The Forgotten Chindits – 23 British Infantry Brigade

  • George Wilton


In March 1944 Japan launched its Operation U Go offensive which resulted in the well documented battles of Kohima and Imphal in north east India. At the same time 23 British Infantry Brigade was finalising Long Range Penetration training before participation in Operation Thursday, the second Chindit campaign that was already underway in north eastern Burma. That plan was changed, and the brigade was diverted to operate in the mountainous Naga Hills to protect the eastern flank of Kohima and disrupt Japanese supply lines from Burma. Much has been written about Burma, Kohima, Imphal and the two Chindit operations, but surprisingly little on the activities of 23 British Infantry Brigade in 1944. This article seeks to redress some of that imbalance by considering: how the brigade prepared for the Long Range Penetration role; how it operated in the Naga Hills; how those operations differed to Operation Thursday; and finally, if this was an effective use of the brigade.