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Burma Campaign (1944) - Essay Example

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The WWII was one of the major military conflicts of the last century. It was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world, involving many of the world's countries, being fought simultaneously in several major theaters around the globe…
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Burma Campaign (1944)
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Burma Campaign (1944)

Download file to see previous pages... In 1944, William Slim was a commander of the 14th Army in Burma against Japan. In fact, this war episode is one of the lesser-known but more "nightmarish retreats" (Rooney, 2000) of the WWII. Some historians call it the forgotten campaign, because "it was a confusing battle with disparate elements fighting inside a confused political situation", and because of resources allocated for the eventual triumph of British Arms in Burma.
It should be mentioned that in 1944 the army needed a strong leader to be ruled. Without the direct participation and support of a leadership, this power could not be pushed to its full potential. A commander required many of the characteristics common to all leaders, but also requires special abilities to manage ragged and low moral soldiers and inspired them into new feats. And Field-Marshal Viscount William Slim became a person and a leader who was able to change the moral of the army and won.
According to the views of strategists it would have been better if the chain of command had gone as planned though the 11th Army Group, but this was a compromise which worked because Slim was able to handle Stilwell. "The reason why it was essential that there was one operational commander for the three fronts, North, Central and Southern, was so that the intended attacks in late 1944 could be co-coordinated to prevent the Japanese concentrating large numbers of reserves for a counter attack on any one front" (Rooney, 2000).
The original conception of the plan to retake Burma had seen XV Corps making an amphibious assault on Rangoon well before Fourteenth Army forces reached the capital in order to ease supply problems. However, lack of resources meant that this operation did not take place in its original form. The assault did go in, but by the time it happened, British forces were only a few miles north of the city boundary, rendering it somewhat useless (Allen, 1985).
The ability to motivate and inspire soldiers was a core for the general. In order to achieve optimal goals three basics were taken into account by slim: motivation, reward and commitment. Motivating other people was about getting them to move in the direction he wanted them to go in order to achieve a result. Motivation in the Army can be described as goal-directed behaviour and ability to contribute to a solution.
Soldiers were motivated when they expect that a course of action was likely to lead to the attainment of a goal - one that satisfies their needs, the victory and the end of the war. It is reasonable to believe that strong commitment was likely to result in conscientious and self-directed application to perform their task. Slim's methodology means that political leaders gave course of action for the campaign, and generals had to provide the training and backup so that the soldiers can get on with their business. The main his advantage was that Slim tries to be open-hearted with his praise, and his criticisms were measured in tone. He is also humble, rightly praising his men as the true architects of the victory.
In general, Slim's approach was simple: he accepted that the defeat was due to faulty planning of the general staff. He then set out to provide training and equipment to the front-line troops. Since he commanded a multi-ethnic international army, he saw that every unit was supplied according to its own special needs. He put his own staff on half-rations if any field unit lacked provisions - which ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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