Chawinda: The graveyard of Indian tanks


LAHORE: The Indo-Pakistan war of 1965 saw the second largest tank battle that the world had ever witnessed since the Battle of Kursk during the Second Great War, and subsequently earned the title of Battle of Chawinda.

The battle started due to the tank battle near Phillora where Pakistani forces had to retreat.


The Indian side was led by General Dunn who was given the command of the Indian 1st Armoured Division, 6th Mountain Division, 14th Division and 26th Division.

On the other hand, Pakistani forces were led by Major General Abrar Hussain and later General Tikka. The Pakistani generals commanded the 15th Division, the 6th Armoured Brigade Group, the 4th Corps Artillery, the 8th Infantry Division and the 1st Armoured Division.

Other commanders that led the Pakistani assault included Lieutenant Colonel Nisar Ahmad Khan, Brigadier Sardar Ismail Khan, Brigadier SM Hussain, Brigadier Abdul Ali Malik, Brigadier Muzaffaruddin, General Bakhtiar Rana, Major General Sahibzada Yaqub and Brigadier Amjad Chaudhry.


Pakistan: 30 thousand to 50 thousand infantry, 22nd Cavalry, 10th Cavalry, 25th Cavalry, 33rd TDU, 19th Lancers and 11th Cavalry which made up at least 150 tanks.

The Indian side had almost double the amount of force that Pakistan had.

Indian: 80,000 to 150,000 infantry, 4th Horse, 16th Cavalry, 17th Poona, 2nd Lancers and 62nd Cavalry which made up at least 225 to 600 tanks.


The Battle

The Indian side planned to capture the Grand Trunk Road (GT Road) and Jassoran. This would have allowed India complete control over the Sialkot-Pasrur Railway and consequently, Pakistan’s supply lines would have been completely cut off.

India started the attack by taking control of the border area with the 1st Corps which comprised the 1st Armoured Division, 6th Mountain Divisions and the 14th Infantry, following this Pakistan lost at least 10 tanks at Jassoran.

Pakistan Army responded with the 7th Infantry Division and the 6th Armoured Division in Chawinda. The majority of Pakistan’s tanks came from the 25th Cavalry and the cavalry was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Nisar.

Lieutenant Colonel Nisar led the charge which brought the Indian belligerency to a halted.

Pakistan Air Force responded to the Army’s call and decimated several Indian tank columns, truck columns and infantry.

At this point in the battle, the Indian side outnumbered the Pakistan side 10 to 1.

For the next several days, Pakistani jawans fought valiantly and successfully repelled several Indian attacks.

On September 21, the Indian 1st Armoured retreated and took up defensive positions.


By the end of the battle, Pakistan had lost only 44 tanks while the Indian armoured line was completely decimated and India lost at least 120 tanks, thereby earning for the battle, the name; Graveyard of Indian Tanks.

The Battle of Chawinda ended due to a United Nations (UN) ceasefire, which also brought the war to an end.