Introduction: Chindits (01:17)
British Army Brigadier Orde Wingate led a group of British, Gurkha and Burmese soldiers through the Burmese jungle in March 1943. They were called Chindits, and their mission was to disrupt enemy communications by cutting vital railways that ran north from the ancient city of Mandalay.
Wingate Background (06:04)
Japanese forces invaded Malaya shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. They proved to be masters of jungle warfare, constantly outflanking and destroying British positions. Wingate would soon have the opportunity to put his cutting edge tactics in action.
Chindits Formation (02:22)
Field Marshall Archibald Wavell initially wanted Wingate to rendezvous with the Chinese 5th and 6th armies, which were fighting Japanese invaders in northern Burma. Instead, Wingate was tasked with creating a special force to penetrate deep into Burma and disrupt Japanese communication.
Operation Longcloth (07:18)
The Chindits carried out their training in the jungles of central India. Wingate’s first priority was to get his men used to living and surviving in the jungle. The unit’s first mission was to cut railways connecting the cities of Mandalay, Myitkyina, and Lashio.
Promoting Chindits Success (02:19)
Wavell’s replacement, Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, showed less enthusiasm for the Chindits. However, Prime Minister Winston Churchill wanted to use Wingate’s ideas and exploits as propaganda to impress the Americans. It worked, and the United States provided support with its 1st Air Commando Group.
Operation Thursday (04:14)
Wingate returned to India in September 1943. Special Force, as the Chindits were now called, was expanded into a fighting force of 20,000 men. The unit was assigned to disrupt Japanese forces in northern Burma and pave the way for the Chinese advance from Yunnan.
Codenames: Broadway, Piccadilly, and Chowringhee (05:00)
The Japanese launched a counterattack in the Arakan region on Feb. 6, 1944. The Chindits’ next mission was to land at sites north and east of Indaw.
Allied Wins (03:41)
The Japanese launched an offensive in central Burma on the night of March 7. The Chindits indirectly helped the defense by drawing off Japanese forces. Victories allowed Allied forces to establish strongholds at White City and Aberdeen. Wingate died en route to headquarters.
Advance to Mogaung (06:24)
Joe Lentaigne succeeded Wingate. Japanese forces launched a sustained attack against White City, but they were forced back with heavy casualties. Allies had to abandon Aberdeen and Broadway but established new strongholds. The Chindits were assigned to capture Mogaung.
Securing Mogaung and Myitkyina (03:53)
Two members of the Gurkha Rifles earned Victoria Crosses on June 23. Capt. Michael Allmand was mortally wounded as he single-handedly attacked a machine gun position; Tulbahadur Pun did the same but survived.
Final Allied Push (03:50)
The Chindits were disbanded as the final Allied advance began in December 1944. Supplies could now reach China overland for the first time in three years, and Mandalay was liberated in March. Wingate was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Credits: Gladiators of World War II: The Chindits (00:56)
Credits: Gladiators of World War II: The Chindits
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