On this day, in 1971, all three services maintained pressure on Pakistani forces on both the eastern and western fronts.
Due to fierce and relentless pounding by the IAF, Pakistani Air Force (PAF) withdrew all its remaining fighters deep in the rear in western Pakistan, forcing the Indian Air Force (IAF) to change its tactics.
IAF fighter jets flew high, making themselves juicy targets to lure PAF fighters into engagement. Airfields at Murid and Chaklala were again targeted, and the oil refinery at Attock was bombed once more.
Targeted operations supported the Army's 1st Corps' advance into Pakistan's heartland in the Shakargarh bulge, in the Battle of Basantar. Simultaneously, about 400 Gorkha soldiers of the 4/5 Gorkha Regiment kept two Pakistani brigades (202 Adhoc and 313 Infantry Brigade) engaged at Sylhet fortress.
The heli-lift operation at Sylhet was completed by 0800 hours of 8 December, with the Gorkhas bravely holding off two Pakistani brigades of over 7,000 men until war's end, hindering their tactical retreat and hastening Dhaka's surrender.
While the 1st Corps faced a challenging combined arms battle in the west, the IAF provided extensive air support to formations fighting the Pakistani army thrust in the Chhamb area.
A total of 118 sorties supported regrouping across the Munawar Tawi river, and another 55 sorties targeted Pakistani ground positions and troop concentrations in the east.
The navy would once again hit Karachi on the nights of 8-9 December, dealing another death blow to the Pakistani navy.
However, on 9 December, in retaliation for the sinking of PNS Ghazi, the Pakistani Navy would torpedo the Indian Navy frigate INS Khukri, resulting in the loss of 18 officers and 176 sailors.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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