Sub was a hit with Pakistan
World War II, I’m told there have been only two occasions when a submarine has torpedoed a warship successfully. One was the sinking of the General Belgrano during the Falklands War. What was the other? PNS Hangor (‘Shark’) was a Pakistani Daphne-class submarine launched in France in 1968, and inducted into the Pakistan Navy in 1971.
Under the captaincy of Commander Ahmed Tasnim during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, Hangor sailed on November 22, 1971, to patrol off the Indian Kathiawar Coast.
On December 9, she picked up two enemy contacts, INS Khukri and INS Kirpan, 40 nautical miles off the coast of Diu, Gujarat.
The sub stalked the two ships and, despite their greater speed, managed to intercept them by predicting their movements.
Tasnim released three torpedoes, the first of which missed, but the second scored a direct hit on Khukri. The third struck a glancing blow on Kirpan, which only damaged the ship.
The strike on Khukri proved fatal and she sank with the loss of 18 officers and 176 sailors: just 67 crew members survived, and Captain Mahendra Nath Mulla chose to go down with his ship.
This remains India’s biggest wartime casualty and led to a fundamental change in the country’s tactics in a war it eventually won. Hangor’s torpedo officer, Lt Fasih Bokhari, rose to command the Pakistan Navy.
In a ceremony in 2006, PNS Hangor was decommissioned from the Pakistan Navy, with plans to turn her into a museum ship. During the ceremony, Vice-Admiral Ahmed Tasnim inspected her for the last time.
Dt J. Patel, Leicester. QUESTIONMy
daughter, who is 22, still keeps under her pillow the blanket she had when she was a baby. Is this a record? FURTHER to earlier answers, my comforter is a teddy bear, bought for me when I was a few weeks old in 1936.
Edward Bear has been the source of great comfort to me throughout my life, including my childhood during the war years, my adolescent highs and lows, the trials and tribulations of illnesses and a marriage break-up.
Although he is a bit worn and his eyes have been replaced by buttons, he still has pride of place on my bed — and he is a very good listener. Ms Pamela Hodkin, St Asaph, Cornwall.