Captured Behind Japanese Lines
With Wingate's Chindits – Burma 1942–1945
by Daniel Berke
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 11 Aug 2021
Pen & Sword, Pen & Sword Military
Never have I had greater respect for soldiers than those of the 14th Army who served under Bill Slim, and in particular those guys who were in the Chindit columns. They suffered hugely as they got inside enemy territory in the Burmese Jungle and as they fought against all odds; some surviving, some being captured and many dying.This book exemplifies the courage of the men who faced this ordeal. -The Rt. Hon. Colonel Bob Stewart DSO MP
No-one meeting Frank Berkovitch, a quiet, reserved tailor, could have guessed that he had served with the Chindits in Burma and suffered prolonged Japanese captivity. Yet not only had he fought as a Bren-gunner on Operation LONGCLOTH, their first deep penetration mission, but he was the legendary General Orde Wingate’s batman.
The Chindits were Wingate’s inspired idea and, while suffering heavy losses from enemy action and deprivation, they dispelled the myth that the Imperial Japanese Army Japanese was invincible. Outnumbered, outgunned, carrying 70lb packs and reliant on RAF air drops for supplies, the 3,000 men of the Chindit columns overcame harsh jungle terrain and climatic conditions to take the fight to the enemy behind their own lines.
They wreaked havoc with enemy communications and caused heavy enemy casualties while gathering vital intelligence. After months of malnutrition and disease and hunted by the vengeful Japanese, the survivors faced a desperate race to escape from Burma. Captured crossing the Irrawaddy river, Frank endured two years imprisonment at the hands of notoriously cruel captors.
Superbly researched, this inspiring book vividly describes the Chindits’ first operation and the hardship suffered by, and heroism of, Frank and his comrades, many who never returned.