Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

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Peter H
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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Peter H » 11 Jun 2011 10:32

Same source---Wingate on discipline,page 160.
Lieutenant Peter Taylor
45 Column,45th Reconnaissance regiment

"Wingate said you couldn't punish a man,for sleeping on sentry or sleeping with a local woman,by giving him twenty-eight days' detention or court-martialling him,so he would be flogged.This was accepted by the men..."

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Peter H
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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Peter H » 12 Jun 2011 10:21

From Forgotten Voices of Burma,IWM,Julian Thompson pp 73-84

Being wounded:
We were suddenly told that if anyone was wounded and could not keep up,he would be left in a village;if seriously wounded he would be helped on his way with a lethal dose of morphine.Officers were given a supply of morphine in things like miniature toothpaste tubes with a hypodermic needle on the end...

I had a wounded Gurkha,shot to bits in great pain,and dying.After agonising for a bit,I gave him a lethal dose of morphia.He went out very quietly,the Gurkhas were amazing,they just accepted it...to my horror I found another very seriously wounded Gurkha there.I said,'I've just had to do it.' George looked at me as if to say 'you do it again'.
I protested,'There is no way I'm going to do it twice.'He gave the chap a lethal dose...

[Major Michael Calvert]The MO and I went the nearest village,asked them to look after the wounded we had crossing the Irrawaddy,and hand them over to the Japanese if they came along.I wrote a note to the Japanese saying that I left the men who had been wounded,fighting for their king and country,just as they were.They had fought courageously,and I am sure that with your bushido you will look after them.I signed it.The Burma rifles translated the note into Burmese.I felt that the Japanese would look after them,and they did.After they arrived in the prison camp,some of the other prisoners of war believed that they had given away secrets to earn good treatment.They had no secrets to give away.

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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Peter H » 18 Jun 2011 10:17

Combat Ace Led Early Commando Operations
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 41610.html

Major-General John Alison has passed away:
In 1944, as co-commanders of the first Air Commando Force, Alison and Lt. Col. Philip Cochran organized an unprecedented operation inside Burma—now Myanmar—then occupied by experienced Japanese jungle fighters.

Using a combined force of fighter planes, bombers, transports, gliders, ambulance planes and newfangled helicopters, the commanders established fortified bases behind Japanese lines in Burma, greatly facilitating a larger assault from British forces. Mr. Alison personally led the force into action, piloting a glider and 15 men to an improvised landing area in a teak forest.
From: http://thecompanyclerk.blogspot.com/201 ... andos.html

Alison,Wingate and Cochran
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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Peter H » 18 Jun 2011 11:55

Photo from Ballantine's Chindits,Michael Calvert,1973.

At Broadway---Alison,Calvert,Wingate.
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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Lightbob » 31 Jul 2011 15:40

Peter a very good post regarding the Chindits can I add a couple of corrections and additions;

Beards were not encouraged in most columns men were encouraged to wash and shave when ever possible. However under pressure it went by the board. But one unit in the Chindits where the men were prohibited shaving was in the 45th Reconnaissance Regiment.

Regarding the American M1 Carbine carried by Major Lumley. The weapon was purchased by the British for use among others by the Chindits. Alas it was found to have insufficient hitting power, it being little more than a two handed pistol. Apart from the Photo of Lumley I can remember only one other famous photo of Bill Slim carrying one. The weapons purchased were brought out of storage and issued to troops in the Malayan Emergency in the early 50s. I think your photo is more interesting for the fact of a Brigadier and a Battalion Commander both carrying a Lee Enfield with fixed bayonet as is Wingate in one of your other Photos.

There were very few ethnic Burman troops in the 2nd Burma Rifle, it consisted of Anglo/Burmese, Indians and Nepalese all descendants from the military and civil administration in pre war Burma. Personnel drawn from the hill-tribes of Burma Karens, Kachins and Chin were recruited in large numbers, although the Anglo-Burmese tended to be overly represented . The Burma Rifles were distributed among the Chindit columns at approximately platoon strength and were used as guides, reconnaissance and interpreters. I think that it is worth mentioning that the Burman colonial Regiments most of them joined Aung Sang’s Burmese Independence Army and were in fact at times in action against the Chindits.

After Longcloth in his report Wingate said;

"I would like to record here that I have never had under my command in the field as good a body of men as the 2nd Burma Rifles. Their Commander, Lieut. Colonel Wheeler, and myself were hopeful that the work of a reconnaissance unit for a Long Range Group would make full use of their good qualities, but we were surprised by their excellence in the face of the enemy. As a result of the experience we gained, the following conclusions may be drawn. The Burman hillman is an ideal soldier for aggressive reconnaissance. He is not at all ideal in defence. He is not ideal if ordered to attack a strongly held position. But in carrying out rapid, bold and intelligent patrols in the face of the enemy, in obtaining local information, in making propaganda, in handling boats, in living off the country, and in loyal service to his officers he is without equal. This therefore is the use to which he should invariably be put.
There appeared to be little difference between Karens, Kachins and Chins in general excellence, except in areas inhabited by their respective tribes."

See;http://www.rothwell.force9.co.uk/burmaweb/2ndburma.htm


The 13th Kings was L of C Battalion in fact a second line Unit this battalion average age was 33 with men over the age of 40 and many of a low medical category. During training the sick rate was 70% but reduced to 3% by the end of training. During the Kings lost 250 unsuitable men, replaced by volunteers from other British Regiments. This process of losing the ‘sick lame and lazy’ brought the average age down to between 23 - 25 years. See Cochrane’s ‘Chindit’



According Stewart Cochrane’s book ‘Chindit’ map reading was one subject that Wingate insisted on training, down to Private soldier level. I should mention that unless you need the secondary jungle for cover, it is other wise slow and exhausting moving through it in heavily laden columns . Columns, often taking a day to move a 1000 yards. Remember that most of the time in the jungle you need to move on a compass bearing. Although cutting is not advisable, unfortunately heavily loaded men and mules require a previous cut track. The time taken to negotiate an obstacle is multiplied by the number of men in the column.. Providing Guides was part of the Burma Rifles remit. 77 Bde also found that issued maps were not correct so had to rely more on guides. Villages had moved and hence the roads and tracks that served them.


Brigade Commander. 111 Bde under the Command of Lentaigne, was considered insufficiently and lackadaisically trained. The Brigade suffered frustration and fiasco under the excessive timidity of its commander. The Brigade was posted to the Chindits by Slim and was the only unit not trained personally by Wingate due to an extended period in hospital. Why Lentaigne was promoted to replace Wingate instead of Calvert or Wingate’s Deputy Gen Symes, who had previously commanded the 70th Division before its break up to supply men for the Chindit Columns, was a mystery at the time. Perhaps the choice of Lentaigne to command the Chindits was simply down to the fact that Slim liked Gurkha officers to command units in his army.

Politics certainly had a roll in he demise of the Chindits. It was a political move when Slim sent the Chindits to Stillwell and Boatner. They were probably the least gifted Generals in Burma, it was their misuse and the poor leadership of Lentaigne that led to the destruction of the Chindits and the Mauderers.

The statement by Slim in his book ‘Defeat into Victory, critical of Wingate and his Chindits, was written 12 years after the war and caused an enormous amount of controversy and anger among the Chindit and 14th Army veterans, as it contradicted many statements Slim had made previously in Burma. The academics among them, noticed it was almost word for word the same as Kirkby’s official History. Rooney says the following (page221)

In view of this, it was a matter of incredulity and amazement to the Chindits and to all admirers of Wingate, when Defeat into Victory put forward not the detailed and well-known assessment Slim had made in 1944, but a highly critical and dismissive description of Wingate and what he and the Chindits had achieved.

In referring to the first Chindit expedition, Slim explained that the Chindits had blown up some bridges and cuttings, and had then broken up into small parties, and he added ‘As a military operation the raid had been an expensive failure. . The damage it did to Japanese communications was repaired in a few days, the casualties it inflicted were negligible, and it had no immediate effect on Japanese dispositions and plans... if anything was learned of air supply~ or jungle fighting it was a costly schooling.’ (Slim page 134)

I think attitude of many senior officers was the result of Wingate having the ear of those in high places. To many with WW1 service this was hint of patronage that allowed Haig, a men of limited abilities to rise to the top with end result we are all aware off. Wingate having a socialist leaning made it difficult for the Military establishment, with more right wing views to accept him

Perhaps the tribute paid by Slim shortly after Wingate’s death and publish in the 14th Army’s newspaper SEAC. Will shed light on the veterans despondecy. Also from Rooney (page 214)

Tribute
by Lieut.-General W. J. Slim,
GB., C.B.E., D.S.O., MC., C.O.C. in C. 14th Army

I first met Wingate in East Africa in 1940 when he was taking
a leading part in the organization and leadership of the patriotic
forces in Abyssinia I regarded him then as one of the se-
veral daring young soldiers who were showing themselves to
be outstanding guerrilla leaders It was not until months later
when I travelled with him on a long air voyage that I realised
that Wingate was much more than that. I talked with him,
and he gave me a paper he had written on the organization,
control and operation of guerrilla forces
I then learned that, added to the tactical daring of the
guerrilla leader, were a wealth of vision and a depth of imagi-
nation that placed him far above his comrades.
Genius is a word that should not be easily used but I say
without hesitation that Wingate had sparks of genius in him.
Someone has defined genius as ‘an infinite capacity for taking
pains.’ Genius is not that. People who have an infinite capacity- -
for taking pains are not geniuses. They are routine men fit
for minor administrative posts. Wingate was not like that.
Real genius has the power to see things more clearly tha
ordinary men can.
This he had.
He had, too, another attribute of genius, the power to
accept other people’s ideas, to adapt them to his own purposes,
and to give them his own individuality - a form of genius
which has always marked a great artist Thus Wingate would
discuss tactical ideas with you. He would contradict, argue,
make you explain and defend your methods.
When he had completely satisfied himself he would accept
them and incorporate them harmoniously in his own tech-
nique. An example of this was his application of airborne
methods to his own long-range penetration tactics.
But there have been many geniuses who have accom-
plished little. The rarer combination of vision and action is
required for results. As a man of action Wingate excelled. He
was truly dynamic. When he was about, something had to
move.
First he had the power of imposing his view on others, not
so much by argument alone as by sheer force of his own
belief. To see Wingate urging action on some hesitant com-
mander was to realise how a medieval baron felt when Peter
the Hermit got after him to go crusading. Lots of barons
found Peter the Hermit an uncomfortable fellow, but they
went crusading all the same.
Wingate spared no one, himself least of all He never
courted popularity with those he commanded or with those
who commanded him. He invited, and skilfully used, publici-
ty in all its forms, not for his own glorification but to ensuresupport for his force, to increase the resources alotted to~

him, to sell his ideas to the people who could help them on.~ -
For the effect on himself, I believe he was indifferent. - It
was the cause that mattered. As a deeply -but privately reli-
gious man he had a firm belief in the justice of the cause for
which we fight and his one object was to serve his country in
that cause. -
The number of men of our race in this war who are really
irreplaceable can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
- Wingate is one of them~ The force he built is his own; no-one
else could have produced it. He designed it, he raised it, he
trained it, he led it, inspired it and finally placed it where he
meant to place it - in the enemy’s vitals.
In all this he would have been irreplaceable, but be has
accomplished his greatest work; He has forged the weapon~
others may now wield it. From the force itself come his
successors, imbued with his will and his vision.
We are proud to have Wingate’s force as part of the

Fourteenth Army. The men he led, his Chindits, know that the
finest tribute they can pay to the great leader is to complete
his work and to perpetuate in themselves his courage and his
determination to strike to the utmost in their country’s cause.

At the time of his death and after their were many tributes to Wingate’s especially from the ordinary soldier who served under him. However below are some of the other tributes to him.

"Judged by ordinary standards, Wingate] would not be regarded as normal. But his own standards were far from ordinary. He was a military genius and a wonderful man." He taught us everything.
- Moshe Dayan
Commander the IDF

"They [Wingate and Sandford, and a few others] deserve our accolades for their commitment to truth and justice."

-Haile Selassie
Emperor of Ethiopia

"His was a complex character, but two things are sure. First, he was a military genius of a grandeur and stature seen not more than once or twice this century. Secondly, no other officer I have heard of, could have dreamed the dream, planned the plan, obtained, trained, inspired and led the force. There are men who shine at planning, or at training, or at leading; here was a man who excelled at all three, and whose vision at the council table matched his genius in the field."
- Bernard Fergusson
Governor General Of New Zeeland
Former Chindit Column Commander

"We placed our hopes at Quebec in the new Supreme Commander Admiral Mountbatten and in his brilliant lieutenant Major-General Wingate who, alas, has paid a soldiers debt. There was a man of genius who might well have become also a man of destiny. He has gone, but his spirit lives on in the long range penetration groups, and has underlain all these intricate and daring air operations and military operations based on air transport and on air supply."

Winston Churchill
House of Commons August 1944

We have seen what the British thought about Wingate but what did the IJA commanders think;

From the Japanese side General Tanaka wrote from Tokyo ‘It is an undeniable fact that the Wingate operation is one of the principal causes for the fall of northern Burma; the 18th Division fighting in the Hukawng Valley was forced to retreat from there because their route of communication had been cut off by Task Force Wingate’. (Tanaka— Tulloch, 27 February 1964, Rylands)

Mutaguchi also wrote in detail about the Chindit operations and concluded ‘Wingate’s airborne tactics put a great obstacle in the way of our Imphal plan, and were an important reason for its failure’. (Mutaguchi—Tulloch, 1 February 1964, Rylands)

The continuing Japanese interest in Wingate was illustrated by a TV film on the Burma campaign (1993), which featured Wingate and posed the question whether such an outstanding leader could have emerged in the rigid hierarchy of the Japanese army.

Symes became COG Burma and provided interrogation reports on many of the Japanese leaders including Mutaguchi. In a lengthy report Mutaguchi made one particularly important statement He said ‘The Chindit invasion did not stop our plans to attack Kohima BUT they had a decisive effect on these operations, and they drew off the whole of 53 Division and parts of 15 Division, one regiment of which would have turned the scales at Kohima.

After the campaign, the Japanese admitted that the Chindits were difficult to deal with effectively and had completely disrupted their plans for the first half of 1943 On the other hand they claimed to have obtained much valuable information about Imphal from Chindit prisoners

When he was interrogated in 1945, Mutaguchi spoke of the~ valuable lessons the Chindits taught him especially that troops could move from west to east or from east to west across the north south grain of Burma’s mountains and rivers He gave his final assessment when he wrote in 1964 that Wingate’s first expedition changed his whole strategic thinking and convinced him that he would have to attack Imphal before the Allies started their offensive.

As an after thought; Operation Thursday by the Chindits was the second largest Airborne operation in the war when 25,000 men mules guns etc where flown in and maintained I suppose getting 20,000 pack mules was a problem, but they had found a way round it by using horses from Australia and they use of elephants and bullock carts.




I would suggest to anyone interested in the Chindits they try and get the following Books on the Chindits;
David Rooney’s - ‘Wingate and the Chindits’.
Michael Hickey’s - ‘The Unforgettable Army’
Michael Calvert’s - ‘Fighting Mad’.
John Masters’ - ‘Road Past Mandalay’.
Bernard Ferguson - ‘Beyond the Chindwin’
William Slim - ‘Defeat into Victory’
























.

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Empiricist
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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Empiricist » 26 Mar 2023 16:42

Lightbob wrote:
31 Jul 2011 15:40
Operation Thursday by the Chindits was the second largest Airborne operation in the war...
Absolute nonsense.

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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by LineDoggie » 26 Mar 2023 23:01

Lightbob wrote:
31 Jul 2011 15:40
Regarding the American M1 Carbine carried by Major Lumley. The weapon was purchased by the British for use among others by the Chindits.
No it wasnt, M1 carbines were Lend Lease to the tune of 25,362 M1 and M1A1 carbines pre 1945. Later the British purchased some 175,404 U.S. M1 Carbines between Oct 1950 and 1963
Lightbob wrote:
31 Jul 2011 15:40
Alas it was found to have insufficient hitting power, it being little more than a two handed pistol.
Alas that's a myth, stand in front of an M1 carbine an let someone shoot you and then say it has no power

.30 Carbine 110Grn FMJ Bullet @ 1,990 FPS with 967 Ft Lbs





Lightbob wrote:
31 Jul 2011 15:40

As an after thought; Operation Thursday by the Chindits was the second largest Airborne operation in the war when 25,000 men mules guns etc where flown in and maintained I suppose getting 20,000 pack mules was a problem, but they had found a way round it by using horses from Australia and they use of elephants and bullock carts.
Um no it wasn't Air transporting is not Airborne Assaults (Parachute and Glider)



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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Empiricist » 27 Mar 2023 08:09

The 5318th PAU (later 1st ACG) had in Operation Thursday 13 C-47s only. Next 13 C-47s detached USAAF Troop Carrier Command. 26 C-47s only worked over Burma in total to support Opration Thursday.

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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Empiricist » 27 Apr 2023 21:01

Peter H wrote:
18 Jun 2011 10:17
Combat Ace Led Early Commando Operations
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 41610.html

Major-General John Alison has passed away:
In 1944, as co-commanders of the first Air Commando Force, Alison and Lt. Col. Philip Cochran organized an unprecedented operation inside Burma—now Myanmar—then occupied by experienced Japanese jungle fighters.

Using a combined force of fighter planes, bombers, transports, gliders, ambulance planes and newfangled helicopters, the commanders established fortified bases behind Japanese lines in Burma, greatly facilitating a larger assault from British forces. Mr. Alison personally led the force into action, piloting a glider and 15 men to an improvised landing area in a teak forest.
From: http://thecompanyclerk.blogspot.com/201 ... andos.html

Alison,Wingate and Cochran
A little tidbit related to Alison. Before Operation Thursday he took to India two pistols -- Colt Woodsman (he used it during pre-Operation exercises) and .45 Auto he was armed with after landing in Burma behind Japanese lines.

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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Empiricist » 27 Apr 2023 21:06

Peter H wrote:
27 May 2008 07:21
Some photos here as well:

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/sh ... hp?t=66205

US Air Commandos in cammos can be seen here.These were the glider crews.

Image


More on Calvert:
Mike Calvert was said to be the man who had killed the most enemies soldiers with his on hands. Actually he reports in his biography how he kills a Japanese officer in a river. They both wanted to take a bath and did not recognise each other until they were both nude in the river. It came to a fight and Calvert knocked the Japanese down and drowned him...
The US glider pilots in this pic have rare Westinghouse camo liners on their heads.

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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Richard Stone » 09 Jul 2023 18:20

The attached article is a condensed version of a 1944 British Army report about the Chindits. The article was prepared to serve as a press release to the public and to military offices in other theaters.

This copy of the report was printed in the October 1944 edition of the USA professional military reference magazine ‘Military Review’.

Combat Notes - Mil Review Oct 1944 - Chindits-1.png
Combat Notes - Mil Review Oct 1944 - Chindits-2.png
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Re: Chindits-"in the guts of the enemy"

Post by Sheldrake » 10 Jul 2023 10:19

I once worked for the man who rescued Mike Calvert. My boss was the head of Remembrance Travel at the RoyalBritish Legion. He claimed to have heard that Mike Calvert was a down and out in Glasgow. He found him and helped him to get grace and favour accommodation. (I think in one of the Charterhouses in London) He recorded an interview with Calvert whioch was available from the Royal British Legion on CD. Calvert had been dismissed from the army after accuisations of paerdophilia.

Orde Wingate was my commanding officer. That is Orde Wingate junior, who commanded the Honourable Artillery Company, a British reserve unit.

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