Burma

Exploring the battles of Pakokku, Nyaung – U and Bagan 14th – 19th February 1945 Part 2.

The dry roads of Nyaung U and Bagan. When the allies landed they were in almost desert conditions.

The dry roads of Nyaung U and Bagan. When the allies landed they were in almost desert conditions.

Unknown to the Allies, Pagan was the boundary between the Japanese Fifteenth and Twenty-Eighth Armies, and the the area north of Nyaung U was given to the Indian National Army to guard. As well as giving heavy resistance to the South Lancashire Regiment, here at Nyaung U they were fighting against 1/11 Sikh Regiment.

The 9th battalion, INA 4th Guerrilla Regiment was made up mostly of Tamils recruited from Malaya and there was heavy fighting in the sandy lanes surrounding and at the rear of the cliffs. Read more

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Exploring the battles of Pakokku, Nyaung – U and Bagan 14th – 19th February 1945 Part 1.

Bagan with it's 2000 temples and pagodas

Bagan with it’s 2000 temples and pagodas

Bagan ( Pagan) is the second most popular tourist destination after Yangon in Myanmar. In 1945  Bagan was also an objective of the 14th Army, quickly following the retreating Japanese from their defeats at Imphal and Kohima, through the jungle towards the Irrawaddy. DTC Travel have a unique  set of trips for visitors wanting to see the battlefields during this period, and we will explore one which tells of the crossing of the Irrewaddy

“The longest opposed river crossing attempted in any theatre of the Second World War”

General Slim noted in his memoirs that this action was “the longest opposed river crossing attempted in any theatre of the Second World War”. Here we detail the battle with the photos telling of the trip. Click of them to see the text descriptions. Read more

Posted on by TOBY in Asia, Burma, Myanmar, Remembrance Tour, Tours 1 Comment

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Genre : Drama.

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Posted on by TOBY in Asia, Burma, Myanmar, Tours, Walking tours 8 Comments

Kandawmin Gardens- the tombs of prominent Burmese people

Kandawmin Gardens

Kandawmin Gardens

“Kandawmin Gardens” may be a Burmese version of “Cantonment Gardens”, the name given when they were created in colonial times. The gardens  are near enough to the Shwe Dagon  that those who are buried there are considered to be under the shadow of the famous and much worshipped temple and thus this honour is reserved for special individuals.

Four such tombs lie on The Shwe Dagon Pagoda Road where the gardens border the busy traffic, the drivers and passers- by barely noticing them. Well, let us see who is there.

The oldest belongs to the primary Queen of the exiled King Thibaw, the controversial Queen Supalayat who was exiled to Ratnagiri in India in 1886 with the monarch, and returned to Burma three years after his death, in 1919. She died in 1925 having lived as a recluse  in Churchill Road, now called Komin Kochin Road – insisting that any visitors show respect due to a Queen.

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The battles around Penwegon. July 1945

Penwegon - an old administrative building now partially converted into restaurants

Penwegon – an old administrative building now partially converted into restaurants

During the advance south by the 17th Indian Division, this small town became it’s headquarters. It was to become the centre of the last significant land battle in the Far East in the Second World War.
What remained of the once powerful Japanese 28th Army had been trapped in the Bago (Pegu) Yomas (hills), and the Japanese attempted to have the survivors breakout out across the Sittang River and escape into Thailand. To get there they had to cross the main Mandalay – Bago road, where Penwegon is located. The Japanese were hampered by disease (malaria and cholera), lack of communications between units, exhaustion and a growing sense of desperation in all ranks.

Former ally turns against the Japanese

Their former ally, General Aung San of the Burmese National Army had switched sides following secret negotiation with the British ( the BNA now became the Burma Patriotic Army) and was heavily engaged in searching for Japanese troops and killing them. THey had already taken to Japanese staff of the Mingaladon Military Academy and executed them in the Bago Yomas.

The 33rd Army went too soon for the 28th army

The Japanese 33rd Army under General Honda attempted to assist the 28th Army breakout, but it’s attack on the Sittang Bend on 3rd July 1945 was mistimed and occurred before the 28th Army was ready.

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The Battle for Pyawbwe March 1945

 

The pagoda signalled the turn off for the Claudcol column

The pagoda signalled the turn off for the Claudcol column

In March 1945, the Allies had captured Mandalay and Meiktila. This brought to an end the campaign in central Burma. However, Rangoon was further south and the Japanese commander in the field, General Kimura, believed that if his forces could hold up the 14th Army until mid-May this would seriously hinder General Slim, the commander of the 14th Army.

Mid-May was the time when the monsoon was expected to start and this would have severely hampered the allied transport as roads, such as they were, could be washed away and the general  conditions for the men of the  motorised 14th Army would have become miserable. Slim was also aware of the problems that the monsoon would bring him and he resolved to get to Rangoon before mid-May.

 

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  • I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

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A trip past some of the places of military interest – Yangon (Rangoon) to Mawlamyine (Moulmein) Part 1

Taukkyan Cemetery

Taukkyan Cemetery

Today we can explore many of the often passed locations on the route to Bago, and going on further to the Sittang River and Golden Rock, and further still to Mawlamyine and Thanbyuzayat. We will briefly look at ome of the locations of actions which took place in WW2, which changed the world forever

In 1942 the muddled planning and confuse leadership of the British met the determined, war experienced and tactic driven Japanese invasion.

In 1945 the diseased, ill equipped and defeated Japanese army retreated along these same roads and railway lines, routed by the reformed, brilliantly led and well equipped British Indian army – many of the units being those same who were in the shameful retreat of 1942.
Heading north out of Yangon we pass the  the Taukkyan Military Cemetery and still heading towards Mawlamyine, one of the first locations along the route is Hlegu

 

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The Commonwealth War Cemeteries in and near Yangon, Myanmar (Burma).

Taukkyan War Cemetery

Taukkyan War Cemetery

If you are fortunate enough to visit Yangon, you will no doubt want to visit some of the many popular tourist sites around the city. Open all year round from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm, you may wish to visit the Commonwealth War Cemeteries. There are three in Myanmar, all maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and in this post we will visit two. One, in central Yangon is little visited, which is a shame as it is, like all the others beautifully maintained and a place of tranquility. The other lies 32 miles north of the Yangon city, just before the junction of the roads to Pyay ( Prome) and Bago (Pegu). For details of the third cemetery, please see this post A trip around Mawlamyaing ( Moulmein) including Thanbyuzayat and Kyaikkami (Amherst).                                                                                                        

Another post details the fighting which took place just a few miles from the Taukkyan cemetery in 1942 during the British retreat. Battle of the Taukkyan Roadblock 7th March 1942.

Most of the  dead of that action have no known grave as the rout of the British army by the Japanese led, to the great regret of those involved, to the abandonment of corpses all along the retreat.

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The battle for Meiktila March1945

The remains of a Japanese light tank from the Ha Go campaign, plinthed at the Nagoyan temple in Meiktila

The remains of a Japanese light tank from the Ha Go campaign, plinthed at the Nagoyan temple in Meiktila

Following the Japanese retreat from the borders of India after the defeats at Imphal and Kohima, they were followed by the retrained and reorganized 14th Army. Although many of the units of the British Indian army were the same as those involved in the bitter retreat of 1942, they were now confident and led by competent commanders.

Once they re-entered Burma the army split up into various sections, all making their way towards different objectives on the Irrewaddy river. Lt. General Slim, the British commander, has devised plans to fool the Japanese as to his targets. His immediate opponent, Lt-General Katamura Shihachi ‘s 15th army, was in agreement with his superior General Kimura Heitaro that the British would head for Mandalay.

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