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The Glorious Seventeen Days September 1965 War

September 6, 1965 - Beginning of the War

The air war which was so far limited to probes and skirmishes now became an all out encounter. India violated the International borders and having been mauled in the Kashmir sector, launched an open attack on Pakistan in the Lahore salient. The Indian offensive against Pakistn started at 0059 hours (Night of 6th and 7th September); the enemy Canberras were picked up between 182-245 N.M. away entering Pakistan from Lahore as follows:-

0059 hours - Four aircraft.

0101 hours - Two aircraft.

0104 hours - Two aircraft.

0106 hours - One aircraft.

0108 hours - One aircraft.

0115 hours - One aircraft.

0117 hours - One aircraft.

0120 hours - One aircraft.

The IAF aircraft which flew at 30000 feet withdrew from the path of their entrance, the last withdrawal being at 0204 hours. After entering the Pakistan territory, they fanned out towards Rawalpindi, Sargodha and Peshawar. The aircraft heading towards Peshawar turned back from Khushalgarh and moved towards Sakesar but soon withdrew towards Lahore and went back to India. Bomb damage was reported from Rawalpindi city only. Three F-104 were scrambled but contact could not be established with the enemy. All our starfighters were recovered at Sargodha.

The first day of the war saw 13 F-104 CAP and three scrambles; besides, 27 sorties of F-86 were flown as CAP and one pair was scrambled for enemy interception. The first enemy attack appeared at 0540 hours and was reported to be two Canberras, six hunters and four Mysteres over Chhamb. Four F-86 and two F-104 on CAP missions were directed to the area but no contact was established. At 0540 hours a report was also received from the controller of No. 230 Squadron at Rahwali that the station was being rocketed by four Mysteres. Two F-104 which had previously been directed to the Chhamb area were now sent to Rahwali. Visual contact was established and one Mystere was shot down by AAM (air to air missile); the controller at Rahwali confirmed having been a Mystere hit the ground and explode; Flt. Lt. Aftab being the pilot of the F-104 which got the kill. At 0629 hours an IAF Ouragan was reported over Lahore by our MOUs. Assuming that there may be more than one enemy aircraft, two F-104 were scrambled and directed to go at low level towards Lahore, but no contact was established.

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