World War II and Northeast India- How battles in NE influenced the course of WW II

As Northeast India has often been stereotyped as a hub of militant activities, here is something which will make you think twice before tagging people as savages or its states as militancy ravaged areas.

These  historical facts will revealed that Northeast India has produced many heroes, patriots and war veterans.

The Battle of Imphal-Kohima was voted as Britain’s greatest battle by the National Army Museum in London, edging out Waterloo and D-Day, two iconic events that we are more familiar with, even in India.

On March 15, 1944, the Japanese army marched into Manipur, widening the theater of violence during World War II. In the months that followed, Manipur, which was then a kingdom, and Nagaland, a British-administered region in undivided Assam, became battlegrounds for the Allied forces and Japan in an endgame that dragged India into the South-east Asian theater.

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Scraggy Hill on the Shenam Pass, captured by the 4/10th Gurkhas Source: Wikipedia

For the people of Manipur and Nagaland, it was a war of redundancy which was played out in their backyard. Their homes were bombed and burnt, the women, men and children brutally killed. Now, more than 70 years later, those who survived that war in the north-east are left only with memories that may soon fade away into history.

After the Japanese army arrived in March 1944, several battles were fought with the Allied army of Indian soldiers and their British superiors. As many as one lakh Japanese soldiers fought in the north-east, led by  General, Kotuko Sato. Though the Allied forces didn’t recruit locally, many Nagas were roped in as porters to carry weights. And in Manipur, young men from the Kuki tribe were part of the British army. The memories of the Battle of Red Hill which was fought for nine days in May 1944 is fresh in the minds of the Manipuri people.

Imphal today hosts two World War II memorials, one for soldiers from the Commonwealth countries, including Britain and India, and another for Japanese soldiers killed in the fight. Manipur also saw the Battle of Nunshigum in March 1944 soon after the arrival of the Japanese army. The Battle of Shangshak, close to Myanmar, also took place in March.

However, the hardest of all battles in the north-east remains the Battle of Kohima, which was fought in June.  The Battle of Kohima was the turning point of the Japanese U Go offensive into India in 1944 during the Second World War. The battle was at the centrepoint of the intense conflict ground and remained throughout the War. This battle was fought in three stages from 4 April to 22 June 1944 around the town of Kohima in Nagaland in northeast India

Compiled by TNT Desk 

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