Skip to comments.C. O. Wingate - Christian Zionist who revolutionized 'Haganah' (1920s)
Posted on 08/08/2012 1:15:48 PM PDT by Milagros
Michael Bar-Zohar, Eitan Haber: "Massacre in Munich: The Manhunt for the Killers Behind the 1972 Olympics Massacre," Globe Pequot, (December 1, 2005, 256 pp.) pp. 38 - 40
A few weeks later, the Arab Revolt broke out and engulfed the whole country. ... in the spreading violence; on the contrary, he openly exhorted his people to Holy War. ... The Mufti's escape coincided with the first setbacks of the revolt. Actually, had the Arab leaders soberly analysed the results of their upheaval, they would have realized that their Holy War against the Jews had turned into an unexpected bonanza for the Zionists. The Arabs had hoped to cut one of the main Jewish lifelines by closing the port of Jaffa to their shipping. The Jews had retaliated by building a port at Tel Aviv in record time...
The Haganah in the past had confined its activities strictly to defence. Now it created its first offensive unit, 'The Mobile', which struck at the gangs in their very fiefs.
A fiery Scotsman, Charles Orde Wingate, revolutionized the fighting methods of the Haganah. A devout Christian, but deeply inspired by the Old Testament, Wingate had decided to dedicate his life to the Zionist cause. He had arrived in Palestine as an Intelligence officer in the British army, but very soon he was busy creating the 'Special Night Squads' of the Haganah. With the tacit approval of the British authorities Wingate hand-picked the most courageous young Jews he found, trained them in unconventional fighting and led them in battle against the Arab chieftains. They inflicted heavy casualties on their disorganized rivals.
Michael Bar-Zohar, Eitan Haber: "The quest for the red prince," (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, May 1, 1983, 232 pp.) p. 40
Orde Wingate was a heck of a tactician and one of history’s truly original characters.
One of my favorite stories is about a woman he didn’t marry. He was engaged for several years to a woman in England, and then, as he was returning from the Middle East with the intention of marrying her, he met a teenage girl on the ship and quickly married *her* instead. His original fiancee remained unmarried, and eventually became a close friend of some of Wingate’s siblings.
When she was asked, in her old age, why she hadn’t married, she said, “After knowing Wingate, every other man was just too boring.”
It makes me wish I’d met him ;-). I’m sort of fascinated, in a literary way, by men like that ... the “doomed warrior” archetype. Stonewall Jackson, Jonathan Netanyahu, George Patton, Orde Wingate, John Nicholson ... seems like all the existed for was fighting, and they knew it.
With a background in exploration, guerilla fighting in Palestine and intelligence operations. He was sent by General Wavell (commanding in the Middle East) to Sudan in 1940 to help the Ethiopian nationalists and direct their revolt against the Italians. As the unrelenting leader of Gideon Force, he made use of bluff, maneuver and unorthodox tactics. Following the liberation of Ethopia, he was seriously ill and made an attempt at suicide, but after a convalescence he was called to India by Wavell, who appreciated his unconventional approaches.http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/owingate.htm
For Burma, he proposed Long Range Penetration Groups to conduct guerilla operations behind the Japanese lines. A five-month test of this Chindit Concept in 1943 earned him a second bar to his Distinguished Service Order, though his losses in men and equipment were high. Churchill, ever delighted by imaginative fighters, took Wingate with him to the Quebec Conference in 1943. Although some opposed the idea, he went back to India with authorization to conduct long-range offensives under Lord Mountbatten, the Supreme Commander in Southeast Asia, as part of a campaign to recapture Burma.
In February 1944, his Chindits were dropped deep in Burma, but Wingate himself was killed in an aircrash in India in March. He was a controversial figure, an intense, mercurial man who loved to innovate and lead but who resented higher authority. He held a deep religious conviction that he was an instrument of a greater power, and he seemed infused with a mythical, almost fanatical quality. General Sir William Slim, who knew him both in Africa and in India, described him as "strange, excitable, moody creature, but he had a fire in him. He coul ignite other men."
He was one of nine men who died in the crash of a U.S. Army Air Corps transport plane in India on March 25, 1944. They were originally buried in India, but moved to a common grave in Section 12 of Arlington National Cemetery on November 10, 1950.
Bump for Wingate.
‘Fiery Scotsman’? Wingate was born in India and grew up in England. I know his father was Scottish, but saying that Wingate was Scottish because of this is like saying that Winston Churchill was American because one of his parents was...
Being of 2 worlds...the culture of colonial Asia/Africa where things were always in flux and opportunity was rampant and the culture of Britain which was more confining but still the leader of much of the globe they were often of an eccentric character.
Wingate seems to have been one of these originals.
Good point. There were unique opportunities in the colonies/mandate territories for men with drive and originality.
Wingate was nuttier than most, though ... the flip side of some of the British officers who “went Arab.”
This is not to say that his enthusiastic Zionism was nuts ... I meant stuff like his walking around naked chewing on raw onions.