Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Great Victory (4)

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

September 17

After being completely quiet for two days on September 15 and 16 the enemy shelled our positions with 82mm Mortars and .50 heavy machine guns from morning to midday on September 17 as more than 1,000 strong Communist forces from their brigade-768 and 815 finally arrived at West Maing-yang.

Only when IB-11 responded with heavy-weapons CPB stopped shelling and withdrew back to the west of the town. Next 4-5 days CPB forces had waited for the arrive of more troops and heavy-weapons and by September 22 the CPB strength in the vicinity of Maing-yang reached to more than 2,000.

September 23

The news from the townfolks confirmed that all the CPB forces destined for the battle were at Maing-yang by then. From the night of September 22 the CPB heavy-weapon units now in the west and south of the town were constantly shelling the army positions till the morning of September 23.

In the morning of September 23 about 200 strong CPB force charged at the La-min Hill. Their four bayonet charges were repelled by the two army platoons on the hill with the help of our heavy-weapon fire from the main Aung-da-ghun Hill.

But the enemy had reinforced their attacking force with 200 more men and kept on charging at the hill. Outnumbered and outgunned our units finally abandoned the La-min Hill and withdrew back to the main Aung-da-ghun Hill.
Meanwhile, a 100 strong CPB unit attacked the army platoon on the Yan-shin Hill from the south-west and the platoon had to abandon the hill and withdrew back to the main Aung-da-ghun Hill.

Once the enemy had occupied the La-min and Yan-shin hills they brought their 57mm recoilless guns and .50 caliber heavy machine guns onto the hill and started their heavy-weapon assault on the Aung-da-ghun Hill where the IB-11’s HQ and its First Column was.

They also shelled the nearby Pha-yar Hill. At about 11 in the late morning at least 400 of them had bayonet-charged the Pha-yar Hill repeatedly for six times. During the sixth charge our Lieutenant Thant Zin the post in-charge was severely wounded and the army unit there had to abandon the hill and withdrew back to the main Aung-da-ghun Hill.

Once they got hold of all three hills, La-min and Yan-shin and Pha-yar hills, the enemy had put their heavy-weapons on those hills and unleashed heavy barrages onto the Aung-da-ghun Hill their main target. Our hill also returned the enemy fire with our 60mm and 80mm mortars.

Enemy’s 500 strong infantry under the protection of their heavy-weapon support then bayonet-charged the Aung-da-ghun Hill from all possible directions. IB-11 CO Major Soe Lwin ordered his men to fire at the charging enemy with 84mm Carl-Gustav launcher.

That launcher was a very effective weapon but the CO himself was required to supervise the firing. Knowing that fact the enemy had immediately responded by firing all their straight-shooting 57mm small recoilless guns together at our launcher site.

And at about 5 in the late afternoon of September 23 the battalion CO Major Soe Lwin was instantly killed by a shell fired from one of enemy’s 57mm recoilless guns. 

Once the CO had fallen the Deputy CO Major Tin Aung Myint Oo who was severely wounded in the September 14 attack on his Aung-tha-byay Hill and brought back temporarily to Aung-da-ghun Hill had taken charge of the under-siege battalion and led the hand-to-hand battles against overwhelming CPB forces now surrounding the Hill and repeatedly bayonet-charging the defenders.

September 24
Once they knew that more than 2,000 CPB forces were now attacking Maing-yang Major Sein Aye and his company previously active as a mobile column near Aung-tha-byay Hill moved in and merged with IB-11 Second Column on the Aung-myay Hill in the evening of September 23.

From there they marched further into town towards the Aung-da-ghun Hill. At about 5:30 in the early morning of September 24 they engaged a more than 300 strong enemy units near the Aung-da-ghun Hill and a huge battle had ensued.

But the Company managed to forcefully penetrate through the enemy lines and merged with our forces on the Aung-da-ghun Hill at about 6:30 in the morning.
By then the enemy infantry circling the Aung-da-ghun Hill were repeatedly bayonet-charging at the hill while their heavy-weapon teams on the nearby La-min and Yan-shin and Pha-yar hills were constantly shelling as fire-support.

But, about 8 in the morning our aerial support arrived in the form of four PC-7 fighter-bomber planes from our Air Force. The planes had arrived just in time as the CPB forces were on the verge of their final bayonet-charge to completely finish off the rapidly weakening defenders on the Aung-da-ghun Hill.

Because of our aerial bombardment the enemy charge had temporarily stopped. But once the airplanes departed after dropping all their bombs and firing their rockets CPB forces unleashed the second bayonet charge.

Our planes had come back again and launched the second aerial bombardment and that second assault took out so many of their men and stopped the enemy bayonet-charges for that day.

September 25
On September 25 enemy began to attack Aung-da-ghun Hill very early on 5:30 in the morning while their heavy-weapon teams on the surrounding hills basically held down our forces on the Aung-myay Hill by shelling constantly.

Between 7 and 9 in the morning that day they had bayonet-charged our Aung-da-ghun Hill eleven times. The fences were breached and hand-to-hand combats were all over the hill as enemy was able to reach inside the army camp.

But our air-support timely arrived at about 9:30 that morning and bombed the enemy just outside our camp. That aerial bombardment achieved so many direct hits and punished enemy so hard that they were forced to stop their brutal bayonet-charges for that day.

Casualties were high for both sides that day as almost everything on the hill was destroyed. Dead and dying from both sides filled the Hill and their blood had formed large pools on the Hill.

Enemy appeared to have used all available forces to overrun our forces on the Aung-da-ghun Hill that day. But because of our air-support the momentum of enemy attack was basically halted on that same day.

September 26

Enemy had reinforced their depleting forces on the recently occupied hills with new arrivals and started attacking our hills again. But at midday that day our air force planes came and repeatedly bombed enemy positions on the Yan-bauk Hill and On-lar-gyaw range.

The devastated enemy then carried their wounded and withdrew towards Wan-kyin-san-dauk. Like the day before enemy was severely beaten by aerial bombardment again that day and because of high casualties they couldn’t bayonet-charge as many times as yesterday.

September 27
On September 27 enemy had given up on attacking Aung-da-ghun Hill. Instead their about 300 strong force attacked our Aung-myay Hill the whole day from about 6:30 in the early morning.

Finally they broke through the fences but our forces repelled them by blowing them up with controlled-mines. At dusk the enemy had bayonet-charged the hill again, but had to withdraw again after suffering heavy losses.

That evening LID-88 HQ had ordered the IB-11 Second Column at Aung-myay Hill to   merge with IB-11 HQ and its First Column at Aung-da-ghun Hill. At 7 in the night of September 28 Major Phe Chit’s Company of IB-11 Second Column abandoned the Aung-myay Hill and marched towards Aung-da-ghun Hill.

That column was shot at by enemy from the Mon-ke-pha-yar Hill and On-la-gyaw Range at the east of Maing-yang Town. But the Second Column had successfully cleared the enemy along their way and reached Aung-da-ghun Hill in the morning of September 28.

September 28

By September 28 all four companies of IB-11 in Maing-yang town were together on the main Aung-da-ghun Hill the battalion’s frontline HQ. They had consolidated their defense lines and repositioned their men and their heavy-weapons. And they had eagerly waited for the enemy bayonet-charges they thought were coming again like the days before.

By then CPB also had re-distributed their forces on various hills under their control. There were about 300 men each on Aung-myay and Aung-tha-byay hills, nearly 100 on the On-la-gyaw Range, and about 300 each on Pha-yar and La-min and Yan-shin hills. They were still shelling our Aung-da-ghun Hill with Heavy-weapons but not as frequent as before.

That day our air force planes showed up again. The PC-7 fighter-bombers then dropped bombs and fired rockets onto the enemy heavy-weapon positions. The results were so many direct hits on their heavy-weapon crews.

Later we heard that the enemy morale had completely collapsed after suffering heavy casualties from that aerial attack and they stopped the shelling of Aung-da-ghun Hill still standing after so many brutal, human-wave bayonet-charges.

September 29

There were no more enemy bayonet-charges onto the Aung-da-ghun Hill as our air force planes were constantly attacking the CPB positions on their hills. The news of massive CPB casualties including some of their top leaders had reached even to our forces on the Aung-da-ghun Hill. By the midnight of September 29 the Miang-yang Town was completely quiet as enemy firing had stopped.

September 30

As there were no more hostile shootings from the enemy DCO Major Tin Aung Myint Oo sent out the rifle company led by Captain Thant Zin to Pha-yar Hill first. They cleared the Hill and found 25 enemy corpses there.

They continued onto the Yan-shin Hill and then La-min Hill and found 71 more enemy corpses in the area. The CPB forces had already gone from Maing-yang since the night of September 29. And the enemy had taken their wounded with them. But they had left their dead comrades at wherever they fell. 

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