Special Heliborne Operation (SHBO) over River Meghna

36 × 24 inches

This painting is on a formidable mission carried out by 10 Mi-4 Helicopters of IAF in 1971 to air lift elements of IV Corps, across the wide Meghna river. As Pakistani Army retreated they blew up the bridges to prevent Indian Army from rapidly progressing towards Dhaka. It was then a brilliant operation was planned by the legendary Commander (GOC) of IV Corps to helilift troops and equipment across river Meghna so that the advance of our troops to occupy Dhaka does not slow down. IAF extended all the help possible by making available 10 Mi-4 helicopters with pilots and technical personnel. Mi-4 helicopters were basically designed for day operations with a capacity to carry 15 to 20 personnel with equipment. The operation, however, demanded much more and IAF rose to the occasion. In a matter of seven days the 10 helicopters helilifted 6011 troops with more than 202810 kgs of equipment flying round and round shuttles all through the day and night. This operation not only isolated Paki troops at the fortified Bhairab Bazar garrison(near Syhet), but also cleared the way for our troops to advance 25 km south-west and capture Narsinghdi, clear the path to Dhaka, at the end of first day’s operation. Similar efforts to helilift troops with their heavy and light equipment continued for next seven days without a break and this mammoth effort helped the Indian Army to move rapidly on to Dhaka and force Pakistani Commander, General Niazi, to agree to an unconditional surrender with 93000 fully armed troops.

In terms of aerial war effort by any air assets, or sorties / hrs flown by pilots, the round the clock contribution of Mi-4s and its valiant pilots has no parallel in the history of aerial warfare. This painting captures the forming-up of the first company of 10 Bihar, after their insertion at Narsingdi (close to Dhaka), while 4 Guards were still fighting to clear enemy pockets, early morning on 11 Dec 71.


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