Chindits & Burma. Where to start?

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by von Poop, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Chatting to a mate on FF, and became aware that I'm a tad sketchy on Burma etc., other than perhaps a reasonable grasp of the PoW stuff.

    Knowing that many of you are definitely not sketchy: What are the best starting point books to check out on the Burmese fighting?
    Any widely accepted 'key works'?

  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I started with the obvious:
    Defeat into Victory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    But in hindsight, despite its being a very fine book, I don't think that's the best approach. I'd go secondary source first to get the eagle's eye overview and then go to the veterans' accounts for detail.

    Not an expert, but was largely well-received:

    If you'd prefer to break the narrative into retreat and offensive, I enjoyed this book:

    The story is well told with a good range of perspectives.

    I shan't be arrogant enough to voice an opinion on the best sources for Chindits given the experts we have on the board.
    4jonboy and von Poop like this.
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Adam, CF is pretty much on the money with his suggestions. 'Burma, The Longest War' by Louis Allen is excellent. Enes may well have some views on books covering the retreat, but I enjoyed 'A Hell of a Licking' by James Lunt.

    In regards the Chindits, for a good overview, 'War in the Wilderness' by Tony Redding. For something with a little more emphasis on Chindit 1, 'Wingate's Lost Brigade' by Phil Chinnery.

    Any of Bernard Fergusson's books are well worth a read too.

    Good luck.

    4jonboy and von Poop like this.
  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Very much agree; ditto Mike Calvert.

    This is a simply amazing resource:
    Calvert James Michael 'Mad Mike IWM interview (9942)

    (Second in epic scope only to Field Marshal Harding's interview).
  5. veronicad

    veronicad Well-Known Member

    Yes, all of above. But, for just a simple 'story' of just one column, operating in the Naga Hills.Operation Thursday. Chindit column 76th W.A. Wilcox. 1ST published August 1945. I did not have to 'study' while reading this book. Just on occasion, it is good to read the daily accounts of just the battle stained Englishmen.
    The last sentence of his book, says, The Chindit is a jungle-fighter, not a lounge -lizard.
    von Poop likes this.
  6. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    Slim, Master of War: Burma, 1942-5: Burma and the Birth of Modern Warfare by Robert Lyman

    Amazon link

    Only read a few books about Burma & the Far East, so not got much to compare to, but i really found the above book an interesting & detailed read.

    It's more a biography but gives a good overview of what happened in Burma.

    Other books i've read tended to focus on the exceptional work done by the Chindits, but this book helped me realise the part played (and what was required) by the 14th Army to retake Burma.

    It also gave me an admiration of General Slim as a commander.
    von Poop likes this.
  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The Road past Mandalay and its prequel, (I hate that word), Bugles and a Tiger by John Masters are well worth reading.
    von Poop likes this.
  8. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    A specific Michael Calvert title is Prisoners Of Hope and a partly overlooked angle is The Marauders by Charlton Ogburn...
    Most of the above are on my shelves (or in the boxes at present post relocation...) :D
    von Poop likes this.
  9. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    This is all splendid stuff.
    Think the Allen might be the one to start for me. Secondary surveys all the way when attempting to grasp something, I think.
    Quite keen on Staff biographies too, so maybe the Slim later. Think my old man may have that to steal.

    (And from a forum perspective - really interesting how specialisms have concentrated here over the years too. Long may it continue.)
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Haven't you got 'Tank tracks to Rangoon' on your shelf?
    It's about tanks ..... in Burma.
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    That's Perrett isn't it?
    I have not.
    The shame.

    If you'll just leave me alone with the revolver...
  12. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Burma the longest war as already mentioned is a must, at first glance it is a general view of the Burma campaign but dig a little deeper and you have what I consider the Bible...touches on areas seldom repeated in other books and gives insights that are both unexpected and eye opening in particular for me chapter 12 The backlog, How the armies see each other Sex on the battlefield-Race-the aesthetic response.The go to book for many of us with Burma interest. Also for a either end view. Burma 1942: The Japanese invasion and Burma: The turning point Ian Lyall Grant and Kazuo Tamayama and just Grant for the second...hope that helps.
    von Poop likes this.
  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Owen, you clearly don't make a living from book reviews. 'Tank tracks to Rangoon' is about tanks in Burma that go to Rangoon.
  14. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Not just about the actual tracks and their delivery?
    Not as specialised as I'd hoped...
    High Wood likes this.
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    If it was solely about tracks, track transport, track manufacture, types of track etc., I'd almost certainly have it already.

    Further shame...
  16. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Not sure we should let you off so lightly...:D ... but as I've still got to cough up my patron dues I'd best just keep out of this turkey shoot...:unsure:

    Re Louis Allen... was going to say that was a tricky title to obtain but it looks like there are stacks of them over on ABE... obviously reprinted since I got mine...
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList

    How does the HMSO Burma Campaign rate as an overview?
    von Poop likes this.
  18. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Several of us have that one... quite nice and plenty of pics, produced shortly after the event...

    It's a shame that Barton's Narrative has never gone into print... (has it?) I thought I had it all properly photographed but I've screwed up a couple of pages, and the maps are just a pain to photograph... beautiful, all the same...
  19. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I have it as well, but it's been a while since I've actually looked at it.

    I did have a look in the much-later HMSO 'Atlas of the Pacific War' but it is quite thin on Burma. There is a map for each of the main phases but they lack clarity as they're trying to show too much in one go.

    Of course, there are also the British and Indian official histories of the campaign. I think the three Indian ones have now been reprinted , and NMP have done the British ones (though would need to check which volumes relate to Burma).
  20. jimbop

    jimbop Banned

    if your after a personnel account of actions then i'd highly recommend 'fighting through to kohima' by micheal lowry.

Share This Page