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Encyclopedia > Battle of Imphal
Battle of Imphal
Part of Burma Campaign
Date 8 March - 3 July 1944
Location Imphal, Manipur, India
Result Decisive British Victory
Combatants
British Fourteenth Army
Indian IV Corps
Japanese 15th Division
Japanese 33rd Division
Japanese 31st Division
Commanders
Louis Mountbatten
Geoffrey Scoones
Renya Mutaguchi
Masakasu Kawabe
Strength
4 Infantry Divisions
1 Armoured Brigade
1 Parachute Brigade
3 Infamtry
about 100,000 Japanese Army
Casualties
17,500 53,879
Burma Campaign
ChinditsNgakyedaukImphalKohimaCentral BurmaDracula
South-East Asian campaign
MalayaPrince of Wales & RepulseThailandSingaporeIndian OceanAndaman IslandsBurmaMalacca Strait

The Battle of Imphal took place in the region around the city of Imphal, the capital of the state of Manipur in North-East India from March until July 1944. Japanese armies attempted to destroy the Allied forces at Imphal and invade India, but were driven back into Burma with heavy losses. Together with the simultaneous Battle of Kohima on the road by which the encircled Allied forces at Imphal were relieved, the battle was the the turning point of the Burma Campaign, part of the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. The Burma Campaign was a campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. It was fought primarily between Commonwealth, Chinese and American forces against the Empire of Japan. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in leap years). ... July 3 is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 181 days remaining. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Imphal is the capital of Manipur, India. ... Manipur   (Bengali: মণিপুর,) is a state in northeastern India making its capital in the city of Imphal. ... The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from East African divisions within the British Army. ... The Indian IV Corps was part of Fourteenth Army during World War II. It operated on the central part of the front, covering the Assam of India and opposite the upper Chindwin in Burma. ... The IJA Fifteenth Division ) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). ... Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (June 25, 1900 – August 27, 1979) was a British admiral and statesman and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. ... Sir Geoffrey Allen Percival Scoones, KCB, KBE, CSI, DSO, MC, (1893 - 1975) was a general in the British Army during the Second World War . ... (1888-1966) Lieutenant-General Renya Mutaguchi Commanded the 18th Division in south China and in the World War II Campaigns in Malaya, Philippines and Burma. ... Masakazu Kawabe (1886 - 1965) was a Japanese Imperial Army officer who attained the rank of Chujo (Lieutenant General). ... The Burma Campaign was a campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. It was fought primarily between Commonwealth, Chinese and American forces against the Empire of Japan. ... The Chindits (Officially in 1942 77th Indian Infantry Brigade and in 1943 Indian 3rd Infantry Division) were a British Indian Army Special Force that served in Burma and India from 1942 until 1945 during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long range penetration groups trained... The Battle of the Admin Box took place on the Southern Front of the Burma Campaign from February 5 to February 23, 1944 in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II In Arakan the Japanese 55th Division infiltrated Allied lines to attack Indian 7th Infantry Division from the... The Battle of Kohima was a battle of the Burma Campaign in World War II, fought around the town of Kohima in northeast India from April 4 to June 22, 1944. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Battle of Meiktila. ... During World War II, Operation Dracula was the name given to an airborne and amphibious attack on Rangoon by British and Indian forces, part of the Burma Campaign. ... The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. ... Combatants British Army, Indian Army, Australian Army, Federated Malay States Volunteer Forces Imperial Japanese Army Commanders Arthur Percival Tomoyuki Yamashita Strength 140,000 70,000 Casualties 5,000 killed, 50,000 prisoners of war no more than 34,000 The Battle of Malaya was a conflict between a Commonwealth army... The Sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse was a World War II naval engagement which illustrated the effectiveness of aerial attacks against naval forces that were not protected by air cover and the resulting importance of including an aircraft carrier in any major fleet action. ... It has been suggested that Japanese Raids into Indian Ocean be merged into this article or section. ... The Andaman and Nicobar Islands (8,293 sq km on 139 islands), are a group of islands situated in the Bay of Bengal at about 780 miles from Kolkata, 740 miles from Chennai and 120 miles from Cape Nargis in Burma. ... Combatants United Kingdom Empire of Japan Commanders Arthur John Power Manley Laurence Power Shigeru Fukudome Shintaro Hashimoto† Kaju Sugiura† Strength 5 destroyers 1 cruiser 1 destroyer Casualties 1 destroyer damaged, 2 killed[1] 1 cruiser sunk, 1 destroyer damaged, 927 killed[2] The Battle of the Malacca Strait, sometimes called... Imphal is the capital of Manipur, India. ... Manipur   (Bengali: মণিপুর,) is a state in northeastern India making its capital in the city of Imphal. ... The Himalayas in Sikkim North-East India is the easternmost region of India consisting of the contiguous Seven Sister States and the state of Sikkim. ... The Battle of Kohima was a battle of the Burma Campaign in World War II, fought around the town of Kohima in northeast India from April 4 to June 22, 1944. ... The Burma Campaign was a campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. It was fought primarily between Commonwealth, Chinese and American forces against the Empire of Japan. ... The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. ...

Contents

The situation

In 1942, the Japanese Army had driven the British, Indian and Chinese troops out of Burma. The retreat of the Allied Burma Corps stopped at Imphal, which lay in a plain on one of the few practicable routes through the ranges of jungle-covered hills which formed the border between Burma (now Myanmar) and India. The Imperial Japanese Army (: 大日本帝國陸軍 Shinjitai: 大日本帝国陸軍 Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun) was the official ground based armed force of Japan from 1867 to 1945 when it was Imperial Japan. ...


Over the following year, the Allied troops slowly improved their training, equipment and morale, and increased the capacity of the lines of communication to the Assam front. At the start of 1944, the Allies were poised to invade Burma on several fronts. Imphal was built up to be a substantial logistic base, with airfields, encampments and supply dumps. 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ...


Origins of the Japanese plan

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose — one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, led the Indian National Army against the allies in Imphal & Burma during World War II.
Netaji Subash Chandra Bose — one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, led the Indian National Army against the allies in Imphal & Burma during World War II.

Late in 1943, the Japanese command in Burma had been reorganised. A new headquarters, Burma Area Army, was created under Lieutenant-General Masakasu Kawabe. One of its subordinate formations, responsible for the central part of the front facing Imphal and Assam, was 15th Army, whose new commander was Lieutenant-General Renya Mutaguchi. Image File history File links Subhas_Bose. ... Image File history File links Subhas_Bose. ... Subhash Chandra Bose, (Bangla: সুভাষ চন্দ্র বসু Shubhash Chôndro Boshu) (January 23, 1897 – presumably August 18, 1945 [although this is disputed]note), also known as Netaji, was one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement against the British Raj and was a prominent supporter of the Axis as a... The Indian independence movement incorporated the efforts by Indians to liberate the region from British rule and form the nation-state of India. ... The Indian National Army (I.N.A) or Azad Hind Fauj was the army of the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (The Provisional Government of Free India ) which fought along with the Japanese 15th Army during the Japanese Campaign in Burma, and in the Battle of Imphal, during the Second... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... Burma Area Army was a Japanese army organized 18 March 1943 to unify the command of the 15th and 28th Armies in Burma. ... Masakazu Kawabe (1886 - 1965) was a Japanese Imperial Army officer who attained the rank of Chujo (Lieutenant General). ... (1888-1966) Lieutenant-General Renya Mutaguchi Commanded the 18th Division in south China and in the World War II Campaigns in Malaya, Philippines and Burma. ...


By design or chance, Mutaguchi had played a major part in several Japanese victories, ever since the Marco Polo Bridge incident. His natural instinct was to mount an offensive against Imphal. He may also have been goaded by the first Chindit expedition launched by the British under Orde Wingate early in 1943. Wingate's troops had apparently easily traversed terrain which Mutaguchi had earlier claimed would be impassable to the Japanese 18th Division which he commanded at the time. The Allies had widely publicised the successful aspects of Wingate's expedition while concealing their losses to disease and exhaustion, possibly misleading Mutaguchi and some of his staff as to the difficulties they would later face. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Lukouchiao Incident. ... The Chindits (Officially in 1942 77th Indian Infantry Brigade and in 1943 3rd Indian Infantry Division) were a British jungle Special Forces unit that served in Burma from 1943 until 1945 as part of the Fourteenth Army during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long... Orde Charles Wingate Major General Orde Charles Wingate, DSO (February 26, 1903 – March 24, 1944), was a British major general and creator of two special military units during World War II. // Orde Wingate was born 23 February 1903 in Naini Tal, India to a military family. ... IJA 18th Division ) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. ...


A spoiling attack to disrupt Allied plans was standard Japanese practice. Mutaguchi had larger ambitions. He planned to exploit the capture of Imphal by advancing to the Brahmaputra River valley, thereby cutting the Allied supply lines to their front in northern Burma, and to the airfields supplying the Nationalist Chinese under Chiang Kai-shek over "The Hump". Mutaguchi's proposal was at first firmly rejected by the staff at Burma Area Army. However, Southern Expeditionary Army Group, the headquarters for all Japanese forces in South East Asia, were in favour of it. Kawabe's staff persuaded Southern Expeditionary Army Group that there were severe logistical risks with Mutaguchi's plan, only to find that the Japanese Imperial Army HQ in Tokyo now supported it. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Chiang Kai-shek (Chinese: 蔣介石 or 蔣中正, October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975) was a Chinese military and political leader who assumed the leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) after the 1925 death of Sun Yat-sen. ... The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew from India to China to resupply the Flying Tigers and the Chinese Government of Chiang Kai-shek. ... The Southern Expeditionary Army Group was part of the Japanese military during the World War II era. ...


To some extent, Mutaguchi and War Minister Hideki Tojo were influenced by Subash Chandra Bose, who led the Indian National Army. This was a force composed of former prisoners of war from the British Indian Army who had been captured by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore, and who had decided to join their captors in an attempt to rid India of their colonial rulers, and thereby attain freedom. Bose was eager for the INA to participate in any invasion of India, and persuaded several Japanese that a victory such as Mutaguchi anticipated would lead to the collapse of British rule in India. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Netaji poster in Thiruvananthapuram Subhas Chandra Bose (January 23, 1897 - August 18, 1945) also known as Netaji, was a Orissa born and Bengal based Indian leader of the movement to win independence from British rule. ... The Indian National Army (I.N.A) or Azad Hind Fauj was the army of the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (The Provisional Government of Free India ) which fought along with the Japanese 15th Army during the Japanese Campaign in Burma, and in the Battle of Imphal, during the Second... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ...


In the end, the various Japanese headquarters allowed the plan (designated Operation C (ウ号作戦)) to proceed, because a mere passive defence of Burma against the various Allied threats would require as many reinforcements as the attack on Imphal. Also, if Operation C were successful, almost all the Allied attacks on Burma would have to be abandoned.


The Japanese plan

Imphal was held by the Indian IV Corps. Because the Allies were planning to take the offensive themselves, its units were thrown forward almost to the Chindwin River and widely separated. Mutaguchi intended to cut off and destroy the Allied units in their forward positions and then capture Imphal. The Indian IV Corps was part of Fourteenth Army during World War II. It operated on the central part of the front, covering the Assam of India and opposite the upper Chindwin in Burma. ... The Chindwin River is a river in Myanmar and the major tributary of the Irrawaddy River. ...


In detail, under Operation C:

All Mutaguchi's divisional commanders disagreed with the plan to some extent. Sato distrusted Mutaguchi's motives, and Yanagida openly derided him as a "blockhead." Yamaguchi was already very ill and fatalistic. Their main reservations concerned supply. Mutaguchi had assumed success within three weeks, but adequate supplies after that period could be obtained only if the Japanese captured Allied supply dumps, as the torrential rains that the spring season would inevitably bring would make supply routes from the east impossible to traverse. IJA Thirty Third Division ) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. ... The Indian 17th Infantry Division was a formation of the British Indian Army raised during World War II. It had the distinction of being continually in combat during the three-year long Burma Campaign (except for brief periods of refit). ... The Indian 20th Infantry Division was formed in India, and took part in the Burma Campaign during World War II. In the immediate aftermath of the War, the bulk of the division reoccupied French Indo-China. ... The IJA Fifteenth Division ) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Kohima is the hilly capital of Indias north eastern border state of Nagaland which shares its borders with Burma. ... Dimapur is a town and a town area committee in Dimapur District in the state of Nagaland, India. ...


Gambles such as Mutaguchi was making had worked in the past, but could no longer be relied upon to work, given nearly total Allied air superiority in the area and the improvement in morale and training of British and Indian troops. Mutaguchi had proposed using "Genghis Khan" rations, driving herds of buffalo and cattle across the Chindwin as meat rations on the hoof. Most of these unfortunate beasts died from lack of forage and rotted many miles from the troops they were intended to supply.


There were other weaknesses in the plan which were to be revealed as the campaign progressed. The Japanese assumed that the British would be unable to use tanks on the steep jungle-covered hills around Imphal. For the sake of ease of movement and supply, the Japanese were leaving behind most of their field artillery, their chief anti-tank weapon. As a result, the Japanese troops would have very little protection against tanks if these were in fact used against them.


Based on his experiences in the campaigns in Malaya and Singapore and in Burma in early 1942, Mutaguchi dismissed British and Indian troops as inherently inferior. The troops he had met on those occasions had generally been inadequately trained and led. The Allies had by now largely overcome the administrative and organisational problems which had crippled their early efforts in Burma, and their troops were by now far better trained and motivated. Combatants British Army, Indian Army, Australian Army, Federated Malay States Volunteer Forces Imperial Japanese Army Commanders Arthur Percival Tomoyuki Yamashita Strength 140,000 70,000 Casualties 5,000 killed, 50,000 prisoners of war no more than 34,000 The Battle of Malaya was a conflict between a Commonwealth army...


Prelude to the operation

In late February, a local Japanese counter-attack was launched against Indian XV Corps in Arakan, using much the same tactics as Mutaguchi proposed to use. The attack failed when Allied aircraft parachuted supplies to cut-off troops, allowing them to stand firm while the Japanese ran out of supplies. The engagement became known to the Allies as the Battle of the Admin Box. From this point onwards, the Allies were to place increasing faith and reliance on their transport aircraft. The planning of Operation C was too far advanced to take account of these developments. The Indian XV Corps was a part of the Fourteenth Army during World War II. It was responsible for the southern part of the Armys front in the Arakan region. ... Arakan is a state in the North Western part of Myanmar, formerly Burma. ... The Battle of the Admin Box took place on the Southern Front of the Burma Campaign from February 5 to February 23, 1944 in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II In Arakan the Japanese 55th Division infiltrated Allied lines to attack Indian 7th Infantry Division from the...


Even as the Japanese prepared to launch their attack, on 5 March 1944 the Allies launched the airborne phase of the second Chindit expedition. Japanese officers such as Major-General Noburo Tazoe, commanding the Japanese Army Air Force units in Burma, urged Mutaguchi to divert troops from his offensive to secure the Japanese rear areas against the Chindits. Mutaguchi dismissed these concerns, claiming that in a few weeks he would have occupied the air bases from which the Chindits were supplied. March 5 is the 64th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (65th in leap years). ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ...


The battle

Opening phases

Indian IV Corps in Imphal was commanded by Lieutenant-General Geoffrey Scoones, and was part of the British Fourteenth Army under Lieutenant-General William Slim. When they received intelligence that a major Japanese offensive was impending, Slim and Scoones planned to withdraw into the Imphal plain and force the Japanese to fight with their logistics stretched beyond the limit. However, they misjudged the date on which the Japanese were to attack, and the strength they would use against some objectives. The Japanese launched their troops across the Chindwin River on 8 March 1944. Scoones only gave his forward divisions orders to withdraw to Imphal on 13 March. Sir Geoffrey Allen Percival Scoones, KCB, KBE, CSI, DSO, MC, (1893 - 1975) was a general in the British Army during the Second World War . ... The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from East African divisions within the British Army. ... Field Marshal Sir William Slim (pictured here as a Major General) Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim (6 August 1897 - 14 December 1970), British military commander and 13th Governor-General of Australia, was born near Bristol, Gloucestershire. ... March 8 is the 67th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (68th in leap years). ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ...


The Indian 20th Division under Major-General Douglas Gracey withdrew without difficulty, mainly because two of Yamamoto's battalions from the Japanese 15th Division were delayed at Indaw in northern Burma by the Chindits and were unable to intervene. General Sir Douglas David Gracey General Sir Douglas David Gracey, KCB, KCIE, CBE, MC (1894-1964) was a British officer in both the First and Second World Wars and the second Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, holding this office from 11 February 1948 to 16 January 1951. ... Indaw(Sagaing, Burma) is a town in northern Myanmar. ... The Chindits (Officially in 1942 77th Indian Infantry Brigade and in 1943 Indian 3rd Infantry Division) were a British Indian Army Special Force that served in Burma and India from 1942 until 1945 during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long range penetration groups trained...


The Indian 17th Division under Major-General Cowan was cut off by the Japanese 33rd Division. The Japanese 215 Regiment captured a supply dump at Milestone 109, twenty miles behind Cowan's leading outposts. The Japanese 214 Regiment seized Tongzang and a ridge named Tuitum Saddle across the only road, a few miles behind the Indian 17th Division's position. David Tennent Cowan (1896 - 1983), also known as Punch Cowan, was an officer in the British Indian Army, who was distinguished for leading the Indian 17th Infantry Division during almost the entire Burma Campaign. ...


At Tuitum Saddle, 214 Regiment were unable to dig in properly before they were hit by the Indian 48th Brigade on 18 March. The Japanese suffered heavy casualties and were forced away from the road. Fighting around Milestone 109 was even more severe, but Cowan had taken steps to secure the most vulnerable point in the rear of his division, the bridge over the Manipur River. 17th Division crossed safely, demolishing the bridge behind them, and recovered the depot on 25 March. They were forced to abandon large amounts of supplies, but removed most of the vehicles, food and ammunition. The Japanese were left only such items as clothing and blankets. March 18 is the 77th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (78th in leap years). ... March 25 is the 84th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (85th in leap years). ...


Scoones had nevertheless been forced to send the bulk of his only reserve, Indian 23rd Infantry Division under Major-General Ouvry Roberts, to the aid of 17th Division. The two divisions, now supplied by parachute drops from Allied aircraft, made their way back to the Imphal plain, which they reached on 4 April. The Indian 23rd Infantry Division was raised during World War II. // The division was raised on January 1, 1942, at Jhansi in India. ... April 4 is the 94th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (95th in leap years). ...


Meanwhile, Imphal had been left vulnerable to the Japanese 15th Division. The only force left covering the base, Indian 50 Parachute Brigade, was roughly handled at Sangshak by a regiment from the Japanese 31st Division on its way to Kohima. However, an earlier diversionary attack launched by Japanese 55th Division in Arakan had already failed. Slim was able to move the battle-hardened Indian 5th Infantry Division, including all its artillery and transport, by air from Arakan to the Central Front. The move was completed in only eleven days. Two of its brigades went to Imphal, and their leading troops were in action on 3 April. Arakan is a state in the North Western part of Myanmar, formerly Burma. ... Indian 5th Infantry Division fought in several theatres of World War II and more than earned its nickname the Ball of Fire. Lord Louis Mountbatten said: When the Division came under my command in South-East Asia towards the end of 1943, it had already had three years hard fighting... April 3 is the 93rd day of the year (94th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 272 days remaining. ...


Stalemate

From the beginning of April, the Japanese attacked the Imphal plain from several directions:

  • 33rd Division attacked from the south at Bishenpur, where they cut a secondary track from Silchar into the plain. Yanagida, its commander, was already pessimistic and depressed by the failure to trap the Indian 17th Division. He had also been rattled by a garbled radio message which suggested that one of his regiments had been destroyed at Milestone 109. He therefore advanced cautiously. By doing so, he may have lost a chance to gain success while the Indian 17th Infantry Division was resting after its retreat and Bishenpur was held only by Indian 32 Brigade (from 20th Division). Mutaguchi removed him from command.
  • Yamamoto Force attacked the Shenam Saddle on the main road from Tamu into Imphal. The Shenam Saddle was ideal defensive terrain. Despite using heavy artillery and tanks, Yamamoto could not break through Indian 20th Division's well-sited defences. Detachments from two brigades of the Indian National Army fought on the Japanese side in this sector. The initial enthusiasm of most INA soldiers soon waned, and they deserted and straggled in increasing numbers.
  • 15th Division encircled Imphal from the north. Its 60 Regiment captured a British supply dump at Kangpokpi (also known as "Mission" from a church there) on the main Imphal-Dimapur road, but once again, the depot had already been emptied of food and ammunition. 51 Regiment seized the vital Nunshigum Ridge, which overlooked the main airstrip at Imphal. This was a major threat to IV Corps, and on 13 April the Indian 5th Division counter-attacked, supported by massed artillery and the M3 Lee tanks of the 3rd Carabiniers. The Japanese regiment had no anti-tank weapons, and their troops were driven from the ridge with heavy casualties.

Silchar (Bengali: Shilchôr, Assamese: শিলচৰ Xilsôr, Sylheti: শিলচর Hilsôr) is the headquarters of Cachar district in the state of Assam in India. ... The Indian National Army (I.N.A) or Azad Hind Fauj was the army of the Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind (The Provisional Government of Free India ) which fought along with the Japanese 15th Army during the Japanese Campaign in Burma, and in the Battle of Imphal, during the Second... April 13 is the 103rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (104th in leap years). ... The M3 Medium Tank was an American tank used during World War II. In Britain the tank was called Lee and its modified version, with a new turret, was called Grant. As a rush job intended to be brought from design to production in a short period, the M3 was... The 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Waless Dragoon Guards) was a cavalry regiment of the British Army. ...

Allied counter-attacks

By 1 May, all Japanese attacks had come to a halt. Slim and Scoones now began a counter-offensive against the Japanese 15th Division. This division was the weakest of the Japanese formations, and success against it would break the siege. Progress was slow. The monsoon had broken, making movement very difficult. Also, IV Corps was suffering some shortages. Although rations and reinforcements were delivered to Imphal by air, artillery ammunition was by now rationed. The steep ridges held by the Japanese were almost impregnable. May 1 is the 121st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (122nd in leap years). ... Monsoon in the Vindhya mountain range, central India A monsoon is a storm whose direction depends on the specific season. ...


However, the Japanese were at the end of their endurance. Neither the Japanese 31st Division which was fighting at Kohima, nor 15th Division, had received adequate supplies since the offensive began, and their troops were starving. This allowed Indian XXXIII Corps to drive the Japanese from Kohima at the end of May, and advance south. The troops of Japanese 15th Division were forced to abandon their defensive positions to forage for supplies in local villages. Mutaguchi dismissed the mortally ill Yamauchi, but this did not change matters. The leading troops of IV Corps and XXXIII Corps met at Milestone 109 on the Dimapur-Imphal road on 22 June, and the siege was raised. The Indian XXXIII Corps was part of Fourteenth Army during World War II. It was added to the order of battle of Fourteenth Army during the crisis of spring 1944. ... June 22 is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 192 days remaining. ...


Although there was now no realistic hope of success, Mutaguchi (and Kawabe) ordered renewed attacks. 33rd Division had been reinforced by a regiment from the 53rd Division and a battalion from the 54th Divisions. Under a new forceful commander, Lieutenant-General Nobuo Tanaka, the division broke into the Indian 17th Division's positions at Bishenpur, but failed to break through. Yamamoto Force also made repeated efforts, but by the end of June both formations had suffered so many casualties that they were unable to make any progress. 15th and 31st Divisions refused to make a renewed attack on Imphal from the northeast, as they were in no condition to comply.


End

In fact, the Japanese had realised that operations ought to be broken off as early as May. At a meeting between Mutaguchi and Kawabe on 6 June, both used hara-gei, an unspoken form of communication using gesture, expression and tone of voice, to convey their conviction that success was impossible. But neither of them wished to bear the responsibility of ordering a retreat. Kawabe subsequently became ill with dysentery and perhaps physically unfit for duty. June 6 is the 157th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (158th in leap years), with 208 days remaining // 1508 - Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, is defeated in Friulia by Venetian forces; he is forced to sign a three-year truce and cede several territories to Venice 1513...


When he realised that none of his formations were obeying his orders for a renewed attack, Mutaguchi finally ordered the offensive to be broken off on 3 July. The Japanese, reduced in many cases to a rabble, fell back to the Chindwin river, abandoning their artillery, transport, and soldiers too sick to walk. The defeat at Kohima and Imphal was the largest defeat to that date in Japanese history. They had suffered 55,000 casualties, including 13,500 dead. Most of these losses were the result of starvation, disease and exhaustion. By contrast, the Allies suffered 17,500 casualties. Both Kawabe and Mutaguchi were relieved of command. July 3 is the 184th day of the year (185th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 181 days remaining. ...


Royal Air Force Operations at Imphal

By mid-1944, the Allied air forces enjoyed undisputed air supremacy over Burma. The last major effort by the Japanese Army Air Force had been over the Arakan in February and March, when they had suffered severe losses. During the Imphal and Kohima battles, they were able to make barely half a dozen significant raids.


IV Corps enjoyed close air support from fighter-bombers and dive bombers. Allied fighter bombers and medium bombers shot up and bombed enemy concen­trations, supply dumps, transport, roads and bridges all the way to the Chindwin river. The monsoon in no way diminished their activity. The Third Tactical Air Force (TAF) increased their sortie rate to 24,000 sorties during the worst four months of the monsoon, nearly six times the figure of the previous year’s record. The RAF Third Tactical Air Force (Third TAF), which was formed in south Asia in December 1943, was one of three tactical air forces formed by the Royal Air Force during World War II. Third TAF was formed shortly after the establishment of South East Asia Command to provide close...


The Allies could fly men, equipment and supplies into the airstrips at Imphal so although cut off by land, the town was not without a lifeline. Allied aircraft could also parachute ammunition, rations and even drinking water to surrounded units.


No. 152 Squadron RAF was one of the squadrons of the Third TAF. It moved to Burma on 19 December 1943. During the Battle of Imphal, the squadron operated from front-line strips supporting the 14th Army during its final conquest of Burma. No. ...


Bibliography

  • Jon Latimer, Burma: The Forgotten War, London: John Murray, 2004. ISBN 978-0719565762
  • William Slim, Defeat Into Victory, London: Cassell, 1956.
  • Don Moser and editors of Time-Life Books, World War II: China-Burma-India, (1978), Library of Congress no 77-93742
  • Louis Allen, Burma: The longest War, Dent Publishing, 1984, ISBN 0-460-02474-4

Jon Latimer is a historian and writer based in Wales. ... Field Marshal Sir William Slim (pictured here as a Major General) Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim (6 August 1897 - 14 December 1970), British military commander and 13th Governor-General of Australia, was born near Bristol, Gloucestershire. ...

Notes

See Wikipedia:Footnote3
  1. ^  World War II: China-Burma-India, Bibliography, page 157

External links

  • Burma Star Association Map
  • Burma Star Association JAPS INVADE INDIA FROM THE CHINDWIN
  • Royal Engineers Museum Engineers at Imphal and Kohima
  • National Army Museum War in the Far East
  • No. 1 Squadron, Royal Indian Air Force, Imphal, Assam, 1944
  • British leaflet dropped post-Imphal in Burma

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WW2DB: Battle of Imphal-Kohima (1252 words)
Imphal was the state capital of Manipur in northeastern India and was situated amidst a plain where an invading army from the east must march across.
The city of Imphal was defended by the Indian IV Corps under the command of Lieutenant General Geoffrey Scoones, who reported to Lieutenant General William Slim.
When the battle at Milestone 109 was won by the British and Indian troops, the siege of Imphal was lifted.
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