This is a painting of a small commuter plane of IAF called the OTTER that was converted to carry out combat missions over East Pakistan by few brave Bengali pilots who had defected from Pakistan Air Force just before the war. Like the Mukti Bahini, these pilots were equipped and trained by Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots to form a flight in exile called the “Kilo Flight”.
The flight besides the Otter had one Dakota and one Chetak helicopter.
On 03 December 1971 the Otter aircraft piloted by Flt. Lt. Shamsul Alam (Captain), Capt. Akram (Co-Pilot), Sgt. Nurul Haque (Bombardier) and Cpl. Rustam (Gunner) were tasked to attack the fuel storage installations at Chittagong refinery. They got airborne from a small airbase of Kailashahar at Tripura at 8 PM in complete darkness. The aircraft was armed with rockets and bombs. The only navigation aid the aircraft had was a vintage magnetic compass that was quite unreliable. The slow moving aircraft was completely exposed to enemy air and ground fire. To avoid detection by enemy radar it had to fly at a low level at night. It flew south towards Bay of Bengal and as they hit the coast line, they descended to 100 feet and then to 50 feet. After locating Chittagong, the pilots looked for the fuel storage tanks. By then sufficient moonlight was available for the crew to see the refinery shining in the coastline. Flt Lt Alam took over the controls and took aim on the storage tanks and fired some rockets in salvo. To their horror ack ack fire opened up on them from Chittagong airfield. Undeterred by the risk of being hit by ground fire the crew made repeated attacks till the storage tanks exploded in a huge thunderous ball of fire.
With mission accomplished the aircraft once again descended to low level to head for a long flight towards home that was more than two hours away. Their attack was aired by BBC before the aircraft safely landed at Kumbhigram at dead of night. Incredibly, this was the first shot of the war fired in air war for liberation of Bangladesh. For this mission Flt. Lt. Shamsul Alam and Capt. Akram received the highest Gallantry Award BIR UTTAM of Bangladesh and Bombardier and Gunner received Gallantry Award BIR BIKRAM. After this mission both Otter and Helicopter flew over 48 operational missions destroying vital targets of military importance in the war.