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Wingate's Men (Paperback)

The Chindit Operations: Special Forces in Burma

WWII Frontline Books Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books Frontline: WWII

By Colin Higgs
Frontline Books
Series: Images of War
Pages: 117
ISBN: 9781526746672
Published: 23rd October 2019

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Possibly the most famous fighting formations of the Burma campaign during the Second World War were the Long Range Penetration Groups, more commonly known as the Chindits. Colonel Orde Wingate was given permission to attempt long-range operations deep within Japanese-held territory with the aim of sowing alarm and confusion amongst the enemy and disrupting Japanese plans for the invasion of India. For this, Wingate was given the Indian 77th Infantry Brigade. In February 1943 this force crossed into Burma on its first Chindit operation, codenamed Loincloth.

The Chindits took the Japanese by surprise, putting one of the main railway lines out of order, but the Japanese responded quickly, interdicting supply drops to the Chindits who soon began to suffer severely from exhaustion and shortages of water and food. With three brigades chasing them, the Chindits headed back to India, being forced to break up into small groups to avoid capture. By the time the 77th Brigade crossed the border, it had lost a third of its strength.

Despite the heavy losses, Wingate had shown that British troops could operate successfully against the Japanese in inhospitable terrain. Promoted to acting major general Wingate was granted permission to undertake another Chindit operation, but this time on a far greater scale. In Operation Thursday Wingate aimed to fly a force of 10,000 men, 1,000 mules, equipment and supplies into clearings in the heart of Burma behind enemy lines. The operation proved a considerable success, the Chindits causing mayhem amongst the Japanese forces. Wingate, though, did not live to see the end of Operation Thursday, as he was killed when the aircraft in which he was being transported to one of the Chindit bases crashed into the jungle.

In this wonderful collection of photographs, drawn in large part from one man’s photograph albums, we see the harsh conditions in which the Chindits had to operate, and the terrible physical state of many of the men who survived the jungles, the dry plains, and the ferocious Japanese enemy.

Most of the 134 black and white photos came from the photograph album of one of the Chindits, so modelers and dioramists seeking source material for Col. Orde Wingate's Long-Range Penetration Group will appreciate this volume.

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

This is one neat picture album. Highly recommended.”

AMPS Indianapolis

The Images of War series has been building into a unique and impressive visual military history, offering rare images with concise text at very aggressive pricing. This new addition covers one of the most neglected theatres of war and one of the most neglected organizations, the Chindits – Most Highly Recommended.

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Firetrench

My Dad had a book in his collection by Orde Wingate that he advised me not to read. Devouring books at a phenomenal rate in the 1950s and 1960s, I would often look through his books with a view to reading something different, but he always cautioned me about reading his books on world war 2, particularly the illustrated ones that showed the liberation of the concentration camps, and this one by Orde Wingate. Having now looked at Colin's book, I can see why he would have wanted to protect me. Orde Wingate is one of the forgotten heroes of WWII, and Colin's book celebrates him and his expeditions in grand style.

Books Monthly

This title as part of the Images at War series offers an unusual look at the men who fought as part of the Chindits and the conditions that they faced to a smaller extent. I was instantly drawn to the book when I read the part at the start on the author’s father, and while I am not a cricket fan he does sound to be one of those old warriors we all wish we could talk to. The text does an excellent job in short order in conveying the author’s intent to the reader. I was also very pleased to see the full page photographs on some pages of the book. A really nice offering for those wanting to know about some of the men who made up the Chindits.

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Armorama

The quality of the photographs is good and they all appear nice and sharp in focus.

Overall a good and interesting book although all images are black and white this does not detract from their quality.

Would make a nice present for anybody interested in the Chindit campaign or a resource for a modeller.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

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.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

If you are interested in the Far East campaign or a uniform buff you will love this book. Its main forte is the photos and they illustrate what actually happened – like what the men really wore etc. Although it is concise at 116 pages it provides a beautiful introduction to the Chindits but it is the photos that make it special. It is well worth the cover price of GBP £14.99 and would prove to be a good investment for anyone interested in the Far East campaign.

Military Archive Research, Dr Stuart C Blank

I knew the history of the Chindits, but I had never seen many of the photos in the book, and I find them beautiful! A worthy tribute to a "forgotten army".

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

About Colin Higgs

COLIN HIGGS has more than twenty-five years’ experience in the broadcast and home entertainment industries and for much of that time has co-produced, written and researched aviation documentaries together with Bruce Vigar. Colin’s business, A Flying History, was created to make accessible the unique Peter Keating and John Stroud aviation photograph collections and Colin and Bruce’s extensive archive of first-hand interviews with veterans.

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