Bangladesh Army is descended from British Indian and Pakistan Armies. In 1947, East Pakistan made up barely 1 per cent of the Pakistan Army, according to Qasim Malik, Pakistan's Parliamentary Secretary (Hossain, 1991). On 15 February 1948, Major Abdul Ghani established the first Bengali regiment in Kurmitola, Dhaka. East Bengal Regiment's glory is tied to two important incidents in sub-continental military history. First in the Indo-Pak War of 1965, then again in the Bangladesh Liberation War.
East Pakistan lacked Bengali regiments in 1968. In 1968-69, 10 Bengali battalions were established (Ahamed, 2000). During the Liberation War, the Bengali Army founded Mukti Fouz, which became Mukti Bahini. On 7th March 1971 the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared the independence of Bangladesh. Resultantly, Pakistan Army started brutality and unprecedented genocide on 25th March 1971. That triggered the war of Bengalis against Pakistanis. The Bengali Army fought against Pakistani forces valiantly. Bengali Army troops were concerned about East Pakistan's unpredictable politics and contacted political figures. When Pakistani occupation troops attacked Bengali, East Bengal Regiment commanders, soldiers, police, and mass people reacted spontaneously and without organization.
On 4 April 1971, they created Mukti Fouz under M A G Osmani. Bangladesh Army fought under 7 regional commands after establishing a government-in-exile till 11 July. According to "Teliapara Strategy," the Bangladesh Army battled in 11 areas from July to December 16.
Bengali personnel of the Pakistani Army stationed in East Pakistan revolted en masse after the massacre began on March 25, 1971. They fled with whatever weaponry they could grab (Murshid, 2014). Patriotic youngsters helped them build local resistance. One-third of Bengali commanders and troops died in the resistance.
The Pakistani Army's extreme brutality and mass murders unified the Bengalis, broke down primal attitudes, and reinforced their resistance. It was a battle for liberty and a people's survival (Jahan, 1977). They revolted for patriotism without higher political leadership (Hasan, 2004). Political leaders were unprepared for this terrible circumstance (Osmany, 2014). Lack of central political leadership caused early fatalities in the resistance movement. In East Pakistan, 1.5 divisions of the Pakistani Army were deployed during the crackdown. There were 5,000 East Bengal Regiment regulars, 16,000 East Pakistan Rifles (EPR), and 45,000 Police (Jamal, 2008).
The East Bengal Regiments in Chattogram, Jashore, Cumilla, Joydevpur, and Rangpur. 1st East Bengal Regiment at Chandpur was lowered. Some troops escaped with arms when the regiment was disarmed at Jashore. 2nd East Bengal Regiment at Joydebpur revolted on March 28-29 and fled with rifles and equipment (Boshu, 2012).
Bengali Sepoy and Jawan revolted on March 19 when ordered to kill civilians at Gazipur (Mamun, 1997). After the uprising, two 3rd East Bengal Regiment companies from Ghoraghat and Gaibanda relocated to Hilli. After a mutiny, the 4th East Bengal Regiment went to Sylhet. On March 25-26, East Bengal Regimental Centre trainees (9th East Bengal Regiment) revolted. 10th East Bengal Regiment (another freshly established unit) had desertions while the remaining trainees were put on leave. Bengali army officers took command of the East Bengal Regiments.
Meanwhile, Major Shafiullah seized Tangail and Mymensingh. Major Jalil declared Barishal independent. Wing Commander Najmul Haque and Captain Gias engaged Pakistani occupation forces in Bagura and Rajshahi (Ahmed, 2010). Abu Osman Choudhury took Chuadanga around 11 a.m. on March 26. (Kabir, 2010). The army was the spearhead and core of the Liberation War. They became Mukti Bahini.
Bengali army troops, EPR, Police, Ansars, and Mujahids spontaneously formed organizations to combat the Pakistan army, initiating the independence struggle (Details in Iqbal, 2008). They created camps in their own territory and led the Liberation War.
Guerrilla warfare weakened and bled the adversary using hit-and-run tactics. Despite emphasizing guerrilla warfare, it couldn't consolidate ground. Company and platoon levels fought the conflict. To mount a frontal attack, three autonomous brigades were formed from East Bengal Regiment, EPR, Police, and fresh recruits. Each brigade was a force of 20-25 thousand East Bengal Regiment, EPR, and Police members (Hossain, 1991). These brigades formed the nucleus of Mukti Bahini. Z-force was created on 7 July 1971 at the foot of Tura hill, adjacent Mymenshingh. 1st, 3rd and 8th East Bengal Regiments were commanded by Major Moinul Hossain Chowdhury, Major Shafat Zamil, and Major Aminul Haque. In Kamalpur, Bahadurabad ghat, Nakshi, Chilmari, and Gobindgonj, Z-force won big. From 02 October, Raushan Ara Battery Artillery supported Z-Force in the Sylhet area with direct fire support and ground operations throughout repeated missions against Pakistan Army bases.
Since October, 1 Signal Company has been part of 8th East Bengal Regiment’s missions. This unit was founded by Captain Abdul Halim on 5 September 1971 and engaged in Borolekha, Fultola, Adamtila, and Biyani Bazar. K-Force was founded in Agartala on 30 August 1971 and established its headquarters in Melaghar. 4th, 9th, and 10th East Bengal Regiments were raised in Mandobhagh, Latumura, and Belonia under Captain Halder Md Abdul Gaffar, Captain Ainuddin, and Captain Jafar Imam.
K-Force won the battle of Belonia, Mandbag, Salda River, and Kasba. Mujib Battery Artillery Supported K-Force with heavy gun fire. S-Force was formed on 24 September 1971 in Hezamara, adjacent Sylhet. Major Moinul Hossain Chowdhury and Major Nasim led 2nd East Bengal Regiment and 11th East Bengal Regiment (Safiullah, 2005). S-Force aided the Liberation fight. The brigade's firepower was greater than the sector's.
Better quality heavy guns aided Bangladesh's win. Three infantry brigades, two artillery batteries, guerrillas, and supporting troops prepared for the decisive counterattack in November. Before the Indo-Pak conflict, Sector 6's Mukti Bahini had freed Thakurgaon, Nilphamari, and Kurrigram and was advancing. By November, the sector had 10,000 soldiers. Regular formations might have freed Bangladesh without Indian intervention.
Bangladesh Army resisted Pakistani occupation forces as they committed crimes in East Pakistan. In a few days, all their war weapons, morale, organizational setup, battle worthiness, and communication links fell under the onslaught of the liberating forces. Daily, large border territories were freed. Due to its helplessness, Pakistan's occupying troops surrendered on December 16. Lieutenant General J. S. Aurora received Lieutenant General Niazi's capitulation (Osmany, 2014). Before the Tajuddin Cabinet arrived on 22 December, the Bangladesh Armed Forces returned to Dhaka (Ahamed, 2000). Bangladesh was unrepresented in the surrender ceremony save for Capt A.K. Khondker, deputy commander of staff of Mukti Bahini Group.
The army's daring valor will always be a source of inspiration for military members. The year was marked by extraordinary acts of heroism, daring, and flawless military strategy by the Bangladesh Army. Sector commanders and other army officials met and conferred often to discuss national concerns and possible solutions. The Pakistanis' unjust and spiteful label of Bengalis as a "martially inferior race" ultimately gone.
The liberation war wins in diverse areas were the result of spontaneous uprising and a good army battle strategy. Thus, West Pakistan stopped supplying the occupying forces, and East Pakistan became completely separated from it. The Bangladesh Force became a revolutionary army and liberated Bangladesh.