14TH ARMY BREAKS JAPANESE COUNTERSTROKE IN THE ARAKAN: BATTLE OF THE ADMIN BOX [Allocated Title]
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- Title: 14TH ARMY BREAKS JAPANESE COUNTERSTROKE IN THE ARAKAN: BATTLE OF THE ADMIN BOX [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: MWY 20
- Other titles: INDIAN INTER-SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTORATE COLLECTION - INDIAN HOME FRONT AND MILITARY OPERATIONS, AND ALLIED OPERATIONS IN ITALY AND THE PACIFIC DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: After the headquarters of 7th Indian Division is surrounded by the enemy, tanks and infantry fight to break the encirclement and a number of enemy prisoners are taken.
- Description: On a road in the Arakan a signpost reads 'Adm[in] Base HQ' and is decorated with the 'Golden Arrow' insignia of 7th Indian Division. A jeep is parked left foreground and a Lee-Grant medium tank of 25th Dragoons and a horse and rider can be seen in the midground. A number of mules are led across shot. General scene with men, tanks and jeeps; it is raining heavily. A file of heavily laden men pass a parked tank. An officer of a Scottish regiment talks to a British soldier. Parked vehicles and men in the rain. Tank crewmen, probably of 25th Dragoons, mount up. View from a moving vehicle, probably a Valentine bridgelayer, of tanks on a hillside road; possibly the Ngakyedauk Pass. View from a Universal carrier. A tank approaches camera. Footage apparently taken from inside the tank looking forward through the open driver's hatch. Looking along a road infantrymen climb the hillside. View across the valley. Indian soldiers line a low crest on the hillside; two soldiers (one with a rifle and another with a Bren gun) shift positions. A line of troops lying on the hillside; they are well armed and have rifles, at least two Bren light machine guns and one soldier has a grenade discharger fitted to his rifle. An Indian (officer?) with another gestures across the valley. Cloud drifting across the valley. A stationary tank. Another line of soldiers lying prone on a crest with a tank on the road below. Two tanks. A Lee, framing the left edge of shot, fires its main gun across the valley. Unnamed senior officers (including General Briggs?) in conference. Tank (?) interior; Briggs speaking on a wireless set. Various angles of tanks firing on Japanese positions. Smoke on opposite ridge. Indian (probably Sikh) infantry lying in scrub; a (probably non-commissioned) officer waves them forward and they advance uphill away from camera. Alternating footage of a Bren gunner and tanks firing. A tank fires followed by brief shot showing impact. Man on top of tank observes the fall of shot. Infantry crawling up hillside; one throws a hand grenade over the crest. Another shot of a Lee. Indian infantry seen before advance over the top of the hill. Troops come down a bank towards a shallow stream, apparently being led by Burmese civilians. Around a bend in the river the patrol encounters a lone and wounded Japanese soldier, his uniform in tatters, who surrenders to them. A stretcher is improvised from a blanket and some lengths of bamboo. A British officer dresses one of the Japanese soldier's wounds. The Japanese soldier drinks from a folded leaf. He is helped onto the stretcher. Panning views of a wrecked Main Dressing Station where a Japanese atrocity was committed against British and Indian patients and medical staff. Corpses (probably Japanese) lie scattered about. A British officer points out what looks like a large bloodstain on a stretcher lying amongst the wreckage. Grave markers nearby. Three Japanese prisoners are brought in under guard. A fourth prisoner is escorted in; he has a distinctive patch on the side of his soft peaked cap but it is not clear what it is. The prisoners are seen sitting in the shade of a tent behind barbed wire and talking to a British officer. The fourth prisoner seen earlier smokes a cigarette. The wounded prisoner on the improvised stretcher is unloaded from a lorry. A Japanese soldier has plaster put on a broken leg. Japanese prisoner on stretcher. The wounded prisoner is carried on a stretcher by two bearers. A medical officer cuts off the dressing on his arm. The wound is cleaned. More footage of a Japanese prisoner's leg being plastered. The fourth prisoner, earlier seen smoking, drinks from an enamel mug. Ambulances pass a parked tank; one is marked with the 'three V' insignia of XV Corps.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1944-02
- Production Country: India
- Production Details: Public Relations Directorate, India (Production sponsor) Indian Public Relations Film Unit (Production company) Beauchamp, Antony19181957 (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Sharp, Richard (person) Briggs, Harold Rawdon (person) Indian Army, XV Indian Corps (regiment/service) Indian Army, 7th Indian Division (regiment/service) British Army, 25th Dragoons (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Sinzweya, Burma (geography) Ngakyedauk Pass, Burma (geography) Battle of the Admin Box 1944, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) Second Arakan Campaign 1943-1944, Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) British Army 1939-1945 (theme) Indian Army 1939-1945 (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 1 Footage: 435 ft (approx); Running time: 4:50 mins
- Notes: While this film has clearly been cut and assembled by an editor (with a number of shots being cut excessively short and some arranged in fairly jarring sequences) this is nonetheless a very valuable piece of film as it documents a crucial engagement on the Burma front. The dopesheet also mentions BBC correspondent Richard Sharp as having joined the patrol during which the Japanese soldier was captured. General Briggs, commander of 5th Indian Division, is also named. From November 1943 5th and 7th Indian Divisions started an advance south into the Arakan. By February 1944 they occupied the area from the Naf River on their right (to the west) to the Kalapanzin Valley on their left. That month the Japanese launched an infiltration operation named 'Ha-Go' which saw the Indian divisions become encircled in brigade boxes. The HQ of 7th Indian Division was encircled at Sinzweya at a position that became known as the 'Admin Box'. The position included two troops of the 25th Dragoons (eight Lee-Grant tanks), parts of two infantry battalions and a few anti-aircraft guns. The rest of the perimeter had to be held by administrative troops. This box was repeatedly assaulted from 5 to 22 February 1944 and casualties amongst the defenders were heavy but air supply enabled the position to be held until the Japanese were forced to withdraw by their own even heavier losses and lack of supplies. This battle, while strategically less important than the impending battles of Imphal and Kohima, delivered a vital psychological boost and proved that isolated forces could be sustained entirely from the air. The wrecked Main Dressing Station seen in this film was the scene of an atrocity in which 31 patients and 4 medics were murderered after the Japanese overran the position. There were three survivors, at least one of whom survived by hiding under corpses. As a piece of propaganda, the contrast between the shambles of the dressing station and the apparently compassionate Allied treatment of wounded Japanese is very marked. This footage appears, in an edited form with sound, in an edition of the Indian News Parade. See related items. For film of the air dimension of this battle, see related items. Series note: The MWY series of films is believed to be part of a ‘pool’ of film received by the Government of India from various sources, including South East Asia Command, the Indian Inter-Service Public Relations Directorate, the Ministry of Information, and from Allied governments. This footage would have been considered for editing and release through the Indian Newsreel Parade; see INR series.
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