|Ramree's Mangrove swamps|
The story of the Battle of Ramree Island is a different kind of war story though.
It's absolutely terrifying. The stuff of nightmares. One that could make for a great film.
Ramree was a small Island off the coast of Burma. Small but of big strategic importance. It was being held by Japanese forces and the Allies needed it to establish an airbase for resupplying their troops in Burma.
On the 21st of January 1945 allied forces invaded the island and started to skirmish with the enemy. The battle continued for 2 days until the Japanese forces found themselves outflanked. 900 of them decided to retreat across land to join up with a larger group. To get there they had to travel through a dozen miles of mangrove swamps and while they were in there they found themselves surrounded on all sides by the allies. But a worse danger lay waiting inside the swamp, salt water crocodiles. Man eaters. The place became death. 900 soldiers had entered the swamp. The next day 20 were left. 20. Far more would have survived if they had stood their ground and fought. The allied soldiers camped around the swamp heard it all.
“The scattered rifle shots in the pitch black swamp punctured by the screams of wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on earth.”
Of course a lot of modern day research says the numbers reported are exaggerated but since when has that ever bothered film makers.
To quote the great western 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' -"When the legend becomes truth, print the legend"