The Chindit raids are some of the most famous British operations of the Second World War. The two raids both saw a force consisting of normal British units penetrate deep behind Japanese lines, where they endured grim conditions in incredibly difficult terrain, suffered heavy losses and despite a great deal of post-war controversy probably badly disrupted Japanese plans.
One of Wingate's theories was that any normal unit of British soldiers could carry out his long distance operations with the right training, so it is interesting to read an account of the Chindit raids based around the experiences of two such normal units.
Sometimes books that focus on a particular unit within a larger operation can become too tightly focused, making it difficult to trace the wider flow of events. That isn't the case here. Thorburn does a good job of tracing the history of the Chindits and explaining how his two subject regiments came to be part of the force. Once the regiments go into the jungle we follow the brigades they were part of and the columns they formed in the most detail, but the wider fate of the Chindits and the impact of external decisions are also covered well.
This is a valuable addition to the literature on the Chindits, and in particular on the later stages of the second Chindit raid, after Wingate's death had removed the unit's main defender and command had passed to an officer who didn’t really agree with the concept. This was a period in which the Chindits were kept in the jungle for far longer than they should have been, and were forced to take part in conventional military operations for which they would have been badly equipped even when they were in peak condition.
1 - Religious Freedom and Watching the Highlands
2 - The Road to India
3 - Why They Were There
4 - Never seen anything like it
5 - Orders to proceed
6 - The Beginning of the End
7 - Monsoon
8 - The Last Few
9 - Post Mortem
Author: Gordon Thorburn
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military