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8-Pass Charlie
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Air Force
Rank Unknown
Unit No. 7 Squadron, Bandits
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

8-Pass Charlie was the codename of an unknown Pakistan Air Force B-57 bomber ace who raided the Adampur airbase of the Indian Air Force in Indian Punjab a number of times during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965[1] notably starting the series of raids on the base by a solo raid.[2]

He was named "8-Pass Charlie" by his impressed Indian adversaries at the Adampur base as he used to make eight passes, one for each bomb, on selected targets with improving efficiency instead of safely dropping all his bomb load and exiting. He is also known to have expertise in disguising his attack run by confusing anti-aircraft gunners by cutting throttles before entering a dive.[2]

B-57 raids[edit | edit source]

During the war, the bomber wing of the PAF was attacking the concentration of airfields in north India. In order to avoid enemy fighter-bombers, the B-57s operated from several different airbases, taking off and returning to different bases to hop and avoid being attacked.[3] The B-57 bombers would arrive over their targets in a stream at intervals of about 15 minutes, which led to achieving a major disruption of the overall IAF effort.[4]

Named by adversaries[edit | edit source]

PAF B-57s

The name was assigned to this unknown pilot by his impressed Indian adversaries at the Adampur base,[5] and appears to be derived from his daring routine of making eight passes in bombing runs during every air raid over the alerted airbase to bomb selected targets with each 500 lb bomb in the moonlight, "and tried to carry out an effective attack each time", instead of dropping his entire bomb-load of 4,000 lbs during the first pass which would have allowed a safer exit for the aggressor aircraft over initial defences.[2]

Kills[edit | edit source]

One of the known kills of 8-Pass Charlie is one of the Indian Air Force MiG 21s on Operational Readiness Platform (ORP) which were about to take off when he the executed the first raid on the Adampur base at 2200 hours with his lone B-57 on 6 September, 1965.[2]

Technique[edit | edit source]

A B-57 dropping its full bomb load as a norm

In addition to his routine of making eight passes over Adampur, the unknown pilot also seemed to have had a second routine of conducting his raids thirty minutes after moonrise.[1][2]

Paddy Earle, an IAF fighter pilot, paid tribute to the unknown ace by saying:[1][2]

I have the utmost respect for the Pakistani Canberra bloke who loved to ruin the equanimity of our dreary lives! 8-Pass Charlie was an ace, but he had this nasty habit of turning up about 30 min. after moonrise, just as we were downing our first drink! Seriously, he was a cool dude and a professional of the highest order. To disguise the direction of his run, he used to cut throttles before entering a dive and by the time the ack-ack opened up he was beneath the umbrella of fire. After dropping his load he'd apply full throttle and climb out above the umbrella.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Class of ’65". The Indian Express. 30 July 2006. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-class-of-65/9548/0. Retrieved 24 September 2006. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 P V S Jagan Mohan; Samir Chopra (May 2005). The India-Pakistan Air War of 1965 (1st ed.). Manohar. pp. 241–243. ISBN 978-8173046414. http://books.google.com.pk/books?ei=r6DiT41ax4mFB4769d4D&id=FAhuAAAAMAAJ&dq=8-Pass+Charlie&q=8-Pass+Charlie#search_anchor. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  3. "B-57 The Intrepid Bomber of PAF". Defencejournal.com. http://www.defencejournal.com/may99/b-57.htm. Retrieved 2012-06-24. 
  4. "PAF and the three wars." defencejournal.com, 2001. Retrieved: 5 July 2010.
  5. Samir Chopra. "When old warriors meet.". Bharat-rakshak.com. http://bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/2000s/Samir.html. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Air Commodore Rais A Rafi. PAF Bomber Operations: 1965 & 1971 Wars. PAF Book Club. 

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