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Having tested Indian political will and military preparedness in Kutch in the first half of 1965 and found them wanting, Pakistan launched Operation Gibraltar in Jammu & Kashmir in August 1965. On its failure, Pakistan followed it up by launching Operation Grand Slam in Chhamb sector of J&K. The IAF produced fool proof photographic evidence of the use of the American arms by Pakistan in Kutch and responded in less than 30 minutes to the Indian Army's request for air support in Chhamb — a record unlikely to be matched ever — and effectively blunted Pakistan's advance, leading to the failure of Operation Grand Slain. The two air forces initially tested each other in the Chhamb-Juarain sector between 1st and 5th September. The Indian Army opened a second front, when it crossed the international boundary in the Punjab on 6 September. The two air forces then went in for each other.
The Duels of the Himalayan Eagle describes the First Air War between India and Pakistan. Commencing from an analysis of the two air forces and their concept of operations, every significant aerial and ground engagement has been covered in detail. These include Pakistani raids on Pathankot and Kalaikunda, Indian ventures into Sargodha, Badin and Peshawar as well as various aerial engagements. These stories are based on the narratives of the air warriors involved in the operations or records maintained on a daily basis in the squadron diaries by various units during the period of the War.
Pakistani disastrous para drops near Pathankot, Adampur and Halwara in the West and Gauhati in the East have been covered in detail. The travails narrated by seven air warriors who became POWs have also been included.
Finally, the author has dissected the entire air war and has put down his own conclusions — probably the first such attempt by an Indian author.
Author: Air Marshal Bharat Kumar
Features: Large Format, Size 11.5" X 8.5", Photos: Colour & B/W