Monday, February 27, 2012

Rambo Maung Maung Khin’s Fighting Peacock (2)

(Maung Maung Khin originally was a student warrior from the Battalion-701 of notorious ABSDF-North and he acted in 2008 Sylvester Stallone’s overly-exaggerated anti-Burmese movie Rambo-4 as the ridiculously-sadist Burmese-Army-Colonel Tint. This post is the translation of his article from KOZAN Blog.) 

Rambo Stallone Killing Rambo Maung Khin.
For the armed revolutionaries like us Malaria was not a stranger at all. If we had medicines we used it. If we didn’t have medicines and pills we used the local method called Mackloun-Chit (the natives rigorously scratch the infected one’s body till he or she bleeds with thorns from a native medicinal plant). Too many comrades died of Malaria in the jungle we couldn’t even keep up recording their names. Sick and rest and fight as we kept on fighting the military dictatorship.

After walking for more than two days through the jungle our group had reached an abandoned Kachin farm.

Kachin Farm-flowers and Rice-circle

That abandoned-farm was right on the border of Battalion-5’s territory and Battalion-11’s. Moe Hnyin Township was the Battalion-5’s territory while Moe Gaung was the Battalion-11’s. So we were not that far from our destination. We met a local hunter there and he sold us some wildlife-jerky. So we took a rest there for about an hour and cooked our lunch.

These Kachin hidden villages or abandoned-farms (Ywar-bone) always have plenty of vegetables both domesticated and wild growing. So we could cook good meals there and all our men wanted to take a rest there during the long exhausting marches in the jungle.

Our lunch that day was plenty of grilled-jerky and vegetable soup and meshed grilled-tomatoes with farm-flowers (a Kachin jungle spice) and we had a rare great meal. After the lunch I even heard the man taking hangaws to the nearby waterhole to wash singing a song on his way down.

“I am fighting in our revolution, everyone must have human rights, and everyone should get human rights!” Seemed our men would sing active morale-raising songs whenever they had a good meal and they would sing depressing songs like Sai Htee Sai’s when their meal was bad.

Abandoned Kachin Village.
We left that Ywar-bone and after two days walk we finally arrived at the camp of KIA TOC-4 (Tactical-operations-command-4). That camp was situated at North-east of Sar-mhaw, East of Hto-pu, and North-east of Moegaung. The camp was completely surrounded on three sides by the hilly ranges and only one side was a plain valley-land the site of an abandoned Kachin village.

Within two days from our arrival the District Leader Sein Aye’s Group from Moe-hnyin, Salan-kabar Htun Phe’s Group from Sar-hmaw, and NLD-LA (National League for Democracy – Liberated Areas) Group had arrived. Also from the KIA all the political commissars from the Battalians 5, 11, and 15 and Regiments 251 and 254 had arrived.

To protect the camp and important meeting I and a squad of new recruits were positioned at an protracted observation post on the old-village road across the little creek.   

The Meeting Begins

Once all the representatives from the troops in the KIA TOC-4 region were there, the meeting was started on 11 July 1992 to discuss how to intensify the combined political and military offensives against the military Government and the army.

Down south in the Karen State at the Manerplaw area the politically powerful DAB (Democratic Alliance of Burma) alliance had been formed and its columns were already beginning to be active.

Then a wireless message came in of the successful attack by one of our ABSDF (Northern) student army groups led by Than Gyaung and La-seng against the army at Sankar across the River Irrawaddy from the Myitkyinar Airport. Once he heard the news of the operation and the good news that they took five guns from the enemy, Myo Win immediately replied by saying that he would come back only when his group gets at least six enemy guns.

Attacked by an Army Column

A Burmese Army column with civilian porters.
July 12 and the second day of the meeting was being held at the KIA camp. The meeting began at 9 sharp in the morning. Our little OP Squad had just finished the breakfast away from the main camp and we sat together smoking and chatting as if we were back at home. We didn’t even pack our sleeping bags and mosquito nets and yet to wash our hangaws.

“Jaing,” suddenly we heard the deep loud explosion of a landmine. When I glimpsed at my wristwatch it was just ten past ten in the morning.
“Some wildlife must have stepped on a landmine, I think we’ll be eating meat for the dinner,” commented one of my men.
“Hey, pack the backpacks, it could be anything, we don’t know yet!” I warned out to the men and within five minutes many gunshots rang out.

Only then I quickly turned on the walkie-talkie. I also ordered the men to hurry the packing. Soon we could hear the continuous firing of enemy heavy weapons. Where were the shells falling we didn’t know. Soon the order from Secretary Myo Win came in through the walkie-talkie to bring my squad to where he and his squad were.

We started our retreat but it took some time as I had to wait for my men. Soon Myo Win was swearing angrily at me through the wireless. “Bastard, where the fuck are you? Are you dead? I been telling you to hurry up!” His reprimand made me upset.

While we were crossing the little creek we heard the heavy-weapon shells flying overhead. Then I slipped on the mud and fell. When I got back up and looked around I found all the bamboo brushes at the camp site we just abandoned were flattened by the enemy shells. We were extremely lucky, just in time.

Within a short time my squad reached Secretary Myo Win’s place. He was smiling at me as if he didn’t swear at me angrily at all just few minutes ago. “Enemy shells been falling all over your way, I was so bloody worried,” was his immediate remark.

The battlefield-intelligence guy from Sar-hmaw Comrade Ba Nyar greeted me and also gave me a plastic cup filled with local moonshine liquor. Jut to calm myself down I took the cup and empted it in one bottom-up. After that I asked him the situation.

“Enemy’s got onto that hill up there. KIA had one sentry squad up there when the enemy came in and one soldier stepped on a mine. Out of the whole Kachin squad only one sentry was there and he ran down the hill to escape and enemy got hold of the high hill and started shelling the camp. But they overshot and the shells were falling on your position. That’s why Secretary was worried about you guys,” Comrade Ba Nyar had patiently explained me the situations.

Burmese Soldier wounded from KIA mine.
Still I couldn’t hear single return gunfire from our side as everyone prepared to attack and retake the now-enemy-occupied hill. We also reorganized our student army and gathered an attack force. Only two attack squads, one led by Comrades Mya Aung and Tar Tee and second squad led by me and Ba Nyar, out of all the students. We had to leave Comrade Naing Aung and new recruits with the NLD-LA Group.

Then KIA troops began to surround the hill and started bayonet charges. Soon we heard that one group of KIA had been repelled by the enemy. So Secretary Myo Win went and asked the CO of KIA TOC to let our squads to bayonet-charge the enemy.

KIA CO then was Major Lazain Bouk Naw (later assassinated with a bomb in Laiza, the KIA HQ) and the deputy CO was Major Lasan Aung Wah (now with another KIA slinter group). Once he got the permission from Majoe Lazain Bouk Secretary Myo Win picked some select men and equipped them with select weapons and left for the front line to charge at the enemy uphill.

The squad led by me and Banyar was asked to take a position on the KIA heavy-weapon hill to guard the KIA’s only 50 cal heavy machine gun. By that afternoon the battle became real intensive as the Burmese army troops took a strong defense position and fought back our repeated assaults. By then the whole surrounding jungle was covered by carbide smokes and immersed in enemy soldiers’ yelling and swearing.

A 50 cal Heavy Machine Gun.
The day entered into the night as the darkness slowly covered us. Whenever the 50 cal fired the bright sparks from the tracers lit and brightened the surrounding. The KIA man firing the 50 cal without a single piece of protection like earmuff or headgear was completely deaf as extremely loud noises from the heavy machine gun had already completely destroyed his eardrums.

Very soon our hill got hit by enemy 60 mm mortar shells. Thus the 50 cal gun was ordered to move to new position but our squad was not in the movement order. So we stayed put at the same place. In my squad were me, Ba Nyar, Win Shwe, Khwat Kyee, Myint Win, and Ah Nge Lay, all together six.

In the darkness amidst the gun fires and carbide smokes and gunpowder smell we didn’t really feel hungry at all. But the loud grumbles from our stomachs had kept on reminding us to eat.

Looking for packed-meals but found the enemy

Their custom was whenever KIA had a major battle with Burmese Army the nearest Kachin villages were to supply packed-rice-meals to the KIA troops. If the villages were far away and they couldn’t cook rice the KIA troops were to either eat dry rations or chew and swallow raw rice.

But in this battle we knew the packed-rice-meals were being distributed among the KIA troops. But so far they didn’t reach our position and thus we ended up walking along the ridge line searching the packed-meals. My watch was already pointing at quarter to nine.

WE saw the Kachins crouching by the trees along the way and asked them in Kachin, “Ae-Khaung  Sharp-gra-cought Nga-ee,” meaning ‘Where are the packed-meals, brother-in-law?’ and one Kachin replied, “Shoune-dae,” meaning ‘just go ahead or a bit farther!’.   

So we kept on going along the ridge and the Kachins crouching on the track kept on giving us the same answer as we six walked all the way to the front and finally we found the big-basket full of packed-rice-meals on the track. We took two packs each and tried to turn back to our position. Instead we were asked to go further ahead.

So I asked the Kachins, “What was ahead, brother-in-law?” and one Kachin officer replied, “Just the enemy ahead!” I was really surprised. So I asked him why.

“Aren’t you guys coming here to charge at the enemy, are you?” asked he.
“No, we come here to get our packed-meals,” I replied.

He just kept on telling me to charge at the enemy on the hill. Only then I realized that after so many failed bayonet-charges the KIA Kachins were reluctant to go forward for the next charge and so they were now asking us to charge.