Bombing of Tezgaon Airfield: 1971

36 × 24 inches

This is a painting on MiG-21s carrying out steep glide bombing attack on runway of Tezgaon airfield, Dhaka in 1971 Indo – Pak war. As the war broke out in erstwhile East Pakistan, all out efforts were made by IAF to achieve air superiority over the area by destroying the PAF fighters on ground. But Pakis did very well to camouflage and conceal their aircraft and they were utilised quite effectively in intercepting IAF aircraft carrying out counter air operations. IAF Force Commander at Guwahati, Gp Capt MSD Wollen then decided to shift strategy from ‘attacking aircraft on ground’ to ‘runway immobilization’. He wanted to try out Russian FAB-500 M-62 free fall bomb with delayed fuse for cratering the runway. However, the actual capabilities of these bombs against hardened surface like runway was never tested. On 5 December, 1971 mix of four MiGs from 28 and 4 Sqn escorted by four MiGs armed with K-13 missiles arrived over Tezgaon in the broad daylight. As MiGs completed their attacks, the escorts flying overhead witnessed the incredible accuracy of the attacking aircraft. All the bombs had fallen along the length of the runway. PAF was dumbstruck not only by the accuracy of bombing by fighters but also by the extent of the attack. Bombs had torn twenty by fifty feet into the runway whose concrete slabs were shifted upwards. More bombing raids followed to make the Tezgaon airfield completely unusable.

Sqn Ldr Dilawar Hussain, Commanding Officer of the Sabre squadron had said,

“With tears in my eyes I almost said aloud that from this moment onwards the fate of East Pakistan has been decided”

The PAF’s Sabres were grounded for good for the remaining part of the war.


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