Burma Star Association
Burma Star Association


25th January 1942
General Wavell visiting Rangoon, gives orders for the defence of Moulmein: the local commander would prefer to make a tactical withdrawal.
30th January 1942
The Japanese 55th Division begin their attacks on Moulmein.
10th February 1942
Japanese troops begin to cross the Salween near to its mouth at Martaban and Pa-an. Reinforcements are ready to follow.
15th February 1942
Because the Japanese are now over the Salween in force, the outpost units of the 17th Indian Division are pulled back west of the Bilin.
16th - 19th February 42
There is fighting along the Bilin River as the Japanese continue their advance.
21st February 1942
The 17th Indian Division begins to fall back to the Sittang through Kyaikto. (Click here for wartime maps of Burma).


22nd February 1942
The 17th Indian Division come under attack around Mokpalin on the River Sittang. There is heavy fighting near the one bridge over the river.
23rd February 1942
The only accessible bridge over the Sittang is demolished leaving a large part of the 17th, cut off on the east bank. Most of the men manage to escape but all of the heavy equipment is lost.
25th February 1942
The ABDA Command is dissolved. General Wavell again becomes Commander-In-Chief India - the Dutch General, Ter Poqrten, takes command in Java.
26th February 1942
The Japanese infiltrate west of the Sittang. They now threaten the Rangoon to Mandalay railroad.
1st March 1942
The Chinese 5th Army is being concentrated around Toungoo on the Sittang, 150 miles from Rangoon. Chennault's Flying Tigers, who have done sterling work in the defence of Rangoon, move to the RAF bomber base at Magwe.
5th March 1942
General Alexander arrives in Rangoon to take command and orders counter attacks.
6th March 1942
The counter attacks fail to relieve Pegu. Alexander confirms the order for the evacuation of Rangoon.
British troops retiring north from here and Pegu have to fight through road blocks on the way. As Rangoon is the only significant port in Burma, all supplies for the Allies must now come overland from India. Late in the day, units of the Japanese 33rd Division occupy Rangoon.
11th March 1942
General Stillwell is appointed to command the Chinese 5th and 6th armies (the equivalent of European Divisions) presently concentrating around Mandalay and that Shan States.
'Uncle Bill' Slim takes operational command of the British Forces now to be organised as the 1st Burma Corps.


24th March 1942
General Alexander and Chiang Kai-Shek meet to discuss plans for the co-operation of the Chinese and British Forces. The Japanese are attacking near Toungoo and are achieving considerable success.
27th March 1942
RAF aircraft and the remainder of the volunteer American squadrons are withdrawn from Burma. The Japanese attacks on the Chinese 200th Division at Toungoo continue.
29th March 1942
At the request of General Stillwell, British forces attack Boungoe to relieve pressure on the Chinese at Toungoo.


1st April 1942
The Chinese troops at Toungoo are forced to continue their retreat. The British are heavily attacked at Prome. The British Burma Corps retreats from Prome to avoid being surrounded.
3rd April 1942
Mandalay is heavily bombed. The British forces continue to withdraw up the Irrawaddy River.
6th April 1942
Chiang Kai-Shek visits the Chinese Divisions and gives orders for the defence of positions around Pyinmana in the Sittang Valley.
7th April 1942
The Japanese 18th Division (Infantry) arrives in Rangoon by sea from Singapore.
9th April 1942
The British take positions between Taungdwingyi and Minhla on the Irrawaddy. Both the Allied and the Japanese are preparing offensives, but the Japanese are ready first because they have been more quickly reinforced.
11th April 1942
The new Japanese offensive begins with attacks on the British positions.
12th April 1942
Despite receiving help from the 38th Chinese Division, the British positions on the Irrawaddy are threatened by the Japanese capture of Migyaungye.
13th April 1942
British Command: Rear Admiral Lord Mountbatten, despite his junior rank, has been appointed Chief of Combined Operations with a seat on the British Chiefs of Staff Committee. This appointment, only now announced, has been effective since the 18th March.

BURMA: The Japanese achieve a breakthrough in the British defences. Allied forces take new positions at Magwe. The Chinese 6th Army previously positioned in the Shan States, is ordered back to Mandalay. The demolition of oil installations around Yenangyaung is begun in order to deny them to the Japanese.
15th April 1942
Following their breakthrough on the 13th April, the Japanese continue to drive northward isolating one of Slim's divisions.
17th April 1942
Unsuccessful attempts are made to relieve the 1st Burma Division trapped around the Magwe. Further north, the Japanese hold the main road in the Irrawaddy Valley at Yenangyaung. The Chinese forces in the Sittang Valley and at Mauchi come under heavy pressure.
18th April 1942
The Chinese 55th Division retreating from Mauchi is effectively destroyed by the Japanese 56th Division. This leaves to road to Lashio undefended at the moment. In the Sittang Valley, the Chinese are forced to withdraw.
20th April 1942
The British and Chinese forces retreat in both the Irrawaddy and the Sittang Valleys.
21st April 1942
There is heavy fighting near Taunggyi in which the Chinese 6th Army is engaged.
22nd April 1942
British forces including the 7th Armoured Brigade, take up positions around Meiktila. Chinese troops of 200 Division are sent from there to bolster the position at Taunggyi, but inattention to General Stillwell's orders makes this position dangerous.
23rd April 1942
The remains of the Chinese 6th Army begins to retreat from Taunggyi towards Yunnan Province. The Allied forces in the Sittang and Irrawaddy Valleys are forced to retreat because the Japanese 56th Division has forged on from Taunggyi towards Lashio, threatening the left flank of the Allied Armies.
25th April 1942
Although the Japanese fail to hold Taunggyi, which is now defended by the Chinese 6th Army, they continue to move towards Lashio. To the west, General Alexander orders that the forces around Meiktila should withdraw north of the Irrawaddy.
28th April 1942
The Chinese 28th Division now moving from Mandalay, is ordered to defend Lashio.
29th April 1942
The Japanese enter Lashio. China is now cut off by land and all supplies from the allies must go by air. General Alexander decides to withdraw to new positions in the Chindwin and Irrawaddy Valleys.
30th April 1942
After withdrawing north of the Irrawaddy, British forces destroy the bridge at Ava.
1st May 1942
Mandalay falls to the Japanese
4th May 1942
Akyab is evacuated by the British. Chinese forces are defeated at Wanting on the Burma Road and at Bhamo on the Irrawaddy.
5th May 1942

General Stilwell in Burma with his Chinese troops, learns of the true extent of the Japanese advance further north of the Irrawaddy and decides that his forces should retire towards India and not China. The Japanese have in fact entered China via the Burma Road.
11th May 1942
Part of the retreating British forces fight a sharp action at Kalewa before continuing on to the Imphal area.
13th May 1942

Japanese troops pursuing the Chinese 6th Army, cross the Salween on the way to Kentung.
15th May 1942
The first British troops reach India in the retreat from Burma. British casualties from the campaign have been about 30,000 from a force of 45,000. Many of these casualties have been Burmese deserters. The Chinese losses cannot be computed but must have been enormous. There were about 95,000 Chinese engaged but only one formation, the 38th, remained a viable fighting unit. The Japanese losses of less than 8,000 reflect their superior training, tactics, equipment and air power. With the monsoon season beginning, the Japanese can be well satisfied with having so rapidly overrun Burma, and with the cutting off of China from surface communications.
25th May 1942

Part of the Chinese 38th Division manages to reach India.
15th July 1942
INDIA AND CHINA: The first supplies flown 'over the hump' reach Chiang Kai-Shek's forces.
17th October 1942
BURMA: Orders are given to the 14th Indian Division, advancing slowly into the Arakan, to reach a line between Rathedaung and Buthidaung, by the start of December in preparation for further operations towards Akyab.


23rd October 1942
The bulk of the British forces have advanced to Cox's Bazaar, but forward units have reached Buthidaung. They come into contact with a Japanese formation which has pushed up from Akyab. After a brief fight, the Japanese hold the position.
17th November 1942

General Wavell decided to cancel the proposed major amphibious operation against Akyab, and instead, on the 19th November, issues orders for a more limited advance by the 14th Indian Division down the Mayu Peninsular, perhaps to be followed by a shorter seaborne operation against Akyab.
30th November 1942
The advance of the British 123rd Brigade in the Arakan has now reached Bawli Bazaar. Terrible weather which would normally be expected to clear during November, has been impeding the advance and making road conditions difficult.
16th December 1942
In the Arakan, British forces have assembled two brigades to attack the Japanese lines between Maungdaw and Buthidaung, but the Japanese forces pull out before the blow can fall. They move south to a more defensible line between Gwedauk and Kondon.


21st December 1942
The British forces advance towards Akyab.


22nd December 1942
General Lloyd orders his 47th Brigade, to advance down both sides of the Mayu Peninsular whilst the 123rd Brigade is to send the bulk of its force towards Rathedaung. A small detachment is to move farther inland in the direction of Kyauktaw. These dispositions are less than ideal because of the dispersions they bring about.
24th December 1942
The Japanese advances in two areas of the Chin Hills are repelled by Allied troops.
25th December 1942
Patrols from the 123rd Brigade reach Rathedaung and report that the Japanese have moved out: in fact this is not the case and Japanese reinforcements are on their way.
27th/28th December 1942
Part of the 123rd Indian Brigade tries to occupy Rathedaung but is thrown back by the recently reinforced Japanese there.

When you go home

tell them of us and say,

For your tomorrow,

we gave our today

Lt Gen Slim at Fort Dufferin, Mandalay, in March 1945 Lt Gen Slim at Fort Dufferin, Mandalay, in March 1945
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