Memories of 1971 and Some Photographs: Air Cmde VK Murthy (Retd)

Air Cmde VK Murthy sent me some photographs of Uttarlai in 1971 and his visit to the Daggers  many years later. I had initially planned to use these along with the next installment from Bobby Kasbekar on the Uttarlai events of Dec 71. Unfortunately Bobby was laid low by a bad viral attack a few weeks ago and is still recuperating.

So while waiting for the cows to home:

On the F 104 kill by Air Cmde Bindra and Deepak’s subsequent query about the combat …….”SATCO,  F/O Tripathi was with  me  throughout in  the make  shift Flying  control. ( If  some one  knows  where  he  is , we can get more authentic information as  he  was  the  Eye Witness  along  with me  when  Mig 21 pilot Bindra shot  F-104, right  in  front  of  our  eyes. The  second  missile hit the F104  and it  went  down on  the  desert with  smoke  trailing .”

A mix of 10, 220 and the Mig 21, Dett. from 29 Sqn. Sqn Ldr IS Bindra in the rear in a light overall with Flt Lt AK 'Buzz' Dutta on his right and Samar Bikram Shah further to Buzz's right. All three along with Flt Lt Neeraj Kukreja had a kill each.


A secondary Runway was  created  close  to  Utterlai  airfield  and  all  Bombs  were  dropped  there  instead  of main  runway, saving all  Rubberised Fuel Tanks (RFT) spread  all  over  the  airfield , and  all  aircraft  outside  the  shelters  camouflaged and  parked. After  Sunset  we  relied  only  on  complete BLACKOUT, as initially there was no  Night Capability .

(Secondary  Runway  was   Goose Neck  Flares,  just lit  when  the  a/c  sound  is  heard,
with ack  ack  Tracer Bullets  firing on  both  end  of  Runway, to  divert  the  intruder away  from  main  Target.  This  worked well on the  10th  day  when  45  craters  were found on  the  imaginary  runway ). “

The CAS, ACM PC Lal with Air Cmde Brar Air I, WAC behind him and Air Cmde Kanwar Singh and Wg Cdr VK Murthy to his right.

Receiving Air Mshl Minoo Engineer, AOC in C, WAC.

Air Cmde VK Murthy on a subsequent visit to the Daggers at Jodhpur. L to R Sis Sisodia, Rajan Jolly, Cuckoo Soares, Sam Shekhar, CKK Menon and R Singh.


2 Responses to Memories of 1971 and Some Photographs: Air Cmde VK Murthy (Retd)

  1. Deepak says:

    Thank you, Air Cmde Murthy for your response! I really appreciate it. I was just confused about the date and it seems that Dec 17th is when this happened.
    With best regards,

    • VK Murthy says:

      When Micky Jatar’s aircraft was shot at on dumbbell (take off point )Pete Gayner and I witnessed it. Jatar jumped out of the cockpit with his overall burning. It was a miraculous escape. There was no air combat that day by Migs.
      S/L IS Bindra’s combat was at a later date towards the end of the war. I was an eyewitness along with F/O Tripathi (Satco) and others present at the make shift
      Flying control atop ORP. Gnats were replaced by Migs in the middle of the war.

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