...The Chindit Operations: Special Forces in Burma from Frontline Books
Title: Wingate's Men
Author: Colin Higgs
Publisher: Frontline Books
Another new Images of War title from Frontline Books, and this one takes on the subject of those men involved in the Chindit operations, behind Japanese lines in Burma during WW2. There were two major operations, the second being the larger of the two. Led by the unusual character of Brigadier Orde Wingate, his leadership and ideas took shape through both Chindit operations.
The book opens with text to outline the story of the Chindits in Burma, both first and second operations. The larger of the two expeditions, Operation Thursday, involved a large force of around 10,000 men, all working behind the front lines and upsetting the Japanese Lines of Communication. The bulk of the book is made up with archive photos, most of which are apparently from one man's personal collection. The photos are grouped together under a number of headings. These include Wavell Inspects the Troops: On the March: Evacuation!: Supplies from the Skies: Live to Fight Another Day: Supply Line for 10.000 Men: Men of the Chindits: and Orde Wingate. The large force of the 2nd operation were supplied from the air quite successfully, and also had US engineers assisting by dropping in with air-portable equipment to level landing grounds for aircraft to bring in supplies and evacuate the sick/wounded. No trucks or tanks, this all involved hard work by the troops themselves, plus mules, bullocks and even elephants to help carry equipment. No roads, they had to fight their way through dense jungle and prove that British & Commonwealth troops, along with Gurkhas, could successfully operate in the jungle environment just as well as the Japanese.
The operations did take a toll on the men who took part, but they still made a success of it. Many of the photos show broad smiles on their faces once they reached safety. A worthy tribute I think to those who took part, and these include the authors father, who like so many others did not apparently like to talk about their experiences once the war was over.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.