An untrue and fabricated story of 65 ops from Kalaikunda, nothing but a pack of lies.
In 1965 we had two Vampire sqns in trg and strike roles, one Canberra sqn in hush hush bombing role and one Hunter sqn in air defence role. The Hunter sqn was popularly called ” Bulls without t…s ” but not within our hearing distance . Like any other fighter base, routine activities were 7 to 1 hectic flying for all along with dawn to dusk ORP for Hunter sqn, 2 to 5 card games after lunch, 5:30 sharp off to Kharagpur to escort the gracious ladies for wining and dining. Bloody well escort them back by 9 pm before their mommas start fretting! A station full of Pilot Officers and Fg Officers . I heard that the AF has got rid of these ranks. Wonder who does the dirty work now? A well stocked cellar . Hunter sqn commanded by Dennis La! Heaven on earth!
Around 3 sept , while at the bar , the B man announced that there was some trouble with Pak on the western side . The ladies were immediately escorted back . Next day a Dakota full of experienced Hunter pilots arrived from sunny south. Poor fellas were given just a sortie or two to get their hands in. They all did well but in this habad tabad one of them landed at high speed, could not control the ac, went into kuchha, raised under carriage, jumped out, the ac caught fire and went to heavens, the only casualty of the war .
On 7th morning three missions of four ac each of Vampires got airborne to hit ac on ground in the airfields of east Pak, Canberras got airborne for their hush hush missions, Hunters were tasked for an additional ORP at Dumdum in Cal and a four ac Hunter mission got airborne for something called fighter sweep over Dhaka at 40,000 feet . The purpose was to provoke them into an aerial combat. It did occur to me that why should they come and fight with you at height with an inferior ac but these unsavoury thoughts were immediately pushed back and I started pacing the tarmac to await the arrival of this mission and get first hand details from Dick Vickers, one of the mission pilots. Soon all Vamps returned without accomplishing anything due to bad weather viz low clouds . All of them switched off on the tarmac and were quickly refueled to go again later .
Suddenly i saw lots of Sabre ac with US and Pak markings shooting all over the airfield . All 12 Vamps were hit and within a few minutes they were all reduced to ashes. The spectacular fireworks with all their guns and rockets firing away can only be compared with 2012 Sydney New Years eve fireworks. Soon the Hunters returned without meeting anybody. The sqn ladies who are quite adept at hiding small articles at home were summoned to give lessons on camouflaging and soon all Hunters were well hidden in the base. War for Vamps was over by 0730h . All of their pilots were immediately dispatched for duties like Cypher and FAC . By evening their girlfriends also joined the Hunter pilots. Canberras also returned from their missions for quick turnaround in open blast pens. Chacha Sachdev , not the blue eyed one but the other one , the surd and myself went for ORP. In ORP 2 armed ac are positioned at the runway apron so as to get airborne within 2 minutes for any required AD action. In KKD we had a radar unit commanded by a very fine man called Mama Sahni . The only thing the radar controllers of this unit ever picked on their radar scopes were the flies sitting there. A very furious Mama Sahni himself sat on the radar scope. The flies were asked to move somewhere else and soon Mama picked up some low level activity beyond Cal. Chacha and self were scrambled from KKD while Alfred Cook and Mamu Mamgain were scrambled from Dumdum . Hunters those days used to have lots of starting problems. Chacha got airborne in Olympic timing of 1 minute but my ac wouldnt start. The ground crew gave me 4 consequetive starts but we all knew that the heated up starter would not normally fire after 2 starts. In the meantime i saw 6 Sabres pulling up and start firing all around . My ac was also fired upon but was not hit . Meanwhile the crew continued giving start to my ac. The 4 canberras in the blast pens were hit and when they blew up, the mushroom type of clouds reminded me of Hiro – Naga of Japan . Soon my ac got hit and the nose wheel got sheared off and I found myself sitting on the ground. That is the time when airmen asked me to come out. Not one of them ran away. As I came out, I saw a most spectacular low level dog fight overhead between 6 Sabres and 2 Hunters wherein one Sabre was fired upon in a 90 degrees vertical dive . While I was preparing to lay 10 to 1 that both ac would be found in the same hole, the Hunter came out of dive. The Pak fella couldn’t make it. Both Cook and Mamu started chasing the hell out of the remaining Sabres. Later int reports showed that 2 more of those couldn’t make it back home . Chacha also landed back after 45 minutes .
End result : Vr Cs for both Mamu and Cook announced by next morning! Next day, after the days ORP from Dumdum we landed up at Trinkas at Park Street, somehow the word got around that the war heroes are there , Usha Uthup the crooner came over and gave me a big hug and bigger smooch. I pointed out that the actual heroes were across the table, she looked at the mustachioed Mamu and handsome but roguish looking Cook, complimented them and continued smooching me .
For the next 14 days we continued flying something called CAP over KKD and Dumdum . In this, 2 armed ac at 800 kmph keep going round and round at low level over the airfields. This gives a crick to the neck of all pilots alongwith a long lasting sensation of vertigo. Soon tempers cooled down on both sides and normal fighter base activities resumed . The girl friends were restored where they belonged.
Love ! Dodi
PS: As one who was posted to the ill-fated Vampire sqn, other than the gamboling at Trinca’s, which I was not witness to, Dodi’s account is remarkably accurate. Thereby hangs another tale, of our cypher duties and how a few of us were under ‘office’ arrest in the cypher room for the duration of the war. Another time another story…………