Force Magazine

 Forgotten Story of Pioneer Air Warriors
Reading List
By Vibhu Sexena

From January 2013, FORCE started a regular section on books. Though we review books from time to time, now onwards, even if we do not publish a book review, we will carry a list of FORCE recommended reading. We also invite readers to share with us and FORCE readers what books they feel must be read by all. The books need not be new or best-sellers. You could send in your recommendations to Please make sure that your recommendations do not exceed 300 words. Here is the first recommendation by a FORCE reader

Had the Indian Air Force's (IAF’s) ‘12 Squadron’ not airlifted our troops to Srinagar, the face of India would have been quite different. Not much historic books have been written on IAF and thus, this book is a precious jewel as it covers history of the first war of independent India.

Very little has been written on the air warriors of the IAF. The author has documented the contribution of RIAF during the Kashmir War of 1947-48. The valour of our air warriors is well chronicled. They flew the aircraft over uncharted mountains ranges and innovated new means of delivery weapons and cargo. The landing at Leh by the legendary Air Commodore Baba Mehar Singh was indeed a pioneering and unparalleled effort as there were no navigational aids whatsoever, either at the airfield or en route, and nobody had ever landed at an airfield at 10,680 ft at that time and that too, without pressurised cabin.

Rare photographs of the Kashmir operations are a reader's delight, especially the Ashok Chakra marking on Spitfire and Dakota aircrafts.

In the end, the author has correctly said in the book, “In spite of the decisive role played by the RIAF, it is hard to believe that it is not given any credit for the magnificent effort of saving Kashmir.”
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