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IN WAR: Help from God, and how it comes

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    IN WAR: Help from God, and how it comes


    Army reports problem in desert fighting
    23 May 2002:

    The Indian army has highlighted major problems faced by the troops in fighting a desert war this summer in a report to the Union government, top officials said.
    Similar problems are faced by Pakistan army formations deployed in the desert.

    Officials said that the daily temperature in the Thar Desert averages between 45-47 degree centigrade.

    Everyday, nearly 50 jawans are being hospitalised with sunstroke.
    Armoured regiments are operating under great stress, the army has indicated.

    Officials said that the temperature of a tank increases by eight degree centigrade when it is started.

    When shelling commences, the temperature goes up by another five degrees centigrade inside the tank.

    “If there is a war today, a tank man will have to stand temperatures up to 58 degrees centigrade,” an official said. “This takes its toll.”

    Temporary ammunition dumps constructed in the desert are also causing concerns.
    There are fears that badly designed dumps may explode in hot weather.

    Whirlwinds are also causing major problems for the army in the desert.
    Desert whirlwinds rise several kilometres in height. They suck the sand all the way to the top. Helicopters that have been caught in the whirlwinds have been imperilled before.

    The army has ordered helicopter flights only in clean weather.
    Whirlwinds also destroy temporary roads laid by the army.

    “If a jawan is caught in the whirlwind, he could be incapacitated for hours with sand in his eyes,” an official said.

    The army has also reported thinning of lubricants used in small arms due to the heat.

    This is forcing jawans to periodically clean the trigger area impairing their war-fighting capability.

    Snakebites are also a major peril and the deadly viper often surfaces in the night.

    The army has also reported problems if the war is fought in the coming monsoon.

    “Rivers overflow and flood in Punjab making tank movements difficult if not impossible,” an official said.
    Tanks also get stuck in sinking wet sand in the monsoon in the desert.

    The Indian army has reported to the government that September, October and November are good fighting months.

    Officials said that India’s secret service, Research and Analysis Wing, has reported similar problems with the Pakistan army.