Operation Pigstick

This was a British unrealised plan for the landing of one division at the southern end of the Mayu peninsula to help in the destruction of the Japanese forces pinning Major General H. R. Briggs’s Indian 5th Division and Major General F. W. Messervy’s Indian 7th Division of Lieutenant General A. F. P. Christison’s Indian XV Corps on the ‘Tunnels’ road between Wabyin and Kwazon in the Arakan western coastal region of Burma (spring 1944).

The proposed operation was a response to the Japanese ‘Ha’ (iv), in which Lieutenant General Tadashi Hanaya’s 55th Division had spoiled the Indian XV Corps’ offensive of December 1943 and then launched its own counter-offensive. The effective use of the air transport capability allocated to Lieutenant General W. J. Slim’s British 14th Army allowed the Indian 5th and 7th Divisions to hold out despite the Japanese investment, and ‘Pigstick’ was designed by Admiral the Lord Louis Mountbatten’s South-East Asia Command to regain the initiative.

The plan meant that ‘Tarzan’ would have to be abandoned, but was deemed feasible if the Chinese forces in Yunnan would go over to the offensive to distract Japanese attentions in northern Burma. Severe logistical and political difficulties intervened (centring respectively on lack of amphibious capability and on Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s refusal to permit a Chinese offensive until an amphibious operation had taken the Andaman islands group, Moulmein or Rangoon, or until the British and Indians had taken Lashio or Mandalay), and on 9 January the plan was cancelled.

By this time Slim had prepared only initial plans, which called for an advance by the Indian 5th and 7th Divisions toward the tip of the Mayu peninsula, covered by detached brigades inland in the Kaladan and Lemro river valleys, while one division (probably Major General J. M. L. Grover’s British 2nd Division) landed at the tip of the Mayu peninsula and crossed the Mayu river estuary to cut the Japanese lines of communication before the combined Allied force advanced overland to take Akyab.