colonel Bhawani Singh. The 10 para SFs infiltrated the enemy border for 4 days.
To carry out this operation, two teams were formed namely Alpha and Charlie. Both of these teams were trained on desert warfare for a period of about 5 months. Their objective was to strike out enemy positions 50kms inside their territory and hit the supply lines to create a sense of instability and confusion. The Indian commandos covered 500kms of the enemy territory taking over the enemy positions. There wasn’t enough information about the land’s topography but this didn’t stop the commandos from achieving their objective.
Chachro was the first objective, the commandos were out at night in pitch darkness. The alpha team slowly moved forward, led by Brigadier Abraham Chacko (who was second lieutenant at the time). The objective was for the Alpha team to hit the Pakistani headquarters at Chachro. This would create confusion among the enemies and give the Indian commandos the chance of maximum infiltration behind enemy lines. According to Brigadier Chacko the path was so bad that it damaged the silencers of their jongas. But this worked in their favor was the enemy thought that it was the Indian tank column was moving towards them. A patrol team cleared the Alpha’s path to the Chachro’s headquarters. At 7am on 7th December the patrol team gave the green light.
The alpha team surrounded the town and blocked all entrances. Team Charlie took offensive positions. Both teams moved forward very carefully making sure no civilian was hurt. They took over the town by dusk.
There were 18 Pakistani casualties and no Indian casualties.
After Chachro, team Charlie infiltrated while team alpha moved towards their second target. Mirwah and Nagarparker. They had to work during the day due to paucity of time. The assault began on December 8. The Alpha team was led by Colonel MPS Chaudhary. As soon as they reached the Pakistani rangers headquarters the confusion caused the rangers to fire in the opposite direction. The assault didn’t last long, and both the towns were taken over.
Several surgical strikes were carried out on Chachro and Mirwah.
For his superlative leadership, Lt. Col Bhawani Singh was awarded the Mahavir Chakra in 1971.
The immaculate training and leadership make this one of the bravest raids in Indian history. While there was a lot of political tension between the two countries, the commandos were under a lot of pressure to succeed as it was crucial for India to establish dominance. The military planning was impeccable and the commandos carried themselves with bravery, quick thinking and coordination.