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Burma 1930 - 1947:

Independent Brigades

There were some independent brigades that operated in Burma during the campaign of 1944 and 1945.


» 268 Indian Infantry Brigade (1943-45)
» The Lushai Brigade (1943-45) – A Concise History
» 1 Royal Marine Anti-Aircraft Brigade (1943-45) – IN PREPARATION

The 268 Indian Infantry Brigade was formed in August 1942 to be the infantry component of the newly raised 43 Indian Armoured Division. In April 1943, it moved to the new 44 Indian Armoured Division, and then into G.H.Q. Reserve at Ranchi by March 1944. On 16 April 1944, with the launch of the Japanese invasion of India through Kohima and Imphal, the brigade was deployed to Dimapur. It arrived on 8 May to come under command of an emergency formation entitled the 21 Indian Division, which itself was under command of XXXIII Indian Corps. It was given responsibility for the defence of the line of communication between Dimapur and Kohima. In mid-May, the brigade took over the responsibility for Kohima Ridge, and continued to operate in the Kohima area. The brigade continued on operations until being withdrawn to Imphal in early August 1944. On 10 August 1944, the brigade was reorganised.

Five new battalions were posted into the brigade. Its role changed from being a lorried infantry brigade within an armoured division to an independent brigade capable of movement across the varied terrain in central Burma. This brigade came under command of IV Corps on 11 November. It was tasked with misleading the Japanese and also to protect the southern flank of the 62 Indian Infantry Brigade from the 19 Indian Division as it crossed the River Chindwin. At 07.00 hours on 26 December, this brigade and the 19 Indian Division transferred to the command of the XXXIII Indian Corps. The brigade was ordered to advance down the Mu River and make patrols contact with the 2 Infantry Division and 19 Indian Infantry Division. The brigade prided itself on having to navigate the more difficult country and terrain than other formations, and used mules, bullocks and elephants for transport. In late January 1945, the brigade came under Corps Reserve. On 10 April 1945, the brigade commenced its advance from Ngathayauk in support of the 2 Infantry Division and cooperated in capturing Mount Popa, an extinct volcano that rose from the plain to a height of 500 feet. Having assisted in the capture of that feature, the brigade concentrated at Allanmyo by 1 May 1945. The brigade advanced down the Irrawaddy River with XXXIII Corps and held the central sector around Thayetmyo under command of the 7 Indian Division. The brigade became part of the 12 Army in Burma and was used to mop up stragglers in the Allanmyo, Kama and Prome areas under the direct command of the 7 Indian Division. The brigade was relieved in July 1945 and moved to India to reorganise to Allied Occupation Forces in Japan.

The Lushai Brigade was an ad-hoc formation raised by the Fourteenth Army to cover the large area of the Lushai and Chin Hills on the flank of IV Corps, and to prevent Japanese activity in the region. It’s troops had to cover long distances in appalling weather, and they were successful in disrupting the Japanese line of communication. The Brigade was disbanded in India in February 1946.

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