Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

The Chindits

Discussion in 'The CBI Theater' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    10,480
    Likes Received:
    426
    The Chindits
    Part One

    'March Divided But Fight United'


    by Rolfe Hedges
    [​IMG]
    The Chindits were the brainchild of General A Wavell and Ord Wingate. Wavell then C in c in India sent for wingate in 1943 with the task of organising guerilla activity against the Japanese forces in Burma. The name 'Chindit' was a corruption of the Burmese word for winged stone lion - the guardians of the Buddhist temples.
    The original Chindit formation was officially known as the 77th infantry brigade - assembled for Wingates operation Longcloth in Burma in 1943. Wingate assembled British, Gurkha and some Burma rifles and using innovative training methods welded them into a seven column brigade totalling about 3,000 men, with hundreds of mules, Oxen and Elephants carrying their supplies.

    The unit comprised:
    • 13 battalion Kings Liverpool regt
      3rd bn 2nd Gurkha rifles
      2nd bn Burma rifles
      142nd Commando company
    With these men Wingate penetrated deep into Burma - the objective being to a)cut the main railway line between Mandalay and Myitkyina b) harass the enemy in the Shwebo area c)if possible cross the Irrawaddy and cut the railway between Mandalay and Lashio.
    The first objective lie 150 miles to the East. The number one priority was to reach the target undetected. The start of the mission was made by 2 Gurkha columns from the force crossing the Chindwin 50 miles to the south and by a diversionary attack by the 23rd Indian division at Kalewa. This succeeded and the main force reached the railway in 2 weeks without encountering any Japanese, They were also resupplied at the target by the RAF. However at the railway line - 2 columns were ambushed and incurred heavy casualties. The rest of the column managed to blow up the rail line in over 75 places over a distance of 30 miles.
    The Japanese were now buzzing 'as if they were an angry Wasp's nest' believing the British had a division of commandos in the rear. Wingate managed to cross the Irrawaddy, but had to disperse his force. The result of this was that they became near impossible to resupply by air, sickness and the heat were also taking their toll of. So before reaching his third target Wingate ordered a general dispersal and retreat back to India - they had lost 883 men out of the 3,000. They had spent twelve weeks in the jungle and marched almost 1,000 miles. Wingate saw this as a dismal failure.
    Impossible Possible
    However 'Longcloth' lacking in material results, was a real breakthrough in strategic thinking. It showed that in the war in the jungle - alien to the British ; the impossible was possible. They could take the war to the Japanese.
    By the end of 1943, the Japanese had given up on invading India, believing the jungles beyond the river Chindwin in Burma were impassable - they would sit tight and hold onto what they had. The British too were more or less content to defend India. However, American strategy in the theatre as a whole was to divert as many Japanese away from the pacific as possible and also to win back Chinese territory in order to build air bases on China's pacific coast. They wanted action from the British, who were sitting on a vast reserve of mainly Indian manpower on the sub continent.
    At the summit conference 'Quadrant' in Quebec August 1943 future Allied military policy was the agenda - the British were under pressure to take action in the far east, Churchill took with him Wingate and after putting his ideas to the Allied chiefs Wingate was given the Green light on his Long range penetration ideas.
    His initial plans were to airlift whole divisions to liberate territory using guerrilla tactics. But after several top level political arguments - especially conflict with the Americans and problems with the American general Stilwell ( who hated the British) the formation of' special force' and what was to be known as 'OPERATION THURSDAY' was finally agreed.
    The basic theory was 'to insert himself in the guts of the enemy' with hopefully the bonus that he didn't know where you had landed. This idea had to have two central themes a) the power to penetrate deeply, and, b) the power to stay there.
    Wingate stuck to the heart of the British system - morale and motivation - using the regiment as the building blocks of his 'new' army. He used men mainly from Symes British 70th division - known for its high levels of training and morale. And at the heart of the unit were veterans from the original 77th brigade. CHINDIT ORDER OF BATTLE JANUARY 1944


    The Chindits were officially known as 'Special Force' or the '3rd Indian Infantry Division.' THE CHINDITS WERE OFFICIALLY KNOWN AS ;
    N.B. The title 3rd Indian division was only given in order to deceive the Japanese.
    There were six brigades -- each referred to by a nickname. Each brigade had its own HQ situated near an airfield and an HQ column in the field (numbered separately from below).
    GALAHAD 5307TH COMPOSITE UNIT (PROVISIONAL) US ARMY

    Also known as Merrill's Marauders and after being trained were handed over to Gen. Stilwell's Northern Command.
    • 1ST BATTALION; RED AND WHITE COMBAT TEAMS
      2ND BATTALION; BLUE AND GREEN COMBAT TEAMS
      3RD BATTALION; KHAKI AND ORANGE COMBAT TEAM
    THUNDER 3RD WEST AFRICAN BRIGADE
    • 6TH BATTALION NIGERIA REGT; 66 and 39 COLUMNS
      7TH BN NIGERIA REGT; 29 and 35 COLUMNS
      12TH BN NIGERIA REGT; 12 and 43 COLUMNS
    JAVELIN 14TH BRIGADE
    • 2ND BN THE BLACK WATCH: 42 and 73 COLUMNS
      1ST BN BEDS AND HERTS REGT: 16 and 61 COLUMNS
      2ND BN YORK AND LANCASTER REGT: 65 and 84 COLUMNS
      7TH BN LEICESTER REGT: 47 and 74 COLUMNS
    ENTERPRISE 16TH BRIGADE
    • 1ST BN THE QUEEN'S REGIMENT ; 21 AND 22 COLUMNS
      2ND BN LEICESTER REGT ; 17 and 71 COLUMNS
      51/69 ROYAL ARTILLERY 51 and 69 COLUMNS (INFANTRY COLUMNS MADE UP OF R. A PERSONNEL)
      45TH RECCE REGT ; 45 AND 54 COLUMNS ( INFANTRY COLUMN MADE UP FROM RECCE UNITS)
    EMPHASIS 77TH BRIGADE
    • 3RD BN 6TH GURKHA RIFLES: 36 and 63 COLUMNS
      1ST BN THE KINGS REGT: 81 and 82 COLUMNS
      1ST BN THE LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS: 20 and 50 COLUMNS
      1ST BN SOUTH STAFFS REGT: 38 and 80 COLUMNS
      3RD BN 9TH GURKHA RIFLES: 57 and 93 COLUMNS
    PROFOUND 111TH BRIGADE
    • 1ST BN THE CAMERONIANS: 26 and 90 COLUMNS
      2ND BN THE KINGS OWN ROYAL REGT: 41 and 46 COLUMNS
      3RD BN 4TH GURKHA RIFLES: 30 COLUMN
    MORRIS FORCE
    • 4TH BN 9TH GURKHA RIFLES: 49 and 94 COLUMNS
      3RD/4TH GURKHA RIFLES: 40 COLUMN
    DAH FORCE
    • KACHIN LEVIES
    BLADETL (BLAINS DETACHMENT)
    • GLIDERBORNE COMMANDO ENGINEERS
    ROYAL ARTILLERY Supporting non-mobile units designed to defend Chindit Jungle Fortresses.
    • R, S AND U TROOPS 160TH FIELD REGT (ALL 25 PDRS)
      W,X,Y, AND Z TROOPS 69TH LIGHT ANTI AIRCRAFT REGT. (40MM BOFORS / 12.5 MM HISPANO GUNS)
    SUPPORT UNITS
    • NO 1 AIR COMMANDO USAF -strike and casualty evacuation (until 1/5/1944 only)
      EASTERN AIR COMMAND - supply
      U. S ARMY 900TH FIELD UNIT (engineers)
    ORGANISATION

    The column was the main unit and all operations were column biased - the column was referred to literally, because all personnel moved through the jungle in single file - a tactic to be copied 20 years later. Each column was essentially of company strength. The unit as a whole was supported by about 1,000 mules. Each column had 4 rifle platoons, 1 heavy weapons platoon ( 2 Vickers mmg, 2 - 3 inch mortar, 1 flame thrower, 2 piats ), 1 commando platoon ( demolition and booby trap skills ) and 1 recce platoon with a British officer and Burma rifles ( Karen and Kachin tribesmen ).

    MagWeb The Frontline: Chindits of WWII Burma: Allied Guerillas: 57 Military History and Product Magazines
     
    linuixeplerve likes this.
  2. hand

    hand recruit

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Grandfather was in the Chindits in WW2, I was just 1 or 2 when he died in 92-93 so I can't remember much about him but seemingly he told me stories of his time in the Chindits and how he was selected to be a Chindit rather than join, to get me to sleep. I have the greatest of respect for the men who were in this branch I often list alongside SAS and Special Operations. I have the upmost respect for my grandad, I look up to him and believe that if I was half the man he was, I would carry the same respect for myself. I am getting emotional writing this because of the sacrafice these men made. There are no movies, books, television programs or stories dedicated to the men who were literally behind enemy lines, who were sent on impossible missions and were not expected to return from what they signed up to. I may be rambling on now but I just want to pay my respects to literally and honestly the greatest, bravest and best men that ever lived.
     
  3. Billy the Kid

    Billy the Kid Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi: There is: Find the Road past Mandalay.
    John Masters
    Enjoy
    Billy the Kid
     
  4. wtid45

    wtid45 Ace

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,619
    Likes Received:
    99
    Try this www.chindits.info and there are plenty of books out there on the Chindits Special Force and To Be A Chindit are both very good personal accounts.
     
  5. Bex71

    Bex71 recruit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've recently received a copy of my great-uncle's service record and suspect he may have been part of the Chindits. He was transferred to the 1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers in October 1943 and he was punished for being drunk at Jhansi Station in November 1943.

    He was wounded in action on 9th April 1944 and there is a report in the local paper in October 1945 to say he had been freed from the Japanese.

    Does this information make it look likely that he was part of the Chindits?

    Thanks.
     
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    9
    Hi Bex71,

    I have been researching my Grandfather in WW2, he was a 1943 Chindit, who sadly died a POW in Rangoon Jail. This is where the vast majority of both the 1943 and 1944 Chindits were held during the conflict. If you can tell me his name, I may be able to confirm his POW status?

    Bamboo.
     
  7. eddie chandler

    eddie chandler recruit

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    This information has been posted on another forum ww2talk, so some of you may have read this before.

    I am searching for anyone who has a connection with the 2nd Leicesters, particularly during the 2nd Chindit campaign in 1944.

    The following is a typescript of the citation:-

    Sergeant Thomas Joseph Chandler
    Regimental No. 4861085
    Recommendation for Distinguished Conduct Medal

    1. On 27th March ’44, 71 Column was heavily attacked by the Japanese. In our counter attack 1 Officer and 4 others were killed. Sergeant Chandler Platoon Sergeant 15 Platoon, took a Section to recover the five bodies. Despite very heavy enemy automatic fire and grenades Sergeant Chandler, by cool and skilful handling of his Section succeeded in recovering all the bodies. Five Japanese were killed, Sergeant Chandler personally accounting for 2. His excellent example and leadership were an encouragement to his whole Column.

    2. On 12th April ’44 an ambush party from 17 & 71 Columns were blocking the route NABA-MAWLU mile 602, Sergeant Chandler now commanding 15 Platoon, was heavily attacked by Japanese, first by automatic fire and grenades, then by assault. Sergeant Chandler’s personal leadership in the hand to hand fighting enabled the Platoon to withstand the assault. At least 15 Japanese were killed. During this action Sergeant Chandler was wounded, first by a bullet through his shoulder, but continued to lead his Platoon until again shot, this time through his side. He was then evacuated by pony when the ambush withdrew. Despite his painful journey on mule, he remained cheerful throughout. His leadership and courage throughout the action were magnificent and his cheerful determination once wounded a fine and effective example to all.

    For some unknown reason I was curious as to whether I could find out the names of those killed to try and build up a mental picture of what happened and who these people were. It was important for me to follow this through, as I wanted to know why Thomas has gone to recover the bodies.

    I visited the National Archive Centre in Kew and following reading through the War Diary for the 2nd Leicester Regiment in 1944 I found that the incident where Thomas was recommended for his award was listed. Reading the diary I was also able to piece together the arduous journey that the Brigade had to undertake in order to reach their objective.

    At this stage I have to say I was shaking nervously as I knew that I was reading information that had been written over sixty years ago at the time of the campaign. It is a very moving and humbling experience to think that although there is a war going on decisions, mapping and survival have to go on in order to undertake the right course of action. Decisions have to be made in order to reduce the cost of life. Each commander has this responsibility on his shoulders and I now know that I do not envy this very difficult task.

    I have now really begun to understand that the men on the campaign lived and died for each other and would make the ultimate sacrifice if it meant that any of their other comrades would survive. They would not ever put at risk any other life they would only ever do something for the good of others.

    On reading the diary I discovered a list of men killed on the 27th March 1944. To my surprise I had found the names of the men now so the citation meant a little more to me and had meaning to the words 1 officer and 4 BOR’s were killed, they were now people and not bodies any more. I will tell you now that the emotion of sadness hit me hard at this point as I could put a name to these men. It is the thought that passes through your mind as to what happened and how did they die , what family did they have? Even now it still makes me sad to think about the incident.

    There are six names to the list for the 27.03.44 on the list killed for that day and one whose body was never found.

    The names of the six killed are taken from War records showing

    1. Lieutenant Martin Edward Anthony Dallosso 14.A.20
    2. Lance Corporal Leslie Alfred Carey 14.A.21
    3. Sapper Stanley Blaylock Rangoon Memorial Face 3
    4. Gunner George Charles Dorset 14.A.22
    5. Private J Fuller 14.A.23
    6. Private Aubrey Ernest Hickson 14.A.24

    I have managed to trace families of three of the men and met or spoken to them. Again This was a very strange experience for me but something I had to and wanted to do.

    I have so far found families of Martin Dallosso, Stanley Blaylock and Aubrey Hickson.

    I could really do with help finding the rest and any other Leicesters that may have been in Burma at the time.

    Many thanks for taking your time to read this.

    The search continues and the respect grows even more for the men who sacrificed so much for our today.

    Eddie Chandler
     
    macrusk and theblackalchemist like this.
  8. grayer

    grayer Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Uncle Jack was in the Chindits when he passed away back in the 1990's we gave his uniform to the Military Museum in Hamilton in Scotland.
     
  9. eddie chandler

    eddie chandler recruit

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    Grayer, which regiment was he in?
     
  10. sascharlir

    sascharlir recruit

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Eddie,

    I'm researching info about my grandfather during ww2, for now i don't have his service number but i'm almost sure that he was at the 2nd Bn Royal Leicestershire Regiment.
    His name is Donald Graham Bradshaw, I have some photos when he was at Cairo, Damascus and Ceylon-Kandy and I've tried to search through Internet more info but there's nothing. I also have some photos with some unit comrades but nothing further than January 1943. My father told me he also was a POW, but my search result was the same... nothing.
    I have a Chindits Old Comrades Association plaque from him and his medals.

    Maybe you have more info about 2nd Bn. and can help me to find more info. Also we can try to compare our info to find coincidences or something.

    Regards,

    William
     
  11. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    8,974
    Likes Received:
    2,439
    syscom3 likes this.
  12. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,000
    Likes Received:
    328
    Location:
    Vernon BC Canada
  13. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    6,329
    Likes Received:
    1,712
    Location:
    The Arid Zone
    Ord Wingate was one of the most interesting military figures of the 20th century. As a British officer in Palestine, he armed and trained the Haganah in the 30's, who later became the IDF. They raided Arab strongholds, set up ambushes and conducted a classic (and effective) counter-insurgency to keep the Jewish villages safe from Arab raids. Wingate was a Christian, but became an ardent Zionist, even using the old testament battles as a training and operational guide for many operations. He is still revered in Israel.

    Later, when WWII started, he was posted to Ethiopia where he raised a similar very effective native force to fight the Italians. After that campaign he was kicked aside for his rather anti-imperialist attitudes and general eccentricities. It took the hand of Churchill himself to bring him back into the fold and post him to India where he created the Chindits.

    Wingate was one of those rare officers who led from the front. He was always in the thick of the action. Still, Ord Wingate wasn't quite... normal. He was known to parade around and give orders naked at times. He suffered bouts of depression. He had manic episodes where he would spout bible verses and pray aloud at odd moments.

    He reminds me a bit of T. E. Lawrence, another gifted but eccentric British officer.
     
  14. scipio

    scipio Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    122
    Eccentric or Insane - I prefer the latter.

    Orde Wingate makes me ashamed to be British.

    He was undoubtedly a war criminal, was known to strike his own subordinates and would have fitted very well into the Japanese Army.

    I am sorry for the large numbers of British Chindit Soldiers, the bravest and the best, who met their deaths due to his harebrained schemes.

    Another one of Churchill's massive blunders.

    Wingate's death came just in time to preserve some of his reputation.
     
  15. Hassyt71

    Hassyt71 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2020
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all, I wonder if you know anyone who could help me. I have just recently found out that my great uncle served in Burma as a Chindit. I'm trying to find out any information about Pte 14517428 William Douglas Abbott the great uncle I never knew, aged 23 KIA in Burma on 22nd March 1944 fighting the Japanese. He served with the Worcester regiment and then 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. This is the only information that I have. If anyone has any information and photographs that would be great. Could you point me in the right direction please,
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,103
    Likes Received:
    2,574
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    This pay site might have something of interest..
    1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

    You could also contact the Staffordshire Regiment Museum.
    Staffordshire Regiment Museum – Still Making History
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  17. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    9,380
    Likes Received:
    2,975
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  18. sonofacameron

    sonofacameron Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    35
    He is listed on Find my Past casualty list as: 14517428 Pte. W.D. Abbott, Worcestershire Regiment, killed in action 22/3/44. secondary unit, 1st Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment. commemorated/buried Taukkyan cemetery Myanmar. (Burma)
     

Share This Page