Phases of the War in Bangladesh
The war is considered to have 4 phases:
Phase 1: March 25 to June
Operation Searchlight was launched by Pakistani forces on the 25th of March. There was Spontaneous and disorganized resistance from the Bengali soldiers and volunteers. Surprise and superior firepower helped the Pakistani forces overwhelm the disorganized Bengali resistance in conventional warfare by June. Pakistan airlifted 2 infantry divisions and reorganized their forces. Bangladesh Government in Exile was formed in April 17 at Mujib Nagar, the country was divided into 4 sectors to conducted the war.
Phase 2: June-September
Bangladsh forces command setup in July, with MAG Osmani as commander in chief. Bangladesh was devided into 11 sectors with 11 sector commanders to conduct Guerrilla operations. 3 brigades were raised for conventional warfare, a large guerrilla force was trained. Guerrilla operations, which slacked during the training phase, picked up. targets in Dhaka was attacked. The major success story was Operation Jackpot, in which naval commandos mined and blew up berthed ships in Chittagong on August 16, 1971. Pakistani repraisals claimed lives of thousands on civilians. Indian army took over supplying the Mukti Bahini from the BSF. They organised 6 sector for supplying the Bangladesh forces.
Phase 3: October - December
Bangaldesh conventional forces attacked border outposts. Kamalpur, Belonia and Battle of Boyra are a few examples. Guerrilla attacks intensified, as did Pakistani and Razakar repraisals on civilian populations. Pakistani forces were reinforced by 8 battalions from West Pakistan. The rebels even managed to temporarily capture airstrips at Lalmonirhat and Shalutikar. Both of these were used for flying in supplies and arms from India.
Phase 4: December 3-December 16
Pakistani armies were gradually being disorganised due to the sudden and quick guerrilla attack by the bengali freedom fighters in most of the areas. The former East Pakistan, being covered by a condensation of trees crisscrossed by many streams and rivers,was quite uncomfortable for the Pakistani Army. The Pakistani Army was in a dreadful condition and gradually losing the will to fight because most of their major fortresses had fallen to the allied Bengali-Indian forces. It was a matter of shame for the Pakistani High Command that a well-trained army was losing the war to the common Bengali civilians, who were barely trained and had outdated weapons. To conceal this shameful matter they launched an air attack near the Indian border on December 3 so that the real facts would remain unknown to the common people and people would say that Pakistani Army did not lose to the Mukti Bahini but to more powerful Indian armies. This led India to announce war against Pakistan officially and they started attacking near the Pakistan-India border from the 6th of December. All-out war between Bangladesh-India and Pakistan began. The agility and strategy of the Mukti Bahini, aided by Indian forces, overwhelmed the Pakistani forces and within 10 days of Indias joinÃng the war, the Pakistani Army was compelled to an unconditional surrender on December 16, 1971.
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