Meiktila 1945: The Battle To Liberate Burma

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BBC - WW2 People's War - Timeline

Tired and outnumbered, the Japanese could provide only light resistance and the spearhead of the 4th Corps reached Toungoo, halfway to Rangoon, on 22 April. A week later it reached Kadok, where it was temporarily stalled by more determined resistance. With the news that the Japanese were evacuating Rangoon, the force moved up the river, entering the city the following day.

Messervy's 4th Corps arrived on 6 May. With the capture of Rangoon, Burma was effectively liberated.

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The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. Home Explore the BBC. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. After their defensive victory, the British planned a new offensive to clear the last Japanese forces from northern Burma and drive them south towards Mandalay and Meiktila.

Fighting through the monsoon and supplied by air, troops of the 14th Army now crossed the River Chindwin. The 15th Corps took Akyab in the Arakan following a series of amphibious landings in December , while 4th and 32nd Corps won bridgeheads across the River Irrawaddy in February After fierce fighting, Meiktila and Mandalay were captured in March It was a decisive victory, won through the courage and endurance of the troops and the superb generalship of their commander William Slim. The route south to Rangoon now lay open. And 4th Corps was only 30 miles 48km from the city when it fell to a combined air and seaborne operation in early May Following their victory, the British began planning for new landings in Malaya and for the recapture of Singapore.

But these were forestalled by the Japanese surrender in August The Burma campaign was one of the longest fought by the British during the war. The Japanese had landed there in January and soon secured most of the north of the island. From there, they could direct operations in the South West Pacific. The Japanese drive to conquer all of New Guinea ended with their failure to capture Port Moresby on the south coast.

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This was after their landing at Milne Bay was repulsed August-September and a landward drive against the city was halted in desperate fighting on the mountainous Kokoda Trail July-November Soon afterwards, in January , the Americans and Australians won the Battle of Buna-Gona on the island's northern coast. Troops also landed on New Britain and, in tandem with air and naval attacks, helped isolate the powerful Japanese base at Rabaul.

To further neutralise Rabaul, the Allies also counter-attacked the Japanese in the neighbouring Solomon Islands. They landed on Leyte in October For the next ten months, US and Philippine forces steadily set about liberating the various Philippine islands until the Japanese capitulation in August The Allies also landed on Borneo in a series of amphibious assaults between April and July After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August , Japan surrendered. Second World War Asia s.


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These formed the turning point of one of the most gruelling campaigns of the Second World War. The decisive Japanese defeat in north-east India in became the springboard for the subsequent re-conquest of Burma. Despite inheriting a disastrous situation, he restored his men's morale and led them to victory against the Japanese.

During the Second World War, Britain created a range of special units who undertook a variety of daring operations against the Axis Powers. The bravery and commitment of these forces has become the stuff of legend. In , the British established a new raiding and reconnaissance force.

Well-trained and highly mobile, they were to carry on the war against the Axis after the evacuation from Dunkirk. During , the Allies endured months of bitter fighting against a tenacious enemy. This bloody struggle eventually ended in the final defeat of Nazi Germany. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Be the first to hear about our latest events, exhibitions and offers. Simply enter your email address below to start receiving our monthly email newsletter. To find out more about how we collect, store and use your personal information, read our Privacy Policy.

National Army Museum 10am - 5. Toggle navigation. View this object. American ships under attack at Pearl Harbour, 7 December Malaya On 8 December , Japanese troops landed at Singora and Batari in Thailand, which immediately signed an armistice. Japanese machine gunners, Defeat Inadequate planning, little jungle training, poor intelligence, low morale, confused command structure and lack of air cover all contributed to defeat in Malaya.

British flag taken from a government building in Singapore by the Japanese, Disaster By 13 February, the British were trapped in a mile 45km perimeter around the city, with little hope of counter-attacking or even holding off the Japanese. Japanese soldiers executing Indian prisoners of war at Singapore, Arakan Without adequate resources, a major counter-offensive into Burma was out of the question.

Defeated again After initial British success in Arakan, the Japanese counter-attacked. A King's African Rifleman covering a road, Indian troops during the first Arakan offensive, Signallers with a Chindit column attempt radio contact, May Diversion The Chindits suffered heavy casualties and many succumbed to illness. Prisoners The Japanese despised the act of surrender.

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Medical inspection at Chungkai Camp, Forced labour The Japanese treated prisoners badly because they saw surrender as dishonourable. Punishment at Ban Pong Camp, Thailand, Death Railway The Japanese viewed prisoners as expendable labour for their war effort. The building of the bridge over the River Kwai, A British mortar crew in action, Stand firm Previously, British troops had fallen back when the Japanese cut their lines of communication, and operations had practically ceased during the monsoon season.

Collecting supplies dropped into the 'Admin Box', February A wounded British soldier being evacuated, East African soldiers with a captured Japanese flag, Close quarters Supplied by air, the garrisons threw back the Japanese attacks in bitter close-quarter fighting until relief forces reached them.

There was always a Japanese thrust somewhere that had to be met and destroyed. Yet, the fighting did follow a pattern. The main encounters were on the spokes of the wheel, because it was only along these that guns, tanks, and vehicles could move. Gurkhas open fire during an attack near Palel, April British offensive After their defensive victory, the British planned a new offensive to clear the last Japanese forces from northern Burma and drive them south towards Mandalay and Meiktila. Troops landing on Akyab Island, Soldiers take cover during the battle for Meiktila, March Indian infantry advance through a burning village, Burma, A Forgotten Army?

American infantry cross a jungle stream covered by a machine gun, New Guinea, c Japanese stopped The Japanese drive to conquer all of New Guinea ended with their failure to capture Port Moresby on the south coast.