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Current Affairs 2023

Chindits - UPSC Current Affairs

The Chindits were special operations units of the British & Indian armies in WWII, formed by Brigadier Orde Wingate for long-range penetration against the Imperial Japanese Army. Despite high casualty rates, their unconventional tactics were effective in disrupting enemy lines of communication.

Jan 22, 2023

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News: John Riggs, officer who led a platoon of Chindits through thick Burma jungle as part of Operation Thursday – obituary - Telegraph, UK

 

The Chindits, also known as the Long Range Penetration Groups, were special operations units of the British and Indian armies that played a significant role in the Burma Campaign of World War II. Formed by British Army Brigadier Orde Wingate, the Chindits were tasked with raiding operations against the Imperial Japanese Army, specifically targeting troops, facilities, and lines of communication deep behind enemy lines.

 

Wingate's background in guerrilla tactics, formed during the East African Campaign of 1940-41, heavily influenced the formation and tactics of the Chindits. As commander of the Gideon Force, Wingate had disrupted Italian supply lines and collected intelligence, and it was this experience that led to his being requested by Wavell, the Commander-in-Chief of the India Command, to raise irregular forces in Burma.

 

The Chindits were named after the Burmese word "Chinthe," which means "lion." The first unit, the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade, was formed in the summer of 1942, with Wingate taking charge of training the troops in the jungles of central India during the rainy season. The force was made up of both British and Indian troops, and was organized into eight columns, each consisting of an infantry rifle company, a support group with heavy weapons, a reconnaissance platoon, and a sabotage group.

 

The Chindits' operations were notoriously difficult and dangerous, featuring long marches through treacherous terrain, often undertaken by underfed and disease-weakened troops. The casualty rate was extremely high, and the military value of the Chindits' achievements remains a point of controversy to this day. Despite this, their use of unconventional tactics and mobility proved to be effective in disrupting the Japanese lines of communication and causing significant damage to the enemy. The Chindits' legacy as a pioneering special operations force continues to be studied and remembered to this day. Image: Imperial War Museums

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