After reading Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service by Michael Bar-Zohar, I found Black Tornado: Mumbai 26/11 in the related section. It is written by Sandeep Unnithan, Deputy Editor, India Today. It was meant to be an article and evolved into a book. Because of the good reviews, I took no time in buying a Kindle copy. It covers the military response to the terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008, popularly known as 26/11.
I find book very engaging and thoroughly enjoyed it. Black Tornado is the name of the NSG’s operation on the attacks. A few tidbits-
- Browsing through the tenant mailing list yesterday, I learned the society in which I stay Sandeep Vihar, AWHO is named after Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan who was killed in action during Operation Black Tornado.
- One of the memorable scenes of the NSG commandos in action is that of the NSGs slithering down a rope from a helicopter to the roof of Nariman House. Most Indians will never know the NSG had to improvise to do that. To descend from the helicoper down a thick rope using a technique called fast-roping, they needed gloves. Gloves were with the team at Taj, two men were sent to get them but they couldn’t find them. Captain Mohit decided to make gloves with jute bags. They cut the bag and stitch them into gloves. After reading this, I thought MacGyver!
- The same Captain Mohit was on leave and had driven to Dehra Dun with his fiancee to meet his parents. When Mohit learned of the attack, he sensed he could be called and drove back to his base, Manesar. When he reached, his team was waiting to take off from Delhi Airport. His senior told him that they wouldn’t wait a minute. He found a car from the Special Rangers Group (SRG), the police component of NSG, which also handles VIP security and offered a unit driver a case of Old Monk if he could get him to the plane in half an hour. The driver agreed and delivered.
- Kasab and Ismail hijacked a Skoda Laura but their unfamiliarity with the reverse gear led to their capture and dead. Ismail was at the wheel. As they ran into the police barricade at Girgaum Chowpatty, he tried to reverse but the car kept jerking forward. To select reverse you need to push down the gear lever and then move the lever to the left of first gear.