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Merrill's Marauders

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On October 3, 1943, the 5307 Composite Unit (Provisional) was established. The unit conducted long range combat operations against Japanese forces in the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI). It fought against Japanese forces that were superior in number. The unit was resupplied by air drops onto clearings in dense terrain.

Merrill's Marauders - 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)

In the fall of 1943, the U.S. Army formed the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) from over 3,000 volunteeers. Merrill's Marauders, as it was unofficially known, was established to conduct long-range jungle warfare against Japanese forces in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater. It was a regimental sized unit although it lacked the heavy weaponry of most regiments.

The unofficial name was coined after its commander, Brigadier General Frank Merrill (Wikipedia). At one time the unit was also known as Unit Galahad. The unit was formed with over 3,000 volunteers.

Training. The initial training of the unit took place in Central India. Instruction was received in scouting, patrolling, stream crossings, navigation, demolitions, and small unit tactics. The training was completed in January 1944.

Ledo Road. Once training was completed the unit took a long 1,000-mile trip to the Ledo Road (map U.S. Army History) in February 1944. This was followed by a 140-mile march on the Ledo Road and over the outlying ranges of the Himalayan Mountains into Burma.

Fighting. The unit conducted a series of five major and 30 minor combat engagements with Japanese forces. It was assisted by units of the Chinese Army as well as Kachin Scouts. It conducted operations with the intent of disorganizing Japanese supply lines and communications. The campaign culminated in the capture of Myitkynina - the only all-weather strip in northern Burma.

Disbandment. At the conclusion of this last battle there were only about 130 combat effective members of the unit. The remainder had been killed, wounded, or sick with various diseases. The unit was disbanded in August 1944. The 75th Ranger Regiment cites this unit in its lineage.


Merrill's Marauders - Wikipedia

Merrill's Marauders - 5307 Composite Unit (Provisional)

5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) - U.S. Army Center of Military History

Merrill's Marauders - The National WWII Museum - New Orleans

Merrill's Marauders: Combined Operations in Northern Burma in 1944, by Gary J. Bjorge, CGSC, Fort Leavenworth, 1996, PDF, 63 pages.

 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) - CBI Order of Battle

5307th - Merrill's Marauders

"From Ledo to Leeches", by Cherilyn A. Walley, Veritas, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2006.

"The End Run of Galahad", by Kenneth Finlayson, Veritas, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2006


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