15th January 1942
Units of the Japanese 55th Division move into Burma north of Mergui.
18th January 1943
Troops from the 14th Indian Division attack the Japanese positions at Donbaik in the Arakan, but without success.
1st February 1943
In the Arakan, the British forces renew their attack on Donbaik but can make no progress.
8th February 1943 the first Chindit raid begins
This force, more properly called the 77th Indian Brigade, is led by General Wingate, and its task is to penetrate behind enemy lines causing damage and destruction. Above all, the expedition is designed to demonstrate that the British and Indians can take on the Japanese in the jungle. The expedition begins at Imphal and sets out towards Tamu.
14th February 1943
The Chindits cross the Chindwin in two groups at Auktaung and Tonbe. Wingate is leading the larger northern group.
1st March 1943
The Chindit force is making slower progress than had been hoped, partially because it has been concerned to find clearings for supply drops when in fact, it is discovered later that it is possible to recover supplies dropped in jungle areas.
3rd March 1943
After a setback on March 2nd, the southern Chindit group succeeds in cutting the Mandalay to Myitkyina railroad just north of Kyaikthin.
6th March 1943
The Chindits make a series of demolitions on the railroad between Nankan and Bongyaung.
10th March 1943
The Chindits are now operating in several columns and cross the Irrawaddy in two places; at Tagaung and Tigyaing, further north.
17th March 1943
The 123rd Indian Brigade is attacked by the Japanese just north of Rathedaung in the Arakan, and is forced to fall back. General Kota leads the Japanese attack with units of the 55th and 33rd Divisions being involved. (Click here for wartime maps of Burma).
18th March 1943
Wingate's column crosses the Irrawaddy south of Inywa; this is the last group to do so. The Japanese have now assembled considerable forces to hunt the Chindits and their operations are being increasingly circumscribed. In the Arakan, the more regular British operations are not going well either. Hitzwe falls to a pincer attack, and on the Mayu Peninsular, a British attack on Donbaik falls.
24th March 1943
The various Chindit columns join up between Baw and Pago, but Wingate is ordered to break off the operation and return to India. Wingate's forces split up into small groups and most succeed in reaching base by early April. One returns later via China. Losses have been heavy - about one third of the force - but many lessons have been learned and the value to moral and propaganda has been high.
5th April 1943
The Japanese on the Mayu Peninsular continue to advance Northwest in the direction of India.
8th April 1943
General Kawabe replaces Iida in command of the Japanese forces and they are now to be organised as the 'Burma Area Army'. The Japanese are planning to extend their hold on Northern Burma and among the logistics that accompany this, is the construction of new rail-lines. About 60,000 allied POW's are employed on this work - about 15,000 of them die through ill-treatment.
4th May 1943
The Japanese have now infiltrated between Buthidaung and Maungdaw, disrupting British communications.
7th May 1943
The British are forced to retire from Buthidaung which is taken by the Japanese.
11th May 1943
The British pull back the 26th Division from Maungdaw which the Japanese occupy on the 14th May. The 1943 Arakan campaign is over. The British have lost 3,000 killed and seriously wounded - more than twice as many as the Japanese. Above all, the moral of the British forces could hardly be poorer and their health is also weak. Generals Irwin and Lloyd are relieved and 'Slim' is appointed to command the 14th Army with effect from the 15th May 1943.