East Pakistan - Military

Military

Main article: Eastern Military High Command of East Pakistan

Since its unification with Pakistan, the East Pakistan Army had consisted of only one infantry brigade, which was made up of two battalions, the 1st East Bengal Regiment and the 1/14 or 3/8 Punjab Regiment in 1948. These two battalions boasted only five rifle companies between them (an infantry battalion normally had 5 companies). This weak brigade, under the command of Brigadier-General Ayub Khan (local rank Major-General – GOC of 14th Army Division), together with the East Pakistan Rifles which was tasked with defending East Pakistan during the Kashmir War of 1947. The PAF, Marines, and the Navy had little presence in the region. Only one PAF combatant squadron, No. 14 Squadron Tail Choppers, was active in East Pakistan. This combatant squadron was commanded by an air force Major PQ Mehdi (later four-star general). The East Pakistan military personnel were trained in combat diving, demolitions, and guerrilla/anti-guerrilla tactics by the advisers from the Special Service Group (Navy) who were also charged with intelligence data collection and management cycle.

The East Pakistan Navy had only one active-duty combatant destroyer, the PNS Sylhet; one submarine Ghazi (which was repeatedly deployed in West); four gunboats, inadequate to function in deep water. The joint special operations were managed and undertaken by the Naval Special Service Group (SSG(N)) who were assisted by the army, air force and marines unit. The entire service, the Marines were deployed in East Pakistan, initially tasked with conducting exercises and combat operations in riverine areas and at near shoreline. The small directorate of Naval Intelligence (while the headquarters and personnel, facilities, and directions were coordinated by West) had vital role in directing special and reconnaissance missions, and intelligence gathering, also was charged with taking reasonable actions to slow down the Indian threat. The armed forces of East Pakistan also consisted the paramilitary organisation, the Volunteers from the intelligence unit of the ISI's Covert Action Division (CAD). All of these armed forces were commanded by the unified command structure, the Eastern Military High Command, led by an officer of three-star rank equivalent.

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