IRRAWADDY CROSSING BY 20TH INDIAN DIVISION AT MYINMU [Allocated Title]
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- Title: IRRAWADDY CROSSING BY 20TH INDIAN DIVISION AT MYINMU [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: JIN 10
- Other titles: INDIAN ARMY OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: Scenes from 20th Indian Division's crossing of the River Irrawaddy at Myinmu, Burma.
- Description: Reel 1: A file of Indian troops of (probably 14th Battalion) 13th Frontier Force Rifles, seen in silhouette, walks towards the shore of the River Irrawaddy; the sun is low on the horizon so this is probably dawn. Wide shot of the beach with rafts and assault boats. Men boarding boats, apprarently improvised from captured Japanese craft by the Bombay Sappers and Miners. A raft motors away from the shore. Indian troops walking to a waiting boat; they have white crosses on their backs probably to aid identification by aircraft providing close support. A patrolling fighter aircraft, probably a Hawker Hurricane, low over the horizon. Fighter aircraft circling overhead. The cameraman's raft approaches the opposite shore. Wide shot of a raft being unloaded. Men pile up 3-inch mortar ammunition in three-round carriers. Men digging in on the riverbank. A group of signallers. Aircraft overhead. Men unloading another raft; some are carrying boxes of small arms ammunition. Footage from midstream with boats passing. Smoke on the opposite bank, presumably from supporting artillery fire and airstrikes. A raft sets out. A British other rank (BOR) casualty lies face down on a stretcher; he has a dressing on his back. Indian bearers carry the stretcher away. A grinning BOR 'who insisted on his photograph being taken' (from the dopesheet) with his arm in a sling has a cigarette lit for him by an Indian soldier. He is carried away on a stretcher. A small sign on a post reads 'Beachmaster' (according to the dopesheet subtitled 'If only I had wings'). A number of mules are led down to the water's edge. Mules and muleteers waiting on the beach; a man drinks from a chagul (a stoppered leather bag for carrying water). Two rather reluctant mules are persuaded to swim across the river by means of two men sitting in a dinghy (attached to a boat) holding their bridles and others whacking them on the behind with lengths of bamboo. The cameraman, sitting on the boat, accompanies the mules across the river. Wide shot of the river with aircraft, visible only as specks, attacking enemy targets on the far bank. A sign on the beach reads 'Jeeps'; a jeep and trailer and jeep ambulance pass. A jeep is loaded onto a raft and its outboard motor is started. Rear-quarter close-up of an American volunteer ambulance driver of the American Field Service sitting in his jeep smoking a pipe. He is reading a magazine, possibly 'Time'. Reel 2: Major-General Douglas Gracey, commander of 20th Indian Division, observes operations at the beachhead with the beachmaster. Gracey, in silhouette, is handed a pair of binoculars and carries a slung M1 Carbine. Indian stretcherbearers carrying a stretcher case. The stretcher is loaded onto an American Field Service jeep ambulance. Coils of steel mesh are allowed to roll under their own momentum down the beach. Burmese civilian refugees get off a boat after having been evacuated from the east side. More evacuees; the group includes, men, women with young children and older people. An old man is carried piggyback. A thick column of dark smoke rises from the opposite bank. View from a boat approaching the beachhead. A long line of Burmese evacuees files past camera; the group includes a number of Buddhist monks and they are escorted by Indian soldiers. View across a field of tall grass with a broad pall of smoking hanging in the distance. Parked vehicles on the beach including Chevrolet CMP Field Artillery Tractors and jeeps. A British mortarman, probably of 111th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, adjusts the sights on an Ordnance ML 3-inch mortar before it is fired. General view of the battery position with mortars in pits. Long series of shots, some out of focus and off-frame, of smoke and fires from air and artillery strikes. Mules are led along a pontoon jetty. A (probably Royal Army Service Corps) DUKW ('Duck') amphibian heads across the river. A Stuart ('Honey') light tank of 7th Light Cavalry parked under a tree. The crew mount up with shots of the commander (a risaldar) in his turret and the driver looking through his hatch. The Stuart, now on a raft, is towed across the river by a DUKW. Various views of the tank and the raft's progress across the river. The Stuart drives ashore. Close-up of tracks and running gear on the sandy beach. The tank leaves the beach up a bulldozed earth track. An Indian Engineers bulldozer at work improving the beachhead.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1945-02-15
- Production Country: India
- Production Details: Public Relations Directorate, India (Production sponsor) Indian Public Relations Film Unit (Production company) Abbas, S V (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Gracey, Douglas David (person) American Field Service (regiment/service) Indian Army, 20th Indian Division (regiment/service) Indian Army, 100th Indian Infantry Brigade (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Artillery, 111th Anti-Tank Regiment (regiment/service) Indian Army, Indian Engineers, Royal Bombay Sappers and Miners Group (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Army Service Corps, 387 Divisional Troops Company (regiment/service) Indian Army, 7th Light Cavalry (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Irrawaddy (River), Burma (geography) Myinmu, Burma (geography) Irrawaddy Crossing 1945, 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: 2 Footage: 2116 ft; Running time: 24 mins
- Notes: The dopesheet is thin on details as to units and locations, but the presence of the 13th Frontier Force Rifles suggests 100th Brigade of 20th Indian Division, which in turn suggests that the location is 20th Indian Division's main Irrawaddy bridgehead at Myinmu. 20th Indian Division's crossing began in the early hours of 13 February 1945, but owing to shortages of river craft and determined Japanese opposition the entire division was not across the river until 5 March. With the exception of the opening shot much of Reel 1 was shot in overcast conditions and so is fairly grey. The cameraman's dopesheet also rues his lack of equipment ('If only I had a long focus lens') which means some of the shots of aircraft and smoke over the opposite bank are very distant and unexciting. Even so this is reasonably good film with the footage of the swimming mules well covered from both the beach and the water.
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