Chindits

Discussion in 'Old & Bold' started by CREATURE5334, Jan 10, 2013.

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  1. I recently found out that my grandad served with the Chindits on both ops during WWII.

    He would speak in depth about Dunkirk, and be able to to tell in graphic detail everything that whent on,but as with so many vetrans of the far east, never spoke of his time in Burma.

    What I am well aware of is that they where nails.

    All I know is that he served with The Royal Artillary, and was a Mortarman.

    Based apon this, at a guess, I would say he served in an infanty roll and, was with 51/69 Regt Royal Artillary, as part 16th 'Enterprise' Brigade.

    There seems to be quiet a bit of infomation availible on other Chindit units, but not this one.

    If anyone is able to offer any infomation on the unit, or where I should look, I would be very greatful

    Thanks
     
  2. There is a thread already, try the search.
     
  3. Recently bought a book on Amazon titled "A Chindit's Chronicle". Haven't got around to reading it yet, so don't know if it will help you (sorry if this sounds pointless), but I am hoping to get it signed by the author William Towill (now aged 92) who became known to me through my work, if I do I may auction it.

    From the little I have read I should think you would find it very interesting.
     
  4. 'The Wild Green Earth' and 'Beyond the Chindwin' by Bernard Ferguson.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Also The Road Past Mandalay by John Masters.
     
  6. Why are you surprised that he was RA and a mortar man. I thought that some 4.2" heavy mortar were operated by the Royal Artillery and not the Infantry who used the 3" mortar?
     
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  7. Only in Burma did RA operate mortars as main equipment, some African artillery regiments there had 3-inch mortars as did a battery in jungle field regiments (usually with 16 'tubes'). This is in addition to the previously mentioned 'dual equipped' anti-tank regiments or those in Italy with batteries locally converted to heavy mortars, either temporarily or permanently. In Burma in early 1945 a new longer range version of the 3-inch mortar and its ammunition started to be issued to artillery.

    In North Africa. the Chemical Warfare Companies of the Royal Engineers (RE) operated 4.2-inch mortars from El Alamein onwards using conventional ammunition. However, from about mid-1943 the divisional machine gun battalions (one per infantry division) converted one MG company to 4.2-inch mortars (16 mortars in 4 platoons) and RE stopped using them. 4.2-inch mortars reached Burma somewhat later in the war, although the Australians in the SW Pacific had them earlier.

    At the beginning of the war each infantry battalion had, in addition to a 2-inch mortar in every rifle platoon, a mortar section (2 × 3-inch). This was increased to 3 sections in most battalions from late 1940. Divisional reconnaissance regiments in infantry divisions also had a 3-inch mortar platoon but the motorised battalions in armoured brigades did not.

    The degree of co-ordination between non-RA mortars and artillery varied, although infantry divisions had a 'support group commander' responsible for coordinating infantry 'heavy' weapons, a role viewed somewhat sceptically by RA officers. Mortars were used in the 'pepperpot' element of major fireplans towards the end of the war in Europe. However, 4.2-inch mortars were often used for counter-mortar tasks under the control of the counter-mortar staff, not least because the could reach enemy mortar positions on reverse slopes. In Burma it became normal practice for all medium and heavy mortars, both artillery and infantry, being coordinated as part of the artillery plan. This included the infantry mortars being surveyed and adopting artillery fire control methods. In the final months of the war infantry mortar platoons in Burma started re-equipping with 4.2-inch mortars
     
  8. Innitially I was a littel confused. Being an ex mortarman myself, I always thought that it was an infantry weapon. I have since found out that it seems to have been passed back and fouth between Infantry and artillary, also depending on the type of mortar.

    From reading some of his bits and pieces, what is readable, it seems that his unit orginally had 25 pounders, but these where taken away when the collum was formed.
     
  9. Thank you all for your pointers etc i am very greatful
     
  10. on order now, thank you.
     
  11. My late Uncle Frank was ex Border Regiment Chindits and said he was scared shitless half the time whilst employed as company runner. He survived to return home but on demob leave fell ill with various hideous tropical complaints and was in and out of Leicester General for a couple of years. The last duty of his unit was escorting a large Jap prisoner column from Shwelho to Mandalay I think he said. These had not been committed to battle and he recalled some of their arrogant officers with highly polished jackboots "spoke better Oxford English than you and I boy!" and showed as much deference to their captors as if the latter had been inferior coolies.