Orientation & Introduction
This monograph covers the operations of the 5307 Composite Unit (Provisional) on its first mission, the attack on Walawbum, Burma, March 2-7 1944. To orient the reader, it is necessary to briefly review the major events which led up to this action. In Jan 1942, after overrunning nearly all of southeast Asia, the Japanese struck at Burma. In rapid succession, the Japanese took the city of Moulmein, the port of Rangoon, the rail heads of Mandalay, and Myitkyina and the Burma Road. The enemy’s rapid advance and numerical superiority proved too great for the Allies and all resistance crumbled. A general withdrawal was effected and the Allies retreated west into India and northeast into China. By midsummer of 1943 the Japanese had consolidated their gains and were in complete control of all but a small wedge of territory in northwest Burma. This now placed the enemy in the singular position of threatening the exposed eastern border of India as well as cutting the Chinese land supply routes. All attempts by the Allies to alter this situation had been unsuccessful.
(Photos NARA, Site : Paperless EUCMH)
Provisional OSS Platoon in Night Reconnaissance
Arakan Coast, Burma, October 1944 through April 1945
India – Burma Campaign
Capt Martin J. Waters, Jr., Infantry
Co author : Douglas L. Waters (son of Martin “Joe” Waters)
Operation Type : Amphibious Landing by Units of Platoon Strength, or less, for Purposes or Limited Reconnaissance.
Below is a picture of my father after the siege at N’Phum Ga, Maggott Hill. He was the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) officer attached to the 2-Bn, Blue Co, I&R (reconnaissance) Platoon of the Merrill’s Marauders, 5307-C-(P). This was prior to the Amphibious missions on the Arakan coast with the British commandos. They were surrounded by the Japanese and greatly outnumbered and held on for two weeks until relief came. They were bonsai charged every day and received artillery rounds from the Japs constantly. The Platoon leader became a psychological casualty and remained speechless in his foxhole during most of the siege. My father took over command of the platoon and even though his men wanted to surrender he kept them going, sometimes with threat of a .45 ACP. If the men surrendered he knew the Japs would have killed everyone. Below is the citation for the action and a happier time back in the US after Burma (he’s the big guy in the middle with the tan waistcoat)
First Lieutenant Martin J. Waters 0-454133, Cavalry, Army of the United States is awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service during the period of February 19, 1944 to April 16, 1944. During this period Lt Waters was attached to an Intelligence and Reconnaissance (I&R) Platoon of the 5307 Composite Unit (Provisional) and proceeded the march of the unit by 24 hours in all engagements. Lt Waters marched over 300 miles through enemy occupied territory and participated in 3 battles : Walabum, Shaduzup, Inkangayawng. Wen the platoon leader became a casualty during a 14 days the I&R platoon was surrounded at Maggot Hill, Lt Waters took command and due to his leadership and initiative, the platoon was able to hold on until relief came.