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Book Review
Wingate's Men
Wingate's Men- The Chindit Operations Special Forces in Burma
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

This book covering Wingate's Men- The Chindit Operations Special Forces in Burma is part of a series of titles from Pen and Sword as part of their ‘Images at War’ series. These books cover the subjects’ mostly in photographs and so offer a great visual reference for anyone interested in the subject matter regardless of the reason for that interest. For the modeller these books represent a horn of plenty when it comes to visual information. The Chindits are a military force that many of us will have heard of, but how many of us really know what conditions the Chindits faced? This book by Colin Higgs shows you an area of combat seen through his father’s eyes.

The following portion of the review is as provided by Pen and Sword:
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.

Review

This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book titled ‘Wingate's Men- The Chindit Operations Special Forces in Burma' has been authored by Colin Higgs. The contents of this title are provided over 117 pages of good quality semi gloss paper with some pages at the end for adding your own notes.

The contents are presented in the following sections:
Introduction
March Divided but Fight United
Wavell Inspects the Troops
On the March
Evacuation!
Supplies from the Skies
Live to Fight another Day
Supply Line for 10,000 Men
Men of the Chindits
Orde Wingate

The Chindits gained a feared reputation in the Jungles of Burma and caused the Japanese major headaches. When it comes to reading about their exploits I have not seen huge amounts of information on them and so I was quite pleased to see this offering released onto the market. What really caught my attention about this title is that it is authored by the son of one of the men who fought behind the lines in possibly one of the worst fighting conditions encountered by modern armies of the period.

This book cannot be described as a dedicated history of the actions these men fought in or the horrors they were faced with, but what it does do is provide a good introduction covering some of the highs and lows of fighting in the jungle behind enemy lines. As well as the terrible conditions faced it also provides some of the events that were funny after the event rather than during them. The author has told a little about his father and his demise and I would like to take a moment and provide an element that brings the book to life in the mind of the reader. The text is minimal due to text not being the goal of these titles, but there is enough to have appeal and keep you reading.

The photographs in this title are a little like looking through a person’s memories rather than war photographs; this is because men fighting in the conditions that these were faced with did not really have time for taking pictures. Many of the images show the men before and after action and as such it shows the state that many of them ended up in. The captions provided with the photographs are not very long but they do provide information on the person in the photograph and sometimes snippets of information specific to that person. There is more information where photographs of Field Marshall Wavell inspects the troops. I did enjoy the few images of men in the field and how many of them still managed to smile.

Conclusion

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.
SUMMARY
Darren Baker takes a look at another release in the Images at War series published by pen and Sword, this time the title is ‘Wingate's Men- The Chindit Operations Special Forces in Burma'.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526746672
  Suggested Retail: £14.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Dec 27, 2019
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.04%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 93.94%

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2020 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.



Comments

An interesting period in history & a fascinating story of endurance & courage against impossible odds.
DEC 27, 2019 - 10:46 AM
   

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