The World at War s01e14 Episode Script

It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow: Burma (1942 - 1944)

Monsoon in the Birmânia.
It imagines worse rains that they can be seen in this country, falling six weeks, without stopping.
It was the time of the monsoons.
Every year, during five months.
We walked in the mud, we lived in the mud, we lay down in the mud, we slept in the mud, we drank and we ate in the mud.
The monsoon in the Birmânia was thus.
A true nightmare.
The war in the Birmânia was a conflict fierce, but in small scale.
Here, in 1944, in these conditions, the British they had defended the borders of India against the Japanese.
The World in War Tomorrow It will be a Pretty Day Birmânia 1942 - 1944 The birmanesa forest.
A vapor bath, closing the sky.
Dense, suffocating and very distant of house.
It had never been in the forest.
In a forest, already.
In the forest, not.
When we arrive there, was everything dark, dirty, wet and rainy.
The species of noises had all of animals that never we had heard.
He was very frightful.
It pleased me to the forest.
It did not cause me the fear that some allies felt.
It was a aprazível and dark place, where we could hiding in them and camouflaging.
Birmânia:steep mountains e fétidos quagmires, covered of forest and torn for rivers of steep valleys.
Birmânia:a infindável mass of weeds, that it caused the type of illnesses all.
Malaria, dysentery, fluvial fever, fever of the affection, urticária, over all during the monsoon.
Mud.
It could be the Flandres, in the World War I.
The monsoon transforms the fields into quagmires and the roads in lamaçais.
After rains, the country it was a great lamaçal.
For the British, the Birmânia it protected its empire of India.
The Japanese had perceived that they could use the Birmânia to defend its territories just busy in the Asian Southeast, to cut the supplying ways of the allies for China e to guarantee a new source of oil and rice.
In December of 1941, they had invaded.
They had had the advantage of the surprise.
E went very well prepared for that war in the forest.
I believe that it did not have country less prepared for the war of what the Birmânia, at that time.
The government was not prepared, nor the civil organization, nor the people.
E the defense forces they were practically inexistent.
Some gurcas that they had come, had brought e the British had the reinforcements e its officers in the Europe.
It can say that they had been abandoned.
Since the beginning, the Japanese they had knocked down everything to its front.
They had used the forest to defeat the weak one British army, in the Birmânia.
The British if had removed disorderedly.
It was a great disadvantage for me, in the 1942 campaign, not to have a radio system to contact my air support, in Rangum.
Therefore, the only thing that I could make it was to contact way telephonic line of the railroads, to obtain that the employee he was to the post offices of Rangum e to convince it that it was extremely important that I contacted quarter-general of the Air Force.
This was one of the reasons for which, when we remove in them for Sittang, we were bombed by the RAF e for the Japanese Air Force.
The Japanese had one very superior Air Force.
They bombed indiscriminately, spreading the terror it enters the troops and the civilians.
Only a small force American of volunteers e the few airplanes of the RAF that there they met, they defied the Japanese domain e fought against it.
The actual damages for the Japanese they had been over all psychological.
Nobody believed that was happening to the pacata Birmânia.
The resistance, for times fierce, it was ignored.
I had high of the hospital of Mandalay, after having broken three ribs.
They had left me completely abandoning, in the side of the road.
It caught me to a civilian took, me for the house of it e asked what it made.
I answered that it worked in the restoration.
It said me to E:"It comes to cook stops we.
" We are two hours there, not more than what this, when the message arrived: "To defecate.
The Japanese had arrived.
" The Japanese had continued marching northward, leaving a track of chaos e destruction for all the Birmânia.
The British had withdrawn.
I only had a clothes of the body.
I stole the kit of somebody, I found a good pair of boots e we start to walk.
In the increasing confusion, the wounded were a problem.
We had that to leave, treating wounded optimum who we could.
We leave some there.
Others they had been led for the roads.
It was alone what we could make.
We finish from there giving up and leaving, therefore we only had 24 hours of advantage on the Japanese.
The Japanese had been taken possetion of everything.
To its front, the last resource of one army in withdrawal:burnt land.
The invaders seemed to have made of the forest its allied.
They ran to gain the valuable one prize of the oil of the Birmânia, but if they had come across with a hell in flames.
In a estimate, 11 million pounds in oil had burnt in 7 min.
Refugee:euro-Asians, Chinese and Indians.
Indians who we saw to die in way, without being able to make nothing.
We had that to only think about us e to continue.
The Japanese carried the birmaneses, to the thousands.
It had terrible scenes.
The men were and were overwhelming vê-los separarem-se da sua gente, without knowing if they would become if to see.
They died to the hundreds.
They accumulated the bodies, they played oil and they touched fire.
It was its end.
We had that to open way for virgin forest, to leave the country e to find the way for India.
The impression that I was of passage of the withdrawal of the Birmânia, it was to have despertado better and the worse one of the people.
It had people that I respected e I discovered that already could not make, therefore they had been modified completely during that march.
I felt that it was in question the survival of strongest.
British prisoners.
Five a thousand in one only combat.
The Japanese disdained who surrendered.
They believed that the soldiers they had to fight until a death.
We felt that the officer British he was an excellent fighter.
All the ones that we captured, me they said:"We go to win the war.
" I not way.
A man surrendered e said that it went to win the war.
The Japaneses had marched triumphant for the desert cities of the Birmânia.
The birmaneses changed thus one group of imperialistas for another one.
In five months, May of 1942, the Japanese had pursued the British until Rangum, they had passed the valleys of the Irrawaddy and of Chindwin, until the border of India e had continued already is of the Birmânia.
It was the withdrawal longest of the history of Great-Britain.
The Japaneses had also banished the Chinese army, for Mandalay, in direcção to China.
The Chinese, in war with Japan since 1931, they protected the supplying line: the road of the Birmânia.
China was allied of the occidental powers.
In the command of the Chinese forces in the Birmânia she was American general Stilwell.
Stilwell, Head of the General staff of the Chinese supreme commander, Chiang Kai-shek, defended the interests of America.
The supreme commander in India she was General Wavell.
Transferred of the Average East, it faced an enemy now admirable, with few resources.
While the birmanês army licked the wounds, it planned to retaliate.
An offensive one limited, for the 1942 end.
Wavell mounted the attack in Arakan, in the bay of Cane, close of the border with India.
After a promising beginning, everything ran badly.
The British again had been defeated e obliged to even withdraw to the starting point.
Not yet if they had adapted to the forest.
Happily, in the birmanesa forest it has much bamboo.
E, in Japan, all we eat bamboo sprouts.
Thus, it has food very, under the form of bamboo sprouts.
Moreover, what a monkey eats, we also can eat.
To observe if them and not to eat what they prevent, are safe.
It still has other animals, as bandicoot, a species of rat, snakes, lizards of the forest e small lizards.
It is taken off them head e becomes a stew.
pepper joins e becomes a beautiful stew.
We have our meat, the Yorkshire pudding, they feed themselves of rice.
E did not have Yorkshire pudding meat, vegetables or potatoes.
We had of reorganizing in them and living of what the Army gave in them.
Meat in conserve, for example.
It was the only place that I know where we opened a can of meat e we drank as if it was a juice.
A man who would go to take off left of the forest:Orde Wingate.
Experienced guerilla, swims orthodox and one has touched of fanatism.
It planned an assault in territory enemy, supplied for by airmail.
It commanded the Chindit, gurcas e well trained British troops.
The first operation was to escort an advance on the Birmânia, but this onslaught was cancelled.
However, Wavell wanted that the expedition continued.
February of 1943: the first expedition of the Chindit.
It could not have been worse.
Great distances had been covered in a dense and caused an accident forest e always had plus one river to cross.
Extreme heat, the drinking waters scarce and the malaria if propagating.
Finally, the British they fought as the enemy, learning to use the forest in its advantage.
But they continued to hate it.
The heat I smell and it of the forest they were bad, very bad.
We would not obtain to live there stops always, I smell we would not support it.
Exactly when we went down a hill, we knew that we would have that to go up another one.
Food for five days, weapons, the ammunition.
E we thought: "It will be that this does not finish" That continued and continued.
Rain.
e the fear to cairmos in an ambush or to be attacked.
The first expedition of Wingate it was absolutely infernal.
The forest was friend of Japanese, but our enemy.
Always we were made marshy e sanguessugas glue in our body.
They were always there, because of the moistness.
They glue in the body, they sucked our blood e if we did not burn them well with cigarette tips, they fell and left black marks for all body.
Already saciadas of blood, they fell of the body e arrebentavam inside of the clothes.
We were full of blood.
The idea of that we could be wounded e abandoning were always present.
I have the certainty of that the majority thought about this.
Vi friends to be left there.
With a garnet, a pistol, water, ration.
leant in a tree and they were there.
For some, a simple cross in a bare place, the forest.
Four months later, the first ones Chindit had returned of the Birmânia.
Of the three a thousand men who had party, had come back less than two a thousand.
Depleted and weak, the majority walked hundreds of kilometers in the forest.
Independently of military results of the expedition, one was about a great lesson of operations in the forest, of aerial supplying reliable e.
It was an attack without great effectiveness strategical tactics and.
The central result was on the moral of the British and Indian troops.
Our forces not were selected men, but common battalions, of British and gurcas.
E the remaining portion of the army said:"If they they are capable, us also we are.
" Very slowly, the British they had started to become accustomed it the forest.
Detestavam its stench e the sticky heat.
It was difficult to recognize that the forest was neutral.
I am here! I am here! To catch it comes me! The enemy practiced a war of nerves cruel, but efficient.
The troops still saw the soldier Japanese as a master of the forest, somebody that aguentava days the wire only with a rice handful, that the fear was unaware of e that never surrendered.
Perhaps it was invincible.
It was a species of superman.
The Japanese one was a good one welded.
They commanded that it fulfilled one task made and it until dying.
They were animals, but excellent soldiers.
Its trainings military were magnificent.
We could not leave of admires them.
If they fell in an ambush, they came soon behind us.
In 20 or 30 seconds, in they bombed with mortars.
In the attacks frontals, nobody it beat.
They advanced, advanced.
I believe that the Japanese did not think, it was limited to obey the orders to it.
E attacked in them with everything what had, exactly that this cost it the life.
For them, the life it was not important.
Since the beginning they taught in them that.
that our life it belonged to the Emperor.
For example, when I left for the war, I had to cut to the nails and the hair e to write my will, therefore from that moment ours life was at the hands of the Emperor.
My family would put that in the ballot box, case my body never was recouped.
We were trained stops to die for the Emperor.
We had clubs for officers, where it had gueixas Japanese.
Gueixas was over all for the officers.
For the other hierarchic levels, it had "the comforting" calls.
E, clearly, in the parties of the officers, all drank.
Embebedavam very quickly, they sang musics e, as it had few women, only high patents had right they.
But musics were as.
The English have a music call "Rebola me in the clover" e later counts one, two, three.
Our musics are similar.
Also it is counted and the letter is seemed.
For the soldiers, the amusement.
we only amused in them between the battles or in one day of license.
We could die in the following day.
We did not have time for great diversions, we went soon to the women.
We paid and we came back revigorated, as new.
The majority of the comforters she was korean.
Respect them very, therefore who more would go onward of combat to provide, to many of us, the last diversion of the life? The British had one well different entertainment.
The Birmânia was the place most distant and few artists went there.
I found that he was the indicated one for me.
They believed to be the army perhaps forgotten and they were.
The fact to only see me there they were very important for, for given having me to the work of to go until so far only for ve them.
It made them to this to feel that not they were very far from house.
If I could enter in one airplane and to go until there, they also were not thus so far, nor they had been forgotten.
In that impasse, the forest, message was certainly welcome.
Tomorrow it will be a pretty day Tomorrow, the day will be beautiful It rests your eyes Disturbances of tears In the blue one of the sky of tomorrow If today your heart is tired If everything you seems cinereous It forgets the problems E learns to say That tomorrow it will be a pretty day October of 1943.
The things start to improve.
Lord Louis Mountbatten arrives, supreme commander of the just-servant southeastern command of Asia.
Its mission:to finish with the impasse e to defeat the Japanese.
The immediate objective of Mountbatten it was to restore the one moral army that if felt forgotten e that if asked because it was there.
"We will march, fight and fly during the monsoon", it declared.
Another new face:general Bill Slim, commander of just-formed 14º Army.
It knew the Birmânia and the Japanese.
Bill Slim was over all a general of its soldiers.
Zealous for the welfare of the troops, it wanted them ready for the attack.
You bless them it all High, low and great The "high, low and great ones", in this in case that, they were two terços of Indian troops.
To all we say good bye While we drag in them for casernas It does not have promotions of this side of the ocean They are livened up, youngsters You bless them it all Malaria.
In the first campaign of Arakan, this and other illnesses they had caused 120 victims, to be added to the decreases in combat.
I had malaria 17 times.
Of the last one, it was thought to be espinal malaria.
It did not obtain to walk, not even to move the arms.
They gave injections every day to me, three times to the day.
To finish with the problem, DDT clouds, a new insecticida, they had been sprayed on the marshy surfaces.
December of 1943.
One second offensive one in Arakan.
The Japanese had counterattacked.
An enemy force advanced for north, deviated behind the British e capsized for west, to take the ravine of Ngakyedauk or of "Okedoke".
Another one, separated the divisions British and surrounded one of them.
The British and Indians, besieged in a land, they fought for the life.
Isolated groups had continued the combat.
A reduced Armed Force opposed itself to a Japanese entire division, in a battle that was known as "Admin Box".
In it secretaries had fought, mechanics, drivers and until a general.
In the first operation of Arakan, the troops if had removed.
Now, under express orders of Slim, it would not have removed.
They were supplied by airmail.
Day and night, the load airplanes they released essential provisionses.
What it seemed to be certain defeat, was prevented for the aerial supplying.
It had heavy decreases.
The wounded were treated in improvised hospitals.
Great surgeries under one became burning, full heat of flies.
In a campaign hospital, doctors, assistants and sick people they had been slaughtered by the Japanese.
The suffering of the captured men for the Japaneses it infuriated the troops.
Thousand of prisoners of the forces allied they had been enslaved e had died constructing the railway line of the Birmânia.
When they captured in them, we left of being men.
They For in disdained to give for loosers.
We did not have food.
We were forced to work the 1618 hours per day.
If we argued or we batessemos in somebody, we had six soon on.
E even beat them breaking in them an arm or a leg.
They placed it in the street, in front of room of the guard, under of the escaldante sun.
They adored sticks it with the tip of the bayonet, so that quiet remained itself.
It had men with terrible ulcerações.
The only treatment that received it consisted of putting larvae in the wounds e to leave that they ate I put it e cleaned the ulcerações.
It was the only treatment that we had.
To see somebody that weighed 60 kilos to emagrecer for about 25, e to see to crawl itself it, to beg or to fight for food.
This in them took off years of life.
I went to the bathroom of good looking, therefore he had the intestines leaving.
The latrines were of concrete.
It was an authentic sea of larvae.
E had a colleague that was so badly, I believe that had cerebral malaria, there they had found that it with the head inside.
If it had committed suicide.
A great friend mine, of my regiment, it had of everything, since beriberi cólera.
When it died, it was alone skin and bone.
More nothing.
It had the legs foods for the wounds.
Nothing did not sobrou.
I recognized badly it.
For each placed board, a life was wasted human being.
With the adjusted food and the treatment, we would have constructed the cursed one railway line without problem.
I never obtained to know people thus.
So terrible in the things that made e so sadist.
When it thought about this, it felt penalty of them over all.
The Japanese troops preferred to die to deliver itself.
They were embedded, resisted until the o end.
But now, something moved.
In Arakan, some Japanese they had surrendered.
Its limit arrives.
The myth of the superman fell.
Those troops were not invincible.
But many wounded Japanese still they appealed to the traditional end.
It was almost impossible to treat the wounded.
Knowing of this, these asked for a garnet, to be committed suicide.
E three or four of them, that already not they walked, were committed suicide in such a way.
We collect some Japanese seriously wounded.
In our hospitals of campaign, we had that to moor its hands, senão, them pulled out ataduras, opened the wounds e tried to commit suicide.
In the 1943 end, leaving of Ledo, in border of India with the Birmânia, Stilwell and the Chinese had advanced, to open a new road: the road of Ledo, that bound the road of the Birmânia the Bhamo.
The Chinese had fought to tame the way in return to China.
Two divisions of Stilwell had followed to the front, the search of the enemy.
They had advanced for Southeast and in three months had killed 4 a thousand Japanese.
Behind them, the engineers, who they made to blow up everything to its ticket.
E to the thousands, the workers that they would construct the road.
The road of Ledo, hundreds of kilometers for a desumano country, it was destined to guarantee it the supplying to China.
For the troops of Stilwell, conditions were equally difficult.
Also Wingate prepared new an offensive one.
Promoted the general, and although opposition of more orthodox colleagues, it would go to lead one second expedition of the Chindit to the interior.
They had left of airplane and they had been supplied for by airmail.
March of 1944.
Operation Thursday.
Air transportation for ten a thousand men, a thousand load animals with provisionses, to enter in enemy territory.
Aterrisar as many hydroplanes in a hostile country rude and was a tremendous risk.
For the majority, the fight of guerilla was a newness.
Although the trainings, were one jump for the stranger.
The second Wingate operation was ten times bigger that the first one.
The objective age to cut the lines of communication of the Japanese.
The North of the Birmânia is as one great encircled mountain earthen bowl e the communications were uncurled in the edge of the earthen bowl.
We separate in them to cut those lines of communication.
The Chindit was for its account, abandoning in the center of the Birmânia, the hundreds of kilometers of the base.
It was not a fast attack.
Of this time, hard battles had been stopped.
The bombers were called innumerable times to decide complicated situations.
Later, Wingate, the leader, it died in an airplane disaster.
The operation continued.
We march the foot, with the animals.
If we adoecessemos, placed in them in horses, until the fever to lower.
Passed two days, they took off them of there, to give place to another unfortunate person.
In these circumstances, the units they have to be always in movement.
E the wounded compelled in them to stop.
Happily, Wingate obtained the aid of the United States.
They had sent airplanes that aterrisavam e took off in little space e obtained to enter in any land valley or piece.
E had evacuated our wounded.
They had been long weeks in the forest.
Weeks of dysentery, of jaundice, ulcerações and malaria.
Airplanes as this had been the salvation of thousand of sick people and wounded.
The Chindit had killed the Japanese where these thought to be in security e had forced them to deviate it the troops of other targets.
To fight without rest, in those conditions, affected strongest.
The majority of the brigades, between decreases and illnesses, already it was in the combat lines it has 4 or 5 months and was arrasada.
In my brigade, of the 4 a thousand initials, it only had 300 capable men.
However, the Marauders de Merrill they advanced for the south.
Thus called had its leader, general Brigadier General Merrill, the Marauders was voluntary Americans.
Between its targets it was important air base of Myitkyina.
But the Japanese also they had launched an offensive one.
In March of 1944, three divisions they had crossed the Chindwin to attack Kohima and Imphal, inside of proper India.
A division followed for Kohima e two for Imphal.
They had advanced quickly, threatening to isolate the two targets.
Of the river Chindwin the Michan it has many scarped mountains, stuck as the fingers of the hand.
We advance, going up and I descend these steep mountains.
In the map 150 quilómetros were alone, but if to count on mounts and valleys, were about 300 kilometers.
Without resting nor sleeping, we take 13 days to arrive the Michan, where we take the road.
For the Japanese, Kohima was a tempting trophy.
Its taking cut the supplying of the allies for the base of Imphal.
The British airplanes made raides dangerous, to hinder the advance.
But the columns had advanced.
With firmness, the enemy the Kohima pressed the wall.
The small garrison was enclosed in a very small central area.
It had heavy decreases e was necessary reinforcements.
I sent 2ª British division to support the combat in Kohima.
The front line was in the two sides of the field of tennis of the district.
They were side by side.
They were embedded where they died.
In three brigades of infantry British, had died two Brigadier Generals e two substitute Brigadier Generals they had been seriously wounded.
Thus it was the battle of Kohima.
They had attacked them in the tennis fields e was as to play tennis.
In such a way, that the area of a side to the other of a field it corresponded to the positions between the Japanese and my squad.
In the combat the one that attended, it had hundreds advancing on us.
Its force made to withdraw us of a trench for another one.
But they finished in apanhando, for being in bigger number.
Kohima was the battle of the common soldier.
Small groups of Japanese e British had fought front the front.
We were all scared.
If we raised the arms and in we relieved, would be the end of the battalion.
If the Japanese apanhassem in them, they would go torturing in them and killing, as they had made to some of our youngsters.
Therefore, we are in trenches and we pray.
After first the 7 or 8 days, it started to lack to food and the ammunition.
It almost did not have water.
Then, they had said in them that 2ª British division leaves, stops helping in them.
Finally, they had arrived.
The British tried to force the Japanese to withdraw of the mountain.
E the artillery duel continued.
The Japaneses had started with 20 a thousand men, against 3500.
When the provisionses became scarce, British were supplied by air.
All the ones that were in land knew how much they had the aerial crews that they flied the day all, e to the times at night.
E in that phase of the war did not have many available crews.
Each crew had an airplane, that she had to be always in air.
E they had not stopped.
Passed seven weeks, Kohima was freed.
The troops capsize then the suicidal price that the Japanese had pay for the taking of the city.
They were fanatic.
That is, they could be about 20 meters behind us.
Suddenly, they precipitated on us, to the berros.
We always find odd, or for less I found odd, why reason if launched on us to the shouts, if they wanted killing in them.
I know that this is frightful, but we would finish in accustoming.
E was when we accustom in them, that we obtain to inflict more damages to them.
Cessavamos fire, we pointed and we said: "It continues crying out! They come.
" They came and crowded themselves to the front of our trenches.
The combat against the Japanese it was a war of a total persistence.
It did not have heroísmos, heroes comic actors or cavalheirismo, as it was read before of the war of Biggles.
We were pledged in killing the biggest possible Japanese number, stirred up for the bitter experience of to know of the committed atrocities.
E we were always with fear, therefore we did not want to be captured.
Vi one of my youngsters imprisoned in barbed wire.
I do not want to see more.
It was impossible to have penalty of them, therefore we knew what they had made to our youngsters.
They in did not give any possibility to them e we made the same.
After de Kohima, the release of Imphal.
The combats in Imphal had been so bloody as in Kohima.
We had that to take off the Japanese of the road of Kohima-Imphal.
In July of 1944, the Japanese they had abandoned the offensive one.
Kohima and Imphal had been the high point of the Japanese onslaught.
"They will never come back", said General Slim.
In the front of Stilwell, the Chinese and the Marauders they had taken the air base of Myitkyina, but they had suffered heavy decreases.
Under skies of the monsoon, more wounded to treat.
Mountbatten says that they would fight during the monsoon.
Now, in full dilúvio, they forced the Japanese to cross the border of the Birmânia.
To its front, the long way for where they had fond, 2 years before: Mandalay, Rangum, e many bitter combats.
It would not even have rest all the Japanese in the Birmânia to be defeated and destroyed.