- Title: CROSSING THE SHWELI RIVER FOR ASSAULT ON MYITSON [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: FUB 101
- Other titles: BRITISH ARMY OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: In northern Burma, troops of 2nd Battalion The Buffs cross the Shweli River before the assault on Myitson, with machine gun, mortar and artillery fire in support, as the divisional commander watches.
- Description: In the jungle near the Shweli river a group of Indian Engineers bring up a rolled inflatable rubber boat. The boat is inflated by blowing into it and by a foot pump. On a track through the jungle a wounded Indian man is tended to by two British; others kneel nearby waiting to move. Two soldiers move off into the jungle carrying a third man. Looking out over the Shweli river with rubber boats on the water; one is full of troops. British troops near the waters edge. A British officer (?) looks out with binoculars. Out of focus shot shows a soldier hurrying along a track. Focus corrected; British troops including stretcher bearers go forward along the track. A rubber boat is handled into the water. Men board the boat. A rubber boat is paddled. A rigid boat with outboard motor is used to tow rubber boats. An inflated boat is carried through undergrowth. Looking over the river with smoke trails from covering mortar fire. Boat is put into the water. A smoke bomb from a mortar falls into the river. Empty rubber boat at the waters edge. Men pile in and the boat is paddled away. Bren gunners lay down covering fire; one man changes magazines with smoke pouring from his gun. Looking over the river with boats in midstream and smoke. More men hurry into a boat. Men run and take cover on the riverbank; one man appears to have, most unusually, attached a Lee Enfield sword bayonet to his Thompson submachine gun. Shots of 6-pounder anti-tank gun, operated by the Gordon Highlanders, in action against Japanese bunkers. A British soldier, apparently not wearing any equipment, sits in the open on the river bank and snipes across the river with his rifle; a boat can be seen on the water. More of the 6-pounder. A group of British soldiers, apparently posing for the camera; one man fires his rifle past the camera (in a brief shot before this there appears to be another cameraman (an American?) with an Eyemo camera entering the bottom of frame). River with boat midstream. Boats with men wading in the water; spurts of water suggest near misses. 6-pounder in action. Major-General Festing, commander 36th Division, watches progress from the frontline with his aide de camp (ADC), an unnamed brigadier (in square hat with slung M1 Carbine, probably Brigadier M B Jennings) and the battalion commander of the Buffs. Moving the 6-pounder. More of the gun in action. The brigadier speaks to another officer. Festing watches through binoculars with his brigadier.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1945-02-01
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: War Office Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor) SEAC Film Unit (Production company)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Festing, Francis Wogan (person) Jennings, Martin Borthwick (person) British Army, 36th Division (regiment/service) British Army, The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), 2nd Battalion (regiment/service) Indian Army, 26th Indian Infantry Brigade (regiment/service) Indian Army, Indian Engineers (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Artillery, 122nd Anti-Tank Regiment (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Shweli (river), 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: 1 Footage: 428 ft; Running time: 5 mins
- Notes: An excellent piece of combat film, illustrating well the awkward difficulty of opposed river crossings, and the various methods of fire support. Also confirms the basis of Major-General Festing's nickname of 'Frontline Frankie'. The artillery unit is not named, other than being of the Gordon Highlanders. The only anti-tank regiment in 36th Division was 122nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery. According to the official history, this infiltration by the Buffs ran into trouble shortly after crossing the river, as Japanese positions which had been reconnoitred and found to be empty the previous night were reoccupied. A company of the Buffs, with a number of engineer troops, were cut off on the far bank and suffered 114 casualties, a large proportion of the number engaged. Of these troops some 62 were killed or missing.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
JFU 9 (26TH BRIGADE'S ADVANCE ON MYITSON [Allocated Title])