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Operation Jackpot

Operation Jackpot
Part of Bangladesh Liberation War
Date August 15, 1971[1]
Location Bangladesh, then East Pakistan
Result Sustained Mukti Bahini against Pakistani forces
•Pakistan Naval failure
 Bangladesh  Pakistan
Commanders and leaders
Major Rafiqul Islam[2]
* Submariner Abdul Wahed Chowdhury
* Submariner Ahsanullah
* Submariner Badiul Alam
* Submariner Abdur Rahman
* Submariner Shahjahan Siddique
Lt. Gen. A. A. K. Niazi
RAdm M. Shariff
BGen Bill Harrison
CDRE David R. Felix
Mukti Bahini :[3]
148 naval commandos under sector 10.

Pakistan Army:
14th Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division
16th Infantry Division
39th Ad hoc Infantry Division
36th Ad Hoc Infantry Division
97th Independent Infantry Brigade
40th Army Logistic Brigade
4th Army Aviation Squadron
Pakistan Navy:
Special Service Group Navy
Pakistan Marine Corps
17th Naval SD Squadron
Pakistan Air Force:
No. 14 Squadron

Paramilitary Forces:
East Pakistan Civil Armed Force: 6 Sector HQ wings, 17 operational Wings[4]

Operation Jackpot was the codename for several military operations during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Indian Army Eastern Command initiated the original "Operation Jackpot", an integrated logistical and training operation for the Mukti Bahini on May 15, 1971[5]

Operation Jackpot also refers to the simultaneous attacks of Bengali naval commandos as part of Mukti Bahini on 15 August during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.[5][6] The commando operation that sabotaged Pakistan Navy and her assets in Chittagong, Chandpur, Mongla and Naryanganj on August 15 is known as "Operation Jackpot".[7][8] It was the first major involvement of Naval Special Service Group, under Commodore David Felix, in the conflict and actively participated in the conflict. Ironically, SSG(N) also led their counter-operations under the same codename.[9]

The Operational plan of Lt. General Sagat Singh commanding the Indian Army IV corps against Pakistani 14th and 39th Divisions and the 97th Independent Infantry Brigade positioned in Sylhet, Comilla, Noakhali and Chittagong Districts during December 3 - December 16 was also called Operation Jackpot[9]


  • Background 1
    • The Operational Setup 1.1
    • Effectiveness and Importance 1.2
  • Bangladesh naval commando operation (August 15, 1971) 2
    • Pakistan Naval Preparations 2.1
      • Mukti Bahini Naval Operations 2.1.1
  • New Mukti Bahini initiative: Naval Commandos 3
    • Mukti Bahini reorganization 3.1
    • Setup and Training 3.2
    • The Operation 3.3
  • Pakstani countermeasures 4
  • Assessment 5
    • Operation Hotpants 5.1
      • Naval Commandos killed in Operation Jackpot 5.1.1
      • Naval Commandos Who Received Bangladesh 'National Hero Award' Recognition 5.1.2
  • Indian Army IV corps operation (November 21, 1971) 6
  • References 7
  • Sources & Further Reading 8
  • External links 9


After the

  • Demons of December—Road from East Pakistan to Bangladesh
  • Mukti Bahini

External links

  • Salik, Brigadier Siddiq (1977). Witness to Surrender.  
  • Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R. (2003). Surrender at Dacca: The Birth of A Nation. The University Press Limited.  
  • Islam, Major Rafiqul (2006). A Tale of Millions. Ananna Publishers.  
  • Shafiullah, Maj. Gen. K. M. (2005). Bangladesh at War.  
  • Rahman, Khalilur (2006). Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan.  
  • Mukul, M. R. Akther (2005). Ami Bijoy Dekhechi. Sagar Publisher's.  
  • Mahmud, Sezan (1991). Operation Jackpot. Protik Prokashoni. 
  • Mahmud, Sezan (2002). Mukti Judhdher Rachana Shomagra, Vol. 1. Mawla Brothers.  
  • Niazi, Lt. Gen A. A. K (1998). The Betrayal of East Pakistan. Oxford University Press. Bengali Translation: Samudro Prakashana, 2003 ISBN 984-8080-24-4  
  • Hassan Khan, Lt. Gen. Gul (1978). Memories of Lt. Gen. Gul Hassan Khan. Oxford University Press. Bengali Translation: 'Pakistan Jokhon Bhanglo' University Press Ltd. 1996 ISBN 984-05-0156-9  
  • Ali Khan, Maj. Gen Rao Farman (1992). How Pakistan Got Divided. Jung Publishers.  Bengali Translation: 'Bangladesher Janmo' University Press Ltd. 2003 ISBN 984-05-0157-7
  • Ayub, Muhammad (2005). An army, Its Role and Rule: A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil, 1947–1999. RoseDog Books. ISBN 9780805995947

Sources & Further Reading

  1. ^ Islam, Major Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions, p. 211, ISBN 984-412-033-0
  2. ^ Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., Surrender at Dacca: Birth of a Nation, p. 90, ISBN 984-401-322-4
  3. ^ Islam, Major Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions, p. 228–230, ISBN 984-412-033-0
  4. ^ Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., Surrender At Dacca: The Birth of A Nation, p. 190, ISBN 984-05-1395-8
  5. ^ a b c Surrender at Dacca: Birth of A Nation, Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., p. 90
  6. ^ a b c "Operation Jackpot".  
  7. ^ Operation Jackpot, Mahmud, Sezan, Mukhobondho p. 2. The confusion about the date of operation was also clarified in this book, though Major Rafiqul Islam wrote that the operation was done on August 16.
  8. ^ a b A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p. 265
  9. ^ a b Bangladesh at War, Shafiullah, Maj. Gen. K. M. Bir Uttam, p. 211
  10. ^ Surrender at Dacca: Birth of A Nation, Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., p. 42
  11. ^ Surrender at Dacca: Birth of A Nation, Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., p. 36/37
  12. ^ A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p. 211
  13. ^ Bangladesh at War, Shafiullah, Maj. Gen. K. M. Bir Uttam, p. 159
  14. ^ A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p. 215
  15. ^ A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p. 288
  16. ^ a b Witness To Surrender, Salik, Brigadier Siddiq, p. 101
  17. ^ Witness To Surrender, Salik, Brigadier Siddiq, p. 118
  18. ^ Witness To Surrender, Salik, Brigadier Siddiq, p. 105
  19. ^ Surrender at Dacca: Birth of A Nation, Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., p. 174
  20. ^ Ali, Maj. Gen. Rao Farman, When Pakistan Got Divided, pp. 114–119
  21. ^ Niazi, Lt. Gen. A. A. K., The Betrayal of East Pakistan, p. 84, ISBN 984-8080-24-4
  22. ^ Pns Qasim
  23. ^ Salik, Brig. Siddiq, Witness to Surrender, p. 130, ISBN 984-05-1373-7
  24. ^ a b Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 66, ISBN 984-465-449-1
  25. ^ Islam, Major Rafiqul PSc, Muktijuddher Itihas, p. 244, ISBN 984-437-086-8
  26. ^ Operation Jackpot, Mahmud, Sezan, p. 9–15
  27. ^ Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., Surrender at Dacca, Birth of A Nation, pp. 43-44
  28. ^ Hasan, Moyeedul, Muldhara 71, pp. 53–55
  29. ^ Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., Surrender at Dacca, Birth of A Nation, p. 93
  30. ^ Shafiullah, Maj. Gen. K. M., Bangladesh at War, pp. 162–163
  31. ^ a b Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 47
  32. ^ Islam, Maj. Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions p. 297
  33. ^ Islam, Maj. Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions pp. 274, 292, 297
  34. ^ Ali, Maj. Gen. Rao Farman, When Pakistan Got Divided, p. 100
  35. ^ Niazi, Lt. Gen. A. A. K., The Betryal of East Pakistan, p. 96
  36. ^ A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p. 292
  37. ^ Operation Jackpot, Mahmud, Sezan, p. 14
  38. ^ A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p. 265–68
  39. ^ A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p. 263–65
  40. ^ Operation Jackpot, Mahmud, Sezan, p. 43
  41. ^ Muktijudhdher Rachana Shomogra, Mahmud, Sezan, p. 61
  42. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 79, ISBN 984-465-449-1
  43. ^ Shafique Ullah, Col. Md, Muktijuddhay Nou-Commando, p. 27
  44. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 165, ISBN 984-465-449-1
  45. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 168, ISBN 984-465-449-1
  46. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 114, ISBN 984-465-449-1
  47. ^ Roy, Mihir K (1995). War in the Indian Ocean. 56 Gautam Nagar, New-Delhi 110049, India: Lancer Publisher & Distributor. p. 298.  
  48. ^ Islam, Major Rafiqul PSc, Muktijuddher Itihas, p. 550, ISBN 984-437-086-8
  49. ^ Niazi, Lt. Gen. A. A. K., The Betryal of East Pakistan, p. 184
  50. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 94
  51. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, pp. 220–223
  52. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, pp. 122, 196-198, 217
  53. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 84, p. 119, p. 201
  54. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, pp. 268–270, ISBN 984-465-449-1
  55. ^ Jacob, Lt. Gen. J. F. R., Surrender at Dacca, p. 91
  56. ^ Ray, Vice Admiral Mihir K., War in the Indian Ocean, pp. 141, 174
  57. ^ Mukul, MR Akthar, Ami Bejoy Dekhechi, p. 36
  58. ^ Islam, Maj. Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions p. 298
  59. ^ Rahman, Md. Khalilur, Muktijuddhay Nou-Abhijan, p. 227, ISBN 984-465-449-1
  60. ^ Islam, Maj. Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions, p. 298
  61. ^ Islam, Maj. Rafiqul, A Tale of Millions, p. 303
  62. ^ Operation Jackpot, Mahmud, Sezan, Mukhobondho
  63. ^ Operation Jackpot, Mahmud, Sezan, mukhobondho


The plan of operation for the Indian Army IV corps (8 Mountain Div., 23 Mountain Div., 57 Mountain Div. and "Kilo Force") may have been codenamed "Operation Jackpot". The opposition forces included the Pakistani 14th Infantry division defending Sylhet, Maulaviabazar and Akhaura, the 39th ad hoc division in Comilla, Laksham and Feni and the 97th independent infantry brigade stationed in Chittagong. Indian army had seized salients in the Eastern border from November 21, 1971. After Pakistan launched air attacks on India on December 3, the Indian army crossed the border into Bangladesh. By the end of the war on December 16, 1971, the Indian army had isolated and surrounded the remnants of the 14th division in Syhlet and Bhairabbazar, the 39th division was cornered in Comilla and Chittagong, with all other areas of Syhlet, Comilla, Noakhali and Chittagong clear of enemy forces. Part of the corps had crossed the Meghna river using the "Meghna Heli Bridge" and using local boats to drive towards Dhaka when the Pakistani army surrendered.

Final Indian Army operational plan in November 1971. A generic representation, some unit locations are not shown. Indian IV Corps operation may have been known as "Operation Jackpot".

Indian Army IV corps operation (November 21, 1971)

  • Mr. A.W. Chowdhury- Bir Uttam
  • Mr. Badiul Alam- Bir Uttam
  • Dr. Shah Alam- Bir Uttam
  • Mr. Mazhar Ullah- Bir Uttam
  • Mr. Sheikh Md. Amin Ullah- Bir Uttam
  • Mr. Abedur Rahman- Bir Uttam
  • Mr. Mosharraf Hossain- Bir Uttam (His honor was revoked by the ruling Government of Bangladesh)
  • Mohammad Khabiruzzan- Bir Bikrom
  • Mr. Momin Ullah Patwari- Bir Protik
  • Mr. Shahjahan Kabir- Bir Protik
  • Mr. Faruq-e-Azam- Bir Protik
  • Mohammad Rahmatullah-Bir Protik
  • Mohammad Mojjamel Hossain- Bir Protik
  • Amir Hossain- Bir Protik


Naval Commandos Who Received Bangladesh 'National Hero Award' Recognition

  • Commando Abdur Raquib, who was killed during the Foolchhori Ghat Operation
  • Commando Hossain Farid, who was executed during the second Chittagong operation. He was captured by Pakistani army, who tortured him to death by placing him inside a manhole and bending his body until his vertebral column was shattered.
  • Commando Khabiruzzaman, who was killed in second operation in Faridpur
  • Commando Sirajul Islam, M. Aziz, Aftab Uddin, and Rafiqul Islam, nothing further is known about them.


Naval Commandos killed in Operation Jackpot

Escorted by an Indian Navy Frigate, on November 10 these boats successfully mined the entrance of Mongla port. They also chased the British ship "The City of St. Albans" away from Moingla on November 11, 1971.[61]

  • Mine the Chalna port entry point
  • Attack Pakistani shipping

Major Jalil, Commander of Mukti bahini Sector No. 9 had obtained permission from Premier Tajuddin Ahmed to form a naval unit in August[57] and had requested 4 Gunboats to Commander M. N. Samanth. In October In October 1971 Kolkata Port Trust donated 2 patrol crafts (Ajay and Akshay) to Mukti Bahini. The boats underwent a month-long refitting at Khidirpur dockyard at the cost of 3.8 million Indian Rupees[58] to carry 2 Canadian 40X60 mm Bofors Guns and 2 light engines and 8 ground mines, four on each side of the deck in addition to 11 ground mines.[59] Renamed BNS Padma and Palash, the boats were crewed by 44 Bengali sailors and 12 Naval commandos, the boats were officered by India Navy personnel and handed over to Mukti Bahini on October 30, 1971. Bangladesh Government in Exile State Minister Captain Kamruzzaman was present when the boats were commissioned by Kolkata Port Trust Chairman Mr. P. K. Sen. Lt. Commander KP Roy and K. Mitra on Indian Navy commanded the boats. The mission for Bangladesh Navy flotilla was:[60]

After The operation of August 16, all commandos returned to India. After this no pre-planned simultaneous operation was launched by the Naval Commandos. Instead, some groups were sent to destroy specific targets, and other commandos began to hit targets as opportunity presented itself.

Operation Hotpants

In total, 515 commandos received training at C2P. Eight commandos were killed, 34 wounded and 15 captured during August–December 1971.[54] Naval commandos managed to sink or damage 126 ships/coasters/ferries during that time span, while one source confirms at least 65 vessels of various types (15 Pakistani ships, 11 coasters, 7 gunboats, 11 barges, 2 tankers and 19 river craft by November 1971).[55] had been sunk between August–November 1971. At least 100,000 tons of shipping was sunk or crippled, jetties and wharves were disabled and channels blocked, and the commandos kept East Pakistan in a state of siege without having a single vessel[56] The operational capability of Pakistan Navy was reduced as a result of Operation Jackpot.

Not all Naval commando missions met with success. Tightened security prevented any operations in Chittagong after the first week of October,[50] while four attempts to damage the Hardinge Bridge failed.[51] Some Commando teams were ambushed and prevented from reaching their objectives.[52] Misfortune and miscalculation caused some missions to fail.[53] Security measures prevented any sabotage attempts on the Oil depots at Narayanganj, Bogura, Faridpur and Chittagong, and Mukti Bahini managed to damage the Oil depots at Chittagong and Naryanganj using an Alouette Helicopters and a Twin Otter plane in December 2, 1971.


The Naval Special Service Group fought back to protect its naval assets. A small teams of Pakistani Special Service Group Navy (SSGN) and Marines were established that took aggressive counter-measure to eliminate the threat. Naval SSGNs, under Commander David Felix, were ordered to kill Bengali commando leaders (a total failure, 7 Bengali submariners survived the war while one was KIA in October 1971), While the SSGNs were successful in killing a number of Bengali guerrillas, they failed to protect naval assets in East Pakistan waters, which was the main objective of Operation Jackpot.

Pakistan Navy had taken measures to safeguard East Pakistan naval assets since March 25, 1971. Pakistan Marine battalion under Captain Zamir[49] deployed 3 Naval Marine companies and a Naval platoon at Chittagong in November 1971, while the Marine base PNS Haider was established at Chittagong. Two Fast Gunboats were obtained from Royal Saudi Navy, but PNS Sadaqat and PNS Rifaqat were never deployed in East Pakistan. Pakistan Army increased security at bridges, ferries and ports, setting up numerous bunkers and strong points near these installations.

A graphical representation of Bengali Naval Commando activities against Shipping in East Pakistan in 1971. A generic representation, not all geographic features are shown.

Pakstani countermeasures

The simultaneous attacks on Pakistan naval shipping assets on August 16 destroyed the myth of normalcy in East Pakistan when the news was flashed in the international media. Pakistan Army investigation concluded that no one had imagined Mukti Bahini capable of conducting such an operation.[48]

  • Chittagong: Sixty commandos were divided into 3 groups of 20 each, but one group failed to arrive due to Pakistani security on time. Out of 40 commandos, 9 refused to take part,[42] while 31 commandos mined 10 ships instead of 22 initially planned[43] on August 166. Between 1:45 and 2:15 am, explosions sank the MV Al-Abbas, the MV Hormuz and the Orient barge no. 6, sinking 19,000 tons of arms and ammunition along with damaging/sinking 7 other barges/ships.
  • Chandpur: 20 commandos were sent to mine ships at Chandpur.[44] Two commandos ultimately refused to take part, the other 18 divided into 6 groups and mined 4 ships.[45] 3 steamers/barges were damaged or sunk.
  • Narayanganj: 20 commandos conducted the sabotage operation. Four ships were sunk or damaged.
  • Mongla: 60 commandos went to Mongla port. This team was divided into 5 groups of 12 members each. Ultimately 48 commandos mined 6 ships at Mongla. Twelve commandos had been sent on a separate mission.[46][47]

The operation was planned in the last week of July, under tight security. Information on river tides, weather and East Pakistan naval infrastructure and deployment was collected through the Mukti Bahini. Selected commandos were sent from C2P to forward bases in Tripura and West Bengal, where a final briefing was given to them. Mukti Bahini in Sector No. 1 assisted the group going to Chittagong, Sector No. 2 aided the groups going to Chandpur and Narayanganj and Sector No. 9 assisted the group targeting Mongla. Each commando carried a pair of fins, a knife, a limpet mine, and swimming trunks. Some had compasses, 1 in 3 commandos had sten guns and hand grenades, the group leaders carried a transistor radio. All the groups carried their own equipment to their targets and after entering Bangladesh between August 3 and 9, reached their destinations by August 12, using the local Mukti Bahini network of safehouses. A pair of songs was played in India Radio (Akashbani) at specific times to convey the intended signal for commencing the operations.[39] The first song (Amar putul ajke prothom jabe shoshur bari)[40] was played on August 13, the second song (Ami tomay joto shuniyechilem gan tar bodole chaini kono dan)[41] on August 14. The result of this operation was:

The Operation

After initial training in Delhi under commander Sharma and DFI chief Brd. Gupta, from April 25 to May 15, the trainers planned for bigger actions. The river transport system was vital for economic activity given the primitive state of the road and railways system of East Pakistan. Major Jalil, Colonel M. A. G. Osmani and Indian Commander Bhattachariya in collaboration with top regional commanders established the secret camp, codenamed C2P, in Plassey, West Bengal on May 23[8][37] to train volunteers selected from various Mukti Bahini sectors (Bangladesh was divided in 11 operational sectors for Mukti Bahini operations) for this purpose. Initially 300 volunteers were chosen,[38] ultimately 499 commandos were trained in the camp. The course included swimming, survival training, using limpet mines, hand-to-hand combat and navigation. By August 1971, the first batch of commandos were ready for operation. The Camp Commander at C2P was Commander M. N. Samanth, Training Coordinator was Lt. Commander G. Martis, both from the Indian Navy, while 20 Indian instructors along with the 8 Bengali submariners became trainers.[31] Pakistani Intelligence agents scouted the camp in June and July but Indian security measures prevented any harm to the camp and apprehended all infiltrators.[24]

Setup and Training

Col. Osmani's initial strategy of sending 2000–5000 guerrillas inside Bangladesh every month since July and hitting the border outposts[32] with regular battalions had not yielded expected results for various reasons,[33] and Pakistani commanders were confident that they have contained the "Monsoon" offensive of Mukti Bahini.[34][35] As the pace of military operations in Bangladesh slacked off, the civilian morale was adversely affected,[36] which prompted East-Pakistan administrative authorities to claim that the situation had returned to "normal". In response to this declaration, the Mukti Bahini launched 2 operations: 1) Guerrilla attacks in targets in Dhaka by a crack commando group trained by Major ATM Haider (ex-SSG commando), and 2) the simultaneous mining and damaging of ships in Chittagong, Chandpur, Mongla and Narayanganj on August 15, which became known in Bangladesh and international media as "Operation Jackpot".

At the conclusion of safe houses in the occupied territories to run the insurgency and rebuild the conventional forces. Col. M. a. G. Osmani divided the country into 11 sectors, while planning to send 2,000–5,000 guerrillas inside Bangladesh every month with 3/4 weeks training to hit all targets of opportunity, while build up the regular force to seize territory in Sylhet,[27][28] Indian officials suggested fielding a force of 8,000 guerrillas with regular troops in leadership position with 3 or 4 month training.[29] The solution was to activate the hitherto inactive Sector No. 10[30] as a special sector for naval commandos with Col. Osmani in charge from May 13 onwards,[31] and this Naval commando force was to be trained as per the Indian suggestion, acting as an elite force for attacking riverine and seabourne targets.

Mukti Bahini reorganization

The Bangladesh naval commando operation that was called "Operation Jackpot" was precipitated by events in Toulon, a coastal city of southern France. The operation was planned to take on Naval Special Service Group of Pakistan Navy, after it had conducted several other operations. In 1971, there were 11 East Pakistan naval submarine crewmen receiving training there aboard a Pakistani submarine. One commissioned officer (Mosharraf Hassain) and 8 crewmen decided to take control of the submarine and to fight against Pakistan. Their plan was disclosed, however, causing them to flee from death threats made by Pakistan's Naval Intelligence. Out of the 9 crewmen, one was killed by Pakistan Naval Intelligence, but the others managed to travel to the Indian Embassy in Geneva, Switzerland. From Geneva, embassy officials took them to New Delhi on April 9, where they began a program of top secret naval training.[26]

New Mukti Bahini initiative: Naval Commandos

Mukti Bahini did not operate a separate naval wing during March–June 1971. River craft were requisitioned as needed. Pakistan Navy and Air Force sank one such craft, MV Ostrich, during Operation Barisal on April 26, while Pakistani gunboats sank 3 boats commanded by Mukti Bahini on May 5, 1971, at Gabura.[25]

Mukti Bahini Naval Operations

Rear Admiral Mohammad Shariff had only 4 Gunboats (PNS Comilla, Rajshahi, Jessore and Sylhet) and a patrol boat (PNS Balaghat) in East Pakistan, while the navy remodeled 17 civilian ships into gunboats by adding 12.7/20 mm guns, and .30/.50 caliber Browning machine guns.[23] These boats joined the fleet by August 1971, while several other boats had been fitted with 40X60 mm Bofors guns and .50 caliber machine guns in Khulna and Chittagong dockyards to serve as patrol boats.[24] A few hundred officers and 2,000 crewmen were posted in East Pakistan in 1971. 300 Bengali seamen were transferred to West Pakistan as a precaution after March 25, 1971, while Special Service Group Navy (SSGN) teams were posted in East Pakistan.

The importance waterways were not lost to Pakistan Eastern Command. After the launch of Operation Searchlight and the successful conclusion of Operation Barisal, General A. O. Mittha (Quarter Master General of Pakistan Army) had recommended the creation of a port operating battalion for Chittagong, in addition to separate River Transport and River Marine Battalion to operate an augmented Cargo and Tanker flotilla.[21] These steps were not implemented, the Army commandeered civilian water crafts for logistics and posted Army and Razakar personnel to guard various ferries, bridges, ports and other naval installations. Pakistan Navy established a Marine academy in June 1971 to support riverine operations.[22]

Pakistan Naval Preparations

Bangladesh is crisscrossed by hundreds of rivers in addition to 300 large navigable canals. The river transport is important because of the poor state of the road network, especially during the Monsoon, when the whole country turns into a morass of mud and many areas are only reachable only through water transport.[20] The movement and logistics of Pakistan army largely depended on their control of the inland waterways, and of the Sea ports.

Bangladesh naval commando operation (August 15, 1971)

Despite the limitations and challenges rising from the state of the Indian transport system (training camps were located inside India), remoteness of the guerrilla bases, unavailability and inadequacy of proper supplies,[14] and the decision of Bangladesh High Command to put the maximum number of guerrillas into battle in the minimum time possible (often after 4 to 6 weeks of training, sometimes resulting in only 50% of the personnel receiving firearms initially),[15] the operation was effective enough to support the 30,000 regular soldiers (8 infantry battalions, and sector troops) and 100,000 guerrillas that Bangladesh eventually fielded in 1971, and help run a Mukti Bahini campaign that destroyed or damaged at least 231 bridges, 122 railway lines and 90 power stations,[16] while killing 237 officers, 136 JCOs/NCOs and 3,559 soldiers,[17] of the Pakistan army and an unspecified number of EPCAF and police and an estimated 5,000 Razakar personnel[18] during the period of April–November 1971. Some of the Mukti Bahini efforts also demoralized the Pakistani Army to the extent that, by November, they left their bases only if the need arose.[16] The contribution of the Mukti Bahini to the eventual defeat of Pakistan was enormous.[19]

Operation Jackpot proved to be a significant one, since it for the first time debunked Pakistan's claims of stability in East Pakistan. The operation received extensive attention from the international media and helped to generate worldwide publicity for the liberation war.[6]

Effectiveness and Importance

Through this network, Mukti Bahini forces communicated with the Mukti Bahini Headquarters Exiled in Kolkata and coordinated all supply, training and operational efforts for the war. Lt. Gen. J. S. Aurora, commander of Eastern Command, was overseeing the entire operation.

  • Alpha (HQ: Murti Camp, West Bengal, C.O. Brig. B. C. Joshi.
  • Bravo (HQ: Rajgaunj, West Bengal, C.O. Brig. Prem Singh.
  • Charlie (HQ: Chakulia, Bihar, C.O. Brig. N. A. Salik.
  • Delta (HQ: Devta Mura, Tripura, C.O. Brig. Sabeg Singh.
  • Echo (HQ: Masimpur, Assam, C.O. Brig. M. B. Wadh, coordinating logistics.
  • Foxtrot, (HQ: Tura, Meghalaya, C.O. Brig. Sant Singh.

The Indian logistical sectors for this operation were:

On May 15,[12] the Indian Army took over the task of aiding the Mukti Bahini, setting up a coordinated enterprise under the Eastern Command for meeting the logistical and training needs and, to some extent, lend operational support and planning advice.[5] The operation was codenamed "Operation Jackpot". The operation was initially commanded by Maj. Gen. Onkar Singh Kalkat and after 2 months operational command was assumed by Maj. Gen. B. N. 'Jimmy' Sarcar. The border areas around Bangladesh was divided into 6 logistical sectors, each to be commanded by a Brigadier from the Indian army.[13]

The Operation Jackpot Logistical setup in November 1971. A generic representation, some unit locations are not shown.

The Operational Setup


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