Posted on Leave a comment

The Decision to Blow the Bridge

On February 22, 1942, Brigadier Smyth,
commander of the British Indian Army’s 17th Division, faced a difficult choice: to
destroy the Sittang Bridge, stranding more than half of his troops on the wrong
side, or to leave it intact and risk allowing the Japanese to easily capture

Smyth’s Choice and Its Consequences: Smyth opted to blow the bridge, despite
the devastating impact on his own troops. This decision effectively sealed the
fate of the 17th Division, leaving them stranded and vulnerable to Japanese

Criticisms and Aftermath: Smyth’s decision has been criticized by some, arguing
that he should have prioritized the safety of his own men. However, others have
defended his choice, recognizing the difficult circumstances he faced and the
potential consequences of leaving the bridge intact.

Impact on the Burma Campaign: The loss of the Sittang Bridge and the
subsequent destruction of the 17th Division opened the road to Rangoon,
allowing the Japanese to capture the capital of Burma on March 9, 1942. This
marked a turning point in the Burma campaign, significantly shifting the balance
of power in favor of the Japanese

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *