Battle of Asal Uttar

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Battle of Asal Uttar
आसल उत्ताड़ की लड़ाई
Part of Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Captured Pakistani tanks on display near Bhikhiwind, India
Date8–10 September 1965
Result Decisive Indian Victory.[1]
 India  Pakistan
Commanders and leaders
India Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh
India Lt. Gen. JS Dhillon
India Maj. Gen. Gurbaksh Singh
India Lt. Gen. Hanut Singh
Pakistan Maj. Gen. Nasir Ahmed Khan [1][2]
Pakistan Brig. A.R.Shami [3][4]
3rd Cavalry
(45 Centurion tanks)
45 M4 Sherman tanks
8th Light Cavalry
(45 AMX-13 tanks)
135 tanks
4th Cavalry
(44 Patton tanks)[2]
5th Horse
(44 Patton tanks)[2]
6th Lancers
(44 Patton tanks)[2]
24th Cavalry
(44 Patton tanks)[2]
12th Cavalry
(44 M24 Chaffee tanks)[2]
19th Lancers
(44 Patton tanks)[2]
264 tanks
Casualties and losses
10 tanks damaged[5][page needed] 99+ tanks destroyed[6][7][page needed][8][page needed]

The Battle of Asal Uttar (Hindi : आसल उत्ताड़ असल उत्तर नहीं ,[a] Punjabi: ਆਸਲ ਉਤਾੜ[9]) was one of the largest tank battles fought during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, it was fought from 8 to 10 September 1965, when the Pakistan Army thrust its tanks and infantry into Indian territory, capturing the Indian town of Khem Karan 5 km from the International Border.[10] The Indian troops retaliated, and after three days of bitter fighting, the battle ended with the Pakistani forces being repulsed near Asal Uttar. Factors that contributed to this were the fierce fight put up by Indian army, conditions of the plains, better Indian tactics and a successful Indian strategy.[7][11]

This battle is compared with the Battle of Kursk in the Second World War for how it changed the course of the India Pakistan war of 1965 in India's favour. War historians, including Dr. Philip Towle, regard the Indian resistance near Khem Karan as one of the key turning points of the war, one which tilted the balance of the war in favour of India.[12] Peter Wilson states[1] that the defeat of Pakistan Army in the battle of Asal Uttar was one of the greatest defeats suffered by Pakistan forces in the course of the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965.[1]


The battle is described as one the largest tank battles in history since the Battle of Kursk in World War II. Pakistan's invading force, consisting of the 1st Armoured Division and 11th Infantry Division, crossed the International Border and captured the Indian town of Khem Karan. Considering the situation, GOC Indian 4th Mountain Division (Maj. Gen. Gurbaksh Singh) immediately ordered the division to fall back and assume a horseshoe shaped defensive position with Asal Uttar as its focal point; the battle strategy was the brainchild of Brigadier Thomas K.Theograj.[13][14][15]

In the night, the Indian troops flooded the sugar cane field, and the next morning, the Pakistani tanks of the 1st Armoured Division, consisting mainly of M47 and M48 Patton tanks, were lured inside the horse-shoe trap; the swampy ground slowed down the advance of the Pakistani tanks and many of them could not move because of the muddy slush. Ninety nine Pakistani tanks mostly Pattons, and a few Shermans and Chaffees, were destroyed or captured[7][page needed][8][page needed] while the Indians, by their account, lost only 10 tanks during this counter offensive.[5][page needed]


Despite the initial thrust of the Pakistani Army into Indian territory, the battle ended in a decisive Indian Victory;[1] the commander of Pakistani forces Maj. Gen. Nasir Ahmed Khan was killed in action.[1] According to military historian Steven Zaloga, Pakistan admitted that it lost 165 tanks during the 1965 war, more than half of which were knocked out during the "debacle" of Asal Uttar.[5]

Pervez Musharraf, later Army Chief of Staff and President of Pakistan, participated in this battle as a lieutenant of artillery in the 16 (SP) Field Regiment, 1st Armoured Division Artillery; the battle also witnessed the personal bravery of an Indian soldier, Abdul Hamid, who was honoured with the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military award, for knocking out seven[16] enemy tanks with a recoilless gun.[17]

This battle led to the creation of Patton Nagar (or "Patton City") at the site of the battle; this is because a large number of Patton tanks fielded by the Pakistani forces were either captured or destroyed at the scene.[5]

Published accounts[edit]


Battle of Asal Uttar - Largest Tank Battle Since World War II (2018) is a TV documentary which premièred on Veer by Discovery Channel series, Mission & Wars.[18][19]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ आसल उत्ताड़ (pronounced like - Aasal Uttaard) is the actual name of the village in Khemkaran Sector where this battle was fought. आसल उत्ताड़>>Asal Uttar>>असल उत्तर. Phonetic differences between the Hindi/Punjabi and English Languages sometimes causes a wrong pronunciation which changes the meaning of the words. Asal Uttar read as असल उत्तर means "Real Reply" or a "befitting response", but is not the code name for the battle.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Wilson, Peter. Wars, proxy-wars and terrorism: post independent India. Mittal Publications. pp. 83–84. ISBN 81-7099-890-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g History, Official. "All out war pg 39" (PDF). Official History of 1965 war. Times of India. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  3. ^ Amin, Agha Humayun. "The Battle of Lahore and Pakistans Main Attack in 1965". Military Historian. AH Amin. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  4. ^ Singh, Lt.Gen Harbaksh (191). War Despatches. New Delhi: Lancer International. p. 108. ISBN 81-7062-117-8.
  5. ^ a b c d Zaloga, Steve. The M47 and M48 Patton tanks. Osprey Publishing, 1999. ISBN 978-1-85532-825-9.
  6. ^ Peter Wilson Prabhakar (2003). Wars, Proxy-wars and Terrorism: Post Independent India. Mittal Publications. p. 84. ISBN 978-81-7099-890-7.
  7. ^ a b c Wilson, Peter. Wars, proxy-wars and terrorism: post independent India. Mittal Publications, 2003. ISBN 978-81-7099-890-7.
  8. ^ a b Jaques, Tony. Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. ISBN 978-0-313-33538-9.
  9. ^ "Voter List 2015, Punjab" (PDF). Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab. pp. 11, Row No. 163–165. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  10. ^ R.D. Pradhan & Yashwantrao Balwantrao Chavan (2007). 1965 War, the Inside Story: Defence Minister Y.B. Chavan's Diary of India-Pakistan War. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 47. ISBN 978-81-269-0762-5.
  11. ^ B. Chakravorty (1995). Stories of Heroism: PVC & MVC Winners. Allied Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 81-7023-516-2.
  12. ^ Towle, Philip (1982). Estimating foreign military power. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7099-0434-2.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Maj Gen Cardozo, Ian (2003). PARAM VIR. New Delhi: Lotus Collection. ISBN 81-7436-262-2
  17. ^ The Param Vir Chakra Winners' home page for Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Battle of Asal Uttar - Largest Tank Battle Since World War II Mission & Wars". Veer by Discovery. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  19. ^ "This R-Day, get ready for Discovery channel's 'Battle Ops'". The Hindu. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2018.


External links[edit]