A history of the battle of rangoon in burma

burma campaign 1942

Largely forgotten by the world outside, the war was in fact to be just the beginning of Burma's troubles. Pre-war situation[ edit ] Before the Second World War broke out, Burma was part of the British Empirehaving been progressively occupied and annexed following three Anglo-Burmese wars in the 19th century.

British regiments in burma ww2

The Japanese Infantry Regiment from 55th Division then launched overland attacks on the airfields at Tavoy and Mergui in Tenasserim. During the hasty British withdrawal from Burma, however, such promises were quickly forgotten. He ordered his commanders, against their better judgement, to defend well forward. Although eight Japanese regiments were eventually involved, they were mostly weak in numbers and drawn from five divisions, so their efforts were not coordinated. After a few days, when it was realised that the Japanese had fallen back behind the Irrawaddy River, the plan was hastily changed. The position was almost impossible to defend, and had the River Salween , almost 1. Meiktila[ edit ] In the dry season, central Burma is largely an open plain with sandy soil and there is also a good road network. On 22 January , the main body of the Japanese 55th Division began the main attack westward from Rahaeng in Thailand across the Kawkareik Pass.

Although there was some debate among the Allies, Mountbatten eventually decided that Aung San should be supported.

The Allied Commander-in-Chief, India, General Archibald Wavell, who had previously fought the Germans in North Africa scrambles to rally Burmese forces for a counterattack with assistance from the Chinese Nationalists, but it is too late.

A small British Indian force made up of detachments from several different units including the Duke of Wellington's Regiment defended the bridge, but 16th Indian Infantry Brigade and 46th Indian Infantry Brigade of the 17th Division were still further to the east, cut off.

Bereft of his dynamic leadership the expedition became semi-static, although there were some remarkable feats of arms as the numerous Chindit columns fought deep in the Japanese rear areas, in their endeavours to realise Wingate's concept of 'a hand in the enemy's bowels'.

Burma campaign combatants

Despite this, Japanese plans elsewhere worked beyond expectation. The 36th Division also exchanged the Indian battalions in one of its brigades for the depleted British battalions in the 20th Indian Division. On hearing this intelligence, Admiral Yamamoto, the gifted master planner of the enterprise, knew that the war was already as good as lost. Japanese advance to the Indian frontier[ edit ] Japanese advance, January—March After the fall of Rangoon in March , the Allies attempted to make a stand in the north of the country Upper Burma , having been reinforced by a Chinese Expeditionary Force. It halted 3, yards in front of the battery to allow B Liberators from the USAAF to carry out a preliminary bombing attack on the battery. The port was destroyed and the oil terminal was blown up. They worked on the assumption that a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet's base at Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, would enable the Imperial Japanese army, air force and navy to attain the warlords' territorial aims before the western Allies could react. The 16th Indian Infantry Brigade of the 17th Indian Division guarding this approach retreated hastily westward. Thakin Soe and the Red Flag Communists, U Seinda's Rakhine nationalists, and the Islamic Mujahid of northern Arakan went underground even before the British had left, and in March , less than three months after independence, the Communist Party of Burma began its own armed insurrection. Under pressure of events in the Pacific, Terauchi even withdrew some units from Burma during the campaign. Apart from two experienced light tank regiments and an infantry battalion brought in from the Middle East, whose presence in the long retreat up-country undoubtedly saved Burma Corps from total destruction, no other reinforcements reached Burma Command. In order to secure these objectives however, Rangoon , the capital of Burma, would have to be captured before the onset of the monsoon rains, which would impede any Allied advance over land; the Allied Chiefs of Staff worked on the assumption that this would occur before June. In Operation Grubworm , the Chinese 14th and 22nd divisions were flown via Myitkyina to defend the airfields around Kunming , vital to the airlift of aid to China, nicknamed The Hump. The country was to witness scenes of the most appalling death and destruction as troops from the armies of four foreign powers-Japan, Britain, China, and the United States-fought their way back and forth across Burma's blazing landscape. They formed the Anti-Fascist Organisation and intended turning against the Japanese at some stage but Thakin Soe dissuaded Aung San from openly rebelling until Allied forces had established permanent footholds in Burma.

When the dust settled, due to the continuous bombing and artillery fire that Mandalay had been subjected to, a different city emerged. Units were encouraged to sit tight, relying on air-dropped supplies, and hold their ground when attacked, instead of dispersing as formerly.

japanese invasion of burma
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Burma campaign