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During World War II, the Battle of Rangoon was an important event in the conflict between the British and the Japanese in Burma. Rangoon was a city located in southern Burma. It served as a seaport and a vital communication link for Japanese forces in Malaya and Thailand. In the spring of 1942, a Japanese invasion of southern Burma threatened the Indian and Anglo-Burmese populations. The Japanese invaded, captured Rangoon, and pushed the Chinese army back along the Burma Road. The Chinese were left with little internal logistical support. The Chinese were unable to defend Rangoon and were forced to retreat into India.
The Japanese invasion of Burma began in March 1942. The Japanese army included elements from the 28th and 33rd Armies. There were 14 air regiments in Burma and 400 aircraft in Thailand. The Japanese fought in southern Burma and south of Rangoon. There were also a number of Japanese parties that fought in other parts of Burma. The Japanese defended Rangoon for a month. They took several guns overlooking the sea approaches to Rangoon, eliminating small Japanese parties.
The British and the Japanese fought each other in a variety of combat zones. Rangoon, the capital of Burma, was attacked on March 8. The Japanese were unable to defeat the Allied forces, who were advancing at a rate of about 40 miles per day. The Japanese also suffered thirty casualties from Allied bombing. The Allied air force destroyed 291 Japanese aircraft during the campaign. The Battle of Rangoon also saw the American Volunteer Group (AVG) credited with two hundred and seventeen air victories.
The American Volunteer Group (AVG) was an allied force that was approved by the Chinese and American governments. The AVG began training in Burma during the summer of 1941. AVG pilots included David L. "Tex" Hill and Edward F. Rector. They were nicknamed the Flying Tigers. They flew P-40s, the best airplane in the fight.
AVG pilots were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill for their defense of Burma. AVG planes were also credited with killing or injuring over 217 Japanese aircraft during the campaign.
By the time the AVG landed at Rangoon, there were only a handful of American combat troops available. The AVG was the only group that could protect the Chinese from Japanese air attacks.
The battle was a major event, fought mostly below 20,000 feet. The British and Chinese had little logistical support, making it difficult to defend Burma. By the end of the battle, about 100,000 civilians had been killed. The British and Chinese would be forced to retreat into India. The Japanese were forced to abandon much of their equipment. This was a major setback for the Japanese. The Japanese would have to abandon much of their equipment in 1945.
A major event in the war, the Battle of Rangoon had significant implications for the future of both the British and the Japanese. The Japanese were forced to abandon much of the equipment they had been carrying into Burma.
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