The Burma Campaign
Second World War 1939-45
Today the country of Burma is known as Myanmar with a tourist industry, but between 1942 and 1945 it was a vast battleground. In 1942 the Japanese attacked at several points across the Malay area with such force and speed they forced the British to retreat northwards, first into Burma and towards the border of India. British and Indian troops tried in vain to stem the Japanese advance, but to no avail and they were compelled to conduct one of the longest retreats in military history, almost 1,000 miles, to the safety of the Indian border.
Gradually the Allies built up their resources to fight back and regain lost territory. The British created a special fighting force known as the 'Chindits' who fought the Japanese in an unorthodox manner. The British 14th Army, commanded by General William Slim, known affectionately to the troops as 'Uncle Bill', had its morale restored and with fresh troops, training and better equipment went on the offensive.
The campaign in Burma became as much a test of human endurance as the fighting ability of the troops on both sides. The British determined, facing the Japanese who were encouraged by fanatical devotion to their Emperor.
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