March 1944 (1)

Marauder Sgt. Gerald Silvey watches Sgt. Robert Passanisi repair the 60 ib. SCR 300 FM Transceiver

Marauder Sgt. Gerald Silvey watches Sgt. Robert Passanisi repair the 60 ib. SCR 300 FM Transceiver

5 March – in the CBI, the Chinese 22nd and 38th divisions captured Maingkwan in the Hukawng Valley in Burma.  On their left flank, the US troops of Merrill’s Marauders crossed the Tanai River and took Walaboum.  Despite a serious lack of food and enduring combat, including suicidal bayonet charges of the Japanese 18th Division, under Gen. Tanaka, the Allied casualties were light.

Chindit forces in north Burma launched Operation Thursday.  The 77th and 111th LRP (Long Range Patrol) Brigades, (~ 9000 men), along with their 1,300 mules were deployed by glider and transports by the recently formed American Air Commando, under Col. Phillip Cochrane.  Their mission was to establish landing strips for air supply and to cut the flow of enemy supplies and communication in the Mitkyina area.  More of the brigades would be flown in over the next 3 months.

Gen. Renya Matguchi’s plan of U-Go began in Central Burma with the 33rd, 15th and 31st divisions, with 7,000 of Bose’s Indian National Army in support.  Their goal was to halt any Allied offensive in that sector, enter India and cut off the Tiddim-Imphal Road; a major supply route.

Chindit operations map

Chindit operations map

On the 12th of March, the enemy reached Witok on the approach to Shenan Saddle.  The 17th Indian Div., under Lt.Gen. A.P. Scoones, became trapped by the Japanese 33rd Div. and the 28th Indian Div. was encircled by Matguchi’s 15th Div.  Mountbatten called in the American Hump and the RAF for assistance.  Other units of the 15th attacked “Broadway”, an Allied airfield in the Chindit area the following day.

As those Allied units fell back from the Japanese offensive, the troops in the Arakan made progress.  They recaptured Buthidawng and the enemy fortress at Razabil.

Chindits, 77th Division

Chindits, 77th Division

15-16 March – the second phase of U-Go started with the Japanese troops, east of Imphal, heading west to meet up with the other units coming up from the south.  Meanwhile, the enemy 33rd Div. began a 3-prong assault toward Kohima.  Chindit troops cut the Japanese supply railways on the 16th.

23-30 March – the 14th LRP Brigade landed at “Aberdeen” landing zone in support of the Chindits near Manhton.  On the 25th, MGen. Orde Wingate, leader of the Chindits and pioneers of Tactical innovations, was killed in an air crash over Burma.  MGen. W. Letaigne would succeed him.  By the 30th, the Chidit operations began to falter.  The 16th Brigade retreated from the Japanese 53 rd. defense at Indaw.

Click on images to enlarge.

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C.B.I.  Military Humor – 

r3260

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charles Anderson – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Corps of Engineers

Roy Anderson – Cloquet, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 330th Troop Carrier Sq. (The Hump), C-47 pilot

John Burke – Shelley, ID; US Army, WWII, CBIimages-1

Brett Burney – Hamilton, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 403939, WWII, Africa & Burma

Llyod Diedrichsen – Scribner, NE; US Navy, WWII, CBI, Scouts & Raiders

Bruce Evans – Cold Lake, CAN; Vintage Wings of Canada pilot

Steven Harris – Huntsville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 127th Engineers, 11th Airborne Division

Magdalena Leones – Lubuagan, PI; Philippine-American Army (USAFIP), WWII, PTO, Silver Star

Richard Reinhardt – Rochester, NY; US Army, WWII, ETO, 172nd Combat Engineers

Charles Smith – Winfield, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 22, 2016, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. Great map of Chindits operations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Allies by no means had it all their own way at that juncture. Burma would be a tough enough place to fight in under any circumstances, without major enemy offensives by fanatically suicidal troops.

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    • Very true. The Pacific and CBI were difficult areas to fight in. Terrain, climate, diseases and types of warfare are only tips of the iceberg when it came to situations to overcome.

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  3. An excellent post of a campaign which is often completely forgotten over here. It certainly wasn’t easy being a Chindit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, John!! Your troops worked hard and long in the ETO, but it’s such a shame your children learn so little of what they did in the CBI. Not only were they fighting the formidable Japanese, but India was already demanding independence.

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  4. Thought it fascinating that 1300 mules would be brought in by glider and transport. Know they were valuable but their means of arrival surprised me. You always find something of lighter interest to add to the war scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ingenuity on the part of this generation, Bev. Without the use of today’s technology, they would find a way to solve a problem. Everything is still mind-boggling to me, no matter how much I learn.

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  5. At the end of the month, Fifth Air Force was also gearing up for a major attack on Hollandia Airdrome. First attack was on March 30th.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That photograph reminds me of two films I watched recently, “The Railway Man” and “Unbroken”. I thought I remembered it was about the Burma Campaign or perhaps that Japanese trail POWs had to dig? Regardless, I liked your post. Have you seen these two films? What did you think of them?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very interesting post, Everett!

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  8. As always, so much going on, but it was interesting to see the Japanese mount successful attacks and solid defences so late in the war, and so far from re-supply.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    • That sure does show their determination, doesn’t it? When the generals say that the Japanese were a formidable enemy – they were speaking the certain truth.
      Enjoy your weekend, Pete.

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  9. Great reading as usual gp, there’s always something new in each story that adds to the overall picture.
    Enjoyed the cartoon, they certainly had a sense of humour during the war years.
    Cheers and best wishes for a beaut weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sure try to locate new material, I know just how much was missed when I when to school! I love finding different cartoons that the men enjoyed – I think having a sense of humor was mandatory for sanity in all this!!
      Have a great weekend yourself, Ian!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We seemed to have a lot of setbacks in that area of the Pacific Theater. Was this where the fighting and the progress was the toughest?

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  11. 1300 mules! The use of animals – especially mules,horses and dogs – intrigues me. The photo you use is of a horse carrying a heavy pack.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Didn’t locate a picture for March ’44 with the mules, maybe later as we move on….? Animals can do more than humans at times and they seek to do what will please their masters – turns out to be a partnership of sorts. Thanks for reading, Carol.

      Like

  12. Awesome post GP..Please do more on the Burma Campaign and Merrills “Misguided Children”…Love these stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I consider any comparison to Dan as a compliment!! Thanks.

    Like

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