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A historical perspective on light infantry by Scott R McMichael; Combat Studies Institute (U.S.)

By Scott R McMichael; Combat Studies Institute (U.S.)

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Furthermore, units that planned to conduct specific kinds of operations received extra training in necessary skills. Thus, the two battalions of the 77th Brigade earmarked to establish a semipermanent block at White City spent fourteen days learning how to dig in deeply, establish overhead cover, emplace wire and minefields, and similar tasks. The reconnaissance platoons also received a great deal of emphasis. Both Galahad and the Special Force used their best men in these units to provide critical functions regarding intelligence, warning, and surprise.

Heavy weapons were also dug in or revetted. Animals normally were moved to the center of the perimeter and were also revetted. The men also dug trenches for wounded personnel and established a medical treatment area in a protected position. Commanders always took care to ensure that the defensive position included an uncontaminated water source. In addition, paths were tramped out to listening-observation posts to reduce noise and to make night movement easier. When the Japanese were heard assembling for an attack, the Chindits prepared their assembly areas with mortars.

Both Galahad and the Special Force used their best men in these units to provide critical functions regarding intelligence, warning, and surprise. The reconnaissance platoons were the elites of the Chindits, and they needed to be. Each Special Force column included a platoon from the Burma Rifles as their reconnaissance platoon. Calvert believed the Burma Rifles to be the best fighting unit in the Empire. Composed of men formerly residing in prewar Burma, the Burma Rifles knew the terrain, the people, and how to survive in the jungle better than any other regular battalion in the theater.

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