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Imphal-kohima 1942 India and Burma Part Nine World War Two

The battle of Imphal-Kohima 1942 India and Burma part Nine World War Two.

To Mutaguchi in his headquarter at MAYMYO 200 miles in the rear the situation at the end of March must have appeared very satisfactory except for the delay to the timetable of the 15th and 31st Divisions caused by the resistance of the 50th Parachute Brigade in the area of UKHRUL between 21st and 26th of March. Detachments of the 31st Division had cut the Imphal-Kohima road at Milestone 72 on the 29th of March the remainder of the division was well on its way to Kohima andthe 15th division was advancing on Imphal itself. The IV Corps was now completely isolated from the outside world except by air. As a result , Operation STAMINA the greatest air supply operation in the history of war put into effect . In some battle of long duration it may sometime be possible to say in retrospect that it was on such and such a day long before the end that the battle was won or lost and the 4th of April 1944 is a good example.

That day all the Divisions of the IV Corps were concentrated in and around the plain and holding a horseshoe-shaped front of almost 100 miles from KANGLATONGBE,SHIGUM, KAMENG, SHENAM, SHUGANU to TORBUNG on the TIDDIM road . Unless an unexpected disaster accured Imphal was secure. On that same day SATO’s 31st division lauched its first assult on the small garrison at Kohima which was saved by the timely arrival of the brigade of the 5th division flown to DIMAPUR . Even so the heroic defenders had to fight desperately to hold their positions until relieved by troops of the 2nd division on the 20th of April but nearly two months were to elapes before SATO gave up attempts to capture the town . With the IV Corps concentrated and the 2nd division having arrived at DIMAPUR Slim decided that time had come for counter-attack.

On the 10th of April he ordered Scoones while holding the Japanese 33rd Division at the southern end of the plains to destroy YAMAUCHI’s 15th division on the north and east of Imphal and to place a force at UKHRUL to disrupt the enemy’s communications with the CHINDWIN. After which he ,Scoones could turn to the destruction of the 33rd division.

To Stopfort shortly to be reinforced by the 7th division (Major-General F.W.MESSERVY ) from ARAKAN  he gave orders to hold Kohima to attack and destroy SATO’s 31st division and to open the road to Imphal at the earliest possible moment. Six weeks of fine weather could now be expected before the monsoon broke in earnest. During this period the Japanese made fanatical attempts to break through the 17th Division in position about BISHENPUR and the 20th division at SHENAM where it is claimed that in proportion to the size of the battlefield and the number of troops involved more casualties were suffered by both sides that in any other engagement of the second world war.

I hope you all like this story and let me know what you think of it.

George T Saviel

12 December 2010

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