Wingate, Orde Charles

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Wingate, Orde Charles

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).

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