Orde Wingate and his impact on modern warfare

Nov 2019
439
United States
Wingate has always been an intriguing figure to me. There are many who see him as a creator of modern special forces ideals, and an inovator in vertical envelopment.

So looking for your thoughts and appreciations.

Much of contemporary British commentators view were often negative, and quite often those in the international sphere were more appreciative of his efforts. Here is one British analysis:

 
Sep 2012
1,246
Tarkington, Texas
Orde Wingate was a harsh person that showed very eccentric behaviors. In a time of declining high quality British manpower, he wrecked a British Infantry Division by taking all the young, healthy men. He also acquired a number of other British and Gurkha Battalions (plus an African Brigade). He even raided two Artillery Battalions to acquire men. Every time he went into the field he ruined the Battalions he took in. Strangely enough he did not want any Indian Battalions.

The Chindits were trained for one kind of warfare and were actually used in another. His first Brigade had to replace all the Battalions he took into Burma. His use of aerial supply was the best thing lesson learned in his campaigns.

Pruitt
 
Nov 2019
439
United States
From all that I have read of the Chindets it would be very hard to describe his personnel as 1st raters. There were at best second raters, often personnel who were older, inexperienced, and vastly untrained for their regular army roles. He possessed both Indian and Burmese troops as well.

It would be true to say his units were often destroyed, but generally after commiting more chaos than forces larger than his own might have expected. The Japanese spent considerable resources accounting for the Chndits as they, the Japanese admitted.
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,564
Japan
He was quite unlikable. Possibly mad. And while I think he had some good training practices and “Bush craft” he wasted his men’s lives for very little strategic gain.
 
Last edited:

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,221
Navan, Ireland
From all that I have read of the Chindets it would be very hard to describe his personnel as 1st raters. There were at best second raters, often personnel who were older, inexperienced, and vastly untrained for their regular army roles. ………………………………………………………………...
Where did you read that? because that's not the impression I have got, if you mean they were not selective like t
he Para's or Commando's
then ok but that doesn't make them 'second rate'.

As I understand it one of the complaints against Wingate is that he took badly needed regular infantry units away from the 'frontline' for his 'sideshow'. So they are not 'elite' but that doesn't make them as you describe, they also rejected men who were physically unable to meet the demands of training.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
11,040
San Antonio, Tx
I read somewhere that Wingate wore an alarm clock on his wrist (like a watch). I have no idea if this is true or not.
 
Jul 2019
1,210
New Jersey
He is credited with teaching the Haganah (and by extension, later the Irgun) a great deal of tactical know-how, which they later successfully used to expel the British from Palestine. The crazy thing is that Wingate likely would not have minded.
 
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Jan 2012
502
South Midlands in Merlin's Isle of Gramarye
He was one of those eccentric British officers who was given a hearing because quite simply he had some interesting ideas as to how the Japanese army might be defeated.

Like all new military ideas the plan did not survive contact with the enemy. The ensuing muddle meant lives and material were lost, unnecessarily in some instances. As a Vietnam veteran once said to me `Sh*t happens'.

In due course these sacrifices and losses also imposed a serious toll on the enemy. The Chindits got up close and personal with the Imperial Japanese army which despite all the brouhaha attached to its earlier successes was not accustomed to that sort of fighting.

The loss of life and suffering among the Chindits was truly awful, but in the end it helped turn the tide of war.

Historians might like to match this style of warfare to that of the US Marines in their island hopping campaign against the Japanese across the Pacific. It was equally brutal with high casualties. The savagery had a lot to do with the ruthless commanders of the enemy they were fighting.