As far as the mission objectives are concerned, it seems that the
re was muddled thinking at the AHQ about utilization of the commandos, and it ended up employing them disastrously for mopping up PAF's air strikes earlier in the evening. If the para-assault was indeed meant to augment PAF's limited flying effort available for airfield strikes, a more profitable – and less risky – option would have been to earmark the nearby Pathankot for the commandos, while the PAF tackled the relatively distant Adampur and Halwara with its Sabres. In the event, the PAF ran out of air effort, and was able to put up just three aircraft each for these two airfields against the planned package of eight each, resulting in complete mission failures. It can be said, albeit in hindsight, that the shortfall of ten aircraft would not have existed, if those aircraft earmarked for Pathankot had been originally reserved for the other two airfields.
Evidently, the matter regarding secrecy of the mission had been taken to ludicrous limits by both service headquarters, and it had harmfully impinged on the preparations for the very dangerous and demanding mission. The only saving grace of the fateful assault was that the fearless commandos, whose lives were at stake, took the orders in a do-or-die spirit that had infused this impossible undertaking on the first day of war.
 Politics of Surrender and the Conspiracy of Silence; page 25.
 Operation ‘Gibraltar’ was aimed at stoking an insurgency in Kashmir with the help of infiltrated irregular forces supported and directed by SSG personnel.
 SSG Tareekh ke Ainay Mein claims that initially Chandigarh airfield was also proposed to be attacked, but the PAF cancelled this target at an early stage of discussions; page 125.
 Ibid, page 128.
 Halwara had also been attacked by PAF Sabres in the evening, but this was not disclosed for some reason.
 SSG Tareekh ke Ainay Mein; page 129.
 In para drop parlance, a ‘stick’ is a group of paratroopers dropped over a point on the ground in quick succession.
 SSG Tareekh ke Ainay Mein; page 142.
 Ibid, page 143.
 The Way it Was; pages 163, 164.
 Brig Manto’s views abridged from SSG Tareekh ke Ainay Mein, pages 137-141.
 The Story of Pakistan Air Force – A Saga of Courage and Honour; page 375.
 Flight of the Falcon; pages, 157, 158.
 Maj Gen Alvi’s views from SSG Tareekh ke Ainay Mein; page 332.
 Battle for Pakistan – The Air War of 1965; pages 107, 108.
© KAISER TUFAIL
This article was published in 'Defence Journal' April 2019 issue.