Flying Officer Harish Masand shoots down a Sabre

36 × 24 inches

Fg Offr Harish Masand was flying in a mission to attack Tezgaon airfield near Dhaka on 04 December 1971. The four aircraft Hunter formation was led by his CO, Wing Commander SK Kaul who later became the Chief of the Air Staff. As the formation approached the target Harish spotted two Pakistani Sabres in the rear quarter and warned the formation on radio of the approaching threat. The leader informed the MiG-21s that were supposed to be giving cover to the Hunter formation as escorts. As the Sabres started to close in, realizing the threat to the formation, Harish ordered a hard turn to the formation as an evasive action. He kept monitoring the relative position of the Sabres while himself turning hard into the enemy. As the formation was going to roll out in an expected direction towards home base of Hasimara, Harish suddenly noticed a Sabre ahead closing in rapidly to a pair of Hunters and opening fire. Assuming the Hunters to be his leader and his wingman, Harish yelled on the R/T warning them of the looming threat from the enemy while he maneuvered his aircraft to position behind the Sabre. Within no time he found himself closing into the enemy with a massive overtake and opened fire from a very close range. Four 30mm guns of his Hunter spewed high explosive (HE) bullets at 1200 rounds per minute from a distance of less than 300 yards. The Sabre practically blew up in front of him and Harish had no reaction time to avoid flying through the debris of the disintegrating aircraft. By then the MiGs had appeared over the Hunters and they confirmed Pakistani aircraft going down and the pilot ejecting at the last moment. Harish had his moments of glory but more importantly he saved his buddies from getting shot down over enemy territory.


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