We sank the Khukri PARTII.


Byline: Rear Admiral R A Qadri, SJ (Retd)

Once the decision was taken, work was commenced in right earnest and continued without break. The spirit of the crew had to be seen to be believed. Everybody from the commanding officer to the junior most sailor was involved in the work in one way or the other. If the requirement was to keep a look out for the enemy, the sharpest eyes and ears were constantly at it. If anything was required by the repair team, it was promptly provided if available, if not, it was improvised. Those who could not contribute by their technical knowledge contributed with their muscle power, and those who could not even contribute in this way, maintained a constant flow of nourishment in the form of tea and water to those working cramped in tight comers, soaked in the oily bilge water. There was no distinction by branch or senior- ity, everyone contributed in whatever way he could.

The impossible finally became possible and, even under the most hazardous conditions faced by Hangor, the repairs were completed in under 48 hours. Everybody heaved a sigh of relief when the submarine was able to submerge completely once again, with the repaired pump working satisfactorily and the air conditioning plant back in operation. Like a true shark, Hangorwas back on the hunt once again, having effected repairs in the enemy's own backyard.

Hangar's crew had worked hard and made many sacrifices. While at sea none of them had any idea of what their near and dear ones faced back on shore. Everyone of them had responded to the call to duty without hesltatlon. Even the Eid holidays had been spent in the waiting. The cool pleasant days of November and December, when officers and men would normally be thinking of annual leave to go north, were spent in this deadly game of hide and seek. Surely it was an act of God that our sacrifices did not go unrewarded.

The reward came in the form of two distant contacts early on the morning of 9 December 1971. Analysis of the contacts had already established that they were two warships equipped with radars and sonars. But their speed and course were such that the much slower submarine could not catch up with them. They were, however, tracked and by the afternoon the analysis of their behavior indicated that they were doing a rectangular anti-submarine search. The two contacts were thus appreciated to be two antisubmarine frigates engaged in SAU (Search and Attack Unit) operations.

It was therefore decided...

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