39th Infantry Division (India)

39th Infantry Division (India)

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39th Infantry Division (India)

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For the World War I formation see Burma Division

39th Indian Infantry Division (originally the 1st Burma Division) was an infantry division of the Indian Army during World War II, which became a Training Division in 1943 after its recovery into India from Burma.


The 1st Burma Infantry Division was formed 14 July 1941 at Toungoo in Burma. The Division was part of the British Burma Army.

On the outbreak of war, the division was commanded by Major-General James Bruce Scott. It consisted of the 1st and 2nd Burma Infantry Brigades, and the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade. Throughout the Japanese conquest of Burma, the division interchanged many units with its fellow Burma Corps component, 17th Indian Infantry Division. At various times the 7th Armoured Brigade, 16th Indian Infantry Brigade, 48th Indian Infantry Brigade, and 63rd Indian Infantry Brigade came under command of the division, though only the original three brigades finally entered India as part of the division at the end of the arduous retreat, reduced to fractions of their original strength.

The 1st Burma Division changed to an Indian formation at the end of the 1942 campaign. While the majority of the Burma Army was reconstituted elsewhere in India, the division headquarters was retained at the front.

The 39th division was soon re-roled as a Light Division with two infantry brigades and Mule and jeep transport companies. However this change happened more in name than in anything else as it never actually began to...
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