A long but interesting article, worth a read in its original. Even at the height of all this, one caveat was consistently repeated: Zakaria, which argued that resistance to the new order was far more widespread than had been recognized.
Gideon Force disrupted Italian supply lines and collected intelligence. Inafter the disbandment of Gideon Force, Wavell — who had since been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the India Command — requested the services of Wingate in Burma.
It was intended that he would raise irregular forces to operate behind the Japanese lines, in a manner similar to Gideon Force. After returning to Delhi, he presented his proposals to Wavell.
Wingate took charge of the training of the troops in the jungles of central India during the rainy season. Half of the Chindits were British: The other portion of the force consisted of the 3rd Battalion, the 2nd Gurkha Rifles a battalion that had only just been raised and the 2nd Battalion, the Burma Rifles a composite unit formed from several depleted battalions of Burmese troops that had retreated into India in Wingate trained this force as long-range penetration units that were to be supplied by stores parachuted or dropped from transport aircraft, and were to use close air support as a substitute for heavy artillery.
The force was instead formed into eight columns, each of which was organised as: This included a personal weapon, such as the SMLE rifle or Sten Gunammunition, grenadesa machete or Gurkha kukri knife, seven days' rations, groundsheet, change of uniform and other assorted items.
Much of this load was carried in an Everest carrier, which was essentially a metal rucksack frame without a pack. Two or more columns were commanded by a group headquarters, which in turn was commanded by the brigade headquarters.
Operation Longcloth[ edit ] Brigadier Orde Wingate The original intent had been to use the Chindits as a part of a larger offensive. When this offensive was cancelled, Wingate convinced General Wavell to send the Chindits into Burma anyway. Accordingly, on 8 FebruaryOperation Longcloth commenced and 3, Chindits, Wingate with them, began their march into Burma.
The Chindits crossed the Chindwin River on 13 February and faced the first Japanese troops two days later. Two columns marched to the south and received their air supply drops in broad daylight to create an impression that they were the main attack.
They even had a man impersonating a British general along with them. The RAF mounted air attacks on Japanese targets to support the deception. These columns were to swing east at the beginning of March and attack the main north-south railway in areas south of the main force.
One column successfully carried out demolitions along the railway, but the other column was ambushed. Half of the ambushed column returned to India. Five other columns proceeded eastward. Two, those of Michael Calvert and Bernard Fergussonproceeded towards the main north-south railway in Burma.
On 4 March, Calvert's column reached the valley and demolished the railway in 70 places. Fergusson arrived two days later to do the same. Despite these successes, however, the railway was only temporarily disabled, and resumed operation shortly afterwards.
On many occasions, the Chindits could not take their wounded with them; some were left behind in villages. Wingate had, in fact, issued specific orders to leave behind all wounded, but these orders were not strictly followed. Since there were often no established paths in the jungle along their routes, many times they had to clear their own with machetes and kukris and on one occasion, a commandeered elephant.
A single RAF squadron of six planes supplied them by air. Once in Burma, Wingate repeatedly changed his plans, sometimes without informing all the column commanders.
The majority of two of the columns marched back to India after being ambushed by the Japanese in separate actions. After the railway attacks, Wingate decided to cross his force over the Irrawaddy River. However, the area on the other side of the river turned out to be inhospitable to operations.
Water was difficult to obtain and the combination of rivers with a good system of roads in the area allowed the Japanese to force the Chindits into a progressively smaller "box". In late March, Wingate made the decision to withdraw the majority of the force, but sent orders to one of the columns to continue eastward.
The operations had reached the range limit of air supply and prospects for new successful operations were low, given the Japanese pressure. The columns were generally left to make their own way back to India. On the journey back, the most difficult actions involved crossing back over the Irrawaddy River.
The Japanese had observers and patrols all along the river bank and could quickly concentrate once an attempt at a crossing was detected.
Gradually, all the columns broke up into small groups. Wingate's headquarters returned to India on its own ahead of most of the columns. Through the spring and even into the autumn ofindividual groups of men from the Chindits made their way back to India.Reynolds Pens - Buy Reynolds Pens at India's Best Online Shopping Store.
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