20TH INDIAN DIVISION ADVANCING TOWARDS RANGOON (29/4/1945)
This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: JFU 247).
Reel 1: RAF Hawker Hurricane fighter-bombers overhead. Lee medium tanks driving along a dusty road. A Lee passes with infantry crowded on its rear hull. A column of tanks and Universal carriers. Column of smoke or dust with tanks and infantry (of 14th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles) moving up. The infantry take cover in bushes as three Gurkhas, one of them wounded, walk to a dressing station towards camera. The Gurkhas likely of 4th Battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles. Frontier Force troops dispersing…
Reel 1: RAF Hawker Hurricane fighter-bombers overhead. Lee medium tanks driving along a dusty road. A Lee passes with infantry crowded on its rear hull. A column of tanks and Universal carriers. Column of smoke or dust with tanks and infantry (of 14th Battalion, 13th Frontier Force Rifles) moving up. The infantry take cover in bushes as three Gurkhas, one of them wounded, walk to a dressing station towards camera. The Gurkhas likely of 4th Battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles. Frontier Force troops dispersing from vehicles into cover. Two infantrymen in cover, one with a 2-inch mortar, the other with an Enfield No.3 rifle. Drifting smoke or dust. A dead Japanese engineer with a number of land mines. Close-ups of his equipment and his face. Footage from a moving jeep entering Allanmyo; local Burmese civilians saluting (mimicking a passenger onboard the jeep?) as it passes. Light tanks with Hurricanes overhead. A VCO (Viceroy Commissioned Officer) looking through binoculars at a burning bridge at Singongyaing [Sangyaung? Dopesheet ambiguous]. Hurricane strafing. Various shots of the burning bridge. After coming under fire near Milestone 211 infantry of the Frontier Force Rifles seek cover. A Lee tank driving slowly along a road with infantry taking cover behind it. The Lee's 37mm secondary gun is trained towards the enemy. Frontier Force infantry advancing through thick cover. Portrait of an infantryman. A Japanese soldier, with a bullet wound to his leg, is treated and his wound dressed by Lieutenant-Colonel G A S Ackroyd, Royal Army Medical Corps (Officer Commanding 77 Main Dressing Station, 100th Indian Infantry Brigade). Panning shot of the village of Inbauk left smoking after bombardment by 5.5-inch and 25-pounder guns and tank attack. Infantry concealed in a ditch. Tanks in a defile by the River Irrawaddy near Milestone 206 with infantry. Rather grey footage of a Lee tank firing its 75mm main armament at Japanese river craft on the western side of the Irrawaddy.
Reel 2: An RAF Republic Thunderbolt fighter-bomber attacking river craft on the Irrawaddy. A tank enveloped by smoke after a sudden explosion with two soldiers standing behind. Captain Jones, a company officer of the Frontier Force Rifles, throws a hand grenade (probably a No.36 Mills bomb) in the direction of a Japanese soldier who attacked the tank. Daimler Armoured Cars advancing near Milestone 204. A Stuart ('Honey') light tank firing on a Japanese sniper; gunsmoke and tracer flashes can be seen. Daimlers advancing. Armoured cars crossing the Nawin Chaung (river or watercourse) passing infantry of 4th Battalion 10th Gurkhas. A number of vehicles are bogged down. Lieutenant-General Sir Montagu Stopford, commander of XXXIII Corps (crossed trident and sword with wings insignia), and Major-General Gracey (commander of 20th Indian Division, with sword insignia) seen discussing progress at Nawin Chaung. They both look at a map and in the background engineers of the Bengal Sappers and Miners are at work bridging the chaung. Brigadier Rodham (commanding officer 100th Brigade) joins the generals. The Bengal Sappers and Miners at work. A sapper at work with a sledgehammer while a company of Gurkhas pass behind him. The wrecked bridge can be seen in the background. Daimler Armoured Cars cross the new pontoon bridge. An Indian tank commander stands in his turret and speaks on a radio. 3 May 1945; 4th Battalion 10th Gurkhas marching through the streets of Prome (Pye). Two very large stone Chinthes, guarding the entrance to Prome pagoda, can be seen in the background. Local civilians watch the troops march past. 400 surrendered JIFs (Japanese Indian Forces, members of Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army) are marched away to be searched. JIFs' personal kit being searched. Frontier Force infantry clearing the railway station at Prome. Infantry taking up positions amongst rolling stock. Close-up of a Bren gunner. A man gives directions to two others (a non-commissioned officer?). Infantry pass through a ruined building which is pock-marked with bullet holes. Infantry hurry across a road. Close-up of a rifleman. Indian troops filing through Prome with close-ups. A flagraising ceremony at a temporary HQ in Prome; Subedar-Major (an Indian Army rank similar to a commissioned Warrant Officer in the British Army) Multan Singh raises the flag and troops salute. In front of the flagpole is a captured Japanese battalion gun and on each side Dutch medium machine guns apparently in Japanese service.
Troops of 100th Indian Infantry Brigade, 20th Indian Division, supported by tanks and aircraft, are seen advancing from Allanmyo (Myaydo) to Prome (Pye), as part of XXXIII Corps' advance on Rangoon, capital of Burma.
Despite being shot under difficult conditions, and with most of the action implied rather than seen, this a largely well composed and authentic piece of combat film.
These troops form part of a two-corps drive on Rangoon. IV Corps were to advance along the line of the River Sittang, while XXXIII Corps were to advance through the Irrawaddy valley. In addition an amphibious landing was prepared by 26th Division of XV Indian Corps, landing on 1 May.
The explosion at the start of Reel 2 was apparently caused by a Japanese soldier attacking the tank with a small sack of highly explosive picric acid. The sack landed 5 yards in front of the tank and caused no damage, but wounded a soldier of the Frontier Force. The dopesheet describes the two soldiers behind the tank as platoon commanders, though one is carrying a wireless set and so is perhaps more likely to be a signaller.
The Indian National Army were a Japanese auxiliary force largely recruited from Indian troops captured during and since the fall of Singapore in 1942. Intended as a propaganda tool to undermine the Indian Army as much as a military force, the INA proved to be unreliable in combat and was relegated to second-line duties. They offered little resistance during 14th Army's reoccupation of Burma and upon surrendering were often treated with greater disdain by Indian troops than by the British. The INA's role in Indian independence has been and remains contentious.
- 20TH INDIAN DIVISION ADVANCING TOWARDS RANGOON (29/4/1945) (Allocated)
- Running Time:
- 19 minutes
- Film Gauge (Format):
- 1707 ft
- Production Countries:
- War Office Directorate of Public Relations
- Watson, W (Sergeant)
- Production company
- SEAC Film Unit