Special Forces in Burma

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Sushil Talwar, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. Sushil Talwar

    Sushil Talwar Junior Member

    I seek information on the Special Forces operating in Burma during WWII, namely:

    D Force
    FLEW Force
    V Force
    WOOD Force

    Sushil
     
  2. englandphil

    englandphil Very Senior Member

  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hi Sushil,

    Welcome to the forum.

    Regards
    Peter
     
  4. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    A little more on 'V Force' on this link

    hayton
     
  5. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Welcome Sushil. I must admit that except V Force I never heard for other units from your list. But, by some coincidence, I just find this in the book I'm currently reading "A Child at War":

    D Force consistent of men armed with fire works, explosives and a variety of gadgets with which they could simulate anything from a river-crossing to a battalion attack.


    Cheers
    Enes
     
  6. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    D for Diversion?

    Pete
     
  7. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Well the book doesn't say anything about that but also it can be D for Deception.
     
  8. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Hello Sushil,

    Welcome to the forum.


    Regards
    Tom
     
  9. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Welcome aboard, mate.

    While reading Osprey´s "The Malayan Emergency", I stumbled across some references to Force 136, about which I hadn´t read before. Did it operate in Burma as well as in Malaya?
     
  10. Sushil Talwar

    Sushil Talwar Junior Member

    Thank you all so much for the welcome.

    I am doing a compilation of Indian recipients of the Military Cross 1914-1947 which contains citations, career progression, other H&As won by these recipients including MiDs, any other bit of information that I can get on them. It was in some of the citations for the MC that I came across these Forces. I’d heard of the D (Deception) Force and V Force but Flew & Wood Force I’d never heard of.

    Cheers

    Sushil
     
  11. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    D Force

    This was deception unit. It was formed in 1941 in Iraq with name Force X; in 1942 it became 303 Indian Armoured Brigade. In 1943 it was ordered to India where its new title was 303 Indian Brigade. There it was employed in three areas; 51 Observation Squadron was at Imphal, 52, 54 and 55 Squadrons were on the Arakan front, while 53 and 56 Squadrons were with the Chindits in northern Burma. Their job was to organize phoney attacks and thus draw the enemy's fire. They proved something of a nuisance to the enemy but their successes were not as great as originally hoped, mainly due to the damage that the tropical climate did to their fire-crackers. They returned to base in 1944 where they were amalgamated with 4 and 5 Light Scout Car Companies and the squadrons became companies with following numbers and make-up:

    51 - Punjabi Mussulman
    52 - Pathans
    53 - Jat
    54 - British
    55 - Sikh
    56 - British
    57 - Punjabi Mussulman
    58 - British

    This new unit was renamed D Force in October, 1944, and by the beginning of 1945, all except 56 Company were in action in Burma. Operations this time were more successful; one member of 58 Company, Lieutenant Claud Raymond, won the Victoria Cross (posthumously) for providing a successful diversion and thus causing the enemy to flee. D Force returned to India in mid 1945 and 54, 56 and 58 Companies were amalgamated to form 59 and 60 Companies. After this time, however, their expertise was no longer required and Force was disbanded in 1946.

    Insignia

    D Force wore a shoulder patch D.FORCE, red on dark green. This was also worn on the bush hat.
     

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  12. Sushil Talwar

    Sushil Talwar Junior Member

    D Force

    This was deception unit. It was formed in 1941 in Iraq with name Force X; in 1942 it became 303 Indian Armoured Brigade. In 1943 it was ordered to India where its new title was 303 Indian Brigade. There it was employed in three areas; 51 Observation Squadron was at Imphal, 52, 54 and 55 Squadrons were on the Arakan front, while 53 and 56 Squadrons were with the Chindits in northern Burma. Their job was to organize phoney attacks and thus draw the enemy's fire. They proved something of a nuisance to the enemy but their successes were not as great as originally hoped, mainly due to the damage that the tropical climate did to their fire-crackers. They returned to base in 1944 where they were amalgamated with 4 and 5 Light Scout Car Companies and the squadrons became companies with following numbers and make-up:

    51 - Punjabi Mussulman
    52 - Pathans
    53 - Jat
    54 - British
    55 - Sikh
    56 - British
    57 - Punjabi Mussulman
    58 - British

    This new unit was renamed D Force in October, 1944, and by the beginning of 1945, all except 56 Company were in action in Burma. Operations this time were more successful; one member of 58 Company, Lieutenant Claud Raymond, won the Victoria Cross (posthumously) for providing a successful diversion and thus causing the enemy to flee. D Force returned to India in mid 1945 and 54, 56 and 58 Companies were amalgamated to form 59 and 60 Companies. After this time, however, their expertise was no longer required and Force was disbanded in 1946.

    Insignia

    D Force wore a shoulder patch D.FORCE, red on dark green. This was also worn on the bush hat.

    Many thanks for this.

    Sushil
     
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Sushil,

    Do you have any info on Capt. Moti Lal Katju MC? He took part in the 1943 Chindit operation and sadly was killed near the Chindwin River on the way back out.

    Here are his details:

    MOTI LAL KATJU, Captain, M C, 10th Bn. 1st Punjab Regiment. 29th April 1943. Age 41. Son of Shri Jeewan Lal Katju. Formerly on the editorial staff of the "Pioneer". Face 112. He is remembered on the Rangoon Memorial in Taukkyan Cemetery.

    He was on the trip as an official observer within Wingate's own Brigade HQ and got caught looking for food in a 'friendly' Burmese village. He won his MC some time before, I think in North Africa. His death was particularly lamented as he held a very detailed diary concerning the events of the 1943 operation.

    Best wishes.

    Bamboo.
     
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Just looked him up and he is listed on the Rangoon Memorial as stated.

    CWGC :: Certificate :poppy:

    The First Punjab Regiment has 56 Military Crosses and 2 Bars to its credit but strangley no Capt. Katju listed. It maybe that his unit is listed differently in the book as their is no name index just unit unfortunately.

    The Miltary Cross by Lt. Col. R M Kamaryc.
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    His Military Cross was gazetted on 13th October 1942. Sadly no citation. It maybe available online at the national archives.

    Viewing Page 4479 of Issue 35745

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  18. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks Andy and Dbf,

    Do you think the document at the NA will be the actual citation or just the recommendation for the award? I was really posting to see if Sushil was aware of Katju, but it may well turn into a big bonus for me.

    I have researched the 1943 Chindits in depth and am attempting to compile a Roll of Honour for these men. My very great hope was to find or name at least one third of the Brigade (1000 men), I have surpassed this and now am hoping for 1500!



    Bamboo.
     
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi,

    Is there any differance? Virtually all of the citations I've read and typed up have read like they were the original recommendation. Either way it will tell you what he did to be awarded the MC.

    The original poster hasn't been back to the forum since the begining of December so your best bet to contact him would be via a PM.

    Good luck with the project...I hope you'll post it all on here when it's completed. ;)

    Regards
    A
     
  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    I downloaded the citation for Katju. He was an official observer (Acting Captain) for the Indian Army 5th Indian Division, in what were called the Knightsbridge actions. May-June 1942.

    He escorted many dangerous recce patrols and when the unit came under extreme enemy tank fire, helped the Medical officer to bring out wounded soldiers. His actions earned him an immediate MC recommendation by Major-General H.R. Briggs. Which was signed off by Alexander and what looks very much like Montgomery?

    Another bonus for me is that there seem to be other awards and citations in these NA files to Burma Rifles and Gurkha officers, relating to the 1943 Chindit operations.

    Thanks again for the help.

    Bamboo.
     

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