Talk:Burma Campaign

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Request: Situation before the campaign[edit]

I'd like to see a section about the situation before the campaign. I didn't know (though of course I suspected) that Burma was part of the British Empire at the time, so it took me a little while to understand the heavy Brittish involvement. So if someone with knowledge on the subject could write a couple of paragraphs or so about who controlled what and who wanted to change what, and the like, I'd be grateful. 90.231.213.142 (talk) 17:30, 3 January 2008 (UTC)..

Implications[edit]

Overall a fairly ok article, but more needs to say about the effects of the campaign... as well, i agree that most of the information probably comes from Allied sources and not as much from the Japanese side, hence the one-sidedness. What effect would a Japanese victory in the Burma Campaign have? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.30.252.33 (talk) 11:01, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

IIRC, a Japanese victory in Burma would have led to the prospect of an invasion of India, which is why the battles of Imphal and Kohima were fought. The Axis idea was for the Germans and Italians to push Britain out of the Middle East and Iraq and Iran, and then heading east meet up with Japanese forces that had pushed west after having invaded India. They then would combine to attack the Soviet Union from the south. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2.29.18.180 (talk) 13:02, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

balance[edit]

This article is somewhat unbalanced I think, being mostly centered upon the Allied side. More information is needed on the Japanese side. Who were their commanders, which forces took part, what were the Japanese objectives, ect. Fornadan (t) 19:13, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

Well unfortunately, much of the data concerning this campaign from the Japanese point of view was conveniently destroyed either by Allied bombing or to hide their horrific atrocities.

Japanese advance through Burma to the Indian frontier[edit]

We should add some date information in this section. Philip Baird Shearer

Maps and pictures also. This article has lots of text and no visual references. Wiki-Ed 16:10, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

50K is to big for an article[edit]

I think that this article is now a good overview of the campaign. But it is now 50K in length so how do go about cutting it down to a maximum of 32K? I would not want to loose information, so I guess it involves moving information into other articles. We could for example take the major subsections and move them into new articles. eg:

  • Burma Campaign command structure
  • Burma Campaign initial Japanese successes
  • Burma Campaign the turning point

Has anyone any other ideas? -- Philip Baird Shearer 14:56, 4 October 2005 (UTC)


Some:

  • The section on the Central Front 1943-1944 duplicates much information already available in separate articles on the battles of Imphal and Kohima.
  • Much of the information on events on the Northern Front 1943-1944 are also available in an article on Northern Combat Area Command (which could be extended to cover the period 1944-1945).
  • Another section which coulld be spun off into a separate article are the joint battles of Meiktila and Mandalay (Central Front 1944-1945).

This ought to save you 10Kb or so. HLGallon 12:39, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

I am not sure about putting campaign details into NCAC as I think it should be about the command, more of an article like SEAC. Perhapse information from both articles could be moved into China Burma India Theater of World War II. Philip Baird Shearer 17:52, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

I would break the article up with separate linked pages on each campaign or battle with its own summary orbat maps pics etc. with only a summary mention of the campaign or battle with a link in this page. Look at the Second Sino-Japanese War page. Maybe use its Campaignbox Second Sino-Japanese War as a model listing the various battles and campaigns. That could colapse this page size pretty well but allow more info overall.Asiaticus 03:50, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The Allied retreat[edit]

During the period of British rule over Burma, Indians had emigrated to Burma in large numbers, where most ran small businesses or industries, or gained land through moneylending, antagonising the majority Burman population. As they fled, many of these destitute refugees were preyed upon by dacoits (armed bandits) or Burmese nationalist bands. Some Chinese communities in Burma also fled. This flight permanently changed the racial mix of Burma.

Has anyone got a source for this? --Philip Baird Shearer 22:28, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Any history of Burma that covers the early 20th century.

References[edit]

This article's bibliography has been done terribly, I must say. Perhaps the original editors who included the references could rewrite them as per WP:CITE? --Loopy e 00:41, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Word Count[edit]

IT's about 7500 words. Far, far, far too long. How about trimming it down to a year-by-year summary, with a list of major battles? Guapovia 11:34, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

This page is a disgrace[edit]

The page should be retitled: Burma Campaign - A tribute to the god-like greatness of General Slim. The page is unbalanced, depends far too heavily on certain "easy" sources (i.e. slim), is (or was) was too POV in taking the British/American side with regard to disputes with the Chinese. Its also way too long. It should be reduced to a summary of the campaign. Half of the page should be thrown away or moved to other pages. You can start with the lengthy (and worthless) dissertation on the command structure.

The hero-worship of Slim, if nothing else has to go. You do not put into a section "Defeat Into Victory by Field Marshal William Slim is the definitive account of the Burma campaign." Thats a distorted and biased opinion. It has no place on the page. Neither does the page's tendancy to take whatever Slim says as utter untouchable truth no matter how biased (or even wrong) what he says is. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 168.127.0.51 (talkcontribs) 00:37, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Please sign your talk page entries with 4 ~~~~ it will automagically add your userid and a datestamp

You are of course entitled to you POV but please read Wikipedia:Verifiability before you make large chages to this page. --Philip Baird Shearer 01:12, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Mr. Shearer. I am quite familiar with Wikipedia. The content and material as presented on this page is in serious need of correction. Large changes were required because large amounts of material on the page are either wrong, biased or have been written in pursuit of goals that have nothing to do with the subject of the page. If you wish to help in the effort to rewrite the page, please do so in a productive way rather than displaying your own ignorance as to the subject matter. As time allows, I hope to improve the page by adding a reasonable list of books and other sources. I will tell you however that the previous insulting and unfair material on the page as concerns the Chinese army will not be coming back. If you are unfamiliar with Stilwell and his attitude toward both the British and the Chinese, there are any number of books or even the words of the man himself that should more than clarify. If you are unfamilar with pre-war military planning in Burma, I can suggest you start with either the British official history of the war or the history of the indian army in the second world war that deals with the fall of Burma.168.127.0.52 21:34, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
Please do not supply sources here please supply sources for the points below in the article. BTW I am familiar with vinegar Joe's attitudes. But "respect" has to be earned had the British or the Chinese done anything to earn Stillwell's respect? --Philip Baird Shearer 09:29, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

With the chages you have made to date:

  • It was never expected that the Japanese would invade Burma. What is the source for this statment?
  • The British authorities gave no consideration to adding to the defense of Burma based on these policies. What is the source for this statment?
  • (Stilwell) was ill-tempered and lacked respect for either the British or the Chinese. Source for "lacked respect"?
  • From the Chinese perspective, the Americans and the British were trying to take over command of the Chinese armies to use them for their own purposes. In retrospect, much of the criticism directed at Chaing and the performance of the Chinese Army in 1942 seems unfair considering the series of disasterous command decisions on the British side such as the whole incident at the Sittang Bridge. The ability of many of the other Chinese commanders was called into question though the enormous sarifices the Chinese troops made allowed the British to retreat to India. What is the source for this statment?

--Philip Baird Shearer 01:38, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

I've also felt that this article have been imbalanced, perhaps not so much bias but in focus. I've just never found the time and will to do something with it. Regarding Chiang, this article used to plainly call him a bad strategist, now it's been moved too far in the other direction. Can't give any quotes just now, but the accounts I've read agree that Chiang considered the war with Japan secondary to the upcoming struggle with the Communists. He therefore felt no particular need to attrit his forces to help reconquer Burma. Fornadan (t) 01:47, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
His main war may or may not have been against the Japanese, but who ever he was fighting, having the Burma road open for resupply was clearly to his stratigic advantage. --Philip Baird Shearer 09:20, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

This page is still a disgrace[edit]

Obviously there's been a debate and some alterations but this page clearly now been edited too far. Slim seems to get just one mention whereas Stiwell and Wingate now are credited with all the glory - the most important commander in the theatre was Slim, Slim was the one who turned an army in retreat into a cohesive whole that dealt the Japanese the fatal blows - to argue otherwise is to distort history.

Merrill's Maruaders (despite their catchy name) were a relatively small force and their impact on the campaign was minor - from the article as it's written they appear to have won the camapign on their own. The RAF contribution again seems to be down-played in favour of another catchy name force.

Burma was a victory for 14th Army with support from the Chinese and a few Americans. This was mainly down to Slim's remarkable effort and impact.

Please revise this page and give credit where it is due


Thanks

(PS Slim - The Standardbearer, Ronald Lewin, Leo Cooper, London 1976 may help in redressing the current imbalance) -- —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 83.67.126.86 (talkcontribs) 12:14, 7 September 2006 (UTC)


Allied Combatants[edit]

Bearing in mind the fact that 340,00 Indians, 100,000 British, 90,000 Africans, 65,000 Chinese, and only 10,00 Americans took part in this campaign, why has the author of this ridiculous piece of disinformation chosen to highlight the fourth and fifth highest contributors to this camapaign whilst ignoring that of the second and third highest? (transferred here from the main article by Folks at 137 18:50, 20 May 2007 (UTC)) original by 81.146.37.169

Moved comments from Main page[edit]

The following comment has been removed from the lead paragraph of the main page:

Bearing in mind the fact that 340,00 Indians, 100,000 British, 90,000 Africans, 65,000 Chinese, and only 10,00 Americans took part in this campaign, why has the author of this ridiculous piece of disinformation chosen to highlight the fourth and fifth highest contributors to this camapaign whilst ignoring that of the second and third highest? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 81.146.37.169 (talkcontribs) 07:10, 20 May 2007.

- cgilbert(talk|contribs) 18:53, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

The Chinese under Chiang Kai-shek contributed almost nothing to the fighting, being content to fight amongst themselves or against the communists. Vinegar Joe's contribution to the war in Burma was almost nil, he being content to curry favour with the Chinese at the expense of his British 'allies'. On several occasions he announced to the press the capture of places as being captured by 'his' Chinese allies when in fact they had been taken by the British. The only notable US contribution (and an important one) was the USAAF's contribution to the air lifting of supplies and the evacuation of casualties, although most of this was carried out by the RAF. The Canadian contribution would have been 'lumped in' under the term 'British', as most Canadians would have been proud to have been regarded as-such at the time.
For readers interested in the disparity of the contribution to the liberation of Burma I suggest they look for the outcry in Britain and other Commonwealth countries that immediately followed the release of the Errol Flynn film Objective, Burma!, which purported to show the US's effort in Burma and which conveyed the impression that the US was doing far more in that theatre than it actually was. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.80.21 (talk) 11:53, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I found the above statement heavily bias and unfair. There were no solid proof that Chiang were actively fighting the communists during the war. (In fact, it could be simply a myth to justify the Communist successes after the civil war; recent works I read suggested the communists were actually beginning their Stalinist pogrom back in Yan'an and such there would not be enough manpower to engage the Nationalists.) And shouldn't it be taken into consideration that the American and the Chinese worked separately with the British forces in Burma; wouldn't be surprise the two forces seldom meet. I actually came across few works from British veterans who actually met Chinese forces in Southeast Asian Theater suggest that the Chinese contribute nothing as mere a popular myth. Hell, there were Chinese Nationalist forces in the Battle of Hong Kong (in fact the Allied leader of the breakthrough party after the fall of city is a Chinese Admiral); yet it was not popular known. Please take into account the political climate after the war, the Nationalist Chinese lost the war due to an inflation and poor governance. It is completely natural for the successive regime to stop research on such matter (especially given Gen Sun Li-Jen who was the Chinese attache to General Stilwell fell from disgrace for some alleged coup against Chiang). And keep in mind, there are reasons for the British to undermined the contribution of other Allies, as many scholars have argued the Burma Campaign was fought mainly to save face for the British after their terrible loses against the Japanese earlier in Southeast Asia (and keep in mind, the British themselves do not have enough forces in European theater; it will be kind off odd if no other Allied army helped them out in significant number.), even if they do have the colonial forces (especially given many deflected to the Japanese side.)

But I do agree that the Burman Campaign is mainly a British victory and in order to input more information on the Sino-American Forces, more research must be done before the article should be changed (As much as I do not want to discredited other Allied forces, it will be just as pointless if we were to undermined the British's) . 86.112.80.21 (talk) 11:55, 30 Jan 2011 (UTC)

The defeats in South East Asia were defeats for the Indian Army.

I may have chosen my words better but the point I was trying to get across was that the Chinese had more pressing problems on their minds such as the then-ongoing political turmoil that would eventually lead to Revolution and the Communist takeover. As such, the Chinese leaders were more interested in combating challenges at home rather than supporting an outside power (Britain) in attempting to recover a lost colony. The Chinese also appeared (to British eyes at least) to have little interest in fighting the Japanese in Burma, and so as 'Allies' were to them, practically ineffective. Stillwell was a noted Anglophobe and to British eyes it seemed that he was forever promising support from 'his' Chinese that never materialised. To make matters worse, as I mentioned above, on several occasions he announced to the press that 'his' Chinese had captured areas that had in fact been captured by British and Commonwealth forces. On one occasion when the capture of a village by the Chinese was announced by Stilwell's headquarters the British released an updated form of the announcement with the addition " ... and the British have taken Umbrage" - a joke because the village had actually been captured by British forces. IIRC that village was Mogaung - Update; my mistake, Chinese forces were involved in the taking of Mogaung, they secured the railway station after the town itself had been taken by the Chindits under Mike Calvert after three weeks of fighting - see here: [1] [2]
It is of course perfectly reasonable for the Chinese to put their own problems at home first and to be fair to them I don't think that they themselves ever claimed to have made a great contribution to the Burma Campaign, instead it was Stilwell who tried to exaggerate their effect, presumably for his own reasons. He was after all, sent there by his own government to attempt to organise the Chinese. Instead it would appear that he was accorded lip service by their leaders but little else.
The American contribution was mainly in the help of supplying transport aircraft and their crews as additional assistance to the RAF air supply of the British and Commonwealth forces on the ground. IIRC, the Hollywood actor Jackie Coogan was one of the US pilots involved. AFAIK this assistance was generously given, and gratefully received and acknowledged.
But the Allied victory in Burma was a British and Commonwealth victory and no-one else's. As I mentioned on the William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim talk page, the IJA's losses in Burma far exceeded all their losses in all their other campaigns combined. That's quite an achievement for an army (14th Army) that most people have never even heard of. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.112.68.219 (talk) 20:55, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
From the above, it's obvious that the British defeated Japan single-handed with minimal help from some American cargo planes. I wonder why the Japanese military didn't use more fighters and bombers from Army and Naval resources to help their infantry in Burma? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.32.2.109 (talk) 16:41, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Back then, 'British' meant everyone from the British Empire - and the Indian Army alone was over 2,000,000 men strong. And yes, that meant that Nigerians, and most 'other races' within the Empire would also have been classed as 'British'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.147.13 (talk) 19:07, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Article breakdown[edit]

Can I suggest that we breakdown the article the similar to how the BBC did it? Namely, I propose the following:

  • Japanese capture of Burma (Jan 42 - May 42)
  • Stalemate and raids (June 42 - Oct 43)
  • Fighting recommences (Oct 24 43 (Start of Northern Burma Campaign) - Aug 3 44 (end of the siege of Myitkyina))
  • Allies retake Burma (Aug 5 44 - Aug 45)

Thoughts? Oberiko 19:09, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Operations[edit]

Just keeping a few things I find here for later use:

  • Operation Bullfrog: Canceled plan for amphibious assault on Akyab
  • Operation Buccaneer: ??
  • Operation Pigstick: 2nd canceled plan for landings south of Mayu Peninsula on Arakan coast,
  • Operation Cudgel: Second Arakan offensive (Mid-Nov 43 - start of Ha-Go)
  • Operation Gripfist: Proposed offensive from Imphal to Kalemyo, set to start after Cudgel but canceled due to Ha-Go / U-Go
  • Operation Ha-Go: Distraction manuever for Operation U-Go (Feb 6 - Feb 23 44)
  • Operation U-Go: Main Japanese offensive against British positions in Assam (8 Mar - 4 Jul 44)

Oberiko (talk) 21:08, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Really confusing[edit]

It seems to me that the Burma Campaign begun in January 1942. It was followed by the Arakan campaign (1942-43). Kohima and Imphal were substantially a part of the invasion of India proper in 1944, since they took place in Manipur and Nagaland which are clearly not a part of Burma. It seems to me the article would benefit from being divided accordingly into three separate articles--mrg3105mrg3105 03:23, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Trouble is it's common usage and there is a logical continuity and linkage between all the events, regardless of their actual location. So changing the "Burma Campaign" to something else or splitting it up would be doubly confusing! Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 09:20, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, so be it. I'm too busy with the Eastern Front to do the research now. However from memory the events of 1944 were not a part of the original Burma planning by the Japanese. In any case, for consistency sake the Japanese names for the operations should be used, and transliterated. Let Wikipedia not be accused of helping the victors write the history :o)--mrg3105mrg3105 09:26, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
PS. I really do think that the article would benefit from being divided into several interlinked articles.--mrg3105mrg3105 09:32, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I can see be attractions of reducing this page to a short summary article with three daughter pages (rather like the North African Campaign sits on top of the Western Desert Campaign, Operation Torch and the Tunisian Campaign articles)......but I don't have any interest in doing this myself at present!! I agree that Japanese names should be reflected in Japanese operations. Stephen Kirrage talk - contribs 09:41, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
And what would make it even harder to work with is that this article seemingly relies on one source, Allen.--mrg3105mrg3105 09:57, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

All perfectly reasonable points. However, as Kirrages points out, the events were all contiguous. If the article were to be divided into events in Burma and events in India, the separate articles might need large amounts of explanation to put the articles into context. It might be more reasonable to divide the article into four separate articles each dealing with a single campaigning season, provided sufficient information is given in each sub-article to maintain continuity. As to the single-source accusation, I have been working on the article since January, when it consisted of 65kb of solid text with *one* citation. Allen is a reasonable source, as it works from a very large number of primary eyewitness and diary sources. I intend using Bayley and Harpur for events "behind the lines" in both India and Burma next. HLGallon (talk) 04:05, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, go for it, and more power to you! However its not campaigning seasons you are dealing with, but several years, which is why I think there needs to be a division into smaller articles. There is no need for extensive explanations in new articles. You should put up a template or something to tell people you are actively working on it.--mrg3105mrg3105 04:13, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
By "campaigning season", I refer to the part of each year, usually October / November to May / June, during which active military operations were effectively possible. From June to October, the monsoon rains would make tactical movement almost impossible and curtail flying. So, each campaigning season is effectively a year, although the fit is awkward because the New Year falls in the middle of it. (Fourteenth Army made much of its efforts during the monsoon of 1944, but almost the entire logistic effort of the army was devoted to maintaining only two divisions.) HLGallon (talk) 05:37, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I understand this.--mrg3105mrg3105 05:53, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Ah, well, I might as well start. The main article will be divided into four main sections, each covering one campaign season, approximately, as per this discussion. HLGallon (talk) 22:25, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Could you provide the relative date-spans you plan on breaking it down into? Are they fair similar to the structure I posted above? Oberiko (talk) 22:46, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Broadly yes. Have just finished the first section, dealing with military events Jan '42 - May '42. That's enough for one evening's work. HLGallon (talk) 00:10, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
And now done all sections, in skeleton form at least. There are many more links and references to do, but I can now do these at rather more leisure. All help and contributions welcome. HLGallon (talk) 02:47, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Where are the Canadians?[edit]

Why is there no mention of the contribution the Canadians made to the Burma Campaign? According to the Canadian veterans website there were 5,500 Burma stars issued to Canadians see here My father, who was a lifelong member of the Burma Star Association, fought in the British Artillery in Burma and was honoured to welcome a delegation of Canadian Air Force veterans in 1997 at Manchester Airport, who were en route to Burma to bury six airmen who had been found in a crashed plane in the Burma jungle.[3] He said that the British Army couldn't have survived without the supplies regularly flown in by the Canadians and wanted to thank them personally. There are some figures for Canadians in south-east Asia here Richerman (talk) 15:38, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Probably because back then most Canadians would have been content to have been labelled 'British', as indeed would have most citizens of the British Empire. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.147.13 (talk) 15:02, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Rewriting the lead[edit]

Going to rewrite the lead because at present it doesn't say much other than 'these were the combatants, and there was air supply'.I invite comments.IxK85 (talk) 15:47, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Shortening this article[edit]

Besides a complete restructuring, I think that everything below 'Final operations' can probably be removed. The American and Canadian contribution can probably be worked into the text and I think the command structure section can probably be moved to something like (Burma Campaign: Command Structure). Also the award section is a bit pointless. Maybe a link to the Burma Star is in order.IxK85 (talk) 13:43, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Sensible. I never liked the structure bit, and too many people have contributed bits to the effect that "There was at least one Canadian serving there, so they should have a flag in the info. box". HLGallon (talk) 14:08, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
On second thoughts, rather than snip away at this article piecemeal, I'm going to give it some thought and try and come up with a more coherent general structure firstIxK85 (talk) 16:04, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I think one problem is that some sections are 'Setbacks' or 'Turning point' and others simply 'Central Front 1943-1944' and then 'Allied offensive 1944-45'. These need to be altered to give a clearer progression. Will work on it later. IxK85 (talk) 17:18, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

American/Canadian contribution[edit]

Most of the below is pretty much redundant, so I'm going to excise it to here until I have a chance to write a paragraph about the air war in Burma


The RAF were aided by a number of USAAF units from the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces. The American Volunteer Group (AVG) known as "Flying Tigers" were in the theatre before the war and the unit formed the core of the Fourteenth Air Force. The Royal Canadian Air Force supplied two squadrons, the 435 and 436 Transport Squadrons, flying twin engined Dakotas.[3]

Two other notable units were the No. 490 Bomb Squadron USAAF nicknamed the "Burma Bridge Busters", (part of the 341 Bomb Group USAAF which also included the 11th, 22nd and 491st Bomb Squadrons) and the 1st Air Commando Group which was created to support the Chindits. When the Chindit operation ended, the 1st Air Commando Group, renamed the 1st Air Commando Force, stayed to support other units of the British Fourteenth Army.

The strategic need to keep open the supply routes to China dictated the Burma campaign. After the loss of the Burma Road, the British wanted to supply China via the Hump until they could recapture it. The American General Joseph Stilwell thought it better to build a new road through north Burma to link up with the Burma Road close to the Chinese border. He prevailed and this influenced the conduct of the campaign. So that the Ledo Road could be built, he attacked the Japanese northern front with Merrill's Marauders, the Chindits and Chinese troops along the route of the new road. They cleared north Burma after heavy jungle fighting and the prolonged siege of Myitkyina.

The American and Canadian contribution was also vital to the logistics in the theatre. The USAAF provided roughly half the air transport units deployed in Burma, and almost all the aircraft flown by RAF transport squadrons. Specialist American railroad units using imported American and Canadian locomotives increased the tonnage carried by the Northeast Indian Railways to three times their peacetime level.

For more details see Northern Combat Area Command and the China Burma India Theater.


IxK85 (talk) 22:03, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Command structure[edit]

Also excising this for the time being.


Command structure Allied command Initially command problems beset the Burma campaign. Burma was swapped from command to command during the pre-war period and the early months of the war. It was never expected that the Japanese would invade Burma.

  • 1937 Burma was politically separated from India and fully responsible for its own military forces.
  • 1939 with the outbreak of war Burma forces were placed under British Chiefs of Staff, but financed out of Burmese taxes and locally administered.
  • 1940 The Prime Minister and Cabinet decided on a policy of providing direct military assistance to China through Burma. Chinese troops would be trained in Burma as irregulars, war material would be sent into China through Burma and covert American Air units (the AVG) would be moved into China through Burma. The British authorities gave no consideration to adding to the defence of Burma based on these policies.
  • November 1940 operational control was transferred to the recently formed Far East Command in Singapore, while administrative responsibility was divided between the Burma Government and the War Office in London, which now contributed to the defence budget of Burma.
  • December 12 1941, when a Japanese attack was seen to be imminent Burma was handed back to India Command under the command of Commander-in-Chief (CinC) in India General Sir Archibald Wavell .
  • From January 1 1941 Burma was operationally controlled by ABDACOM and administered from Delhi. The Supreme Commander of ABDACOM General Wavell (who had transferred from CinC, India), moved his command to Java on January 15 1942.
  • On February 25, 1942 Wavell resigned as supreme commander of ABDACOM, handing control of the ABDA Area to local commanders. He also recommended the establishment of two Allied commands to replace ABDACOM: a south west Pacific command, and one based in India. In anticipation of this, Wavell had handed control of Burma to the India Command. On resigning from ABDACOM Wavell reassumed his previous position, as Commander-in-Chief, India.

The British commander in Burma, Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Hutton was removed from command shortly before Rangoon fell in March 1942. He was replaced by Sir Harold Alexander. Hutton became Alexander's chief of staff. The Burma 1st Division and Indian 17th Infantry Division at first had to be controlled directly by Burma Army headquarters, as there was no corps HQ. After the fall of Rangoon, Burma Corps Headquarters was created under Lieutenant General William Slim to control the forces that remained in Burma.

Cooperation with the Chinese proved difficult for several reasons. The American Liaison (Stilwell) was ill-tempered and lacked respect for either the British[1] or the Chinese. Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of Nationalist China, was more interested in fighting the Japanese in China than in attempting to save a disorganised British force in Burma. The Chinese Army also suffered from severe command problems, with important orders having to come directly from Chiang himself if they were to be obeyed. From the Chinese perspective, the Americans and the British were trying to take over command of the Chinese armies to use them for their own purposes. These problems were never completely satisfactorily resolved. They were partially resolved by the Americans in the aftermath of the 1942 campaign re-equipping, re-training and taking over the leadership of the Chinese forces that had made their way to India.

When the retreat from Burma ended in May 1942, Burma Corps was wound up. Operations had entered Eastern Army's area. Eastern Army was primarily an administrative rather than field command, and had perhaps too many responsibilities in addition to control of operations. Eastern Army commanded IV Corps in Assam and XV Corps in the Arakan. Both corps also had extensive rear area and internal security commitments, distracting them from the immediate front. An organisation known as V Force provided a screen of locally-raised guerillas and levies in front of the defensive positions.

On June 20, 1943 Wavell became Viceroy of India and was succeeded as CinC India by General Sir Claude Auchinleck. In August 1943, the Allies formed a new South East Asia Command (SEAC) to take over strategic responsibilities for the theatre. The reorganisation of the theatre command took about two months. On October 4 1943 Winston Churchill appointed Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten Supreme Commander of this new command. The American General Joseph Stilwell was Deputy Supreme Commander, among his many other appointments. On November 15 Auchinleck formally handed over responsibility for the conduct of operations against the Japanese in the theatre to Mountbatten.

With the creation of SEAC, Eastern Army was split into two. Under GHQ India, Eastern Command took over responsibility for the rear areas of Bihar, Orissa and most of Bengal. The Fourteenth Army under Slim took over responsibility for operations against the Japanese.

SEAC's land forces HQ was 11th Army Group under General Sir George Giffard. It controlled Fourteenth Army and the Ceylon Army, but Stilwell refused to place the Northern Combat Area Command (NCAC) under Giffard, using a variety of pretexts. At a meeting to sort out the chain of command for the three fronts in Burma, he astonished everyone by saying "I am prepared to come under General Slim's operational control until I get to Kamaing". This compromise worked because Slim was able to handle Stilwell. It was essential that there was one operational commander for the three fronts, North, Central and Southern, so that the intended attacks in late 1944 could be coordinated to prevent the Japanese concentrating large numbers of reserves for a counter attack on any one front.

11th Army Group remained in existence until November 12 1944 when it was redesignated Allied Land Forces South East Asia (ALFSEA), still under SEAC. Lieutenant General Sir Oliver Leese succeeded Giffard in command. 11th Army Group was redesignated because it was felt that an inter-Allied command was better than the purely British headquarters that 11th Army Group was. The change was made just after Stilwell was recalled to the U.S.. Lieutenant General Daniel Sultan became commander of the U.S. Forces, India-Burma Theater (USFIBT) and commander of NCAC, and this change placed his command under ALFSEA.

Japanese command Note that in Japanese terminology, an "Army" was equivalent to a British or American "Corps". An "Area Army" was equivalent to an Allied "Army".

The chief command for the Japanese in South East Asia was the Southern Expeditionary Army, under Field Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi. This HQ was equivalent to an Allied theatre command. Southern Expeditionary army was responsible for operations as far afield as New Guinea, the Philippines and Burma

The initial invasion of Burma was conducted by 15th Army, under Lieutenant-General Shojiro Iida.

In late 1943, a new HQ, "Burma Area Army" was created, under General Masakazu Kawabe. It absorbed 15th Army, now under Lieutenant-General Renya Mutaguchi and responsible for the Central front, and the newly created 28th Army under Lieutenant-General Shoso Sakurai which controlled the Southern front.

In April 1944, another Army, 33rd Army, was created under Lieutenant-General Masaki Honda, to control the Northern front.

After the failure of the Imphal offensive in late 1944, there were several changes in command. At Burma Area Army, Kawabe was replaced by the former Vice War Minister, Hyotaro Kimura. Kimura was a shrewd strategist, but perhaps more of a logistics expert than fighting soldier, so Lieutenant-General Shinichi Tanaka was made his Chief of Staff. (In Japanese formations, the Chief of Staff had a more prominent role in the day-to-day control of operations than in Allied formations).

At the same time, Mutaguchi was removed from command of 15th Army and replaced by Lieutenant-General Shihachi Katamura. Many divisional commanders and Staff Officers also were sacked, removed or transferred.


IxK85 (talk) 12:05, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Request: Casualty figures[edit]

Can someone come up with the correct number for casaulties? Given the length of the conflict the British casualty figure is extremely low, and we also need casualty figures for other Allied forces. DCTT (talk) 18:44, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

I've used Allen for total Commonwealth casualties of 71,244. Not all fatalities are listed, in particular those for Second Arakan and Imphal, so I can state only 6,665 as a minimum. Fatalities were generally one tenth of total Commonwealth casualties. HLGallon (talk) 14:51, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Excising medals section[edit]

Excising this here because it's pretty incomplete and doesn't add anything to the article.

--

Medals and honours Battle Honour: BURMA 1944-1945

Qualification: For operations during the 14th Army's advance from Imphal to Rangoon, the coastal amphibious assaults, and the Battle of Pegu Yomas, August 1944 to August 1945.

The president of the USA, authorized by Act of Congress, July 20, 1942, has awarded the Legion of Merit to Major General Tai An Lan, Chinese Army. Major General Tai An Lan distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service as the Commander of the 200th Division, Chinese Army during the 1942 operations in Burma.

--

IxK85 (talk) 13:36, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Quit India[edit]

According to the Quit India article, there was violence asssociated with the Quit India campaign. I invite discussion regarding the recent edit by User:Spundun IxK85 (talk) 15:35, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

I believe this edit should be reverted. Although Gandhi might have decreed that the protests should be peaceful, in practice there was widespread violence. 66,000 demonstrators or rioters were arrested or detained, 2,500 people dies. Bayly and Harper, Forgotten Armies, ISBN 0-140-29331-0, pp.247-253 is a good source for this. HLGallon (talk) 01:26, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Defense of Indian Homeland[edit]

After Panipat III and Plassey, this was the first direct involvement of Indians in defending their homeland against foreign (Japanese) aggression. My father served (Punjab Regiment) (Auchinleck, who visited his unit - have photos). Bose's INA was motivated by (i) non compliance with British desire to continue colonizing the Burmese who opposed them (ii) opposing British colonization of India, and of course, (iii) setting up an independent India. Desertions from the Indian Army to follow Bose fell off markedly once the Japanese entered India (Arjun's wife, the Naga princess,Ulupi, was mother to Iravan- Mahabharat) Anyway, Indian soldiers had a far greater motivation once on their own traditional land fighting off the Japanese. It was no time for non-violence and some mickey mouse political movement like Quit India. FWIW. Chibber (talk) 15:38, 21 June 2010 (UTC)[author Chibber]

Bose was probably motivated by wanting to become leader of any independent India. It's surprising how many 'leaders of independence movements' end up running the newly-independent country should they actually succeed in gaining independence. As such he managed to convince around 43,000 fellow Indians to join him.
In contrast, the British that he apparently hated managed to persuade 'only' a mere 2,000,000 Indians of all races and religions to voluntarily join the Indian Army and defend not just India but the Empire as well. Long may they be remembered for being honest and true friends. And that goes for the Gurkhas and others as well.
BTW, for all the revisionists out there, bear in mind this; You don't run a country of nearly a billion people like India by force for two hundred years when you only have around 20,000 of your own people present in the country to run it. To run a country of that size with that few personnel you need the consent of the majority of the people. If the majority of Indians had wanted the British out of India that badly they would have thrown the British out long before they eventually left. The same goes for Burma, Malaya, and Singapore. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.147.13 (talk) 15:37, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

Capture v Conquer[edit]

You don't capture a country you conquer it. The use of the word capture is improper. Dapi89 (talk) 12:09, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Please provide an authoritative source for your assertion. The Oxford dictionary defines capture as "take into one’s possession or control by force". It makes no distinction as to what is or is not a proper object for capture. Several works on World War 2 use "capture" as the term. I do not object to the term being changed, but to do so, you will also have to provide a redirect page for the existing article, Japanese capture of Burma, or move the article. HLGallon (talk) 12:35, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
I find this request kind of strange, unless the validity of the word conquest is being questioned, or that you don't understand what it means!! :)
You will notice the Oxford dictionary also defines conquest in much clearer terms than capture, which is ambiguous.
It says, "a conquered territory", the "state of being conquered", "something won". An example given is the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Regards. Dapi89 (talk) 11:01, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

British casualties[edit]

I have several questions regarding the Allied casualties. The 71,244 killed and wounded, are these purley British subjects as the flag would suggest or does this include the British Indian Army as well (as i logically assume).

Additionally, it appears the line is atrtibuted to Allen, Burma: The Longest War, p.638. However the inline citation then states "Minimum of 6,665 dead, but not all fatalities recorded" Just to confirm page 638 of Allen's book provides the above casualty figure of over 71,000 men?

Cheers--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:38, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't have the Allen to hand, but Michael Hickey cites Allen, and give 71213 as all British and Empire killed, wounded, prisoner and missing. Hickey also gives the 6,665 figure as the minimum British and Empire killed in action as well. --IxK85 (talk) 15:54, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Thanks allot, in a recent peer review for the British Army article during the Second World War it was noted we needed more info on campaign casualties. It seems we can accuratley quote these then. Cheers.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:33, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
PS, what book and page number would the Hickey figure come from, sorry?--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:34, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
Hickey, Michael (1992) The Unforgettable Army: Slim's XIVth Army in Burma (Tunbridge Wells: Spellmount Ltd) pp. 299-300
People of any colour or race born in what was then British India were all British subjects at the time. So Indian Army casualties would almost certainly have been included in the 'British' figures. The same goes for Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong, Burma, Nigeria, etc. Australians didn't get separate citizenship until 1947, so Australians would also have been classed as 'British' too. The only reasons for differentiating them at the time would have been mainly administrative ones, e.g., Hindus couldn't eat beef, and Moslems couldn't eat pork, so their rations had to be segregated. BTW, IIRC, since the Indian Mutiny of 1857 one third of the Indian Army had been made up of attached British regiments, so even the Indian Army wasn't exclusively Indian.
Groups complaining today about such-and-such a country's personnel being 'left out' are missing the point, that at the time most of these personnel regarded themselves, and were regarded by others, as 'British'. All British subjects were entitled to a British Passport, and indeed people as diverse as Mahatma Gandhi and Errol Flynn travelled using them. So at the time the term 'British' meant them as well.
The possible exception for original 'British' casualty figures would be if they refer to British Army casualties only.
BTW, the Burmese were all British subjects at the time too. That meant that in-effect, they were all British citizens. So 'British' then meant something different to what 'British' means today. Confusing isn't it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.7.147.13 (talk) 19:37, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Auto archiving[edit]

Is it OK to setup 90 day/5 thread auto-archiving for this page? -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 12:55, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

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Just a Passing Mention of the Africans especially Nigerians who fought in this was[edit]

This article is too biased - Despite all the numerous famous documentaries that talk about the famous "Burma boys" - There is hardly any mention of them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.10.233.195 (talk) 18:53, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Some articles on the African regiments here: 81st (West Africa) Division, 82nd (West Africa) Division and here: 11th (East Africa) Division — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.150.10.137 (talk) 20:25, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

British Empire strength[edit]

User:IseeEwe changed the number of British Empire troops taking part in the campaign to a million. If I understand his comments here correctly, that's the grand total of all Empire troops that ever set foot in the theatre of war, not the strength at any given time. While he's right that comparing troop strengths in different years is comparing apples to oranges, it's still more useful than comparing troop strengths in a given year with grand totals, or even that comparing one grand total with another. For example, if one side more rapidly rotated its forces, repeatedly pulling out units while sending in new ones, it would be assigned a much greater total strength without ever enjoying numerical superiority in the field over an enemy whose total strength is much lower but whose troops don't get rotated out of the theatre of war. Huon (talk) 22:24, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

There was very little rotation on the Empire side, just deaths, replacements and reinforcements. I do not think the Chinese moved too many troops in or out either, if any. The number provided for China in this article is, I believe their total recorded peek strength. I am not sure about Japanese rotations. The Burma Campaign is not a single event. It happened in many pieces, over large areas and many years. To understand the magnitude of the Campaign you have to understand the magnitude of the total resource commitments. Detailed elements like the field strength of 14th Army in 1942 can go on the 1942 page. General elements like total force commitments can go on the overview page. This also follows the precedent of Invasion of Normandy which shows the high overall number, and Normandy landings which has the small D-Day landing numbers.--IseeEwe (talk) 22:38, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
You're aware that your chosen precedent gives the troop strengths as deployed on a specific day? I wouldn't mind following this precendent if sources cover the Burma Campaign in sufficient detail. Also, "peak strength" as reported for the Chinese here is more akin to what I aim for, strenght in the field on a given date, than what I understand the British Empire numbers represent. Or did I misunderstand you and there was a time when a million men were fighting for the British Empire in this theatre, all at the same time? Huon (talk) 23:36, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Hey. This precedent is found in many pages about campaigns in world war two. It is very common. There is the macro picture (e.g. the Burma Campaign as a whole), then the micro picture (e.g. year by year or battle by battle). Your point is well made though. So let's add some more data into the year by year material. The Despatches have a lot of deep info we can mine. How does that sound?
As to your other point. The number of personnel in the Burma Campaign was actually rather high, but the numbers are hard to pinpoint. Do you include Ceylon (as the staging point for the actions of the East Indies Fleet component of the Burma Campaign), do you include the USAAF bomber forces further back inside India)? There are figures that are over 1,000,000 in modern UK historic literature. In the Despatches you can see numbers of up to 500,000. They evacuated 125,000 casualties in 1944 alone. If you add in all forces brought into the Burma Campaign, -Indian Army, British Army in India, British colonial forces, IAF, RAF and other Empire squadrons, the East Indies fleet you quickly arrive at a million. The number 1,000,000 is ascribed to Fourteenth Army (United Kingdom) alone -which I believe is in error- as most sources say it was about 250,000. Then, you can add in the 95,000 US troops, the 150,000 or so Chinese troops, the army construction brigades ("Seabees") then the number starts getting closer to 1,500,000. It really was a rather large force. And there was almost no rotation at all, even casualties where brought back to the front after treatment. --IseeEwe (talk) 17:12, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
The XIV Army included a sizeable proportion of the Indian Army which itself was around 2,500,000 strong, so around a million men is probably about right.
At its peak during WW II the combined strength of all the British Empire armies was around 4,000,000 men. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.149.241.11 (talk) 10:47, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Canada?[edit]

Were Canadian units really of any significance in the Burma campaign? --Yaush (talk) 17:12, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Burma Campaign[edit]

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Reference named "Michael Clodfelter 2000. p. 556":

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Chinese casualties[edit]

This page states that the Japanese suffered a total of 140,000 casualties during the Burma Campaign. But this has no citation. Since it's been on the page for a while, I have to assume there's something backing this figure, and that the editor didn't just make it up. Does anyone know where this came from? If not, does anyone know of a source which does have figures on Chinese losses in Burma?--Nihlus1 (talk) 04:40, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Sourced reference in the Burma article here: Myanmar#British_Burma_.281824.E2.80.931948.29.
Actually its 150,000 casualties. "The battles were intense with much of Burma laid waste by the fighting. Overall, the Japanese lost some 150,000 men in Burma. Only 1,700 prisoners were taken." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.150.18.150 (talk) 09:34, 23 November 2016 (UTC)

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"British" victory?[edit]

The victory was essentially won by Indian troops fighting increasingly under Indian command. India had its own government - albeit not a responsible one, but one which made its own declaration of war: would it not be better to describe this as an "allied victory"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.194.71.4 (talk) 15:14, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

'Indians' had been British subjects since 1876. Many didn't stop being 'British' until after Independence and Partition.
The only other 'allies' within the campaign were the US and China. Everyone else was British, and held British citizenship - including the Burmese.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.149.247.9 (talk) 10:34, 7 January 2018 (UTC)