Orde Charles Wingate

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Orde Charles Wingate (ôrd), 1903–44, British general. He served with the Sudan defense force (1928–33) and on special duty in Palestine (1936–39). It was in Palestine that he first used guerrilla tactics, against Arabs attempting to cut the Haifa pipeline. An ardent Zionist, Wingate trained large squads of Jewish youths in military tactics and worked closely with Jewish leaders. The possibility of his acting against British interests to secure Jewish independence caused his removal from Palestine. In World War II, although only a major, he commanded (1941) the British and African troops who ousted the numerically superior Italians from Ethiopia and restored Emperor Haile Selassie to his throne. Sent to India and raised to the rank of brigadier in 1942, Wingate trained and led a force of raiders into Japanese-held Burma (now Myanmar) for a period of seven months (1943). His guerrillas became known as the "Chindits" or "Wingate's raiders." He was made a major general and placed in command of a larger army, which was flown into Burma, but he was killed in an airplane accident two weeks after this operation began. A colorful personality and an unorthodox campaigner, Wingate demonstrated the effectiveness and practicality of jungle guerrilla warfare by Western troops.

See C. Rolo, Wingate's Raiders (1944); W. G. Burchett, Wingate's Phantom Army (1946); L. O. Mosley, Gideon Goes to War (1955); C. Sykes, Orde Wingate (1959); J. Bierman and C. Smith, Fire in the Night: Wingate of Burma, Ethiopia, and Zion (1999).

views updated

Wingate, Orde (1903–44). Soldier. Wingate's father was a colonel in the Indian army and Wingate was born in India. His parents were Plymouth brethren. Commissioned in the Royal Artillery in 1923, he was sent to the Sudan in 1940 to lead an invasion of Italian-held Abyssinia, and with a small force, assisted by supporters of Haile Selassie, captured Addis Ababa in May 1941. He was then put in charge of the Chindit force to operate in Burma behind the Japanese lines, using radio to keep in touch and supplied from the air. A successful sortie in 1943 led to a more ambitious campaign for 1944, but Wingate was killed in an air crash in the jungle early in the operation. In a memo of July 1943 Churchill had called him ‘a man of genius and audacity … quite above the ordinary level’.

J. A. Cannon