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9781849083232

Orde Wingate

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9781849083232

  • ISBN10:

    1849083231

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-10-23
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing
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Summary

Orde Wingate (1903-44) attended Charterhouse public school and then the Woolwich military academy. He joined the Royal Artillery in 1923, became a fine horseman, and went on to learn Arabic. He then served in the Sudan (1928-33), Palestine (1936-39), Ethiopia (1941) and eventually Burma (1942-44), where he rose to fame by creating the Chindits. Wingate is an extremely important figure in military history, and deserves just as much attention as Alanbrooke, Montgomery, and Auchinleck. Unlike them, however, he always operated outside the accepted etiquette and the formal chain of command. He was a maverick and misfit, and he held to the belief that the type of mass warfare demonstrated on the Western Front (1914-18) had very little to do with the warfare of the future. He believed that the latter would require an 'indirect approach', in which heavily lumbering armies would be exquisitely vulnerable to small groups of highly motivated, mobile and well-armed guerrillas. History has proved Wingate correct; in the years since 1945 the whole issue of small-unit guerrilla warfare has come of age, and large armies have become obsolete dinosaurs. This book covers Wingate's experiences in pre-war Palestine, in Ethiopia in 1941 (where he formed an irregular guerrilla unit to harrass the Italian garrisons), and in World War II Burma, where the two Chindit campaigns would be his apotheosis. Their root idea was long-range penetration into Japanese rear areas, to destroy communications and deny supplies to the forces in the front line. It was a truly heroic conception, although sadly few of the troops originally drafted into the Chindits proved to be sufficiently robust to meet the challenge. This book also examines that accusations that Wingate was psychologically unbalanced and that his professional ideas were conceived without adequate consideration of the real overall picture. He was a 'flawed genius' who could be persuasive and charismatic, but who also displayed a reckless disregard for the welfare of both his own troops and the native populations of their allies.

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