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Casemate- Images of War - Wingate's Men

ISBN Number:
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Casemate Publishing
Retail Price:
Reviewed By:
Chuck Rothman

Images of War - Wingate's Men

In January, 1942, the Japanese Fifteenth Army, under Lieutenant General Shōjirō Iida, launched an attack over jungle-clad mountain ranges into southern Burmese, quickly capturing the main port of Rangoon a little over a month later. The Japanese then turned their attention towards India, working their way up the Chindwin river towards the Indian border, with the intent to invade India. The British-led coalition army conducted a fighting retreat, finally abandoning Burma in May, 1942, when monsoon season temporarily halted operations.

After the monsoon rains stopped in the fall of 1942, the British tried to land troops on the western shore of Burma, but short on supplies and trained personnel due to the fighting in the Middle East, it didn't go well. After that, it was thought that the British would just hold the line at the Indian border until more supplies and men could be diverted from other campaigns. 

Fortunately for our story, under the command of Colonel Orde Wingate, a long-range penetration unit pulled from the ranks of the the Indian 77th Infantry Brigade infiltrated through the Japanese front lines in February, 1943 and marched deep into Burma. This group of commandos were known as the Chindits. Their initial aim was to cut the main north-south railway in Burma in an operation codenamed Operation Longcloth. Unfortunately, the Japanese responded quickly, interdicting supply drops to the Chindits who soon began to suffer severely from exhaustion and shortages of water and food. The Chindits headed back to India, being forced to break up into small groups to avoid capture. By the time the 77th Brigade crossed the border, it had lost a third of its strength.

Despite the large casualty rate, newly promoted Acting Major General Wingate was granted permission to undertake another Chindit operation, but this time on a far greater scale. Code named Operation Thursday, Wingate planned to fly a force of 10,000 men, 1,000 mules, equipment and supplies into clearings in the heart of Burma behind enemy lines. The operation proved a considerable success, with the Chindits causing mayhem amongst the Japanese forces. Wingate, though, did not live to see the end of Operation Thursday, as he was killed when the aircraft in which he was being transported to one of the Chindit bases crashed into the jungle.

This book in the Images of War series is primarily about Windgate and the operation he ran in the hot and humid jungle of Burma. it's only about 117 pages, the book is packed with information, detail and photographs all of excellent quality.

The book is split into a number of chapters that each look at a part of the operation in detail such as Troop, the March, the Operation, Supplies from the Skies, Live to Fight Another Day, Supply for 10,000 men and Men of the Chindits. Many of the photos are of the lead up to the supply train and the aftermath.

Most of the 134 black and white photos came from the photograph album of one of the Chindits, so modelers and dioramists seeking source material for Col. Orde Wingate's Long-Range Penetration Group will appreciate this volume.

I really liked reading the book, and discovered yet another part of World War Two that I had not known much about. The book spurred me to read more about how armour was used in Burma, including the 7th Armoured Brigade (the Desert Rats), sent over from the Middle East in January, 1942.

Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Ltd 
ISBN: 9781526746672 
Number of pages: 192 
Dimensions: 246 x 189 mm

Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.

Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishing and Pen & Sword Books for this review sample.

Reviewed by Chuck Rothman


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