The initiative rested with Pakistan to commence hostilities, which they did with a mix of irregular and regular troops and tactics. This is a story of anticipation, of impending actions, of virtual equality of forces engaged in a savage battle of attrition in which no quarters were given or asked.
The author, GOC-in-C Western Command during those fateful days provided an unflappable presence under whose command the Army imposed unacceptable levels of losses on the enemy, first toning down their rhetoric, then their confidence, and lastly their ability to sustain very high levels of material losses.
There is very little material or records to draw upon for our military studies of warfare in and around the Indian subcontinent. War Despatches narrates for the first time the inside story through original despatches field by the Army Commander from the war zone.
To maintain the authenticity of the Despatches, the military style of writing has been followed in the text as far as possible.
He commanded the 1st Battalion the Sikh Regiment during operations in J&K in 1947-48; the historic battle of Shelatang was fought under his command; Battle of Tithwal won him the award of Vir Chakra.
He had the rare distinction of having had combat experience in command of troops of or against many nationalities, at all levels of command from a platoon of 40 men to an Army Group consisting of 400,000 military personnel.
Born on 1st October, 1913 he started his military career in a war zone in the North- West Frontier Province of erstwhile British India in 1935. He then participated in Allied operations in Malaya during World War II and was held as a prisoner-of-war by the Japanese. He attended Imperial Defence College, London in 1958. Thereafter he held almost all important and key command and staff appointments in Western Command, and in November 1964, took over as Army Commander.
In 1962 during the Chinese invasion he was posted as the Corps Commander NEFA and later on in the Sikkim Sector. In 1965 as Army Commander Western Command, it was under his leadership and overall command of the Western Army both in J&K and the Punjab theatre that the Pakistani attacks were repulsed.
He was honoured with both Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in recognition of his meritorious services.
This is a book about a soldier who had the courage of his convictions and was not afraid to use his judgement and face the consequences. He not only set a standard for himself to perform to the best of his ability but inspired others to do the same.
The General has highlighted the shortfalls in strategic thinking on the part of a few military commanders during the J&K operations in 1947, Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 and Indo-Pak war in 1965. At the fag-end of his life he wrote his Magnum opus with the object of passing on his experiences to the younger generation of officers coming up to serve the country.
The autobiography recounts all the details of the eventful life of a highly distinguished soldier.