Our hero: General Bill Slim

Turbine has launched Version 8: Slim. As always, we’ve chosen the name to honour a hero. This time it’s General Bill Slim, a truly exceptional British hero.

General Bill Slim - our hero

Following Turbine’s tradition of naming new versions after our heroes, our most recent release was codenamed: Slim.

General Bill Slim fought in both World Wars and is best known for leading the 14th Army, known as the “forgotten army”, in Burma during World War II. He is remembered for his intelligent and strategic approach to war, and his understated but deeply felt compassion for his men.

“He surprised the enemy and he sought to use subtlety and guile in a very powerful and new way'” says Robert Lyman, military historian.

‘Uncle Bill’, as he was known, was so successful because he understood that jungle warfare required tailored tactics. Despite lacking equipment and manpower, he managed to overcome the Japanese at Kohima and Imphal. Slim took the time to understand his enemies’ weaknesses and used them to his advantage.

For example, the Japanese often used infiltration tactics to overcome their enemy. In response, Slim set up defensive ‘boxes’: units of men that were supplied by air-drop, so that access by land to the supply base was not necessary. He also trained his men not to fear the jungle by introducing night training and offensive patrolling.

“When he became chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1948 it was said of him that he had never forgotten the smell of soldiers’ feet,” adds Lyman.

Slim always put the wellbeing of his men first, and worked to build confidence in their ability to compete with the Japanese at jungle warfare. He paid great attention to the wellbeing of his soldiers, knowing the vital importance of staying healthy in the jungle, and his classically British style of reserved affection is ultimately what earned him the nickname ‘Uncle Bill’.

This, together with a number of other outstanding qualities, is why General Bill Slim was recently voted the best General in British history. His intelligence, adaptability and sense of care is also why he is one of Turbine’s greatest heroes.

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