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THE CHINDITS: FORCES OF DEEP INCURSION.

AN OPERATIONAL EXPLOITATION OF THE ENEMY REAR

A process that we will call of «cascade surprise» was created at the south of the operations theater of the Far East by the British general Orde Wingate at the beginning of 1.944. For it he used the deep incursion force, type light reinforced division, called the Chindits. This name is taken from the Burman god Chinthe, the protective god of the religion (or of the State), that could attack the enemies from nine different directions… His principal mission was to cut the internal communications of units (advance and retreat) and supplies (supports, substitutions and replacements) of the Japanese forces, that were opposed to the advance, at the north of Burma, of the Americans Chinese forces of general Stilwell. These were advancing from China towards the south, with the aim to conquer the Burman populations of Mogaung and Myitkyina and also to occupy and assure the zone at the south of these railway knots, so creating for them an area of stable rear. With it, they were seeking to be able to permanently open and extend a road and a pipeline from the north of Assam, in India, to Yunan, in China.

THEIR PATCH, FROM CINTHE GOD.

This would allow to supply a fleet of American bombardiers and their fighters escorts with base in Yunan. That would be destined to reinforce the effort of war of the wrecked Chinese, who were fighting from 1.937 their own war, against the Japanese expansionism in the continental Asia. And that were now unmotivated up to a point, that Chiang Kai Check wanted to go out of the war. This hypothetical armistice would liberate around 25 Japanese divisions, that were situated in China, operating and placed, to be destined where the Imperial High Staff considers to be suitable. For example, to accelerate the invasion of India, to include it in the «Co prosperity’s Asian Zone» that the Empire of the Japan was praising for the “Oriental and the Pacific Asia”. Under his politician and economic influence, opposite to the Western alien Powers.

OPERATIONS ZONE.

A conventional advance from India, by the Fourteen British Indian Army of the general Slim against this deep Japanese rear and from an expected and protected flank, was impracticable. Due to the distance to cross; to the area to winning and assuring; to the tenacity of the Japanese infantry soldiers; to the number of the Japanese deployed forces «in the same way and opposed direction”, as the Nippon were trying to reach the already nearby border of India with Burma, and to the difficulty of the the jungle fighting. That was a «thick» enviroment for the movements of the ground forces of both rivals, with obstructed and very nearby sights and where were abounding the tropical diseases.

 

The Development of the Operations.

The «second Chindit expedition» was inserted in March of 1.944, on the basis of the operational experience acquired the previous year with the first one. Where Wingate verified two essential parameters for the foreseen operations: that British Indian «line forces”, specifically trained for these tasks of deep incursion, could fight the Japanese in the jungle; and that these forces could indefinitely be supplied by air, as the Allies had the air supremacy in his operations zone and possessed enough air transport capacity for the task. They took part as incursion forces, the brigades 16, that from the first of February advanced afoot around 1.000 km towards Indaw, 77 and 111 of the British Indian Army, strong in more than 12 thousand men. That were joining in the 3th British Indian Division, of his «battle order». In April of 1.944 the 14 brigade joined it, landing in Aberdeen’s base, close to the way obstruction of White City, and immediately attacked several Japanese supplies depots. Wingate always thought in the employment of regular units, not about elite troops. And that their replacements were coming from the different units of the Army, specially the Fourteen Army of Slim. But did not count with the «perverse» trend of the units commands, of preferably being doing without the idlers and the problematic men, handing them over to other units. This way, the Chindits’ recruitment units had to reject at part of the candidates, as well as also those that were overcoming 40 years. Which is really an age very advanced to begin in the difficulties of the war in the jungles.

MARCHING ON: CROSSING A STREAM…

The gliders, freight planes and light aircrafts, due escorted, began to come to Broadway, in the north, and to Picadilly, in the south, of the chosen landing zone. It was a question of establishing a “fortified bolt” over the railroad and the road between Indaw, at the south, and Mohyen, towards the north, in the rear of the Japanese forces that were advancing towards the north, to China, and eastward, to India. The location of the place of the promising operational obstruction was discovered in the air reconnaissance done by Wingate, which chose her opposite to another alternative, because in the small valleys included in his perimeter, could be established, cover from the sights, all the auxiliary services of the defensive zone, as the mules, the health, the exterior communications, the stores, etc. White City, the defensive position, was due fortified by the engineers and equipped with 40 mm. anti-aircraft Bofors cannons, 75 mm. mortars and 25 pounds cannons (> 11 Kg and > 90 mm.) and Vickers 7, 7 mm. heavy machine guns. Between the hills that were framing the enclosure and that were integrating it, was installed even a runway for small airplanes.

A PACK OF MULES…

For the transport in broken and jungle ground, the Chindits were using packs of mules in all his marching columns. Each animal was in charge of a given muleteer, entrusted of his guide, care and subsistence. And not always, specially at the end of their operations, the muleteers were due trained for his trade. The packs were transporting the ammunitions, the provisioning, the heavy weapons, the supplies, the radio devices and other equipments and consumables. The train of mules of every unit was very vulnerable to a Japanese assault. Also, the animals of the redoubts, where it was difficult to bury them or to due protect them under covers, were vulnerable to the Japanese heavy fire. With it, the mules trains was turning into a serious vulnerability of the units. Since without it the operations of march and attack, consubstantial with the Chindits ethos, were impossible in this fighting ground of so difficult transitability. Bad going is not as precise definition and concept.

In the operations zone, the climate was hard, the comfort, which relieves the efforts of the war, was scanty, the life was rough and the woodland diseases seriously and repeatedly affected the men and the beasts, in high percentage and intensity, during the few months of operations in the Burma jungles. And the general task of harassment and weakening of the Japanese forces in their communication and supplies lines of towards Chinese and Indian fronts was carried out. The strategic operational concept that sublied was the exploitation of the Japanese deep rear, where were abounding his tactical and operational vulnerabilities and the absence of combat availability or readiness, on having been removed his forces from the combats fronts. The Chindits managed to fix indefinitely in this rear around two and half Japanese divisions, dedicated to their control and pursuit, or, around 2,5 times their own combat capacity.

Analysis and Interpretation of the Chindit Second Campaign.

The Chindits operations are exploitation actions in the enemy rear by enough and mobile forces. These are inserted deeply in it by their own aviation. This is not the usual case of the attack and breakthrough of a sector or strip of the enemy front. And then the irruption of “mobile corp”. That advances within the enemy rear to exploit his vulnerabilities; to destroy his units in reform or in march to their initial bases; to turn up the fighting fronts of his units at the defensive, so collaborating in annihilating them; to capture or destroy all kinds of logistic enemy means; to attack his valuable and vulnerable units (artillery, engineers, command and control, communications); to temporarily occupy ground communications hubs, defiles, mountain ports and riverheads and lakeheads, etc.

The necessary coordination of the “mobile corp” with his «support mass” or “immediate supporting rear”, is realized in this campaign by a stable, sufficient and not bothered airway. Whose link of union with the Chindits operational brigades (-) and battalions (+) are the fortified blocking bases (White City, Broadway, Aberdeen, Blackpool) established within the Japanese zone. And that were acting as “initial bases of depart” of their attack operations.

It was calculated that the Chindits caused more than 12 thousand losses to the Japanese forces, with their loss in combat of only a few hundreds of men. But the Chindits neither defeated decisively any Japanese great unit, nor conquered any relevant enemy position. So his transcendence, for the Allied military plans and the importance of the actions against the enemy, remained dispersed, appeased and darkened by the great maneuvers of the war in this South Asian theater and for the strategic and operational interests of the three great actors in it: British and Indians, American and Chinese.

GENERAL ORDE WINGATE.

After Wingate’s unexpected death in a plane crash, his successor, general Lentaigne, established in Blackpool, at around 100 km at north of White City, another fortified obstructionist position, as alternative and reinforcement of this. And since the Chindits operations and the interest of the war was moving more towards the border with China, the Chindits stayed already under the command of the Americans. And Stilwell, gave to them the task of a “great light conventional unit”, coordinated with the effort towards Birmania of the American Chinese forces. With the missions to attack in force from the south the positions over which those were advancing. It is of indicating that the same Lentaigne, which did not have the creativity, the ancestry, the respect between his equals and the will of Wingate, managed to partly accepted Stilwell’s conventional and orthodox points of view, in relation to the operational employment of the Chindits.

At the beginning of 1.944 Stiwell had one unit of «deep raiders”, the so called «Merrill’s Marauders». But they did not have the scope, the projection, the capacity and the operational conception that the Chindits had from the beginning, in his second incursion of this year. In addition, without the substitutions and replacements needed, used as another American Chinese advance spear in the Burma campaign and plagued by the infectious diseases, the combative efficiency of the Chindits plummeted very soon. And, a few months later, in 1.945, they were already totally demobilized.


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Enrique Alonso nació en La Habana. Tras el establecimiento del régimen comunista se trasladó a España, licenciándose en Ciencias Químicas en la Universidad de Oviedo.

Es titulado por la Universidad Complutense en Química y Tecnología del Petroleo (dos cursos) y en Logística por la Cámara de Comercio de Madrid (un curso). Ha realizado su labor profesional durante más de 30 años en REPSOL y empresas anteriores, absorbidas posteriormente. Su trabajo se centró en la investigación de lubricantes (Centro de Investigación de la calle Embajadores), el área comercial y la logística de lubricantes (unas 100 mil Tm. al año de productos a granel y envasados, con un presupuesto total de unos 1000 millones de ptas).

Ha sido colaborador en la década de los 80, del diario Pueblo y, a través de la agencia EFE, de diversos diarios españoles e hispanoamericanos en temas de política internacional y militares.

Es autor de la novela “Operación Elefante”, publicada en 1982, que trata minuciosa y extensamente de las operaciones y tácticas de las guerrillas y contraguerrillas en la Angola socialista prosoviética de Agostinho Neto, apoyada desde 1975 por tropas cubanas. 

En 2005 publicó en inglés el ensayo “On the Nature of War”, que es una teoría de la guerra basada en el desarrollo y la aplicación práctica de 10 “sistemas operativos”.

Actualmente es colaborador permanente de la revista española War Heat International.

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