SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE – OPERATION EAGLE – LIBERATION WAR OF BANGLADESH 1971:
Major General ( Retd) Sujan Singh Uban, PVSM, AVSM the former Inspector General of Special Frontier Force published the book titled,’The Phantoms of Chittagong: The Fifth Army in Bangladesh’. He narrated the story about the military exploits of his force in the Chittagong Hill Tracts during Indo-Pak War of 1971.
Okay, here are the SFF Awards for the 1971 Conflict
Hon Maj Gen Sujan Singh Uban, AVSM (Retd) IC-1003
Maj Gen SS Uban was deputed to carry out a hazardous Operation in Bangladesh with his force. His force was airlifted and thereafter operated independently and entirely on a limited air supply in most difficult terrain. The mission allocated was successfully completed. This resulted in the liberation of the Chittagong Hill tracts as well as breaking up of Mizo hostile camps organised by Pakistan. The success of the op was largely due to the initiative, drive and sound planning by Maj Gen Uban
Vir Chakra (VrC)
Lt Col Prasanta Coomar Purkayastha IC-2486 (Garhwal Rifles), Commander, North Column Unit, Op Eagle
Maj Raj Kumar Malhotra IC-20824 (4 Para), Company Commander, North Column Unit, Op Eagle
Maj Survendra Singh Negi IC-22805 (The Grenadiers), Company Commander, South Column Unit, Op Eagle
Major G G Velankar, Company Commander, South Column Unit, Op Eagle
Flight Lieutenant Parvez Rustom Jamasji, IAF, Mi-4 Helicopter Pilot, Aviation Research Centre (ARC), Op Eagle
MS-8466 Captain R R Narasimham, AMC, Medical Officer, South Column Unit, Op Eagle. Recommended but the Army Hqrs, MS Branch, Ministry of Defence declined to offer the Gallantry Award stating that the Director of Medical Services, DMS (Army), Medical Directorate, MoD has failed to forward the citation to the MS Branch in the stipulated time.
Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM)
Lt Col Krishan Lal Vasudeva IC-7203 (Arty), Commander, Central Column Unit, Op Eagle
Major Harish Chandra Sharma IC-21075 (Jat), Company Commander, Central Column Unit, Op Eagle
Major Tarachand Pande, Company Commander, South Column Unit, Op Eagle
Captain Ashok Kumar Jaiswal, AMC, Medical Officer, North Column Unit, Op Eagle
Major Ramesh Chandra, Senior Medical Officer, Force Hq, Op Eagle
Major PCM Mehta, AMC, Surgical Specialist, Field Hospital, Lunglei, Op Eagle
Sena Medal (SM)
Capt Ugam Singh IC-22297
Company Commander Major SK Suri, Op Eagle
Asst Company Commander Baldev Singh, South Column, Op Eagle
Asst Company Commander Captain Man Singh Gurung, South Column, Op Eagle
Asst Company Commander Surinder Nath Khanna
I am pleased to share some excerpts from the views shared by Lieutenant General Oberoi who served in the Military Operations Directorate, Indian Army Headquarters during the 1971 War. I ask my readers to note that no field guns were deployed in the conduct of the military action in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Special Frontier Force used the basic infantry weapons, ammunition, radio sets, field gear, rations, medical supplies which the US Army was using in the Vietnam War.
1971 War in the Eastern Front – A View from Army Headquarters
Lt General VIJAY OBEROI | 3 DECEMBER, 2021
Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM is an infantry officer (The Maratha Light Infantry) and a former Vice Chief of Army Staff. Despite losing his right leg in the 1965 India–Pakistan War, he soldiered on till his retirement in September 2001. A prolific writer and analyst, he was founder director of the Indian Army’s think tank, the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) for five years where he is now director emeritus. He is currently founder president of the War Wounded Foundation, set up for meaningful rehabilitation of war disabled personnel.
The brilliant victory of the Indian Armed Forces during the 1971 India-Pakistan War is rightly being celebrated this year, as Swarnim Vijay as we approach the Golden Jubilee of Vijay Diwas on 16 December. While the media has focused on battles and bravery of individual personnel, very little has come out about the perspective from Delhi, especially about the planning and conduct of operations.
Since I have first-hand knowledge of this, I am writing this piece, so that readers get a glimpse of this important aspect too. My narration will be confined to plans and actions of the Eastern Front only, as I was dealing with operations in the East in the Military Operations Directorate (MO Dte).
By September/October 1971, mobilisation and orbatting of forces was still going on and in mid-November our postings were announced. Mostly everyone was going to units and formations already in their assembly areas/launch pads. I was one of the two officers posted to Army Headquarters. I was posted to MO Dte as GSO2 MO2.
I reported for duty in MO Dte on 4 December 1971; the war had commenced the previous evening. MO Dte was the smallest directorate in Army Headquarters (AHQ) at the time, consisting of just six Sections. During several subsequent postings to MO Dte, including as DGMO in 1994-95, it remained the smallest and most prestigious directorate in AHQ.
The Special Frontier Force (SFF) launched from Mizoram for clearing the jungles of the Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) was commanded by their Inspector General (IG) Maj Gen Sujan Singh Uban (Artillery). All signals sent by him, including Situation Reports (SITREPS) were always addressed directly to the Chief and commenced with “Greetings to Gen Sam Manekshaw from your Fifth Army Commander”, and were invariably long without saying much!
The Chakma tribals inhabiting CHT had a fair degree of autonomy under Pakistan. After the war ended, Gen Uban had taken the ceremonial sword of the Chakma Raja, Tridev Roy as a souvenir and this had created quite a diplomatic stir. It was resolved after the sword was returned to the Raja of the Chakmas.
In early 1972, it was decided to launch operations against the Chakma insurgents in Rangamati District of the CHT. I was asked to prepare an Operational Instruction for the operation, which I produced within a few hours and named it Operation Jungle Jim. My GSO 1 was surprised with the speed it was prepared! It was approved the same day and sent to HQ Eastern Command. After the Indian Forces were pulled out of Bangladesh, the operation was handed over to the Bangladeshi forces.
In addition, a hush hush operation (Operation Eagle) under HQ Special Frontier Force (SFF), under the command of Maj Gen Uban was launched from Mizoram to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), primarily to capture any Pakistani personnel who may attempt to escape to Burma (now Myanmar). They were also tasked to threaten Chittagong.
Dr. R. R.Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Service Number – MS-8466 CAPTAIN AMC/SSC
Medical Officer South Column Operation Eagle
Headquarters Establishment No. 22 C/O 56 APO