- Title: NORTHERN BURMA: 72ND BRIGADE ADVANCE ON NABA [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: FUB 6
- Other titles: BRITISH ARMY OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: In the Mawlu district of northern Burma, British troops of 72nd Brigade (36th Division) advance towards Naba, a railway junction in the 'railway corridor'.
- Description: Reel 1: British troops in wooded terrain; they wear the divisional patch of 36th Division. An officer looks at a map. Two men in position, one of them lying prone. Close-up profile of British soldier with cocked rifle. Another view of a rifleman. Looking forwards. Bren gunner with close-up. Looking towards a village (?) with wooden building visible. Soldier with Thompson submachine gun. Close-up of the Thompson. Close-up soldier. Thick jungle vegetation with soldier left foreground. Mule train led over a shallow stream. A party including an American soldier and a radio operator crouched by a railway line (presumably the line to Myitkyina). Light aircraft overhead. Troops running along a railway line. 3-inch mortar team setting up their weapon by the railway line; one man attends to the ammunition. Ammunition prepared. Men running down the line paying out a telephone cable. Column of men moving off into thick cover; camera pans right. Man digging with pick axe. More shots of men digging, including a close-up showing a shirtless man visibly sweating. Shots of the mortar seen earlier being fired. A lone figure seen running along the railway line before disappearing into undergrowth. Men shaving. A shot taken in early morning light beneath jungle canopy; mail is distributed. The white paper of one man's letter catches the light. A Vickers machine gun is fired; various camera angles show the operation of the gun. A wounded (Japanese?) man on a stretcher. The stretcher is put on a jeep. Jeep passing; one of the men riding on it is an American. A Chinese mortarman adjusts the sights of a (4.2-inch?) mortar. Preparing ammunition. Men walk along a track; the first man is wearing bandages. More shots of the Vickers gun. Close-up man taking compass bearing. Checking the bearing on a map. P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bombers of the US 10th Air Force overhead and attacking Pinwe railway station; one aircraft is seen to drop two bombs, others are seen with gunsmoke pouring from their wings. Vickers gun firing through dense vegetation. A brief and wildly shaking shot (from a moving jeep?). Men advancing slowly along a track with fixed bayonets. Stacked 25-pounder ammunition. Counting shells. Adjusting a primer. Views of a shoot by D Troop, 122 Battery 178th Assault Field Regiment. Reel 2: Various shots of the battery, with views of firing and preparation of ammunition. Brigadier A R Aslett, commander 72nd Brigade, looks at the body of a dead Japanese soldier. Close-up of the body. Others looking. Close-up shows one of the Japanese soldier's toes in the trigger guard of his rifle, indicating that he committed suicide. Going through the man's pockets. Aslett at a jeep command post with troops passing. A 6x4 lorry passes towing a 25-pounder. Manhandling a gun into position. Looking down a path through thick vegetation. Close-up dead Japanese. Brigadier looking. Searching his kit. Series of shots showing the burial of Private James, of 6th Battalion South Wales Borderers, killed in action on 11 November 1944. The body lies on a stretcher shrouded in a blanket. Digging a grave by the roadside. The stretcher is carried. Service over the grave led by Methodist padre. Shovelling earth into the grave. Simple wooden cross with inscription '14652027 Pte J James KIA 11/11/44'. Troops advancing single file along a track. Man lying prone firing a Bren gun, seen in dappled dusty light. Men walking with a cable drum. Faces of British soldiers as they pass camera. Pile of empty .303 cartridge casings and canvas belts from a Vickers gun. Troops walking on a railway. Walking towards a village. Two men walking in thick forest. More Japanese dead. British troops with captured Japanese equipment; one has a Japanese rifle and another feels the weight of a sword. Other bits of Japanese kit, including a decorative fan with rising sun, a 50mm Type 89 light mortar ('knee mortar') and a rifle. Dead. A light lorry fords a river. An inflatable boat is hauled across a river on a rope as other troops wade across. A rope is tied to a vehicle's bumper. A wounded Indian soldier is put onto a stretcher. Another Indian man, clearly in distress, with a bloody dressing on his arm. Stretchered away. Dark shots showing a wounded Japanese soldier on a stretcher. Unclear shots, apparently taken at a dressing station. Close-up Japanese soldier talking to an interpreter.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1944-11-06
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: War Office Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor) SEAC Film Unit (Production company) Wishart, Basil Fergusson1919-09-191997-02-11Sergeant cameraman, No 9 Army Film and Photo Unit, later editor of the Shetland Times. Obituary see Herald Scotland, 13 February 1997. (Production individual) Miller, E E (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Aslett, Alfred Rimbault (person) British Army, 36th Division (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Artillery, 178th Field Regiment (regiment/service) United States Army Air Force, 10th Air Force (regiment/service) British Army, South Wales Borderers, 6th Battalion (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Sussex Regiment, 9th Battalion (regiment/service) IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Namma, Burma (geography) Mawlu, Burma (geography) Pinwe, Burma (geography) Operations in Northern Burma 1943-1945, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Burma 1942-1945 (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 2 Footage: 1694 ft; Running time: 19 mins
- Notes: In all a rare film which captures some of the nature of the fighting in Burma. Besides the British troops, the Indian, Chinese and American presence is visible, a wide variety of weapons systems are seen in use, an impression is given of the terrain. The contrast between the field burial of Private James and the grizzly fascination with the Japanese suicide is marked. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records a Private James James, Service No. 14652027, 6th Battalion South Wales Borderers as being killed on Armistice Day, 11 November 1944. He was 22 years old and the son of James and Helen Ann James, of Llandaff, Cardiff. He is buried in Taukkyan War Cemetery north of Rangoon. A section of footage in Reel 2, around the shots of the river and vehicle bumper, appears to have been double exposed. This was probably due to a camera malfunction at the time of shooting. The dopesheet notes that this film was shot on three dates; 6, 9, and 12 November 1944. Lack of slates, however, means that it difficult to assign shots to particular days. According to the official history, these operations formed part of 36th Division's push down the 'railway corridor', in turn part of US General Stilwell's three-pronged offensive south towards Mandalay. Stubborn Japanese resistance and poor cooperation from the neighbouring Chinese 50th Division meant that Indaw, Naba and Katha were not occupied until 9-13 December, by which time the Japanese had withdrawn.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
MWY 214 (BRITISH TROOPS ON THE ROAD TO PINWE (AMERICAN CAMERAMAN) [Allocated Title]) MWY 215 (SHELLING OF PINWE (AMERICAN CAMERAMAN) [Allocated Title]) MWY 216 (FALL OF PINWE (AMERICAN CAMERAMAN) [Allocated Title]) MWY 217 (FALL OF PINWE: AERIAL FOOTAGE, CHINESE ARTILLERY AND JAPANESE PRISONER (AMERICAN CAMERAMAN) [Allocated Title]) MWY 218 (NEAR PINWE: INDIAN ENGINEERS SMALL ARMS PRACTICE AND BRIDGE REPAIRS (AMERICAN CAMERAMAN) [Allocated Title]) MWY 219 (NEAR PINWE: UNCOVERING JAPANESE MINES (AMERICAN CAMERAMAN) [Allocated Title])