Tim Bean, Senior Lecturer in War Studies at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst explores what has been voted Britain’s Greatest Battle.
75 years ago in the spring of 1944, the all-conquering Japanese – supported by Indian nationalists, launched a major offensive against the Anglo-Indian 14th Army at Imphal & Kohima, with the intention of pre-empting the Allies re-invasion of South East Asia and potentially seizing India & the Raj.
Against a backdrop of jungle-clad mountainous terrain, monsoon rains, hazardous lines of communication a panoply of British, Indian, Gurkha, African, American, Chinese, local indigenous tribes and others took on a dogged and menacing enemy in some of the hardest fought and bloodiest engagements in history.
The Imphal-Kohima battles featured a number of Scottish units, significantly; The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, the 3rd Caribiniers - later the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards – and the Gordon Highlanders in an anti-tank artillery role.
“When you go home tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today” – 2nd British Division War Memorial, Kohima