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The Battle of Chawinda was a part of the Sialkot Campaign in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. It was one of the largest tank battles in history since the Battle of Kursk in World War II.

The initial clashes at Chawinda coincided with the tank battle near Phillora and the fighting intensified once the Pakistani forces at Phillora retreated. However, the advancing Indian 1st Armored Division was stopped at Chawinda. The battle finally ended due to the UN ceasefire.[5]

The forces

General Dunn, the commander of I Corps Indian Army was given an assortment of units: 1 Armoured Division, 6 Mountain Division, 14 Division and 26 Division. The Pakistani force expected to oppose the Indian thrust consisted of 15 Division, 6 Armoured Division (equivalent to armoured brigade group) and 4 Corps Artillery. Later reinforcements included 8 Infantry Division and 1 Armoured Division.

The battle

The aim of the attack was to seize the key Grand Trunk Road around Wazirabad and the capture of Jassoran which would enable domination of Sialkot-Pasrur railway, thus completely cutting off Pakistani supply line.[12] The striking force of the Indian 1st Corps was the 1st Armoured Division supported by the 14th Infantry and 6th Mountain divisions and Indian infantry seized the border area on 7 September. This was followed by a short engagement at Jassoran in which Pakistan lost 10 tanks and ensured complete Indian domination of Sialkot-Pasrur railway.[12] Realising the threat, the Pakistani rushed two regiments of their 6th Armoured Division from Chhamb to the Sialkot sector to support the Pakistani 7th Infantry Division there. These units, plus an independent tank destroyer squadron, amounted to 135 tanks; 24 M47 and M48 Pattons, about 15 M36B1s and the remainder Shermans. The majority of the Pattons belonged to the new 25th Cavalry commanded by Lt. Col. Nisar, which was sent to the Chawinda area. Fighting around the Gadgor village between the Indian 1 Armoured division and the Pakistani 25th Cavalry Regiment resulted in the Indian advance being stopped.

The Indian plan was to drive a wedge between Sialkot and the 6th Armoured Division. In fact there was only a single regiment there at the time. The Indian 1st Armoured Division's drive quickly divided, with the 43rd Lorried Infantry Brigade supported by a tank regiment attacking Gat, while the main blow of the 1st Armoured Brigade was hurled against Phillaura. Pakistani air attacks caused moderate damage to the tank columns, but exacted a heavier toll on the truck columns and infantry. The terrain features of the area were very different from those around Lahore, being quite dusty, and the approach of the Indian attack was evident to the 25th Cavalry by the rising dust columns on the Charwah-Phillaura road.

The Indians resumed their attacks on 10 September with multiple corps sized assaults and succeeded in pushing the Pakistani forces back to their base at Chawinda, where they were stopped. A Pakistani counterattack at Phillorah was repulsed with heavy damage, and the Pakistanis settled in defensive positions. The Pakistani position at this point was highly perilous, the Indians outnumbered them by ten to one.

However, the Pakistani situation improved as reinforcements arrived, consisting of two independent brigades from Kashmir, 8 Infantry Division, and most crucially, their 1 Armoured Division. For the next several days, Pakistani forces repulsed Indian attacks on Chawinda. A large Indian assault on 18 September involving India's 1st Armoured and 6th Mountain Divisions was repelled, with the Indian 1st Armoured and 6th Mountain divisions taking heavy losses. On 21 September the Indians withdrew to a defensive position near their original bridgehead, with the retreat of Indian first armoured division, all their offensives were ceased on that front.[13] Pakistani General vetoed the proposed counterattack "Operation Windup", According to the Pakistani C in C the operation was cancelled since ‘both sides had suffered heavy tank losses......would have been of no strategic importance....’ and above all ‘the decision...was politically motivated as by then the Government of Pakistan had made up their mind to accept cease fire and foreign sponsored proposals’.[7]


Amidst the operation, on 22 September, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution that called for an unconditional ceasefire from both nations.[4][5] The war ended the following day. The military and economic assistance to both the countries had been stopped when the war started. Pakistan had suffered attrition to its military might and serious reverses in the battle at Khemkaran and Chawinda which made way for the acceptance the UN Resoltion.[1]

According to Indian claims, at the end of hostilities on 23 September 1965, India held about 200 square miles (518 square kilometres)of Pakistani territory in the Sialkot sector including the towns and villages of Phillora, Deoli, Bajragarhi, Suchetgarh, Pagowal, Chaprar, Muhadpur, Tilakpur south east and east of Sialkot city, which were returned to Pakistan after the Tashkent Declaration in January 1966.[9][10][14] Likewise, by the end of the hostilities, Pakistan held up to 1,600 square miles of Indian territory, of which 1,300 square miles included desert sectors.[15] Despite the "huge losses on both sides", The Australian attributed the victory in this battle to Pakistan.[16]


Forces of the opposing armies:[17]

Indian Forces

Pakistan Forces


  1. "He had fought in the World War II and won the MBE due to his bravery as a young army lieutenant. Later in the 1965 War, he was awarded the gallantry award, Hilal-i-Jurat, for leading an infantry brigade as part of the 6th Armoured Division that fought the famous tank battle with the Indian Army at Chawinda in Sialkot and halted the advance of the invading Indian troops in Pakistan’s territory."


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Rao, K. V. Krishna. Prepare or perish: a study of national security. Lancers Publishers, 1991. ISBN 978-81-7212-001-6. 
  2. Fricker, John (1979). Battle for Pakistan: the air war of 1965. University of Michigan: I. Allan. pp. 128. ISBN 978-0-71-100929-5. 
  3. Amin, Shahid M. (2010). Pakistan's foreign policy: a reappraisal. Northwestern University: Oxford University Press. pp. 54. ISBN 978-0-19-547912-6. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Midlarsky, Manus I. (2011). Origins of Political Extremism: Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-0521700719. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Pradhan, R.D.. 1965 war, the inside story. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 2007. ISBN 978-81-269-0762-5. 
  6. "Indo-Pakistan War of 1965". Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Amin, Major A.H.. "Battle of Chawinda Comedy of Higher Command Errors". Military historian. Defence journal(pakistan). Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "MajorAH" defined multiple times with different content
  8. 8.0 8.1 The M47 and M48 Patton tanks By Steve Zaloga, Jim Laurier ISBN 1-85532-825-9, ISBN 978-1-85532-825-9 pg.35.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Rakshak, Bharat. "War diplomacy,ceasefire,Tashkent". Official History. Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Singh, Lt. Gen.Harbaksh (1991). War Despatches. New Delhi: Lancer International. pp. 159. ISBN 81-7062-117-8. 
  11. Rakshak, Bharat. "Operations in Sialkot Sector pg32". Official History. Times of India. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Gupta, Hari Ram. India-Pakistan war, 1965, Volume 1. Hariyana Prakashan, 1967. pp. 181–182. 
  13. Barua, Pradeep (2005) The state at war in South Asia ISBN 0-8032-1344-1 pg.192.
  14. History, Official. "Operations in Sialkot sector". Official history. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  15. Midlarsky, Manus I. (2011). Origins of Political Extremism: Mass Violence in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. Cambridge University Press. pp. 256. ISBN 978-0-52-170071-9. 
  16. "Biggest Tank Battle since World War II: Pakistani Victory". The Australian. September 14, 1965. p. 1. 

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