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The Glorious Seventeen Days September 1965 War

September 1, 1965

The first air engagement between the PAF and the IAF took place on 1st September, 1965; four Indian Vampires which were attacking our ground positions in Chhamb, were brought down by two F-86 Sabres. Describing the first PAF operation, Major General Akhtar Malik, who headed the Deva operations in Chhamb area told newsmen five days later how the Indians lost heart only few hours after the attack by Pakistani troops, and how their Commander asked his headquarters to rush 'whisky'. "We understood the message and I got in touch with Sargodha. Suddenly, I heard a thunder; Indian planes were ablaze. I was marvelling about the accuracy of my batterymen when I saw the PAF jets hovering; it were they who had hit the Indian planes. A marvellously swift response." Sqn. Ldr. Sarfaraz Ahmad Rafiqui and Flt. Lt. Imtiaz Ahmed Bhatti had opened the account for PAF. The most significant aspect of this engagement was India's withdrawal of Vampires from air operations. The battle between the PAF and the IAF was going to be one of numbers; every IAF aircraft destroyed meant catching up with the enemy. The PAF would prove that in war it was quality and not mere quantity which mattered; more important than anything else was the man in the cockpit.

During the six days - 1st September to 6th September. 1965, when Indian Army crossed the international boundary in the Lahore sector - the Indian Air Force continued to commit air violations of Pakistan territory.


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