Burma in World War II

Burma was separated from India in 1935, but remained a British colony. Far away from the European War, Burma was the scene of frantic building during 1941. A long and difficult construction marked the construction of the Burma Road, which winded through mountains and valleys from Lace, Burma to Kunming, China. The 700 mile road was in service for the Allies from 1938 until the Japanese conquered Lashio in April 1942. The Burma Road was closed.

Landings in Burma commenced on December 8, 1941, the first day of the war. An independent Burmese army that was agitating for Burmese independence accompanied Japanese troops. The Allies under General Joseph Stilwell fell back to India, where resistance was organized for both China, India and Burma.

The Chindits, a specially trained jungle fighting force under British General Ord Wingate, was dropped into Burma in 1943. They attacked Japanese supply lines and were sustained by gliders. The fighting was bitter, and most of the Chindits, as they were called, suffered either battle wounds or disease. A similar American unit, Merrill's Marauders, followed the Chindits into the jungle in 1943. Merrill had several heart attacks during the campaign.