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The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965 Hardcover – May, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"This account of the Air Combat... is undoubtedly the most comprehensive to date,....This is an important contribution to the litterature of post-second world war air combat"
Aeroplane Monthly, Aug 2006 "Book of the Month"

Most of the books written... deal with India-Pakistan ground war. The volume under review is the only one of its kind and opens up a new dimension in military history-writing. --The Telegraph , Sept 23, 2005 Kaushik Roy

This monumental book has come like a gust of fresh air....The authors have created an appropriate example of hard work and sincerity.. --Vayu Aerospace & Defence Review, V/2005 : Gp Capt J C Malik

This is an unusually well-done book on a subject that has been almost completely overlooked...This book is highly recommended, especially for the aviation history collector who thought he had everything. --Aviation History, Mar 2006 by Col W J Boyne

An excellent attempt by two academics makes this book unique, especially when seen in the context of the pathetic official history written by a huge team under the Indian Ministry of Defence --The Book Review India, June 2006 - Air Cmde Jasjit Singh


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Manohar; 1 edition (May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8173046417
  • ISBN-13: 978-8173046414
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,402,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sandesh Kanchan on August 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover

- The book has been written in a very beautifully organized manner.

-great infomation on the IAF fighters that took part in the 1965 war and their comparision with the PAF fighters of the same era. detailed information about Sqdn deployment, their strength and their Sqdn and station commanders.

-detailed information with personal accounts from pilots that took part in the missions.loved reading about A T Cooke's Sabre kill, Sargodha Raids by Mysteres, W/C Wilson's Badin Raid - details such such as weapons load on each of the Canberra has been mentioned and its wonderful and many more such detailed missions.

- day by day chronology of missions and their results.

- good quality pictures and gun cam pics.the binding of the book is good too..

-the last page appendices of IAF Kills, Losses and Gallantry Award Winner.

- what i appreciate the most about the authors is their transparency.they have mentioned their sources for their findings and given credit to the persons who deserve it.

what i would have liked to seen:

- while the size of the pictures are small(and i wish that they were big), i think they blend nicely with the font size of the text.larger pics,i think, would have looked a bit odd.

- the maps of eastern front and western front(with airbases,cities and targets) should have been there along withe the chapters

-i would love to have seen a mention of the Myth regarding M M Alam's Kills - just to set the records straight.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Britain on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The most balanced and objective account of the 1965 Air War available.

Pluses :

- Very well written.

- Very detailed encounters with capabilties of related a/c being taken into consideration.

- Debunking of many fallacious PAF claims including an accurate picture of actual IAF orbat

- Balanced perspective all the way.

- Credit where credit is due, always. The 8 pass-charlie section is very good.

- Extensive Tables including table of Canberra ops. This could have possibly been extended to other a/c and events. A timeline summary of events perhaps?

- Fricker centric. Debunks many claims but also fills gaps.

- Extensive list of interviewees and references. Gives the complete picture of events from both sides. The complete picture for the first time, has been put on paper.

- Day by Day narrative and post-war encounters.

- Eventual and current status of IAF and PAF participants in the war.

Minuses :

- Not relatively photo intensive, smallsize photos only

- No maps

- Detailed orbat of PAF and analysis missing.

- Too much emphasis on individual a/c of IAF orbat over overall capabilties which would need an individual analysis. Not too much detail of technical warmaking or (Fighter and ground based) Sensor capabilties of both sides.

- Expected more wreckage photos. Expected tons actually and perhaps a consolidated gallery.

- Not too much attention to the myth of MM Alam. A comparison with AT Cooke could have been done here.

-More details on Naval Aviation activities expected.

For maximum enjoyment, you should'nt have discovered the Bharat Rakshak 1965 war section.
Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K.V.Ramesh on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
INdia and Pakistan have fought four wars and sadly most books available on these wars are highly biased depending on who is writing them. The Indian Government in its infinite wisdom has never published any of its papers while Pakistani accounts have strident propaganda about the INdians being given a drubbing.

Under these circumstances the authors have come out with an unbiased book almost forty years after the 1965 war which saw many instances of classic air combat from both sides. One instance has one HUnter Pilot taking on four sabres and downing two of them. While the Pakistanis did two devastating raids - one in the Wsetern sector and one in the Eastern sector, the INdian riposte was equally succesful . The authors have extensively interviwed many survivors and given credit where it is due - be it Indian or Pakistani. Though there are gaps in coverage of the events - this is due to the sporadic nature of the air war - the overall picture is of the Indian Air Force improvising very effectively on the job and learning some hard lessons , not to speak of gaining confidence in their machines and themselves.The authors also criticise the higher powers for lack of any overall offensive plan and heavy handed political intereference - but in a calm factual manner. HIghly recommended for all enthusiasts and serious historians of air warfare
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By cybersurg on August 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a super book and a landmark in the annals of the "Historical record challenged" Indian nation.

The best part about the book is that it makes easy reading. The descriptions of the scenes and battles took me right back to my childhood where I would have my heart racing reading the adventures of Biggles, a fictional World War I fighter pilot. And the book has pictures to boot - real action photos in some cases placed in contextually relevant areas.

The similarity is not coincidental. Indian pilots in 1965 may have been flying jets - but everything else was exactly like World War I. Almost no radar cover, equipment malfuntion leading to aborted missions, absent or poor communication equipment, guns jamming, bombs failing to explode or exploding too soon, dizzying dogfights with the air thick with fighters and ack ack, intrigue, sabotage, death and drama. The men literally flew "on a wing and a prayer" and still did a great job and learned lessons that were later put to good use.

The concluding chapters have an eminently readable, objective and honest assessment in a very academic and very Indian tradition of "Truth will triumph". Other positive points include reference placed conveniently at the end of each chapter rather than a whole confusing chapter of refs at the end.

I have a couple of complaints. There are about 5 or 6 typos in the entire book - which is a miniscule number - but will need attention. There are references to "attrition rate" as a percentage with no difinition of how it was arrived at or applied.

Buy this book folks. We need to make sure the authors have enough funds to work on the history of the 1971 air war.
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