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Encyclopedia > Burma National Army

The Burma National Army served as the armed forces of the Burmese government created by the Japanese during World War II and fought in the Burma Campaign. It was originally organised by, and fought alongside the Imperial Japanese Army, but later changed sides and fought alongside the Allies. Combatants Allied Powers Axis Powers Commanders {{{commander1}}} {{{commander2}}} Strength {{{strength1}}} {{{strength2}}} Casualties 17 million military deaths 7 million military deaths World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a mid-20th century conflict that engulfed much of the globe and is accepted as the largest and deadliest... The Burma Campaign was a campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. It was fought primarily between Commonwealth, Chinese and American forces against the Empire of Japan. ... The Imperial Japanese Army (大日本帝國陸軍 Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun) was the official armed force of Japan from 1867 to 1945. ... The group of countries known as the Allies of World War II came together as World War II unfolded and progressed. ...

Contents


Formation

After the Burma Road opened to China in 1940, Japanese military interest in Southeast Asia increased. Colonel Suzuki Meiji, a staff officer in the Imperial GHQ organization in Japan was given the task of coming up with a strategy for dealing with Southeast Asia. He came up with a plan in 1940 for cladestine operations in Burma which was then a British colony. The Japanese knew little about Burma at the time and had almost contacts within the country. The top Japanese agent in the country was Naval Reservist Kokubu Shozo who had been resident in the country for several years and had contacts with most of the anti-British political groups. Colonel Suzuki visted Burma secretly in September 1940 meeting with political leaders Thakin Kodaw Hmaing and Thakin Mya. The Japanese later made contact with a student activist in China named Aung San. Aung San had left Burma in 1940 and had entered China in an attempt to make contact with communists in the country. He reached Amoy, where he was detained by Colonel Suzuki Meiji. 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Aung San Aung San (Burmese: )(February 13, 1915 – July 19, 1947) was a Burmese revolutionist, nationalist, general, and politician. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Xiamen (Simplified Chinese: 厦门; Traditional Chinese: 廈門; pinyin: Xiàmén; Wade_Giles: Hsiamen) is a coastal sub_provincial city in Fujian Province, southern China. ...


Suzuki and Aung San flew to Tokyo. After discussions at Imperial General HQ, it was decided to form an organisation named Minami Kikan, which was to support Burmese resistance groups and to close the Burma Road to China. In pursuing those goals, it would recruit potential independence fighters in Burma and train them in Siam or Japanese-occupied China. Aung San and the first Thirty Comrades were trained on Hainan Island. Another early recruit was Bo Ne Win. Thakin Tun Oke was selected to be a political administrator and organizer when the group entered Burma. View of Tokyos Shibuya district Long a symbol of Tokyo, the Nijubashi Bridge at the Kokyo Imperial Palace. ... Motto: none Anthem: Phleng Chat Capital Bangkok Largest city Bangkok Official language(s) Thai Government King Prime Minister Constitutional monarchy Bhumibol Adulyadej Thaksin Shinawatra Independence • Sukhothai kingdom • Ayutthaya kingdom • Taksin • Chakri dynasty from Khmer Empire 1238–1368 1350–1767 1767–April 7, 1782 April 7, 1782–present Area  â€¢ Total  â€¢ Water... Not to be confused with the unrelated provinces of Henan and Hunan Hainan (海南; pinyin: Hǎinán) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located at the southern end of the country. ... Ne Win Bo Ne Win (May 24, 1911 - December 5, 2002) (born Shu Maung) was a Burmese military commander and ruler of the country from 1962 until 1988. ...


On December 7, 1941, the Japanese entered the War by attacking the United States and Britain. On December 28, at a ceremony in Bangkok, the Minami Kikan was declared dissolved and the Burma Independence Army formed in its place. The BIA, numbering initially 227 Burmese and 74 Japanese, formed several small units which would participate in the invasion of Burma in January 1942. These units were intially tasked to act as intelligence-gatherers, saboteurs and foragers, but quickly took on other tasks and on occasions fought direct battles against British forces. They fought with determination during the invasion and constantly recruited new soldiers. December 7 is the 341st day (342nd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film) 1941 (MCMXLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... December 28 is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 3 days remaining. ... Bangkok from the Chao Phraya River at sunset, July 2004 The Wat Phra Kaew temple Bangkok Metropolitan Administration building Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep (กรุงเทพฯ), or Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (กรุงเทพมหานคร, IPA: ), is the capital and largest city of Thailand, with an official 1990 population of 8,538,610. ... This article is about the year. ...


With the fall of Rangoon on March 8, the BIA was rapidly expanded by an influx of Burman volunteers. Many of these "volunteers" were not officially recruited but rather individuals or gangs who took to calling themselves BIA to further their own activities. They continued to assist the Japanese in their campaign to drive the British from India. Some took to dacoitry (banditry) and were involved in attacks on minority populations (particularly the Karens) and preyed on Indian refugees. The worst atrocities against the Karens in the Irrawaddy Delta south of Rangoon cannot be however be attributed to dacoits or unorganized recruits in that rather they were the actions of a subset of regular BIA and their Japanese officers. The top leadership of the BIA did eventually stop the actions against the Karens in the delta. Yangôn, formerly Rangoon, population 4,504,000 (2001), is the capital of Myanmar. ... March 8 poster from Portugal March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in Leap years). ... Burman can be: See also: Berman People: Joe Burman (b. ... Dacoity is a term used in the Indian subcontinent for armed robbery. ... Karen can refer to the Karen people of south-east Asia. ...


Disputes between the BIA and the Japanese military police, the kempeitai were not related to the BIA's excesses against civilians. The disputes were rather over the BIA's attempts to form local governments in various towns in Burma and the intention of the Japanese to form an administration on its own terms. The first such dispute had been over the administration of Moulmein. The Japanese 55th Division had flatly refused requests of the BIA to form an administration in the town and had further disallowed the BIA from even entering the town. The Kempeitai (憲兵隊, Law Soldier Regiment) were the military police of the Imperial Japanese Army. ...


After operations ceased in the spring of 1942, the BIA was disbanded. It its place, the Japanese created the Burma Defense Army along with civil organizations designed to guide Burma toward nominal independence. A new force of 3,000 men were recruited and trained by Japanese instructors as regular army battalions during the second half of 1942. This article is about the year. ...


Establishment

In August 1943, Burma was granted nominal independence by Japan. Ba Maw, a former premier imprisoned by the British during the war, became premier. Aung San became Minister of Defence in the new regime, and also Commander-in-Chief of the renamed Burma National Army, with the rank of Major General. Note: as an adjective (stressed on the second syllable instead of the first), august means honorable. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ... Ba Maw (February 8, 1893 – May 29, 1977) was a Burmese political leader. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ...


The BNA eventually consisted of seven battalions of infantry and a variety of supporting units with a strength which grew to 11000. Most were Burmans, but there was one battalion of Karens. The BNA took little part in the fighting during 1944. 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Although Burma was nominally self-governing, it remained under Japanese military occupation. The resulting hardships and Japanese militaristic attitudes turned the majority Burman population against the Japanese. The insensitive attitude of the Japanese Army extended to the BNA. Even its officers were obliged to salute Japanese private soldiers as their superiors.


Change of Sides

During 1943 and 1944, the BNA made contacts with other political groups inside Burma such as the communists who had taken to the hills in 1942. Eventually, a popular front organization called the AFO or Anti-Fascist Organization was formed with Thakin Soe as leader. Through the communists and Arakan Defense Army Burmese were eventually able to make contact with the British resistance organization known as Force 136 in India. The initial contacts were always indirect. Force 136 was also able to make contacts with members of the BNA's Karen unit in Rangoon. The Tijuana cartel is a Mexican drug cartel from Tijuana. ... Force 136 was the general cover name for a branch of the British World War II organisation, the Special Operations Executive. ...


In December 1944, the AFO contacted the Allies indicating their readiness to launch a national uprising which would include the BNA. The situation was not immediately considered favourable for a revolt by the BNA by the British and there were internal disputes about supporting the BNA among the British. The first BNA uprising occured early in 1945 in central Burma. In late March 1945, the remainder of the BNA paraded in Rangoon and marched out ostensibly to take part in the battles then raging in Central Burma. Instead, on March 27 they openly declared war on the Japanese. Look up December in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Template:DecemberCalendar2006 December is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. ... 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... March 27 is the 86th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (87th in Leap years). ...


BNA units were depolyed all over the country under ten different regional commands. Those near the British frontlines on or near the Irrawaddy River requested arms and food from Allied units operating in this area. They also seized control of the civil institutions in most of the main towns. The British had reservations over dealing with Aung San. In contrast to Force 136, some prominent Civil Affairs officials in South East Asia Command HQ wanted him tried for his pre-war activities, and for murder over a case in 1942, in which he had personally executed a civilian. The Irrawaddy (newer spelling Ayeyarwaddy) is a river that flows through the centre of Myanmar (formerly Burma). It is Myanmars most important commercial waterway. ... South East Asia Command (SEAC) was the body set up to be in overall charge of Allied operations in the South-East Asian Theatre during World War II. The initial supreme commander of the theatre was General Sir Archibald Wavell, initially as head of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command... This article is about the year. ...


Allied Cooperation

Force 136 had issued Aung San along with others a safe pass, and on May 15 he met with General Slim commanding the British Fourteenth Army in Burma. Thakin Soe and Aung San hoped for the BNA to be accepted as allied forces and the Anti-Fascist Organization to be acknowledged as the provisional government of Burma. Slim refused to accept the AFO as a government and insisted that the BNA submit to being disarmed by British forces in areas where the fighting was over. The AFO agreed to this in return for recognition as a political movement and promises that the officers and men of the BNA would be incorporated into the new Burma Army. The BNA was renamed the Burmese Patriotic Forces, and cooperated in driving the Japanese from Southern Burma. May 15 is the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (136th in leap years). ... Field Marshal Sir William Slim Field Marshal The Right Honourable William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC (6 August 1897 – 14 December 1970), British military commander and 13th Governor-General of Australia, was born near Bristol, Gloucestershire. ... The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from East African divisions within the British Army. ...


Eventually, the AFPFL (political party successor to the AFO) was brought into the Civil Government of Burma. The BPF was disarmed after much negotiation and its personnel were recruited to form the basis for three new battalions of the reconstituted postwar Burma Army. Other ex-BPF/BNA soldiers were formed into Aung San's PVO party militia organization.


SEAC saw the alternative to cooperation with the AFPFL to be a difficult counterinsurgency campaign in Burma at a time when British resources were at a minimum and the Indian Army could no longer be counted on to impose British rule in places like Burma. The structures they put in place while allowing the British a graceful exit from Burma set the stage for insurgencies in 1947 and then a full civil war in Burma in 1949.


Sources

A History of the Minami Organ, Sugii, 1956 (Published in Rangoon)


Burma: The longest War 1941-45, Louis Allen, J.M. Dent and Sons, 1984; ISBN 0460024744


 
 

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