The battle that time forgot

Sun Aug 25 2013, 12:39 hrs
They came from the south. Quietly. Hundreds of them. Japanese soldiers who marched for days. Till they reached Maibam Lokpaching or the Red Hill (as the British called it) under the cover of darkness. It was May 20, 1944. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
They came from the south. Quietly. Hundreds of them. Japanese soldiers who marched for days. Till they reached Maibam Lokpaching or the Red Hill (as the British called it) under the cover of darkness. It was May 20, 1944. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
The hill lay in their path, resting like a humped camel. Unbeknown to the Japanese, on the other side of the hill the 17th division of the British Indian Army had established its headquarters. Both sides caught each other unawares and, for the next nine days, the Red Hill was to witness some of the fiercest fighting either of the forces had ever seen. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
The hill lay in their path, resting like a humped camel. Unbeknown to the Japanese, on the other side of the hill the 17th division of the British Indian Army had established its headquarters. Both sides caught each other unawares and, for the next nine days, the Red Hill was to witness some of the fiercest fighting either of the forces had ever seen. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
As the sun rose over the hill the morning of the tenth day, just 40 of the 500 Japanese 'white tigers' had survived, only to beat a hasty retreat. Dozens lay dead on the other side too. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
As the sun rose over the hill the morning of the tenth day, just 40 of the 500 Japanese 'white tigers' had survived, only to beat a hasty retreat. Dozens lay dead on the other side too. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
A Japanese memorial of grey stone and an ill-kept garden are what mark the fighting today. Another smaller shrine dedicated to the battle stands at the bottom of the Red Hill that some say the Japanese built in 1977—the only Japanese memorials of WWII in India. The men who died fighting for the British are buried in the Imphal War Cemetery at Dewlahland and the Indian Army War Cemetery at Hatta, in the city. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
A Japanese memorial of grey stone and an ill-kept garden are what mark the fighting today. Another smaller shrine dedicated to the battle stands at the bottom of the Red Hill that some say the Japanese built in 1977—the only Japanese memorials of WWII in India. The men who died fighting for the British are buried in the Imphal War Cemetery at Dewlahland and the Indian Army War Cemetery at Hatta, in the city. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
The anonymity surrounding this chapter of World War II is now set to end. In April this year, the victories over the Japanese in Imphal and another in Kohima were together voted 'Britain's Greatest Battle' in a contest by the UK National Army Museum. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
The anonymity surrounding this chapter of World War II is now set to end. In April this year, the victories over the Japanese in Imphal and another in Kohima were together voted 'Britain's Greatest Battle' in a contest by the UK National Army Museum. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
Historians made their case for the battles to the audience over a 40-minute presentation. The case for Imphal and Kohima was made by Dr Robert Lyman, an author and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Historians made their case for the battles to the audience over a 40-minute presentation. The case for Imphal and Kohima was made by Dr Robert Lyman, an author and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
During the battle, as many as 70,000 Japanese soldiers marched to Manipur to fight the allied forces. The plan was to capture Imphal, cut off the key Imphal-Kohima-Dimapur road and prevent any British invasion of Myanmar (then Burma), which Japan had controlled since 1942. Arms used by Japanese during II World War at Maibam Lokpa Ching, Nambol, Manipur. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
During the battle, as many as 70,000 Japanese soldiers marched to Manipur to fight the allied forces. The plan was to capture Imphal, cut off the key Imphal-Kohima-Dimapur road and prevent any British invasion of Myanmar (then Burma), which Japan had controlled since 1942.
Arms used by Japanese during II World War at Maibam Lokpa Ching, Nambol, Manipur. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
Soldiers carried the injured back towards the Chindwin river. Those who could not be carried were left behind. The fingers of many of the dead were cut to be cremated back home.Arms used by Japanese during II World War at Maibam Lokpa Ching, Nambol, Manipur. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
Soldiers carried the injured back towards the Chindwin river. Those who could not be carried were left behind. The fingers of many of the dead were cut to be cremated back home.
Arms used by Japanese during II World War at Maibam Lokpa Ching, Nambol, Manipur. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
Around 7,000 INA men accompanied the Japanese forces till Moirang. While 400 were killed in battle, 1,500 died of disease and starvation. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
Around 7,000 INA men accompanied the Japanese forces till Moirang. While 400 were killed in battle, 1,500 died of disease and starvation. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
Till this day skeletons presumed to belong to the dead soldiers are found in Manipur. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)
Till this day skeletons presumed to belong to the dead soldiers are found in Manipur. (IE Photo: Deepak Shijagurumayum)

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