Special Force, (The Chindits) Disbanded Feb 1945

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Fitzgeraldr, May 26, 2014.

  1. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    Just been reading through the operational report of Lieutenant-General Oliver Leese, and was most surprised to see that in a short paragraph on P8 of his operational report 1 month after he took over command he states that the Special Force is not fit to see action and that "This type" of unit only was too expensive to keep and requested that it be disbanded and in Feb 1945 he gets the approval to disband all the Special Force units.... No wonder the troops felt that they were the forgotten army.....
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I believe I remember in Slim's book, 'Defeat into Victory', he comments at the juncture you refer to saying, that there is no longer any need for an actual Chindit Force, because all soldiers in India/Burma were now 'Chindit minded' in any case.
  3. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    that does sound better, but it just really shocked me that the new C.I.C. just a month after taking charge disbanded the force that were instrumental in delivering the results in Burma... just seems a very sad end to it all :(
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  5. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It should also be recalled that the same Leese when G.O.C. 8th Army before Operation Diadem at the Liri Valley - stated that he had

    2000 Tanks - and could afford to lose 50% of them - and he damn near did as we lost 800 Tanks and another 600 at the Gothic Line -

    THEN he was sent off to Burma where he wanted to fire Slim ….that didn't go down too well either……he was a great Corps Commander of

    XXX Corps all through the desert under Monty but NOT an Army Commander…14th Army -as the 8th - felt forgotten long

    before Wingate died

  6. Hebridean Chindit

    Hebridean Chindit Lost in review...

    Stillwell screwed them, metaphorically speaking...
  7. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    By 1945 there was a great shortage of replacement, many British battalion operated on three companies basis instead of standard four. So having a large special force without some specific task could be seen as a wasting of valuable resources. Also, in February 1945 there was a little opportunities for this kind of units in Burma. While Chindits were disbanded two of its brigades, 77th and 14th I think, were converted to standard Parachute and Airlanding brigades, respectively.
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Here is a website link to illustrate sol's information about 77th IIB:

  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The main shortages of manpower for the British started a month after D Day when Monty was warned to "Watch it" out in Italy we

    were losing 14,000 KIA and even more wounded in one month at the Gothic Line - so we were breaking up units by September - even

    Territorial Tank regiments to fill the gaps in Regular Regiments - Infantry units to three companies with only four platoons etc LAA

    regiments scrapped as there was no Luftwaffe left in Italy..we had nothing left BUT too many paras and commandos and special

    troops - they seemed to be untouchable - with little to do…

  10. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I should point out that the American 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), better known as Task Force Galahad or Merril's Marauders, was also broken up. The 5307th was originally intended to be the American element in Special Force, but it was reassigned to Stilwell's command and fought as part of NCAC. By the time Myitkina fell the unit had suffered appalling casualties, and nearly all the survivors were on the sick list. In other words the Marauders were left in much the same condition as Special Force, so Stilwell abused his American troops as badly as he did the Chindits. Some survivors of the 5307th were transferred to the 475th Infantry Regiment, a conventional unit, which fought with Task Force Mars through the remainder of the campaign.

    While the Chindits did make a contribution to victory in the 1944 Burma campaign, I tend to side with those who are skeptical about Special Force. Certainly Slim was never happy about the conversion of the 70th Division--one of only two all-Britsh divisions then available to him--to the LRP role. By February 1945 Wingate was dead, and so Special Forcer no longer enjoyed the sponsorship of its godfathers, Wavell and Churchill. Moreover, with the conventional land campaign in Burma going so well, there was no longer any real need for Special Force--if indeed there ever had been.
  11. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    I guess I am slightly biased in this, but the C.I.C. General G.I. Giffard, in his reports gives praise to the L.R.P. Brigades and states that the 23rd Brigade "Deserves Special Mention" which I do not think he would have raised in his operational reports if he did not feel that they provided some specific benefits. up till the launch of the L.R.P. Brigades we did not have any forces which were specifically trained to fight the Japanese in the theatre that we were then engaged in.

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