Combat Lore: Indian Air Force 1930-1945

Somnath Sapru

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1. The Learning Phase
India—Dawn of Twentieth Century
Pilots—The Initial Call
The First Six Trail Blazers
The “Hawai Sipahi” Phase
2. Building The Sinews
Wapiti in IAF Colours
April 1, 1933—Going Through the Mill
Dogged by Mishaps
How Traditions Evolve
The First Commanding Officer Flt. Lt. Cecil Bouchier
Learning the Ropes
3. At Last, A Taste of Operations
On To Waziristan Frontier Flying Ops
Miranshah—“Subchees Inn”
Now Coming into Our Own
Uniforms and Ranks
4. Wing Commander “Jumbo” Karun Krishna Majumdar, Dfc & Bar
Surendra Nath Goyal
5. The War and the IAF
Night Flying on the Frontier
The “Babu” Auditor Cometh!
6. Coast Defence Flights
Protecting the Shores of India
No. 2 Flight, Coast Defence Flight (Bombay)
No. 3 Coast Defence Flight (Calcutta)
No. 6 Coast Defence Flight (Vizagapatam)
No. 5 Coast Defence Flight (Cochin)
No. 1 Coast Defence Flight (Madras)
No. 4 Coast Defence Flight (Karachi)
7. Indian Pilots In Britain 1940
The Empire Air Training Scheme Canada—1942
Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji, DFC
Flying Officer Man Mohan Singh
Air Vice Marshal Chaman Lal Mehta
Wing Commander Munir Mall
Composition and Size of a Squadron
8. Burma—The First Ops Test
An Air Base Fights a Military Coup
Lysanders: Preparing for Burma Ops
9. A Mini-Air Force Goes to War
First Air Raid
Our Lizzies Will Do as Bombers
Night Air Raid
Commanding a Squadron in War
Enemy Tactics in the Air
First Fatal Casualty
Move to China?
Return to India
10. First Person Account
No. 1 Squadron, IAF (Niranjan Prasad)
Air Commodore M. Bhaskaran
Wing Commander T. C. George
Air Commodore A. A. Ananthanarayan
11. Back Home—Expansion in Full Swing
“Half the Bedi”
Enter the Hurricane
Squadron Leader Henry Runganadhan, IAF
Expansion Accelerates
12. New Dispensation
Indian Air Force Gets Its Colours
Indian Air Force is Ten Years Old
Indian Air Force—Yesterday & Today
“Revisiting Harry”
13. Presenting the Air Warriors to the People
Who Will Tell People of Their Valour
Vengeance Is Mine
Scribes and the Printer’s Devil
14. Enter the Americans
The Rank Puzzle
Language Import and Challenge
The All-Purpose Jeep
American Spirit of Competition
15. Going up the Ladder
A Hindustani Commanding Officer
Commonwealth Air Forces
Orde Wingate—Father of the Chindit Force
16. New Command and the “Supremo” (SEAC)
221 Group, RAF AOC Vincent speaks
The Parachute Story
17. On to a 10-Squadron Air Force
The Link Trainer
18. Gearing up for the Invasion
Aircraft and Airfields
Massive Backup Organisation
Japanese Air Strength
19. The Third Tactical Air Force Headquarters with Air Commodore Gibbs
20. IAF Squadrons in Burma Skies(Second Burma Campaign) (1943-45)
“Mehar Baba Goes Forth”
“He Shot Down the First Zero”
The First DSO
“The Arakan Twins”
Gremlins—Scourge of Pilots
21. “In Our Words”
Down Memory Lane Murkot Ramunny
22. Spitfire versus Hurricane
Radar, Ground Control and the Pilot
Air Marshal R. Rajaram, DFC
Marshal of the IAF—Arjan Singh, DFC
23. The Pathfinder
24. The Aviator Brothers
25. Inter-Service Cooperation
26. Sustained Air Operations
27. Combined Operation
“Patriotism Is Not Just Feeling & Fuming,

Somnath Sapru With over 39 years of experience as a journalist and author, Somnath Sapru has, over the years, specialised in writing on military aviation. His earlier book Skyhawks was on the four Indian pilots of World War I who flew with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in Europe.

He was earlier the Defence Correspondent of the Deccan Herald, and Indian Express, Bangalore, later at the Indian Express, New Delhi and at The Pioneer and finally at the Indian Express, Chennai, as Editor. He covered the activities of the three services of the armed forces extensively and specialised in the history of military aviation in the country.

He has been given professional awards such as the Asian Journalist of the Year Award in 1988 and earlier the Jefferson Fellowship in the US in 1979. He served as a Special Correspondent in the Indian Express and as the Editor of The Pioneer, Lucknow and New Delhi for six years and as the Regional Editor of the Indian Express, Chennai, for five years.

His published works cover a variety of subjects such as communication studies, country profiles such as of Japan and biographies but his overriding interest has been military aviation. As a follow-up on this book, Armed Pegasus, two more on related subjects are under preparation-IAF-Combat Lore and Only Angels Can fly.



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