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Battle of Yenangyaung
Part of the Burma Campaign
Date April 11 - April 19, 1942
Location Yenangyaung, Burma
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Republic of China China
 United Kingdom
Empire of Japan Japan
Commanders
Republic of China Sun Li Jen
United Kingdom John Henry Anstice
United Kingdom James Bruce Scott
Empire of Japan Shozo Sakurai
Strength
1,000 7,000
Casualties and losses
minimal one battalion


The Battle of Yenangyaung (Chinese: 仁安羌大捷, Great Victory at Yenangyaung) was fought in Burma, now Myanmar during the Burma Campaign in World War II. The battle of Yenaungyaung was fought in the vicinity of Yenangyaung and its oil fields.

The battle for the Yenangyaung oil fields started on 11 April and continued for a week. Japanese attacked 48th Indian Infantry Brigade at Kokkogwa at night in a storm. Next day 2nd Royal Tank Regiment was in action near Magwe at Thadodan and Alebo. From 13th to the 17th of April 1942, the British fell back under attacks by the Japanese. On several occasions Japanese roadblocks split the British Burma Frontier Force, 1st Burma Division, British 7th Armoured Brigade HQ and 2nd RTR into three forces. The situation became so critical that General Alexander asked Lieutenant General Joe Stilwell to move the Chinese 38th Division immediately into the Yenaungyaung area.

On April 16, 1942, almost 7,000 British soldiers, and 500 prisoners and civilians were encircled by an equal number of Japanese soldiers from the Japanese 33rd Division at Yenangyaung and its oil field in Burma. The 33rd Division had cut the Magwe road between Slim's two divisions, who were now about 50 miles apart. A rescue request came over the phone from Major General Scott (British) to General Sun Li Jen soon after the New 38th Division entered Burma from China.

General Sun requested to lead the entire New 38th Division to the rescue mission, but the Chinese Field Commander Gen. Lo Cho-ying refused. On April 17 General Sun instead led the 113th Regiment with only 1121 men for the rescue mission. Because the Chinese had none of their own artillery or tanks, Lt. Gen. Slim supported them with tanks and 25-pdr guns under Brigadier J. Anstice of the 7th Armoured Brigade. For the next three days the Chinese and British force attacked southwards.

Meanwhile, led by their commander Major General Scott, 1st Burma Division fought its way to and across the Pin Chaung river where they met with the relief column on April 19. On the next day the Allied force attacked south toward Yenaungyaung and Pinchaung where the Japanese suffered heavy casualties. But the Allied forces were too weak to hold the oil fields and had to retreat to the north.

The rescue mission had been a success. King George VI rewarded Sun Li Jen with the BCE, and honored the Regiment Commander F.W. Liu and some other officers with medals.

See also

Sources

  • Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of The Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), 2nd Ed. ,1971. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung , Chung Wu Publishing; 33, 140th Lane, Tung-hwa Street, Taipei, Taiwan Republic of China. Pg. 377
  • The 7th Armoured Brigade Engagements - 1942

External Links

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Battle of Yenangyaung
Part of the Burma Campaign
Date 11 April - 19 April, 1942
Location Yenangyaung, Burma
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
China
 United Kingdom
File:Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg Japan
Commanders and leaders
Sun Li Jen
John Henry Anstice
James Bruce Scott
File:Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg Shozo Sakurai
Strength
1,000 7,000
Casualties and losses
minimal one battalion

The Battle of Yenangyaung (Chinese: 仁安羌大捷, Great Victory at Yenangyaung) was fought in Burma, now Myanmar, during the Burma Campaign in World War II. The battle of Yenaungyaung was fought in the vicinity of Yenangyaung and its oil fields.

Contents

Background

After the Japanese captured Rangoon in March 1942, the Allies regrouped in Central Burma. The newly-formed Burma Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General William Slim and consisting of British, Indian and locally-raised Burmese troops, attempted to defend the Irrawaddy River valley, while the Chinese Expeditionary Force (in Burma) defended the Sittaung River valley to the east. After the Japanese captured Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, they were able to use divisions released by these successes and captured trucks to reinforce their army in Burma and launch attacks into Central Burma.

One of the Japanese objectives in the Irrawaddy River valley was the Yenangyaung oil fields. The battle for the oil fields started on 11 April and continued for a week. The Japanese attacked 48th Indian Infantry Brigade at Kokkogwa at night in a storm. On the next day, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2nd RTR) was in action near Magwe at Thadodan and Alebo. From 13 to 17 of April, the British fell back under attacks by the Japanese. On several occasions Japanese roadblocks split the Burma Frontier Force (an internal security force acting as infantry), 1st Burma Division, the British 7th Armoured Brigade HQ and 2nd RTR into three forces.

On 15 April, Lieutenant General Slim gave orders for the oil fields and refinery to be demolished. The situation became so critical that General Harold Alexander, commanding the Burma Army, asked Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell, the American commander of the China Burma India Theater and Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-Shek, to move the Chinese 38th Division immediately into the Yenaungyaung area.

Battle

On 16 April, almost 7,000 British soldiers, and 500 prisoners and civilians were encircled by an equal number of Japanese soldiers from the Japanese 33rd Division at Yenangyaung and its oil field. The 33rd Division had cut the Magwe road between Slim's two divisions, who were now about 50 miles (80 km) apart. The 1st Burma Division was hampered by large numbers of wounded men and short of water. Major General Bruce Scott, commanding the 1st Burma Division, telephoned General Sun Li Jen, commanding the Chinese 38th Division, asking for rescue soon after the 38th Division entered the area.

General Sun requested to lead his entire division to the rescue of 1st Burma Division, but General Lo Cho-ying, commanding the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma, refused. On 17 April, General Sun instead led his 113th Regiment with only 1121 men in the rescue mission. Because the Chinese had no artillery or tanks, Lieutenant General Slim assigned the 7th Armoured Brigade commanded by Brigadier John Henry Anstice to General Sun. The brigade consisted of two regiments (battalions) of M3 Stuart light tanks and a battery of 25-pounder guns.

For the next three days the Chinese and British force attacked southwards. The temperatures reaches as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit and pall of smoke from the demolished oil wells and refineries hung over the battlefield.[1]

Meanwhile, 1st Burma Division fought its way to and across the Pin Chaung river where they met with the relief column on 19 April. On the next day, the Allied force attacked south toward Yenaungyaung and Pin Chaung where the Japanese suffered heavy casualties, but the Allied forces were too weak to hold the oil fields and had to retreat to the north.

Results

The rescue mission had been a success, but the 1st Burma Division had lost most of its heavy equipment and was exhausted and disorganised. Many of its Burmese troops had deserted.

King George VI rewarded Sun Li Jen with the CBE, and honoured the Regiment Commander F.W. Liu and some other officers with medals.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Slim, p.74

Sources

  • Hsu Long-hsuen and Chang Ming-kai, History of The Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), 2nd Ed. ,1971. Translated by Wen Ha-hsiung , Chung Wu Publishing; 33, 140th Lane, Tung-hwa Street, Taipei, Taiwan Republic of China. Pg. 377
  • Slim, William (1956). Defeat into Victory. London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-29114-5. 

External links


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