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Union of Burma/Myanmar naval operations until 1988

Soviet cogitations: 312
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 30 Oct 2018, 10:56
During the independence struggle of Burma from the British Empire, a key figure of such struggle was Aung San. While he was one of the founders of the Communist Party, his political line moved toward Socialism, nevertheless he was assassinated in 1949 (a highly suspected British scheme). The following government of the “Union of Burma” retained a multi-party system but its leadership, while socialist in name; it collaborated with the People’s Republic of China in defeating a Chinese Nationalist Army stationed on the border between 1960 and 1961.
A coup d’état in 1962 officially declared the reformation of Burma (later Myanmar) as a one-party socialist state.
The country was not communist (despite some western claims) and actually the government waged a bloody anti-insurgent warfare against the Communist Party (secretly backed by communist China).
The government chose a policy of neutrality and isolationism during the Cold War, engaged in the struggle with communists and with multiple insurgent ethnic groups.
Interestingly, the communist Yugoslavia backed the government: both with advisors and with weapons, but it is unclear how strong was this tie and it appears such help come in terms of economical agreement rather than some particularly strong idealistic motivation.

It should be important to stress that the Navy operated a plethora of ex-British warship (one frigate, many small patrol boats of different classes), but the government received also the direct support of United States.
While moderate, such support concretized in the delivery of two minesweepers, six patrol boats (other 10 built locally) and four amphibious ships (one built locally).
Obviously western literature is somewhat secretive and ignore this US support, while mild it was clearly motivated in preventing the Communist Party to seize power and to establish a pro-Chinese communist nation.
With rapprochement of USA and China in ‘70s (due common anti-Soviet feelings), such support to the Myanmar dropped.

Meanwhile Yugoslavia provided twelve riverine gunboats for combat in rivers.


While it is known the Navy often operated close the shore or in river supporting the government during anti-insurgency operations (against communists and ethnic groups) there is so far no known incident in western literature about losses of naval or riverine crafts and/or destruction or seizure of rebel boats.
Input and help is welcome.


Poto of Yugoslavian-built riverine gunboat Y-304.

In 1988 the government officially dropped all references to socialism in constitution (it is widely believed the change of leadership in the military junta was a pre-orchestrated event). The following years of direct military rule antagonized pretty much most of the international media until 2015 when the junta officially backed off and allowed “free elections”. Ironically, the main player of this modern-day political evolution is Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of the very same Aung San: as common habit for the western media to idolize some political figures, she previously received the “Nobel Prize for Peace”: since she took presidency, her government did nothing to stop the violent repression and the conflicts with ethnic groups
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