- Capture of Kishangarh Fort
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict= Capture of Kishangarh Fort
partof= Indo-Pakistan War of 1965
date=15th~17th September 1965
place= Rajasthan, India
result= Fort Captured, Hur Victory.
Pakistan, Hur Tribes
commander1=Khuda Dad Khan, Faqir Jamal Mangrio
strength1= A few thousand
strength2= Elements of two divisions
The capture of the
KishangarhFort in RajasthanState India took place during the 1965 War between India and Pakistan. Its capture was one of the most important actions of the Desert Theater in that war and one of the finest examples of the use of local militia in the history of the Sub-Continent.
The Fort lies several kilometers inside Indian territory, in the so called
JaisalmerBulge. It is an important and historic structure. It sits on a crossroad, between the towns of Tanot, Ramgarh and Mandha. It also sits on the only road linking any part of Rajasthan with the Pakistani city of Rahim Yar Khan, making it a highly strategic location.
The Desert Sector was a mere sideshow in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War. Both sides had little experience in desert fighting at the time, and moreover the main industrial, and economic heartland of Pakistan and India were to the north. As a result when war came the Indians main effort would be against
Lahoreand Sialkotin the Punjab. However the Indians left some forces in the region with the aim of launching local offensives. Pakistani army troops in the region were already very stretched, having to defend a sector nearly a thousand km in length. To counteract this effort, the commander Pakistan Army Rangers asked the local people for help.
Hurswere and are the main tribe living in this area. A proud and fierce people, the Hurs had given the British a difficult time. They had rebelled during World War IIagainst British rule [http://www.defencejournal.com/2001/november/sepoy.htm] . At the time of the 1965 War the spiritual leader of the Hur was the Pir Pagaro.
The Hurs had earlier not joined the Pakistan Army in any numbers, however with the coming of war, thousands volunteered to fight against the Indians. The Hurs were (due to constraints of finances as well as time) given only basic training and armed with light weapons such as machine guns and assault rifles. The militia was placed under the Pakistani military and para-military forces operating in the sector (known collectively as the "Desert Force"). The Hur militia was commanded by the Faqir Jamal Mangrio.
[http://www.ispr.gov.pk/Multimedia/1965/images/9 p jpg.jpg]
The war began on 6th of September 1965 and the hostilities in this sector commenced on September the 8th. Initially the Desert Force and the Hur was placed in a defensive role, a role for which they were well suited as it turned out. The Hur were familiar with the terrain and the local area and possessed many essential desert survival skills which their opponents (and indeed their comrades in the Pakistan Army) did not. Fighting as mainly light infantry, the Hur inflicted many casualties on the Indian forces as they entered
Sindh. The Hurs were also employed as skirmishers, harassing the Indians LOC, a task they often undertook on camels. As the battle wore on the Hurs and the Desert Force were increasingly used to attack and capture Indian villages inside Rajasthan. It was in this vein that an assault on Kishangarh fort was launched. The attack surprised the Indians and the fort was carried after several days of bitter fighting.
The use of the Desert Force and the Hurs established a break in the traditions of the Pakistani army. While the Pakistani Army (and its predecessor the British Indian Army) had often used local auxiliaries for scouting and other durties, this was the first time that irregular forces were used on such a wide scale. The capture of this fort gave Pakistan several bargaining chips during the subsequent Tashkent Conference.
**History of Indo-Pak War of 1965. Lt Gen Mahmud Ahmed (ret). ISBN 969-8693-01-7
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