Author Topic: The 14th army in Burma: A case study in delivering fighting power  (Read 970 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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The 14th army in Burma: A case study in delivering fighting power

The six months disaster in the Arakan, following hard on the heals of
the retreat of 1942, dragged morale to its lowest ebb; in his report on the
offensive, the Command Psychiatrist stated that '...the whole of 14th
Indian Division was for practical purposes a psychiatric casualty'.4 It spent
the rest of the war in India as a training division.

The scale of the challenge that faced the Allied High Command was
consequently huge, and the goal of driving the Japanese from Burma must
understandably have seemed 'a quite hopeless proposition'.5

However, by May 1945, a revitalised and retrained British-Indian 14th
Army had inflicted on the Japanese their biggest land defeat of the war,
and more of the enemy were killed there than anywhere else.6 It had
successfully advanced down the length of Burma, across appalling terrain,
overcoming monsoon, malaria and unfeasibly overstretched lines of
communication. Most importantly, the 14th Army outfought the Japanese
Burma Area Army at every level. The renewed divisions of the 14th Army
were unrecognisable from their vanquished forbears of 1942/43; they were
'spruce, streamlined, could move fast needing few orders, knew how to
look after their tail, had the measure of their enemy and his tactics,
understood how to use air supply...and knew how to curl up their
strength into a coiled spring ready for the next advance'.

The preparation and employment of this dramatically successful Army
is, given the starting point, a superlative achievement by any standards.
How was it, that from the depths of military disaster, the 14th Army
"Now listen to me you benighted muckers. We're going to teach you soldiering. The world's noblest profession. When we're done with you, you'll be able to slaughter your enemies like civilized men." Daniel Dravot

Offline Target Up

    ........pull, patch, and score.

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My eldest uncle was part of 14th Army. He held an abiding hatred of all things Japanese till the day he died.  He was just my weird old uncle Les until I was old enough to understand what happened in Burma.
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

Online Colin P

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I have a book on the use of gliders in WWII. The co-pilots carried a rifle to shoot the Mules if they started to freak out in flight as the mule could tear the glider apart. I don't think that people understand how useful the glider became and the ability to snatch out the wounded was huge for morale. Really the first "air mobile" operation. 

Online MarkOttawa

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And the renewed Indian Army was of course essential to 14th Army's success--note Imphal/Kohima 1944 at end of this post:

India’s Forgotten Good War

Ça explique, mais ça n'excuse pas.

Online Colin P

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There was a Indian unit fighting on the Japanese side, made up of ex-Indian army POW turned nationalist as well.