By Scott R McMichael; Combat Studies Institute (U.S.)
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Extra resources for A historical perspective on light infantry
You had to fight through it. For those most weakened by disease, it was too much. For the first time you began to pass men fallen out beside the train, men who were not just complying with the demands of dysentery-we were used to that-but were sitting bent over their weapons, waiting for enough strength to return to take them another mile. During the worst times heretofore we could always count on one thing to keep us going-and that was the process of keeping going itself. As long as the column was on the march, men somehow seemed to be able to keep up, and it was only when we laid up for a day that the sufferers would collapse.
Virtually every soldier had a fever of some kind and was plagued with oozing sores or dysentery. Despite these terrible losses, the capture of the airfield was a stunning success, thanks to the maneuver that only the Chindits could have performed, coupled with a prompt, effective tactical attack. The secret airborne deployments of the 111th and 77th Brigades into Chowringhee and Broadway also constituted operational-level maneuver. In just six days, from 5-10 March, Wingate inserted 9,000 men and 1,100 animals secretly into the enemy rear.
Another British participant in the campaign thought they were laconic and unemotional, perhaps "the most professional" of all the Chindit groups. 59 Any thoroughbred, however, can be bruised with rough handling; such was the case with Galahad. Faithfully performing every tactical mission given them, Galahad received no comfort or luxury supplies and almost no mail. One unit in the 5307th 60 went two months without mail. Moreover, unit officers and men received no decorations until after they had captured the Myitkyina airfield (and then only sparingly) and no promotions at all until they were withdrawn 61from the area.
A historical perspective on light infantry by Scott R McMichael; Combat Studies Institute (U.S.)