Giffard, General Sir George, 1886-1964

Giffard was a British Commander of forces in West Africa. Giffard was an expert on African affairs who was appointed Military Secretary to the Secretary of State for War. He served briefly under WAVELL in the Middle East but was then transferred to West Africa to recruit, train and form West African regiments. Once the Axis threat to West Africa had receded Wavell asked that Giffard be transferred to India where he was made General Officer Commanding Eastern Army. His main task was to organize units for an offensive in Burma and he faced a considerable logistical problem. Communications in Assam were primitive and techniques of supplying land forces by air were devised. In August 1943 South East Asia Command (SEAC) was set up and Giffard became Commander in Chief of the IIth Army Group. He was in charge of all land forces which would be involved in the Burmese offensive and began planning the Arakan offensive for January 1944. General STILWELL, under his command, was to lead an offensive to recapture Myitkyina but the personalities of Giffard and Stilwell clashed and the latter refused to serve under the former. MOUNTBATTEN, the Supreme Commander of SEAC, resolved this by dismissing Giffard, Giffard however had to remain at his post (throughout the Kohima and Imphal offensives) until General LEESE arrived in November 1944 to replace him.

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