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  • H G Lambert      a soldier with the Chindits
    Brigadier Tom Brodie

    Brigadier Tom Brodie, Commander 14th Brigade


    Once assigned to Special Forces (the Chindits) ,the Battalion, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist as a unit, split instead into two columns, (47 and 74 Columns). Lieutenant Colonel. Wilford took command of 47 Column, in which Harold was placed, with Major J. Lockett assigned to 74 Column.

    The 20 weeks of vigorous jungle training at Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh and Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh were to enable the Battalion to operate deep behind enemy lines.
    Consisting of 16 hour marches with heavy packs, the various Battalions practiced preparing the ground for the air drops which would be their main means of supply, and covered bivouacking, river crossings, demolition, laying ambushes, explosives training as well as map-reading skills and taking evasive action by dispersing into small groups and regrouping at prearranged rendezvous points.

    Christmas was spent along side Ken River, in the New Year the Battalion practice river crossings, particularly with their mules, and sometime in January 1944 the Battalion moved to Deogarh Camp, an American base before assembling at Lalitpur where it took part in "Operation Torch" an exercise in defending an airstrip in a "Stronghold", the base in the midst of enemy territory form which roving columns would attack and disrupt enemy supplies and communications and which formed a"safe haven" to return to.


    Map of Training areas

     

    "Map Courtesy of The General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin."

     


    This vigorous training provided what Viceroy Wavel called his "Poacher, Burglar and Gunman", who could live and fight with scant support. It did however, take a large toll on manpower, and a large number of reinforcements arrived from other regiments, including two RAF officers assigned to oversee the Battalions Air Supply and Support.

     


    By the end of January all was set for the launch of "Operation Thursday".The 7th Battalion Leicestershire, along with the other Battalions started to assemble at the to Lalaghat in Assam,in February, ready to launch what at the time was the largest ever airborne invasion


    Order of Battle

    Special Forces Indian 3rd Army
    CHINDITS

    DIVISIONAL COMMANDERS
    MAJ/GEN. Orde.C. Wingate (D.S.O.)
    MAJ/GEN. W.D.A. Lantaigne

    H.Q. Special Forces
    2nd Btn Burma Rifles 145th Brigade Coy R.A.S.C.
    219th Fld Park Coy (Royal Engineers) 61st Air Supply Coy R.A.S.C
    .

    Divisional Artillery

    160th Field Regt (Royal Artillery) 69th Light A?A Regt Royal Artillery)


    16th Infantry Brigade(Enterprise)
    Commanded By Brig. B.H. Fergusson
    1st Btn Queens Own Royal Regt 2nd Btn Royal Leicestershire Regt
    45th Recon Regt R.A.C. 2nd Fld Coy Royal Engineers
    51/69th Fld Regt Royal Artillery


    77th Infantry Brigade(Emphasis)

    Commanded By Brig. M. Calvert.
    1st Btn Kings Regt (Liverpool) 1st Btn Lancashire Fusiliers
    1st Btn South Staffordshire Regt 3rd Btn 6th Gurkha Rifles
    3rd Btn 9th Gurkha Rifles 4th Btn 8th Gurkha Rifles
    Mixed Coy of Royal & Indian Engineers


    111th Infantry Brigade(Profound)

    Commanded by Brig. W.D,A. Lentaign
    1st Btn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) 2nd Btn Kings Own Royal Regt
    3rd Btn 4th P.W.O. Gurkha Rifles 4th Btn 9th Gurkha Rifles
    Mixed Coy of Royal & Indian Engineers

    14th Infantry Brigade(Javelin)
    Commander Brig. T.Brodie.
    1st Btn Beds & Herts Regt 2nd Btn York & Lancs Regt
    7th Btn Royal Leicestershire Regt 54th Fld Coy Royal Engineers
    2nd Btn The Black Watch Regt


    3rd West African Brigade (Thunder)

    Commanded By Brig. Gillmore
    6th Btn Nigerian Regt 7th Btn Nigerian Regt
    12th Btn Nigerian Regt 3rd W/African Fld Ambulance
    7th Fld Coy W/African Engineers


    23rd Infantry Brigade

    Commanded By Brig Perowne.
    1st Btn Essex Regt 4th Btn Border Regt
    12th Fld Coy Royal Engineers 60th Fld Regt Royal Artillery
    This Brigade trained as a Chindit Brigade,but was removed from Special Force and used elsewhere

    Regiments Attached to 3rd Indian Division
    160th Fld Regt Royal Artillery (Four Troops)
    3rd Btn 9th Gurkha Rifles
    No1 Air Commando(U.S.A.F.)