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JAPANESE IN BURMA Remnants Of Army West Of Sittang River N.Z. Press Association—Copyright Rec. 2 p.m. COLOMBO, July 22. Between Pegu and Toungoo 500 Japanese were killed yesterday writes a Rangoon correspondent, quoted by British Official Wireless. 1 his estimate does not include those kill by artillery fire or those bombed or strafed as the desperate enemv tried until 3 a.m. to break through to the east with a view to crossing the Sittang River. "In yesterday's battles the Japanese suffered a major defeat," a staff officer said. "Their casualties by air and artillery might be double the figure of 500. It is not optimistic to estimate that half the Japanese who have come into the open in a bid for life are killed by our fire or drowned in the Sittang River. For the enemy it is one of the most costly actions of the JaDanese war in Burma." Big Break-out Effort "Large groups of Japanese forces who have been concentrating at various points in the Pegu Yomas are attempting to break out to the east across the Mandalay-Rangoon road toward the Sittang River," says a South-east Asia Command communique. "The main road to the village of Pyu, 33 miles to the south of Toungoo, is the centre of the zone of activity. Our infantry, supported by artillery, tanks and armoured cars, is heavily engaging the enemy. "On the lower Sittang River the Japanese are still moving to the north into the area around the village of Myit-Kyo, 29 miles northeast of Pegu. "Gurkhas drove the Japanese from a village 28 miles east-north-east of Pegu. The enemy withdrew to another village which the Gurkhas attacked and captured. "Liberators yesterday bombed warehouses at Singora, in Southern Siam, causing heavy damage and fires. In close support of our ground forces Spitfires bombed and strafed enemy positions east and west of the Rangoon-Mandalay railway." Enemy Attempt To Cross River The remnants of the Japanese 28th Army in Southern Burma have begun their expected attempt to escape from west of the Sittang River. A correspondent says that yesterday 3000 slipped between our defences on the Rangoon-Mandalay railway, and some penetrated one and a half miles beyond. The movement took place along a front ot 30 miles and the Japanese crossed the line in seven areas. British infantry and artillery have- already caused many casualties. The Japanese still have between six and eight miles to go to reach the fast-flowing Sittang River, which is difficult to cross. Much of the area in between is flooded and offers no cover, except for isolated villages standing above the water. These are almost perfect targets for our artillery and aircraft. When the correspondent's message was enspatched Spitfires were already in operation.

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Bibliographic details

MAJOR DEFEAT, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 172, 23 July 1945

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MAJOR DEFEAT Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 172, 23 July 1945