On this day (10 December), in 1971, the Indian Air Force (IAF) continued its heli-lift operations, airlifting almost two brigades of troops across the Meghna River, as the race to Dhaka heated up.
These heli-lift operations will soon be followed by a daring paradrop of 2 Para at Tangail on 11 December, which will prevent the withdrawal of Pakistan Army's 93rd Brigade, paving the way for the surrender at Dhaka.
Fierce infantry and armour battles were fought in the Chhamb and Shakargarh sectors, supported by the IAF. The air force also continued interdiction missions deep into the territory of western Pakistan.
The helicopter crossing of Meghna by the 4 Guards, which commenced on the evening of 9 December, was completed by 0300 hours the next morning (10 December).
Soon after completing the landing, the hardy 4 Guards, who were pulled straight out from the battle at Ashuganj, hours ago, advanced on the road towards Dhaka.
Moreover, on the request of Lt General Sagat Singh, another heli-lift to cross the Meghna from the same Mi-4 helicopters of 110 and 105 Helicopter Unit were conducted, this time from Brahmanbaria to Narsingdi, of 10 Bihar, 18 Rajput, 311 Mountain Brigade and 82 Light Artillery Regiment, and subsequently of 59 Mountain Artillery Regiment, and 65 Mountain Artillery Regiment of 57 Mountain Artillery Brigade.
In total, 409 sorties were conducted by the helicopters, airlifting around 5,000 troops and 51 tonnes of equipment.
The Tangail paradrop will further accelerate the race to Dhaka, with the Pakistani eastern headquarters calling for the withdrawal of all remaining forces for a last stand at Dhaka.
Meanwhile, the fighting in the mountains of Ladakh also intensified as Colonel Chewang Rinchen, swiftly moved towards the final objective, Olthinthang.
On 8 December, when the battle commenced, Colonel Rinchen opted for a surprise attack from the 18,000 feet high precipitous mountainous route, instead of advancing along the heavily defended Shyok river valley.
Pt 18402 was captured on the same day (8 December) while Chalunka complex was captured the next day (9 December) against heavy Pakistani resistance. His forces would then advance to Turtuk, which was finally captured on 14 December.
As the race towards Dhaka heats up, with the Indians ahead and massive bombardment by the IAF and Indian Navy severely damaging the Pakistani Navy, the capture of Dhaka becomes imminent
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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