Brigade sets off from Imphal. Once in Burma, the plan was for the force to divide into a diversionary No.1 Southern Group and the main No. 2 Northern Group.
Northern Group would march at night to avoid detection by the enemy while Southern Group would march and receive supply drops in daylight in an attempt to mislead the Japanese of the intentions of the force and divert Japanese forces away from the main group.
Wingate gives final instructions and issues Order of the Day. The force then divides into -
No.1 Southern Group Composing Group HQ, Columns 1 and 2 (Gurkha Rifles) numbering 1,000 men and 250 horses and mules. Plan for the group was to cross the Chindwin at Auktaung, attack the railway near Kyaikthan en route, then proceed to Mongmit to meet with the main body of the brigade or await further instructions.
|Brigade HQ||250 men|
|Group HQ||120 men|
|Burma Rifles HQ||150 men|
|Columns 3,4,5,6,7 and 8||1680 men|
Northern Group begin crossing of Chindwin River.
1st airdrops for Northern group. 70,000 pounds of supplies were dropped over 3 nights in 16 sorties.
Northern Group concentrate at Tonmakeng to receive a large air drop on night of 24th.
Cols. 3,7,8 sent to attack Japanese troops at Sinlanmaung. The enemy had hurriedly evacuated before they arrived. Stores and quarters were destroyed.
Group bivouacked near Pinbon. 4 Col ordered to ambush Pinlebu–Mansi road, bypassing Pinbon. 3 & 5 Cols ordered to attack railway near Nankan and Bongyaung. Remaining columns to create diversions by advancing towards Pinlebu to draw Japanese away from the railway.
7+8 Cols diversion supported by RAF bombing of Japanese at Pinlebu
4 Col proceeding to re-join the main force but encountered a superior Japanese force. Forced to retreat and having lost much vital equipment and unable to contact the rest of the group, they had little option but to return to the Chindwin.
Japanese discover that the Chindits were supplied by air after an airdrop to HQ, 7+8 Cols had to be aborted due to a Japanese position close to the drop zone.
Major battle at Nankan as 3 Col fought off Japanese to allow demolition teams to perform their tasks. The Japanese eventually fled after suffering 50 casualties and destruction of 3 motor-trucks. 3 Col had successfully cut the railway in 70 places and brought down 3 bridges
5 col had beaten off an enemy patrol before demolishing the bridge at Bon Chaung and the railway track was blocked by dynamiting the gorge.
HQ 7+8 col cross Irrawaddy unopposed.
Final Supply drop for Northern Group who then divided into dispersal groups for their individual returns to the Chindwin.
Col 3 came under attack while preparing to cross the Irrawaddy but rearguard troops held off the attack. The crossing was eventually completed successfully but some of the mules, ammunition and medical supplies had to be left.
5 Col crossed Irrawaddy under cover of darkness just in time. The Japanese arrived just as the last boat was mid-stream.
Northern Group head north to begin their return journey, discarding all non-essential equipment and turning loose unneeded mules.
Emergency supply drop for 5 Col, column then re-joins main group.
After consultation with Wingate on possibilities of further operations, IV Corps gave order to Wingate to withdraw.
Final supply drop for 3 Col who then divided into 10 dispersal groups for the return journey.
3 Col ambush enemy company inflicting heavy casualties.
3 Col ordered to return to Chindwin independently.
Southern Group crosses Chindwin at Auktaung 14/15th after receiving two successful daylight supply drops on 13th/14th.
Southern Group had their first skirmish and inflicted some casualties. Some mule loads were lost and the column delayed by having to make a detour.
2 Col ambushed and there were heavy losses in personnel, equipment and animals. In the confusion the column was divided with some continuing east hoping to join other columns and the rest retreating back to the Chindwin.
1 Col cut the railway at Kyaikthin in 5 places, destroyed bridge and laid mines
Southern group reach Tagaung on 9th and crossed Irrawaddy on 10th unopposed.
Southern Group had been unable to contact HQ Col by radio but meets 3 Col and then proceeds towards Baw to meet Wingate.
Southern Group receive air drop, it would turn out to be their final one.
Southern Group located by the Japanese and a battle ensued.
Southern Group turns back to return to the Chindwin.