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ESCAPE FROM BURMA] Surrendered Officer Tells Of Enemy's Plight Rec. 11 a.m. COLOMBO, July 23. Every minute from dawn to dark yesterday Spitfires, Thunderbolts and Mosquitoes hammered at the Japanese who were hurling themselves at bur cordon over a 77-mile stretch of the Rangoon-Mandalay road in their, attempt to escape from Burma, says the Associated Press special correspondent. A continuous cab rank of fighters overhead' was directed on to pinpointed targets by ground radio. By dusk many enemy-held villages were flaming wrecks. Their foliage was insufficient camouflage for the fleeing enemy, whom the fighters remorselessly hunted down, blowing up buildings and then machinegunning the Japanese as they scuttled away. The South-east Asia Command communique says: "Only a small proportion of the enemy forces has crossed the road. More than 500 Japanese dead, excluding those killed by our artillery and air strikes, have been counted. This represents, in the first day of fighting, more than 10 per cent of the Japanese forces attempting to break out. Our troops, who have reported four villages in the area six miles south and south-east of Myit-Kyo and 29 miles north-north-east of Pegu clear of the enemy have also reported a movement by the Japanese in the area west of MyitKyo." Japanese guards are posted to prevent their own troops surrendering to our patrols in the Pegu Yomas. According to a Japanese captain, who gave himself up to Burmese villagers, states a Burma correspondent, this precaution became necessary as the plight of the 6000 Japanese troops marooned in the flooded foothills grew worse until their morale was affected.

The Japanese officer carried a "safe conduct pass," apparently dropped by R.A.F. planes. He said he did not think there were many attempts to desert. For the most part the men were badly fed and clothed. They were apathetic and preferred the evil they knew to the one they did not. For two years he had not received a letter from Japan. He believed that no letters were allowed to leave Japan because of the strict censorship regulations. Marooned and in a desperate plight the remnants of what was once a strong Japanese Army are reduced to raiding villages for food.

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Bibliographic details

ALLIED PLANES POUND JAPANESE, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

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ALLIED PLANES POUND JAPANESE Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

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