As part of Operation Extended Capital, it was vital for the British to capture a key port over the Irrawaddy River further south prior to the monsoon season. The British IV Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Frank Messervy, was assigned the task and would have to fight their way over 300 kilometers in roughly a month. The 7th Indian Division would make a river assault in the Nyaunga area and 17th Indian Division, along with the 255th Armoured Brigade would exploit from the bridgehead. The area was defended by the 2nd Indian National Army (INA) Division. Elements of the 1st INA Division were attached to bolster the defenses. The 7th Division planned the crossing on a wide front at numerous points. The initial assault on 14 February was disastrous, with the INA defenders shredding the attackers with machinegun fire. On the 15th, they tried again.