The Horrifying Story of How Soldiers Were Savagely Mauled by Crocodiles in the Ramree Island Massacre

Yana Bostongirl

Ramree Island is located off the coast of Burma, in the Bay of Bengal. During the Second World War, the Battle of Ramree Island was fought between the British and Japanese from January 14 to February 22, 1945.

The British wanted to build an airbase on Ramree Island but first had to deal with the Japanese forces who had claimed the island. After weeks of fighting, the Royal British Marines along with the 36th Indian Infantry Brigade managed to outflank the Japanese resulting in the division of the Japanese troops into two groups. According to reports, the British sent word to the smaller group consisting of around a thousand Japanese soldiers to surrender but they chose to take their chances by trying to escape through a crocodile-infested mangrove swamp.

Little did they know that deep in the swamp, a menace unlike any was waiting to attack them en masse.

The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptilian predator in the world as this excerpt explains: "Saltwater crocodiles are the largest reptiles in the world. Typical male specimens reach 17 feet long and 1,000 pounds and the largest can reach 23 feet and 2,200 pounds. Swamps are their natural habitat, and humans are no match for their speed, size, agility, and raw power."

Home, to the saltwater crocodiles, the soldiers soon found themselves picked off one by one by these swamp monsters. The nightmarish scene that unfolded was described by naturalist Bruce Stanley Wright in the following written account: “That night [of February 19, 1945] was the most horrible that any member of the M.L. [motor launch] crews ever experienced. The crocodiles, alerted by the din of warfare and smell of blood, gathered among the mangroves, lying with their eyes above the water, watchfully alert for their next meal. With the ebb of the tide, the crocodiles moved in on the dead, wounded, and uninjured men who had become mired in the mud…The scattered rifle shots in the pitch black swamp punctured by the screams of the wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on Earth. At dawn the vultures arrived to clean up what the crocodiles had left.”

Of the thousand Japanese soldiers who went into the swamp, only 480 made it out alive making it the largest crocodile attack in history. Though many fell prey to the crocodiles, a number of soldiers also lost their lives to other poisonous inhabitants of the swamp such as scorpions as well as to dehydration and disease.

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