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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 23rd, 1942 - The Battle of Sittang Bend

Conflict: World War II

Combatants: British vs. Japanese

Location: Burma

Outcome: Japanese victory


In January of 1942, the Japanese Fifteenth Army invaded British-held Burma from Thailand. The Japanese, commanded by Lieutenant General Shojiro Iida, began advancing westward across Burma with some heavy air support and a few groups of indigenous revolutionaries. These forced the outnumbered British, Burmese, and Indian defenders to retreat first across the Salween River (January 30th-31st) and then across the Sittang (February 18th).


The Battle of Sittang by Leslie Cole

British commander Lieutenant General Thomas Hutton's troops were engaged in retreating across the sole Sittang bridge when Japanese troops executed an envelopment by fording the river. Hutton's troops were forced to immediately destroy the bridge, stranding nearly half of the British and allied troops. Most of the troops succeeded in fording the river but had to abandon all heavy equipment.


Royal Air Force Pilots returning from a sortie during the Battle of Sittang Bend by a Royal Air Force photographer

Points of Interest:

  • Burmese Aung San led a group of revolutionaries called the "Thirty Comrades" who engaged in sabotage behind British lines and instigated local uprisings.

  • General Iida would be captured by the Soviets in Manchuria in 1945. He was not released from imprisonment until 1950.


General Shojiro Iida by an unknown photographer
Lt. General Sir Thomas Jacomb Hutton by an unknown photographer


















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Sources:


Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).


Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.


Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.



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