Army, IAF To Re-enact 1947 Landing Of Troops That Saved Srinagar

(This was originally posted in The Tribune by Vijay Mohan)

As part of the ongoing commemorations of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahaotsav’, the armed forces have planned a re-enactment of the 1947 landings of Indian troops at Srinagar that had saved the Valley from Pakistani raiders, along with some other associated events at Srinagar on October 27. It was 74 years ago on October 27 that the first wave of Indian troops were flown to Srinagar on Dakota transport aircraft. In the first phase of the operations, elements of the First Battalion of the Sikh Regiment landed at Srinagar airfield and secured the airfield and established a blocking position east of Baramulla. The day is since commemorated as Infantry Day each year.

A Dakota aircraft that is believed to have participated in the landings is now back in the IAF’s fleet, having being painstakingly restored after being decommissioned years ago and then flown to India from the United Kingdom. The restored aircraft bears the Tail Number VP 905, the same as that of the first Dakota which had touched down at Srinagar in 1947. Now flying with the IAF’s Vintage Aircraft Flight based at Palam, it was part of the Air Force Day fly past over Hindon this year.

“We are making efforts to secure the participation of the sole vintage Dakota with the IAF for the historic event,” a senior officer said. “If the Dakota is not available, the alternative would be to use AN-32,” he added. The US-origin Douglas C-47 Dakota, an iconic propeller driven aircraft that dates back to 1941, was extensively used by the Allied Forces during World War II and remained in service with military forces across the globe as well as civilian operators for many years.

The first transport squadron of the erstwhile Royal Indian Air Force, No 12 Squadron, was raised in 1946 with 10 Dakota aircraft at Panagarh. This squadron, initially raised on Spitfire fighters at Kohat in 1945, is now based at Agra, flying the AN-32. The venerable Dakotas had served the IAF from 1946 to 1987, with over 200 such aircraft having been bought over a period of time. These saw extensive participation in all wars as well as the IAF’s pioneering missions in the Himalayas and the north-east.

The aircraft, now back with the IAF was built in 1944, and besides serving with the British and Indian air forces, was also operated by various civil airlines. It was retrieved from scrap in 2011 and was restored to flying condition in the UK by Rajya Sabha Member Rajeev Chandrasekhar and presented to the IAF in February 2018. After being upgraded with a new navigation system, it winged its way to India from Coventry through France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and across the Arabian Sea before touchdown at Jamnagar.

The Tribune

Kartik Sud

I am working as a News Author With the DefenceXP network, Observing LOC and LAC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button