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Force Viper - Ambushing the Japanese

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines Location: Burma Period/ Conflict: World War II Year: 1942 Date/s: 20th March 1942

Force "Viper" now came under the command of Lt. Colonel G.R. Musgrave, who served with the Special Operations Executive (S.O.E.), as did the Burma II Commando operating under the command of Major M. Calvert, who went on to serve with the Chindits.

On around 20th March a company-sized detachment of the Burma Military Police reinforced the group, arriving at Myaunaung on the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company launch, "Hataro". Musgrave set off upstream on 25th March, thinking to ambush the Japanese at Kyangin.

At 02:00 the following morning, the Commando, a Royal Marine Vickers gun section, No. 2 Platoon Royal Marines and the Burma Military Police landed to set up an ambush. However the Japanese did not arrive as expected and by 10:00 it was thought that they had bypassed Kyangin.

A further attempt at ambush was planned just North of Tonbo and the river force arrived there later that evening. News was received that the Japanese were approaching however the next morning the group was ordered back to Prome by the 17th Indian Division.

On the night of 28th March the Commando and a Burma Military Police platoon were landed by canoe near Padaung.

On 30th March the Royal Marines landed two platoons and a Vickers machine gun section at Padaung to find that the Commando and Burma Military Police were out around the town on patrol. Early the next morning the Marines were ambushed by the Japanese who had been hiding in the village and lost one officer and 35 men missing before taking off the balance of their men. About half of the commando and most of the Burma Military Police platoon also got back safely

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