Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Great Victory (2)

Maing-yang Battle(Young Major Tin Aung Myint Oo was awarded the Thiha-Thura medal)

After losing the huge battle at Si-si Wanterpang in 1986 the Communists were devastated. CPB had started that Battle as a morale boasting show of their strength and military capability after the Chinese Communist Party had cut off their arms and manpower support to the Myanmar Communists.

Chairman Mao was dead and the new paramount leader (Black Cat/White Cat) Deng Xiao Ping wanted to reinvent China and CPB was in the way in rebuilding good neighborly relationship between China and Myanmar.

But instead of gaining the new territory CPB had lost Kyu-kote, Pang-saing, Mang-hiro, Kung-haing, and Naung-mah their important territories by the borderline to the Burmese Army. The architect and overall leader of that battle Yebaw Aung (a) Blackie Bo Myo Myint had to flee back to his sanctuary in China with his tail between the legs.

Because of unfavorable situations the CPB Central Committee even had to abolish its War Myanmar and armed-Divisions and wait for better situations again. And their fortunate time came in 1988.
A student uprising had started in Yangon on March 12, 1988 when Phone Maw a student from RIT (Rangoon(Yangon) Institute of Technology) was killed in the police operation after a teashop brawl near RIT.

Back then Yebaw Htun (a) Bo Kyin Maung (current CPB General Secretary) from CPB Northern Bureau was the boss of Communist UG or Underground operations in the major cities like Rangoon and Mandalay. He has set up CPB UG cells nationwide to create disturbances as the opportunity arises.

All his long Communist life Bo Kyin Maung has managed the UG operation for CPB and he prefers the UG revolution to the armed revolution.  So in the crucial times of 1988 he became fervently active with the support of CPB Chairman Ba Thein Tin on the border to bring down Ne Win’s BSPP Socialist Government in Yangon. And he finally did. Myanmar’s Socialist Government fell in September 1988.

8-8-88 Uprising actually was initiated and participated by the CPB UG cells in Rangoon. Having known the situations very well Chairman Ba thein Tin had taken full advantage of the public disturbances and planned for the eventual Communist takeover of the State Power.

CPB Radio had broadcasted many declarations for the support of Uprising. And the protesting students were praised as the revolutionary heroes in their broadcasts. CPB Central Committee had even moved down from remote Pang-sang to Mone-koe which was easily communicable from all over the country.

A CPB Politburo meeting was staged at Mone-koe and detail plans to snatch the State power were drawn up there.  

“If we can go in and skillfully handle the current political situation in Yangon I am certain that we will achieve the State Power,” said CPB Chairman Ba Thein Tin with confidence.

As the planned two-prone attack CPB had gathered its armed units and also stockpiled arms and ammunitions in the jungle camps by the Chinese border for the imminent assault on the Government forces while its UG cells and clandestine Radio were stoking hard the flames of Uprising in Yangon and other cities.
But the CPB was caught short when the Army took over the Government on September 18, 1988 and brought down the nationwide disturbances under control and rapidly re-established law and order with deadly force. So they began a propaganda war on their radio.

“Democracy is brutally terminated. Pick up any weapon and fight against the military government. Follow the Chairman Mao’s teachings and grab the power by force,” broadcasted constantly by the CPB Radio.

“We shouldn’t be waiting too long. Before too late, with the forces already gathered we must attack a winnable place and take hold of it,” directed Ba Thein Tin to his Communist cadres and officers.

Even though he had been in Mone-koe directing the UG operations since early September 1988, once the army has taken over the country Ba Thein Tin rushed back from Mone-koe to Pang-sang. And as soon as he was there he ordered the CPB Central War Commission to launch the battle.

CPB War Commission already had a detail plan to attack Maing-yang the nearest town from their Pang-sang and they’d been waiting for the green light from Chairman Ba Thein Tin. Thus the Second Battle of Maing-yang began in the early morning of September 23, 1988 when more than 2,000 strong CPB forces came into Maing-yang.
I would like to describe the geography of Maing-yang the last major target of CPB before its sudden implosion just a few months later.

The little town Maing-yang was located roughly between the Latitude 99 and 100 degrees and between the Longitude 21 and 22 degrees in the Eastern Shan State. It is at the North of Kengtung the capital of Eastern Shan State and 65 miles away from Kengtung. It is only 30 or 40 miles away from the People Republic of China.

During the old feudal times Maing-yang was ruled by a Town-Lord (Phayar-Yang) under the Sawbwa (Saopha) of Kengtung (Kyaing Tong). The populace of Maing-yang consists mainly of Li-shan, Gon-shan, Akha-lahu, Lishaw, and Wa people.

Maing-yang is the most northern town of Eastern Shan State. Even though it was only 65 miles away from Kengtung, to reach there was extremely difficult as the roads were bad. By car it normally took 4 to 5 hours from Kengtung. The Kengtung-Maingyang vehicular road passes through Wanterpun, Maing-khat, and Maing-lway.

The town basically is on a small valley plain surrounded by high mountains with the soaring heights of 3, 4, and 5,000 feet. In Shan language Yang is a plain and Maing-yang basically means a town built on the plain land. But there are small hillocks at the western outskirt of the town.

At the north of Maing-yang were Ho-tong and Maing-phyan and at the west is Maing-pauk all of which were Brown Territories (Insurgent-controlled areas). At the east is Si-loo also a CPB-controlled area. At the south are Main-khat and Kengtung.

Maing-yang basically was a sweet fruit surrounded by thorny bushes and CPB picked the small town many times to test our troops garrisoned there. And in the early morning on 19 April 1980 nearly 1,500 strong CPB forces attacked the three army companies from the First Column of LIB-108 (Light Infantry Battalion-108) on the garrison duty at Maing-yang.

The battle lasted more than six hours that day, but the numerically superior CPB forces couldn’t overrun our strong defense and finally had to withdraw. The casualties from both sides were 79 from the army and 194 from the CPB for that First Maing-yang Battle.

Now the CPB was preparing again for the Second battle of Maing-yang and their last major battle on our Myanmar soil.
In early September 1988 the extended War Commission of CPB had a war meeting in Pang-sang. The meeting was attended by Lin Htin (a) Yebaw Soe Thein, the Political Commissar of North-East War Region, Yebaw Ohn Kyi, the Military Commander of Northern Bureau, Yebaw Kyi Myint, the Deputy Military Commander of Northern Bureau, Yebaw Htun Lwin, a brigade commander from Northern Bureau, and Yebaw Soe Lin, the Chief of War Region 815.

That meeting had decided to attack Maing-yang and formed the eleven person supervising committee headed by Lin Htin (a) Yebaw Soe Thein for the battle. And the following CPB troops were assigned for the battle.

Battalion-4048 of the First Brigade.
Battalion-501 of the Third Brigade.
Battalion-081, 085, and 087 of the Fifth Brigade.
Battalion-503 of the Seventh Brigade.
Battalion-083 of the Eighth Brigade.
Battalion-3, 6, and 9 of Brigade-815.
Troops extracted from Brigade-851 aka the Guard Brigade, CPB Central.

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