The Battle of Imphal-Kohima 1942 India and Burma part Six World War Two.
While the 31st Division advance directly to the capture of Kohima to prevent reinforcements going to the relief of Imphal. To complete the encirclement and destruction of the IV Corps ,the 33rd division having eliminated the 17th division was to enter Imphal Plains from the south and YAMAMOTO’s force on reaching TAMU was to turn west and occupy the high ground above PALEL overlooking the plains. A bold plan packed with surprises but consisterable risks were obvious in the supply of the 15th and 31st divisions. All depended on the swift capture of Imphal for it would be impossible to resupply them properly through the appalling country between them and their objectives but the Japanese soldier was accustomed to living hard with a bag of rice tied to his belt so besides supplementing their food from the small village through which they passed.
Units carried a months supply with them on Elephants,mules and bullocks and a proportions of their own fighting soldiers employed as porters. Mutaguchi considered these arrangements to be adequate because he estimated that Imphal would be taken in a month after which his Army would turn to the defensive before the monsoon set in. In assembling the three divisions for their respective ‘D’ Days the maximum deception measure were to be taken to give the impression that the Japanese were only strengthening their positions along the Chindwin. The Japanese stage was set for the battle to come the outcome of which meant so much to both contestants. Future strategy of the IV Corps had been directed towards a limited offensive in the KABAW VALLEY and the CHIN HILLS plus WINGATE’s fly-in to the KATHA area . With the object of reducing the pressure on STILLWELL . By 3 February 1944 the accumulation of evidence of Japanese intentions made a new appraisal of the situation an urgent necessity.
For some time past it had been known that only two ememy divisions (the 18th and 33rd) were facing the IV corps but as a result of vigorous patrolling and from other sources it came to light in December and January not only the 18th division had been relieved by the 31st but also that an entirely new division the 15th had moved into the line around THAUNGDUT on the CHINDWIN bringing the total to three. Air reconnaissance also revealed a vantity of rafts in a tributary of the Chindwin near Homalin which could only be a crossing of the river. A new road had been built connecting Homalin with the RANGOON-MYILKYINA railway at INDAW the first tanks were reported to have been seen at the southern end of the Kabaw Valley together with a fresh regiment and some heavy Artillery . In fact there were many indications of an enemy build-up for an attack on Imphal.
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George T Saviel
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