Battle of Longewala [1971]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 18, 2022, 7:15

The Battle of Longewala was the most significant and courageous battle in history fought by Indian soldiers. It is one of the first and conclusive engagements in the western sector of the Indo-Pak War. The Thar Desert of Rajasthan became the battlefield between Indian armed forces and the Pakistani Army.

Battle of Longewala - Overview

The Battle of Longewala blazed up on 3rd December; however, directed toward the eastern sector was the main thrust of the Indian Army during the Indo-Pak 1971.

The western sector of the war was critical in preventing an incursion from achieving any success for the Pakistani Army. The achievement of the Pakistani Army would be a helpful bargaining tool that would help the Pakistani government negotiate when the war would end and trade against the captured territories in the east.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's President, Yahya Khan, also knew extremely well that defeating East Pakistani forces was nearly impossible for the Indian Army as the number of their force was much larger than the Indian force at the Longewala.

The Battle of Longewala was fought between 120 Indian soldiers and 4 Hawker Aircraft and around 2000 to 3000 Pakistani military forces and 30-40 tanks.

Pakistan's president chose to try to protect the integrity of Pakistan and hold India by the strategy of Ayub Khan. Thus, the High command of Pakistan proposed to thrust into Longewala.

What was the Situation at the Battle of Longewala?

Longewala housed a defenceless BSF post and a mere single strand wire laced around the region to keep their camels from wandering away. However, that stranded wire played a significant role during the war.

During the Battle of Longewala, a company of around 120 soldiers and the 23rd Battalion, Punjab Regiment, led by Major Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, defeated the post.

The Pakistani government aimed to gain territory and protect the North-South road link, which would break off the supplies to the Punjab and Sindh areas in the event of an incursion by the Indian Army.

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Who Lost the Battle of Longewala?

This notable battle is well-known as India's Battle of Thermopylae, which helps to describe the victory of a smaller force army against a much larger and superior military force.

The Battle of Longewala inflicted heavy losses on the Pakistani Army, where around 200 soldiers were killed. The Pakistani commanders made several questionable decisions which made them surrender the war and lose the battle.

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Battle of Longewala Significance

The Battle of Longewala was preceded by the Bangladesh Liberation War, which allowed Pakistan to recognise Bangladesh considerately. The victory in the Indo-Pak 1971 war ensured that there would be no thrust Pakistan gave to India. However, with no bargaining tools for Pakistan, they were forced to accept an unconditional surrender to the Indian armed force.

Furthermore, India's government honoured Major Kuldip Sing Chandpuri with the Maha Vir Chakra (India's highest gallantry award). The government also awarded many other members of the defending company and the battalion's commander for their remarkable performance.

The Battle of Longewala is one of the most notable battles in history. It was critical in preventing an incursion into the western sector of the Indo-Pak war in 1971. The battle saw heavy losses of Pakistani soldiers and 2 Indian casualties. However, there are various significant reasons which made Pakistan's armed forces surrender and made them lose the war of 1971.

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FAQs on the Battle of Longewala

Q1) What is the significance of the Battle of Lomgewala?

The Battle of Longewala is one of the most notable battles in history. It was critical in preventing an incursion into the western theatre of the Indo-Pak war in 1971.

Q2) Where was the Battle of Longewala fought?

The Thar Desert of Rajasthan became the battlefield between Indian armed forces and the Pakistani Army in the Battle of Longewala.

Q3) When was the Battle of Longewala fought?

The Battle of Longewala blazed up on 3rd December and was fought between 4th and 7th December 1971.

Q4) Who lost the Battle of Longewala?

The battle of Longewala inflicted heavy losses on the Pakistani Army, where around 200 soldiers were killed. The Pakistani commanders made several questionable decisions which made them surrender the war and lose the battle.

Q5) What is the other name for the Battle of Longewala?

The Battle of Longewala is also known as India's Battle of Thermopylae.