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Force Viper - Burma

Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines

Location: Burma

Period/ Conflict: World War II

Year: 1942

Date/s: February - March 1942

Force 'Viper' 106 volunteers from the 1st RM Coast Regt/ MNBDO 1 joined some Burma Naval Volunteer Reserves and civilian engineers in Rangoon in February 1942 and formed Force 'Viper', named after the only British snake to have a nasty bite.

Their first job was to patrol Rangoon port, using Irrawaddy Flotilla Company boats. General William Slim's Burma Corps left Rangoon on 6 March on the long retreat to India.

The left flank along the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers was protected by Force 'Viper', who soon became adept at demolition, improvising the building of booms, and ambushing Japanese river patrols.

Reinforced by Burma Commando II, the force attacked Japanese positions at Henzada on 17 March but on 26 March was ambushed at Padaung, losing several men; replacements were drafted from the Army's Inland Water Companies.

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