Battle of Imphal-Kohima file photo

Battle of Imphal-Kohima

8 Mar 1944 - 3 Jul 1944

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

By summer of 1943, the British forces were beginning to dominate in the skies with Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft operating out of India. While Japan had no original plans to invade India, Lieutenant General Renya Mutaguchi of the Japanese 15th Army knew that an offensive into India was the only way he could eliminate the aerial threat. Controlling northeastern India would also create a larger buffer zone between India and Burma. 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. Additionally, a Japanese-controlled northeastern India would also cut off "the Hump" as an aerial supply route into China. As such, it was no surprise that British plans to invade Burma used Imphal as a launch point for ground troops, the same place Mutaguchi also targeted. Mutaguchi's excursion into India was originally rejected by his immediate superiors, but what would eventually become Operation U (U-Go) was approved by Southern Expeditionary Army and the Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ) in Tokyo, Japan.

Mutaguchi planned to pin-down or destroy the forward-deployed Indian troops with Lieutenant General Motoso Yanagida's 33rd Division, then the 33rd Division will be reinforced by Lieutenant General Masafumi Yamauchi's 15th Division to take Imphal. At the same time, Lieutenant General Kotoku Sato's 31st Division was to attack Kohima, a village on a major road into Imphal, an administrative center of the state of Nagaland, and near the important airfield at Dimapur. Mutaguchi did not receive support from his field generals for his plans; most of them believe the attack plan was too risky.

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. As the Japanese troops attacked, Slim and Scoones attempted to move this troops from their forward positions back into the plains near Imphal, forcing the Japanese to fight with a longer supply line, but Scoones had reacted too late; while the Japanese offensive began by crossing the Chindwin River on 8 Mar, Scoones did not give the order to fall back near Imphal until 13 Mar. As a result, the Indian 17th Division allowed its supply dumps to become captured by the Japanese and become encircled. However, the 214th Regiment of the 17th Division successfully counterattacked at Tuitum Saddle on 18 Mar, allowing the division to recover part of the captured supplies and safely retreated to Imphal on 4 Apr 1944.

The Japanese followed the withdrawing Indian troops closely. As soon as the Indian 17th Division reached Imphal, the attack began. The Japanese 33rd Division attacked from Bishenpur from the south, though that attack was cautious and slow. From Tamu, Major General Tsunoru Yamamoto, commanding units from both the 15th and 33rd Divisions and two brigades of Indian troops attacked Shenam Saddle near Imphal, and was quickly halted by the Indian troops at this easily-defended junction. From the north, the remainder of the 15th Division attacked and first captured a small supply dump at Kangpokpi then captured Nungshigum Hill which overlooked Imphal's main airfield. The initial attack did not go as well as Mutaguchi originally planned, and the possibly prolonged campaign was now threatened by a long supply line through the Burmese jungles. It was exactly what his field generals warned of. To make matters worse particularly for the Japanese 31st Division, the British 23 LRP Brigade had been seriously disrupting Japanese supply operations behind the lines, making even foraging to the east of Kohima nearly impossible.

The attack on Kohima began around the same time, which was weakly defended by the Assam Regiment and some of the paramilitary Assam Rifles. The Indian 161st Brigade was originally posted at Kohima, but it was moved out of Kohima to Dimapur shortly before the attack. On 3 Apr, the 31st Division attacked Kohima Ridge which overlooked the main supply route between Imphal and Kohima. The siege of Kohima began on 6 Apr. Japanese mortar fire rained down on the Indian troops who were poorly supplied and lacking drinking water. Nevertheless, the Indian troops held, and combat turned into a stalemate.

On 13 Apr, the Indian 5th Division counterattacked at Nungshigum Hill outside of Imphal with support from artillery and M3 Lee tanks. The Japanese had neither anti-tank weapons nor artillery; these heavier guns had been decided against as Mutaguchi planned for a swift campaign, and these guns were simply too bulky to carry through the dense jungle. As a result, the hill was taken back by the Indian troops after dealing heavy casualties on the Japanese.

On 15 Apr, the British 2nd Division which had been in training in southern India arrived at Dimapur near Kohima. The fresh troops relieved the Indian 161st Brigade, who rested for three days before going on a counterattack toward Kohima. As the siege at Kohima listed on about 20 Apr, the incoming troops were shocked by what they witnessed. The once picturesque village was now in ruins, building walls marked with bullet holes and surrounding hills covered by broken trees. "Every inch of ground were disputed in the bloodiest and most desperate hand-to-hand fighting", described historian Frank McLynn.

By 1 May 1944, the Indian troops had a firm hold on the line, and their British commander could entertain the notion of a counter offensive, especially with the arrival of the 33rd Brigade of the Indian 7th Division on 4 May. Although the Japanese line was tough to break, the supply situation had become critical. The Japanese divisions had not been receiving adequate supplies, including food, and the soldiers' health were becoming dangerously poor due to malnutrition. The situation took a worse turn on 12 May when the Indian 114th Brigade arrived near Kohima. Under Montagu Stopford's command as XXXIII Corps, British and Indian forces attacked southward from Kohima toward Imphal. The Japanese troops, despite the difficult conditions they were in, fought back fiercely. Nevertheless, the Japanese troops were drove out of the Kohima region by the end of May; with 38 3.7-inch mountain howitzers, 48 25-pound field guns, and 2 5.5-inch medium guns, the Japanese could hardly hold their line for an extended amount of time. The RAF also stepped up their involvement, bombing and strafing Japanese positions, destroying Japanese morale that had already been faltering.

On 25 May, troops near Kohima reported that unless adequate food supplies had been delivered, the troops there could not last past 1 Jun; in fact, General Sato threatened he would disobey direct orders and withdraw if he did not see supplies flowing in. On 31 May, Japanese troops withdrew from Naga village and fell back southward.

The XXXIII Corps was then joined by IV Corps and attacked the Japanese troops further along the Dimapur-Imphal road on 22 Jun near Milestone 109. When the battle at Milestone 109 was won by the British and Indian troops, the siege of Imphal was lifted.

The Japanese 33rd Division, now under command of Lieutenant General Nobuo Tanaka and freshly reinforced by battalions from 53rd and 54th Divisions, continue to assert pressure on the Indian troops despite the recent setbacks. The 33rd Division nearly broke through the line set by the Indian 17th Division at Bishenpur, but in the end the Japanese suffered such a high casualty that the offensive was called off by the front line generals on 3 Jul 1944. In fact, by this time, many Japanese units were unfit for combat due to various reasons that they had already been disobeying orders to press forward. Reluctantly, Mutaguchi withdrew the remnants of the Japanese 33rd Division from Imphal, India back into Burma. The Japanese defeat at Imphal and Kohima represented the largest defeat in Japanese military history. Of the 65,000 front-line troops, 30,000 were killed, 23,000 were wounded, and 600 were captured; among the 50,000 support troops, there were 15,000 casualties. The Allies only suffered 17,500 casualties in comparison.

The Allied victory at Imphal and Kohima allowed the RAF to continue assert pressure from the skies on Japanese troops in Burma. "The Hump" into China was also allowed to continue because of the successful defense. The RAF also contributed greatly to the battle directly as RAF aircraft delivered most of the supplies the British and Indian forces needed; the RAF flew 19,000 tons of supplies and 12,000 men into the Kohima-Imphal region and flew out 13,000 casualties and 43,000 non-combatants.

Louis Mountbatten latter described the Allied victory at Imphal and Kohima as "probably one of the greatest battles in history,... in effect the Battle of Burma.... [It was] the British-Indian Thermopylae."

Sources:
Frank McLynn, The Burma Campaign
Wikipedia

Battle of Imphal-Kohima Interactive Map

Battle of Imphal-Kohima Timeline

9 Jan 1944 Prime Minister Hideki Tojo authorized the plans for Operation U-Go against northeastern India.
5 Mar 1944 William Slim requested his superiors to assign an additional division to defend Kohima and Dimapur, India. He would only receive two battalions of Indian parachute troops.
7 Mar 1944 A regiment from the Japanese 33rd Division crossed the Manipur River in Burma toward the Burmese-Indian border toward Tiddim, Burma.
8 Mar 1944 Japanese troops launched a major offensive across the Chindwin River in Burma toward Imphal, India. Meanwhile, another regiment from the Japanese 33rd Division crossed the Manipur River in Burma toward the Burmese-Indian border toward Tiddim, Burma.
13 Mar 1944 Lieutenant General Geoffrey Scoones realized the Japanese attack on Tiddim, Burma was a part of a major offensive, and retracted his previous order, allowing troops at Tiddim to fall back.
14 Mar 1944 William Slim requested Louis Mountbatten to divert aircraft originally assigned to fly the Hump to instead bring men and supplies to Imphal, India. Mountbatten agreed, diverting 30 transport planes to bring the Indian 5th Division to Imphal and Dimapur, India.
15 Mar 1944 After dark, the Japanese 15th Division crossed the Chindwin River in Burma toward India as part of the second wave of the Japanese offensive.
17 Mar 1944 Japanese and Anglo-Indian troops clashed at Tonzang, Burma.
18 Mar 1944 Japanese 15th Division reached Ukhrul, India, which was about 50 miles from Imphal, India. Behind them, Japanese 31st Division crossed the Chindwin River in eight columns toward India.
20 Mar 1944 Japanese troops captured Ukhrul, India, defeating the Indian Parachute Regiment and a brigade from the British 23rd Division.
22 Mar 1944 Japanese troops crossed the Burmes-Indian border into the Indian state of Manipur and attacked Sangshak from the north.
23 Mar 1944 Japanese troops assaulted an Allied defensive position in the crater of an extinct volcano near Sangshak, India, initially failing to take the position. Shortly after, Allied aircraft dropped supplies to the Indian troops at Sangshak, India, but most of the supplies fell behind Japanese lines. As Indian 152nd Parachute Battalion attacked from the volcano crater to regain the supplies, the Japanese drove them back, causing heavy casualties.
24 Mar 1944 The 3rd Battalion of the Japanese 58th Regiment arrived in the Sangshak, India region as reinforcements.
25 Mar 1944 The 3rd Battalion of the Japanese 60th Regiment attacked Allied positions at Sangshak, India. Meanwhile, Louis Mountbatten requested the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff for more aircraft to supply Imphal, India, which would be denied.
26 Mar 1944 Troops of Japanese 60th Regiment attacked Sangshak, India after dark, but got lost in the darkness, and many men were trapped in the open in the next morning.
27 Mar 1944 Japanese 58th Regiment launched an all-out attack on Sangshak, India. Brigadier Maxwell Hope-Thompson, commanding officer of the defending Allied troops, ordered a retreat from Sangshak at 1800 hours. On the same day, William Slim requested the British 2nd Division to help defend nearby Dimapur.
29 Mar 1944 Japanese troops cut the road between Imphal and Kohima, India. Meanwhile, the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff retracted a decision made earlier and diverted additional transport aircraft from the Mediterranean Sea theater of war to the Burma-India theater of war. Louis Mountbatten had requested them to help the defense of the Imphal region in India; incidentally, the initial aircraft embarked on transporting the Indian 5th Division to Imphal and Dimapur completed the task on this date after 758 sorties.
30 Mar 1944 Japanese troops besieged Imphal, India.
1 Apr 1944 Japanese troops captured Nippon Hill near Imphal, India.
3 Apr 1944 General Montagu Stopford ordered Major General R. P. L. Ranking to move the Indian 161st Brigade from Kohima to Dimapur in India. Ranking believed this was a bad move as Kohima would be a Japanese target, and appealed to William Slim; Slim sided with Stopford.
4 Apr 1944 On the Imphal front in India the Japanese 51st Regiment of 15th Division commenced attacks on 123rd Indian Brigade's positions, while the Japanese 31st Division attacked the village of Kohima.
5 Apr 1944 On the Imphal front in India, the Japanese 60th Regiment probed south towards a large store dump, where staff of the British 221st Advanced Ordnance depot, under continuous and heavy fire, repeatedly foiled the Japanese infiltration attacks for three days. Meanwhile, realizing that the movement of Indian 161st Brigade from Kohima to Dimapur was a poorly calculated move, he moved the brigade back; with no room in Kohima for the troops of the brigade, they settled down at Jotsoma 2.5 miles to the northwest to support from a distance.
6 Apr 1944 After dark, Japanese troops launched an attack at Kohima, India, reaching the buildings at the edge of the village before the attack was halted early in the next day.
8 Apr 1944 Japanese troops moved into the ground between Kohima and Jotsoma in India, cutting off the Indian 161st Brigade from being able to assist in the defense Kohima.
9 Apr 1944 Japanese troops captured Kanglatongbi and began to surround the Anglo-Indian troops at Imphal, India. To the north at Kohima, India, Japanese troops captured GPT ridge, forcing the British troops to fall back to Garrison Hill.
11 Apr 1944 Anglo-Indian and Japanese troops began a four-day clash at Bunker Hill near Kohima, India.
16 Apr 1944 Indian 5th Brigade arrived at Jotsoma, India, allowing Indian 161st Brigade to prepare for an advance toward Kohima.
17 Apr 1944 General Renya Mutaguchi ordered Lieutenant General Kotoku Sato to capture Kohima, India by 29 Apr 1944. On the front, Anglo-Indian and Japanese troops clashed at Garrison Hill and FSD Hill near Kohima.
19 Apr 1944 After sundown, the Japanese launched three separate attacks against Anglo-Indian positions near Imphal, India, some supported by medium tanks; none of the attacks achieved their objectives.
20 Apr 1944 The Japanese siege of Kohima, India was beginning to be lifted.
21 Apr 1944 Japanese troops captured Crete West hill near Imphal, India.
22 Apr 1944 Japanese attacks overran some Anglo-Indian defensive positions near Imphal, India, but no major progress was made. Near Kohima to the north, Anglo-Indian troops attacked Garrison Hill after sundown. Behind the Japanese lines, Lieutenant General Renya Mutaguchi visited the front lines and relieved Major General Motozo Yanakida for his perceived lack of aggressiveness, replacing him with Major General Nobuo Tanaka.
23 Apr 1944 Anglo-Indian troops attacked Ningthoukhong, India.
25 Apr 1944 Anglo-Indian troops attacked Ningthoukhong, India.
27 Apr 1944 Anglo-Indian troops attempted to attack the Japanese positions on the far side of the tennis court in Kohima, India.
29 Apr 1944 After dark, Japanese troops launched a counterattack at Kohima, India.
1 May 1944 Anglo-Indian troops attacked Crete West hill near Imphal, India.
3 May 1944 Indian 4th Brigade attacked GPT ridge near Kohima, India, which failed to capture all Japanese positions.
6 May 1944 During the day, 25 Japanese Zero fighters attacked Bishenpur, India. After sundown, Japanese troops attacked Tengnoupal, India.
7 May 1944 During the day, Anglo-Indian troops attacked Jail Hill near Kohima, India, which was repelled by Japanese troops and suffered heavy losses. To the south, the British offensive from Imphal, India into Burma was called off after lack of success. After sundown, Japanese troops attacked Tengnoupal, India and overran some Allied defensive positions.
10 May 1944 Japanese troops attacked Scraggy Hill near Imphal, India. 30 kilometers to the southwest, Bishenpur was attacked by a group of Japanese Zero fighters.
12 May 1944 Anglo-Indian troops counterattacked at Tengnoupal, India, regaining territory lost during the Japanese attacks between 6 and 8 May 1944.
13 May 1944 By this date, Anglo-Indian troops had control of Jail Hill, GPT ridge, and FSD ridge near Kohima, India.
15 May 1944 Anglo-Indian troops pushed Japanese troops out of Potsangbam, 2 miles south of Bishenpur, India. To the north near Kohima, Indian 33rd Brigade captured Treasury Hill with little Japanese opposition.
16 May 1944 Major General Nobuo Tanaka ordered a two-pronged offensive toward Bishenpur and the plains near Imphal in India.
18 May 1944 Anglo-Indian troops attacked Japanese positions at Ninthoukgong, India.
19 May 1944 An Anglo-Indian attack on Naga, India was repulsed with heavy casualties.
20 May 1944 Japanese troops evacuated the forward-most positions near Imphal, India. Meanwhile, a bloody clash took place between Japanese and Anglo-Indian troops at Torbung.
21 May 1944 Anglo-Indian troops captured Kanglatongbi, India.
24 May 1944 Japanese troops captured Gibraltar Hill and attacked Lone Tree Hill near Imphal, India. To the north at Kohima, Indian 7th Division began an offensive against Dyer Hill, Pimple Hill, and Big Tree Hill.
29 May 1944 The Anglo-Indian attack on Ninthoukgong, India was halted after capturing the northern half of the town.
30 May 1944 Major General Nobuo Tanaka canceled his offensive in the Imphal region in India after incurring heavy losses. To the north at Kohima, the Indian 7th Division assault on Dyer Hill, Pimple Hill, and Big Tree Hill, which began on 24 May, was repulsed with heavy casualties.
2 Jun 1944 Major General Nobuo Tanaka ordered a final attack at Imphal, India despite overwhelming odds. Near Kohima to the north, Japanese troops evacuated from the village of Naga.
7 Jun 1944 Anglo-Indian and Japanese troops engaged in a bloody clash at Ninthoukgong, India.
9 Jun 1944 The Japanese frontal-attack on Gurkha positions on Scraggy Hill was met with heavy losses, particularly to superior British firepower and air support.
20 Jun 1944 Japanese troops captured Forest Hill near Imphal, India but failed to capture Plum Hill, another nearby objective.
22 Jun 1944 In India, Indian 6th Brigade from Kohima made contact with Indian 9th Brigade from Imphal on the Imphal-Kohima Road that had been held by the Japanese.
24 Jun 1944 British Lieutenant General Geoffrey Scoones, due to poor intelligence, failed to pursue retreating Japanese troops from northeastern India, thinking that the Japanese might be planning a counterattack from Tamu and Bishenpur.
3 Jul 1944 After sundown, Japanese commandos raided a British airfield near Imphal, India and destroyed eight parked aircraft.
4 Jul 1944 General Wazakazu Kawabe officially terminated Operation U-Go in India.
7 Jul 1944 Lieutenant General Kotoku Sato was relieved for the defeat at Kohima, India.
8 Jul 1944 Lieutenant General Renya Mutaguchi withdrew the remnants of the Japanese 33rd Division from Imphal, India back into Burma.

Photographs

Two British officers and a Sikh radioman near Imphal, India, Mar-Jul 1944Scraggy Hill/Ito Hill after fierce fighting, near Imphal, India, Apr 1944British Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC fighter of No. 42 Squadron RAF, piloted by Flying Officer Campbell, attacking a bridge on Tiddim Road in Burma near the border with India, May 1944Gurkha troops advancing with tanks on the Imphal-Kohima Road, India, Mar-Jul 1944
See all 7 photographs of Battle of Imphal-Kohima

Maps

Map of situation in India and Burma, Nov 1943-May 1944




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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Ian Perkins says:
    18 Oct 2007 06:20:13 PM

    My father Walter Perkins fought at the battle for Imphal he was a Corporal in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. He died in 1995 taking with him all the stories that he had experienced. There is some regret that I only was able to get bits of the story out of him over the years ,I do know that he eventually treked the whole length of Burma, helping push the Japanese back, he was a bit reluctant to talk about it all. As I suspect many men were. If you have any information about this regiment and its record in Burma. I would appreciate it
  2. Anonymous says:
    22 Mar 2008 11:33:18 AM

    My grandfather RQ Jim Plant fought in this battle. He too was reluctant to say anything about his experience. He latter suffered badly in Burma. I used to meet his mates at the WMClub in fulford, and all they would say, "He was a brave man". I regret that now they have all died and I really know nothing. If anyone does know I'd really like to hear from them.
  3. vishal soraisam says:
    7 Aug 2008 08:52:20 AM

    I am from Imphal.
    My Grand Father also fought in the same battle. We have a war cemetary for those who died in the war
  4. matthew wiggins says:
    23 Mar 2009 03:19:33 PM

    my grandfather was william morrell who was a sargent in the 17th indian divison does any body remember him
  5. Annette Harrison (Nee Venter) says:
    26 Mar 2009 01:29:02 AM

    My father flew with the British 216 Squadron and I do not know very much about his War experiences. I am now using his pilot log books for research. Anyone knowing JP Venter (known as Max or Peter) please contact me.
  6. TalaveraTom says:
    1 May 2009 10:29:37 AM

    It is sad to note that so many individual units have been forgotten in the battle for Imphal and Kohima. A unit i am interested in, The 10th field Regiment Royal Artillery is one of those units, and has very little reference to it in any of the histories of the battle. If anyone can guide me to good sources of information on this regiment, i would be most appreciative. Thanks Tom.
  7. fred lamb says:
    24 Jun 2009 12:11:20 AM

    My signals unit was stationed west of the fight at Comilla but we heard parts of the story from casualties travelling back to rest camps.I rarely talk about the campaigne and find that no one I meet has ever heard of the 14 Army.and think that the Americans won the War!Well there was the bomb of course I was convalescing in Lebong the day the bomb fell and we knew that we would soon be on the way homeNearly all my Army buddies have passed on and since I am 91 I expect the roll call at any time!Are there any "M" section blokes left out there,a E mail would be welcome Fred Lamb
  8. Anonymous says:
    9 Aug 2009 01:25:54 AM

    I am trying to locate anybody who had fought in the Impha-Koima twin battles . Would like to know about Imphal battle in some detail .
  9. chingtham says:
    18 Aug 2009 02:26:16 AM

    I am from Imphal. Battel of Imphal was 14 largest battle during world war II. Many book has been written.you can check on Google.Plus you can find many stuff in many libaries around world.I do collection as much as I can.
  10. Khwairakpam G says:
    7 Jan 2010 06:21:40 AM

    To be precise, the Japanese troops surrounding the British armies were positioned at a place called Ningthoukhong, which is about 33 km south of Imphal and 7 km north of Moirang (where Subhash Chandra Bose-INA hoisted the first flag). The British bombarded the Japanese with the heaviest artilleries and aircraft and the fiercest battle was fought here. It is believed that all the grasses and trees were grounded to dust and the ants and rats chased away from place, turning a high rainfall area into semi arid desert. At that time the village of Ningthoukhong was inhabited by about 6000 people, but after the WWII only 2400 people returned back to the village. Hardly 200 houses were build and the small stream from which the name Ningthoukhong (Ningthou King KhongStream) came become straighter due to the impact of the WWII. One hearth throbbing incident was that a parent ran away from their homes unable to carry their last daughter, believing that they will return after couple of days, they locked the child inside the houses. The war took more than 4 months and when the parent return home the house was reduced to cinder and the child body was found dried like a Raisins. Till today this place now municipality with a population of 12000 has the remains of WWII tanks carcasses and other heavy artilleries. The nearby lake (Loktak Lake) is believed to be the burial ground of many allied and Japanese aircraft.
  11. Anonymous says:
    3 Aug 2010 01:28:45 PM

    my father artur kay fought at imphal with the
    border reg ..he saw the death of a captain hodge during the fighting
  12. D.J. Sarma says:
    4 Nov 2010 08:17:40 AM

    In the sixties and seventies when the Dimapur - Kohima - Imphal highway was being widened , workmen very often dug up skeletons and other war relics, especially in the Kohima area . When the Kohima town was being expanded and houses were being built , digging up skeletons , unfired ammo and grenades were common occurances . Even today stuff are being dug up during construction activities around town . Very few report them though . Fiding human remains has certain legal complications which people would rather avoid .
  13. Paul Duffy says:
    3 Dec 2010 07:18:58 AM

    My Father Serjeant John Duffy was in the 2nd Battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers and he fought in Imphal.He was awarded the Military Medal for actions in leading his men against the japanese troops who were holding a ridge referred to as point 3183. He survived the war but very rarely talked of his experiences.What I know now I have gleaned from the London Gazzette of 20th March 1945 and the Nation Archives from which I have a copy of his citation.If anyone knows any more information surrounding his actions I would be glad to hear from them.
  14. Sd5 says:
    28 Dec 2010 08:50:01 AM

    would like to provide photograph of the memorial stone of any allied soldiers buried @ Imphal War cemetery. contact on my email: isiddhartha450@yahoo.com.hk
  15. Mike Coyne says:
    28 Jan 2011 02:52:51 AM

    My father Major(then Lieutenant) 'Paddy' Coyne was with T section Royal Signals and work on LofC in the Tiddim to Imphal areas. He ended up in the Irriwady area and finished in the operational area on the Japanese withdrawal from the area returning to Bombay and returning to the UK on the Britannic with my mother and brother.
  16. George Gayler says:
    31 Jan 2011 09:54:38 AM

    my uncle was in one of the chindit colums
    his name was ALBERT HOLT aka Spud,who has
    passed away.
    we dont know his regt,number,he wore the aussi hat and when he come home to battersea,
    london he had a shock of blond hair.
    which we know was not aloud.
  17. eamonn barry says:
    15 Feb 2011 05:06:17 PM

    always been puzzled as to why these twin battles are not as ingrained in the national conciousness as El Alemein and the likes. Perhaps its because of certain american historians attempts to devalue there importance.
  18. Murdoch McLeish_Melbourne says:
    3 Mar 2011 02:22:00 PM

    My uncle Private John(Dick) KERR was KIA 11/6/44 He was with KOSB 2nd Battalion.Would would like one day to visit his gravesite at Kohima ,has anyone been there??
    How hard is it to get there and what are conditions like???.
    My email is poshbrae@bigpond.net.au
  19. Jim Cornish says:
    14 May 2011 10:01:08 PM

    My father Private Jim Cornish of the Royal West Kent's was at Kohima and fought in the Battle of the Tennis Court in which the opposing forces fired at each other across the distance of the governors tennis court.My dad told me that some of the younger members of his brigade had their hair turn white overnight from fear.He was one of the few survivors before the garrison was relieved. Kohima should go down in the annals of history as one of the greatest battles ever fought and the men were all heroes.
  20. A Stringer says:
    6 Jul 2011 04:18:51 PM

    After reading about the battle for kohima ridge, and the imphal, i am amazed that its very rarely mentioned. I would like to thank everyone involved and i cannot begin to imagine what you went through.Thankyou !
  21. temjen says:
    20 Aug 2011 11:47:16 PM

    I am trying to locate anybody who had fought in the Impha-Koima twin battles . Would like to know about my grandfather who fought in the battle( my grandfather was Mr.Karanungba who was a soldier in the indian divison does any body remember him in some detail)my email-temjen.jamir@yahoo.com
  22. Bill McCann says:
    21 Feb 2012 02:48:35 PM

    I have always been curious about the time my father spent in India. I have recently discovered that he was a medical officer for the Assam/Bengal railway. All that he ever told me was that the Japanese were close and it was the Scots who drove them back.
  23. Anonymous says:
    7 Mar 2012 06:46:14 AM

    I am looking for my great grandfather. His last name is Baer. He fought in the battle of kohima and was a survivor. He return back to England after India became free. If anyone knows about him please contact me on christy.belho@gmail.
  24. Saad A. Zia says:
    19 Mar 2012 04:31:55 AM


    My father Captain Ziauddin of First Punjab First Regiment during the battle of Kohema was decorated with an MBE for swimming across the river Kohema to make a pull, a task for which a couple of British officers had drowned earlier. After the creation of Pakistan my father, then a Lt.Colonel was involved in the 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case under Major. General Akbar Khan and 13 others, 2 of them civilians, Syed Sajjad Zaheer of the communist party and Faiz Ahmed Faiz the renowned urdu poet of the 20th century. This whole group was dismissed and thrown into prison by PM Liaqat Ali for 5 years. I do have a picture of him after the crossing of Kohema in our family photographs. Thank you so much for enlightening me of the battle of Kohema for my late father who passed away in 2000, hardly ever told me, his only son, much of the war except the crossing of Kohema or the fall of Singapore when he was caught with the rest on a hill. A soldier is hardly much of a story teller .
  25. Saad A. Zia says:
    20 Mar 2012 12:30:40 AM


    My father who was Captain Ziauddin during the Battle of Kohema after having crossed the river with a rope to make a bridge, the river in which 5 American ( British/?) soldiers had drowned earlier for the same assignment because of a whirlpool, told us that soon as he reached the other end (Japanese end) it was night time and he was in the water hiding in the bushes that 2 Japanese soldiers doing guard-duty came and stood above him where one of them lit a cigarette , and my father thought 'thats it now! they will definitely kill him !!' that the other guard at once put his hands around the lighted match so that the enemy would not see them from the distance!! This was yet another close shave with death that he experienced during the WORLD WAR II. Further he was also the only Indian Officer with all the British, American, Australian soldiers in the 'Siege of Kohema'. Think it was a 21 day siege from what i recall. There is more information that i will be sharing soon as my mother, with whom he shared these details , in future.
  26. Anonymous says:
    5 Jul 2012 06:04:47 AM

    My father Richard Delaney(Dick) was in the British Army 14th and was at both Imphal and Kohima and eventually made it home. He also didnt like to talk of his experiences there.He spent a lot of time chasing butterflies which almost led to him being court marshalled!After surviving both these battles / seiges he spent a bit of time left at a place he referred to as 'Doolally' where he was responsible for an Indian unit (sorry I dont know which one).Has anyone else heard of this place? My mother who was also in the army said when he got back to Britian and before he was 'demobbed'he would drive his truck into the base screaming "Banzai" and frighten all and sundry. Unfortuanately when he came back he had a no pride in his medals or his part in it and when an officer saw him on Parade and asked why he wasnt wearing his medals, saying 'he should be proud of himself and his service to the country" Dad told him he had thrown them away! I have never seen his medals, but my mother says there was a Burma Star and some others she is not sure of. The strange thing was although an officer would turn up weekly with his army pay,when she tried to find out more after the war, she was told that the records were unavailable and so apart from the very little Dad told us,we dont really know what he went through. Sadly Dad has passed now so he he wont be telling me anymore about it, so I would love to hear from others about what they faced.
  27. Charles Vallee says:
    6 Aug 2012 09:11:17 AM

    Dear Anonymous,
    'Doolally' was the Army name for the city of Deolali, which housed a large lunatic asylum built in the 19th century. That's how doolally came to be slang for mad
  28. den says:
    21 Jan 2013 05:00:49 PM

    i have trird to get together about my name sake, maj denys andrews 7th batt 10th baluch reg who died 6/6/44, he is buried at imphal so i guess he fell in the seige. i have a diary of before he became an officer. i dont think anyone heard from him in imphal area, like so many of the guys out there i think it was unrelenting. if anyone knows where i can get any info about him or where he was when he fell it would be appriciated.
  29. MIchael langford says:
    7 May 2013 05:14:40 AM

    My daughter is taking part in the Kohima Veterans day parade (as a Sea Cadet) at York Minster this month. I believe my father George William Langford of the Royal Artillery (or possibly Indian Mountian Artillery) took part in the battle. What is the best way of finding out if he did?
  30. Jane says:
    5 Jun 2013 07:20:15 AM

    My uncle, Captain Fredrick Richard Glover, was one of the Doctors treating the wounded in the medical stations during the battle of Kohima Ridge. He never talked about the battle to us, but parts of his diaries written during the battle, along with others, were used in the book 'Springboard to Victory'. It gives first hand details of how terrible things were. The Japanese shelled the medical stations at will, so you can imagine how horrific things must have been. My uncle was wounded, but kept treating the injured. He was awarded The Military Cross. All of these soldiers were very brave men, and yet I agree that these two incredibly important battles tend to be forgotten.
  31. Tracey cooper says:
    1 Mar 2014 12:41:50 AM

    Jim Cornish ... My grandfather William Murray of the RWK fought at Kohima in the battle of the tennis courts also . He told us a little about what he had gone through but like so many survivors never in great detail. He had nightmares up until he passed away at 80 yrs old . It's only after researching I found how bad it actually was for them.
  32. Roger Neal says:
    22 Apr 2014 12:31:48 AM

    My father was in 1st Bn Northamptonshire Regiment, part of 20th Indian Division in the area around Imphal. I now have his memoir written very late in his life.
    I notice a number of people here asking how they can find out more about their relatives. Try looking at a page on Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/BurmaStarBrum
    where there are some helpful hints on finding out more.
    As an Honorary Friend Member of the Burma Star Association, I have had, and indeed still have, the privilege of knowing a number of Burma veterans. They were all brave men who still feel forgotten today.
  33. Harvey Silver says:
    9 Nov 2014 10:13:25 AM

    My late father, Gordon (George) Silver, fought in both battles of Imphal and Kohema with the 14th.army. He was actually in the now defunct Dorset 'cross Keys' regt. under General Slim. He was always reluctant to talk of his experiences but he told me they crossed the Irawaddy river where many were killed. He received 4 medals incl. the Burma star and I have them in my possession he was also mentioned in dispatches after leaving his unit to get food, as they were nearly running out. He said all he could get were gipates, but they were all very grateful for them. While recovering from malaria in one of the hospitals he saw Vera Lynn.
    He lived until 1980 aged 70.

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Battle of Imphal-Kohima Photo Gallery
Two British officers and a Sikh radioman near Imphal, India, Mar-Jul 1944
See all 7 photographs of Battle of Imphal-Kohima



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