News, Veteran News, Heritage | 15 May 2024

A Battalion in Burma – Book review

A Battalion in Burma

A Battalion in Burma - Second Suffolk in Arakan and at Imphal 1943-44

By Mark Fosdike

This new volume from Mark Fosdike follows on after his earlier volume, ‘First Suffolk’ into Germany. The formula is tried and tested, and it makes for an informative and engaging read. The history is presented in an easily digestible format. Each chapter following a logical, chronological, and interesting narrative. The detailed personal accounts that punctuate and illustrate the campaign descriptions are presented in the simplest and therefore, most accessible format. Coupled with a generous array of photographs and an essential set of maps, this makes for an immediately absorbing history.

The author’s emotional investment in the battalion and the surviving veterans is evident on every page. The result is a well-crafted, modular history that brings home the true nature of the infantryman’s war in Burma. The daily difficulties faced when attempting to take the war to a fanatical enemy who is completely at home in the hostile environment of the jungle are well articulated. The realities of soldiering amid the utterly unforgiving terrain, the relentlessly harsh climate and the omnipresent threat of disease are all brought home in this new battalion history.

The Fourteenth Army is renowned as the Forgotten Army, the Second Suffolk story was one of the least well-known battalions in the Army’s too often overlooked campaign history. This newly published history brings Second Suffolk out of the shadow of the jungle canopy and puts the battalion in the foreground. This really is a good 360-degree history of the experiences of a very capable infantry battalion often operating at the limits of its endurance, fighting a fanatical and aggressive enemy in an equally hostile environment.

Published by Pen & Sword, Hardback, pp 237, RRP £25.00

Review by Mike Peters

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