This gripping study offers key insights into the tactics, leadership, combat performance and subsequent reputations of six representative Chindit and Japanese infantry units involved in three pivotal actions that hastened Japan's defeat in Burma during World War II.
In order to keep China in the war against the Japanese, the Western Allies knew they had to return to Northern Burma. Colonel Orde Wingate, a military maverick and proponent of guerrilla warfare, believed that a different type of British infantryman was required for this role - the Chindit, indoctrinated with special training - to re-enter the jungles and mountains of Northern Burma in order to combat the victorious Japanese forces there. The Chindits' opponents would include the 18th Division, one of Imperial Japan's most seasoned formations, which by 1941 had already accumulated as much operational experience as most Anglo-American divisions would acquire in the entire 1939-45 war.
In a host of encounters the two sides clashed repeatedly in the harsh conditions of the Burmese jungle; the intended role and subsequent operational performance of the Chindits remains fraught with controversy today.