Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army)

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Research: Neelotpal Mishra

Neelotpal's sources

i)S. Subuhey, The Story Of I. N A., Being An Account Of The Indian National Army, The Azad Hind Government And The Trial Of Their Officers In The Red Fort (for the INA details).

ii) The information on Freies Indien: Neelotpal got from articles about the German Army.

iii) The Medals and ribbons: courtesy research on antique auctions and the Imperial War Musuem, London .

The Indian National Army

The Indian National Army was very well constituted and fully organized in every sense of the word, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was the Supreme Commander, who was assisted by a War Council consisting of the following eleven members :

1. Col. J. K. Bhonsle.

2. Col. M. Z. Kiani.

3. Lt. Col. Ehsan Qadir.

4. Lt. Col. Aziz Ahmad Khan.

5. Lt. Col. Habib-ur-Rehman.

6. Lt. Col. Oulzara Singh.

7. Sri N. Raghavan

8. Sri S. A. Ayer.

9. Sri Farmanand.

10. Col. A. C. Chatterji, Secretary.

11. Sri A. Yellappa, Co-opted Member.

The Defence Department which was under the charge of Col. J. K. Bhonsle consisted of the following personnel :

1. 'G' Lt.-Col. Shah Nawaz Khan, C.G.S.

2. Chief Administrator-Lt. Colonel A. D. Loganadan.

3. D. P. M. - Major Abdur Rashid.

4. Military Secretary - Major P. K. Sahgal.

5. Finance - Captain Krishna Murti.

6. O. T. S. - Lt. Col. Habib-ur-Rehman.

7. Reinforcements - Major Mata-ul-Mulk.

8. 'A' - Major C. J. Stracy.

9. Legal and Judicial - Captain D. C. Nag.

10. 'Q' - Major K. P. Thimaya.

11. D. M. S. - Captain S. N. Dey.

12. Establishment - Lt. D. C. Dutta.

13. Enlightenment Culture - Major A. D. Jahangir.


According to a document of April 17, 1943, the Army was under the command of Lt. Col. M. Z. Kiani, and consisted of the following branches :

(1) General Staff Branch :

(a) Operations Plans

(b) Special Duties Branch.

(c) Training Branch.

(2) A/Q Branch

(3) Medical Branch :

(a) Base Hospitals.

(b) Medical Aid Parties.

(4) 'A' Branch :

(a) Establishment.

(b) Employment Planning.

(5) 'O' Branch:

(a) Ordnance

(i) Technical

(ii) Non-Technical.

(b) Supply and Transport.

The composition of the Indian National Army

The composition of the Indian National Army was as under:

(1) Headquarters (composition as above).

(2) I Hind Field Group under the command of Lt.-Col, S. M. Hussain.

(3) Guerrilla Regiments consisting of :

(a) Bose Brigade under Lt. CoL Shah Nawaz Khan.

(b) Gandhi Brigade under Lt. Col. I. J. Kiani

(c) Azad Brigade under Major Gulzara Singh.

(d) Nehru Brigade under Lt. Col. Aziz Ahmad Khan.

(4) Intelligence Group under Major S. A. Malik.

(5) Bahadur Group under Lt. Col. Burhanud-Din.


The Army consisted of three Divisions.

No. 1 incorporated the Guerrilla Regiments;

No. 2 composed partly of Indian Military prisoners of war and partly of civilians

No. 3 composed of civilians mostly recruited by the Indian Independence League in Malaya.

Units in 1945

On the 1st March, 1945 the following units and formations of the I.N.A. were operating

1. Advance Div. H.Qrs.

2. H.Q. No. 1 Inf. Regiment

3. 2/1 Inf. Regiment.

4. H. Qrs. No. 2 Inf. Regiment.

5. 2/2 Inf. Regiment.

6. H. Qrs. No. 4 Guerrilla Regiment.

7. 2/4 Guerrilla Regiment.

8. No. 1 Anti-Tank Coy.

9. No. 2 A.B.O.D.

10. No. 2 M.E-S.

11. No. 2 Workshop.

12. P.O.L. Section.

13. No. 4 Engineer Coy.

14. Main Div. H. Qrs.

15. 1/1 Infantry Regiment.

16. 1/2 Infantry Regiment.

17- 3/1 Infantry Regiment.

18. 3/2 Infantry Regiment.

19. 1/4 Guerrilla Regiment.

20. 3/4 Guerrilla Regiment.

21. No. 2 Div. Signals.

22. No.2 F.P.S.C.

23. Pt. Amn. Dump.

24. No.2 S.I.S.

25. Medical Aid Party.

26. Dett. M.P.


Various figures are given regarding the strength of the Indian National Army, but the official total strength was in the tune of 40,000 heads. Recruits were drawn both from the Indian prisoners of war and from the Indian civilians ofthe South-East Asia.


The troops were dressed in Khaki like British Indian troops and were organized on lines similar to those of the British Indian Army.


Officers and men of the I N. A. wore a badge about 1/2 inches in length and 1 inch in width on the left side of the forage cap. On the top of the badge were inscribed the word "I. N. A." with a map of India in the centflfe. At the bottom of the badge were inscribed in Roman script: "Ittifaq ; Etmad and Qurbani" meaning Unity, Confidence and Sacrifice.

They also used to wear another badge on the right side of their uniform. It was 1 inch by 1 inch in size, and was marked with the tri-colour map of India. A locket-sized badge bearing a miniature of Netaji was worn on the left side of the uniform by all members of the I. N. A. Officers and men of the various Guerrilla Brigades had badges of different colours for the sake of distinction. Each Brigade was assigned a particular colour for the badge in the following order:

1. Bose Brigade Bed and green

2. Gandhi Brigade - Green

3. Nehru Brigade - Brown

4. Azad Brigade - White.

Each battalion was assigned the colour identical to that of its Brigade for the purpose of the badges, but the men had to wear them according to the under mentioned order of their shapes:

No. 1 Battalion - Round

No, 2 Battalion - Triangular

No. 3 Battalion - Square.

The officers of the I.N.A. had the following distinguishing marks on their shoulder straps: Lt. Colonel - Golden star between two bars, and red tap on collar supporting a golden bar on either side.

Captain - Three blue bars.

Lieutenant - Two blue bars.

Sub-Lieutenant - One blue bar.

Subordinate officers - No bar.


In the Indian National Army there was no difference between a man and a man. All were treated on the

same footing irrespective of caste, creed or colour.

Their only ambition was to liberate India from the foreign domination. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were all one for the achievement of this aim. They ate from one kitchen, in common plates, drank from common mugs, all officers and common soldiers Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.

They kept the picture of India, their common Motherland always before there eyes, and saluated with "JAI HIND" the national Tricolour. That was the spirit of the I. N. A.

Women's Organization of the I. N. A.

The Women's Organization of the I. N. A. was also an important wing of the Fauj, A women's Regiment was raised in July, 1943 under the command of Captain Mrs. Laxmi Sawaminathan. The members of this Regiment were drawn from the Indian civilian population of the South-East Asia. The Regiment was named after the famous Rani of Jhansi, who had died fighting bravely against the British forces in 1857, and consisted of 856 women trained for active service. Mrs. Laxmi as the Captain of the Regiment played a unique part in inspiring and organising the women into Red Cross units, reKef squads, ambulance workers and emergency nurees.

Rani of Jhansi Regiment

Manimugdha Sharma, Jan 22 2017: The Times of India

Rani Jhansi Regiment, Azad Hind Fauj; Manimugdha Sharma, Jan 22 2017: The Times of India

The Rani of Jhansi Regiment in Subhas Chandra Bose's INA has been shrouded in fiction and rumours. A historian gets to the truth of this `death-defying' regiment By the end of 1944 and the beginning of 1945, the Empire of Japan was in a precarious state. And with it, the Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj led by Subhas Chandra Bose.

One thing that really upset Bose was defections with entire battalions crossing over to the British lines. Only one set of people didn't flinch in their loyalty towards him. His Ranis. Or the women members of the Rani Jhansi Regiment (RJR).

Only a few days after his arrival in Singapore, on July 9, 1943, Bose had addressed a gathering of 60,000 Indians.There, he had made a stunning demand: “I want also a unit of brave Indian women to form a `Death-defying Regiment' who will wield the sword, which the brave Rani of Jhansi wielded in India's First War of Independence in 1857.“

The result was this all-women regiment of the INA that has been the stuff of legends and folklore. But only now there is some definitive account of these Indian women who fought patriarchy and sexual oppression as part of the force but never really fought the enemy .

“It was an experiment quite out of the ordinary: a result of Bose's intellectual support to women's liberation. He was far ahead of his time, wasn't he? He thought back in 1943 the way we think about women's rights today ,“ says Vera Hildebrand, the author of the latest book, Women at War: Subhas Chandra Bose and the Rani of Jhansi Regiment.

“However, at a more personal level, Bose found it difficult to implement what he supported in principle,“ she added. A senior research fellow at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Hildebrand is in India right now and spoke exclusively to TOI in between sessions at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

It took Hildebrand eight years to complete the book. She tracked down all the 30 surviving Ranis and visited each one of them in India, Malaysia, Singapore and the US. “But getting more details was difficult as most of the works on Bose had been hagiographies with very little information about the Ranis. I had to look elsewhere,“ she said.

But call it irony or fate, the most insightful stories about these women who fought against the British Empire came from the British. Hildebrand managed to consult over 23,000 interrogation reports prepared by the British intelligence. “These reports had fascinating information about these women. The British officers remarked that the Ranis were the most loyal soldiers of INA. Not a single one deserted him or defected to the Allies,“ Hildebrand says.

In fact, the Ranis, 450 of them in all, deified Bose. “Many had a crush on him.Almost all the Ranis I spoke to believed he was very handsome. The attention they gave him was akin to what Elvis Presley would get at a later time from his women fans,“ Hildebrand said.

Yet how was Bose towards them? “He was almost fatherly . He protected them, gave them special treatment. To the extent that there was talk of the Ranis getting better food and clothing than the male members of the INA.“

Many of the Ranis, Hildebrand said, believed in Bose's ability to deliver freedom to India. They were also quite upset that Nehru, and not Bose got the chance to lead a free India. “Bose was like a god to them. He could do no wrong,“ she said.

However, 3 of the 30 women Hildebrand tracked down refused to be interviewed, saying that they regretted joining the INA. Bose's Faustian treaty with the devil (read the Empire of Japan and Nazi Germany) troubled them in later life. “One of them said she was too young and naïve to understand Bose's politics when she joined INA. As an adult, she regretted it. She believed Bose was wrong in siding with the Japanese, by going against Gandhi, and was actually disloyal to the freedom movement,“ Hildebrand said.

But was it just a matter of chance or deliberate policy that the Ranis never saw combat? Hildebrand tries to answer it in her book: “Unless further evidence materialises, it will never be known exactly what mission Bose had in mind for the RJR. The overwhelming consensus of the citizens of Singapore regarding the uniformed women singing and marching through the streets of their war-torn city was that the RJR was simply a propaganda stunt. It is possible that Bose never intended to send the Ranis into battle, although the Ranis repeatedly pointed out that their contract with Bose was that they serve in combat at the frontline.“

Bose had himself reasoned that the spectacle of women fighting a liberation war would strengthen the resolve of the INA 's male soldiers. But is it possible that he wanted the women to be martyrs, sacrificed at the altar of freedom?


Officers and men of the Indian National Army were regularly paid in cash by the Government of Azad Hind besides being provided with food, clothing, etc. They were distinctly told that since the Fauj was fighting for the freedom of their Motherland, each member thereof had to make a sacrifice, physically and materially.

The rates of pay were therefore fixed as under:

Colonel Rs. 400 ; Major Rs. 180 ; Captain Rs. 125 ; Lieutenants Rs. 80 per mensem. The Indian National Army went into action on February 4, 1944. The distribution of the forces was :

1. Assam Front One Division

2. Rangoon One Division

3. Malaya One Division.

Half the soldiers in these Divisions were the Indian prisoners of war and the other half were Indian civilian volunteers. There was no Japanese soldier or officer in them.

Each of these Divisions had four brigades. The first Division which fought in Imphal and in the Arakan comprised of the following brigades:

1. Subhas Brigade : Commanding Col, Shah Nawaz Khan, 3,200 men.

2. Gandhi Brigade : Commanding Col. I. Z. Kiani, 2,800 men.

3. Azad Brigade : Commanding Col. Gulzara Singh, 2,800 men.

4. Nehru Brigade : Commanding Col. G. S. Dhillon, 3,000 men.


On March 18, 1944 the LN.A. captured Tiddim and crossed the Indo-Burma Frontier for the first time. The Japanese armies joined them in the plains of Imphal. Their allied forces first cut off the road to Dinapur and thereafter captured Eishenpur and Kohima. The renewed campaign of the Indian National Army lasted from January to August 1945. The Subhas, Gandhi and Nehru Brigades fought bravely and suffered great losses to stem the tide of the British 14th Army into Burma.


The contribution of the Kuki community

Vappala Balachandran, Aug 27, 2023: The Indian Express

It was heart-wrenching to read a recent Indian Express interview with a 65-year-old Kargil War veteran “whose wife was stripped and paraded by a mob during the May 4 violence in Manipur”. How have we reached this dismal state of barbarity and intolerance? Anonymous videos are flooding social media branding Kuki-Zomis as illegal migrants who are only indulging in drug trafficking.

In 2010, while researching material for writing the biography of A C N Nambiar, who was the closest confidante of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, I found that thousands of Kuki-Zomis had taken part during the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 1944 “Imphal Offensive”, braving pressure from the British to recruit them into heightened war efforts like porters and road repairers. This was not mentioned in colonial or mainstream history books.

In 1942, Singapore and Rangoon fell to the Japanese army and the panicky Britain drafted America to join the War on the Eastern front. A China-Burma-India theatre (CBI) was formed under General Joe Stilwell of the US Army after Chiang Kai-shek’s visit to India in February 1942. By December 1942 massive training of 32,000 Chinese and 17,000 US soldiers had started in Ramgarh, in the present Chhattisgarh state, which was the CBI theatre training ground.

The January 1943 Roosevelt-Churchill Casablanca Summit decided on a concerted British and Chinese offensive in 1943 to retake Burma and reopen the supply line to China. This was “Operation Anakim”. This huge force had to be transported by air and land to meet the rapidly advancing Japanese army and the Indian National Army (INA) of Subhas Chandra Bose who were helping the Japanese in intelligence and specific combat duties.

Initial setbacks greeted the Allied forces. After the 21 March 1943 British air strike on Rangoon airfield, the Japanese conducted massive raids on the inadequately protected Magwe airfield and destroyed many of the Allied aircraft on the ground. To prevent further losses, the RAF moved its planes west to Akyab on the coast. However, Akyab was also bombed, and the Japanese forced “the Allied air forces completely out of Burma”.

How this plan eventually worked was recorded by Donovan Webster in his The Burma Road highlighting serious American differences with Churchill as they had different objectives. For Americans, the objective was restoring supply lines to Chiang Kai-shek in China, possibly through a land route (Stilwell Road or Ledo Road) or the dangerous “Hump” route by flying over the Himalayas. For the British, Northern Burma was not a primary concern. They were more interested in retaking Rangoon.

Another beautiful book on this subject is by Hemant Singh Katoch, formerly of the International Committee of Red Cross, The Battle Fields of Imphal (2016) with a foreword by Hugo Slim, grandson of Field Marshall Slim, the hero of the British 14th Army. This has highlighted the strategic vision of Netaji Bose in undertaking this campaign which was one of the greatest battles in the Second World War. This book also reveals that “a good number of peoples from among the different ethnic groups supported the INA-Japanese forces”. It gives details of Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis who helped INA-Japanese forces. It mentions that “hundreds of Kukis are said to have deserted the V Force”. The book gives a list of Kukis’ “Japan gal la” (Songs of the Japanese War), still preserved by Kukis.

Not so well known are some other stories found only in our Northeast archives. I would quote Professor Jangkhomang Guite who wrote in the Indian Historical Review (2010) that at least 6,000 Kukis had helped INA-Japanese forces because they resented the British army’s demand for 11,000 of them to work as labourers for road repairs and other war efforts. He said that “the coming of INA-Japanese forces was considered to be a godsend saviour by the Kukis to free them from the colonial yoke”.

In 2015, he wrote another research paper for the Journal of North-East India Studies that the Imperial British Records, still followed in India, had claimed that the entire Indian Northeast Belt was strongly against INA. He also complained that some of these records in Manipur Archives were destroyed. He however found that “the huge corpus of INA Records collected by the National Archives of India, New Delhi from different parts of Southeast Asian countries” had clearly indicated that the local people had partly or wholly supported the INA. “This is especially so with the Kukis of the region” as they had not forgotten the British atrocities against them during the 1917-19 “Kuki Rising”.

He said that the Government of India had recognised their contribution by honouring 148 Kukis by giving them INA pensions. He also stated that in 1986 the “Freedom Fighter Cell/Department of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (I)” had published the living testimony of 148 freedom fighters along with their photographs of Manipur State. Of these 78 were Kukis. However, internecine quarrels since 1992 on political grounds between Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis have ruined the atmosphere through competitive claims of patriotism by “othering” the other groups.

In 1977, Professor Hiren Mukerjee, five-time Member of Parliament surprised his Communist colleagues by describing Netaji’s efforts in his slim volume Bow of Burning Gold: “To weld disparate material into a unity, to be one with his army and yet, in some ways, like a star apart, to be thus an idol to those nearest to him in searing days of struggle, is a human feat that only a few can achieve in history”. We should not dishonour those segments like Kukis who were in Netaji’s stream in his great freedom struggle.

Decorations and medals

An "Azad Hind" (Free India) decoration was also instituted by Bose in 1942 in four grades each of which could be awarded with or without swords in the German fashion. Both Indian and German members of the Legion were eligible to receive the decoration. Almost half of the Indian Legion's members received one or more of these awards.

Order of "Azad Hind"

Grand Star: "Sher-e-Hind" (Tiger of India)

1st Class Star: "Sardar-e-Jang" (Leader of Battle)

2nd Class Star: "Vir-e-Hind" (Hero of India)

Medal: "Shahid-e-Bharat" (Martyr of the Fatherland)

Legion Freies Indien

The Legion Freies Indien of the German Army and took their oath of allegiance in a ceremony on 26th August 1942. The ranks of the new Legion were swelled by hundreds of new members some of whose participation was far from voluntary until by mid-1943 it boasted approximately 2,000 members and was also referred to as Indisches Infanterie Regiment 950.

I.R. 950 (ind) / Freies Indien Legion 1943-44

Legionskommandeur (Legion Commander): Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Kurt Krappe (until 25/6/43)

Ausbildungs und Betreutungsstab (Training & Maintenance Staff) formed on 27/4/43 then renamed on 7/7/43 as: Regiments-Stab (ind.) Infanterie Regiment 950

I. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 1 - 4)

II. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 5 - 8)

III. Bataillon: w/ 4x Infanterie Kompanien (Nr. 9 - 12)

13th Infanteriegeschütz Kompanie (Infantry-Gun Company w/ 6x 7.5cm leichtes Infanteriegeschütz {Light Infantry Gun} 18)

14th Panzerjäger Kompanie (Anti-tank Company w/ 6x Panzerabwehrkanone {anti-tank gun})

15th Pionier Kompanie (Engineer Company)

Ehrenwachkompanie (Honour Guard Company)

Hospital / Convalescent Home

Bank of Independence

MAHIM PRATAP SINGH, Netaji currency made public, The Hindu, 2010

A currency note issued by Subhash Chandra Bose's Bank of Independence

A currency issued by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Bank of Independence has been made public

In the 1980s, Ram Kishore Dubey, a retired contractor with the State Irrigation Department, discovered the note in his grandfather’s Ramayana book, but did not realise its historical significance till recently.

“My grandfather, Praagilal, worked for Netaji in the Azaad Hind Fauj and passed away in 1958,” says the 63-year-old Dubey.

“He used to stay away from the family for months on end working covertly for the INA [Indian National Army] in the Bundelkhand region on a recruitment drive for its Jhansi ki Rani Regiment, led by Lakshmi Swaminathan. He gave up his land for the cause of the army and so Netaji rewarded him with this note promising him the amount in independent India.”

The currency, of denomination one lakh, has a photograph of Bose on the left side and a pre-independence map of the Indian territory with the inscription “ swatantra bharat” in Hindi on the other. In the middle are inscribed the words “ Jai Hind” in English, with the words “I promise to pay the bearer the sum of one Lac” below it.

On the top of the note is a series of flags of the Azaad Hind Fauj over a bold inscription saying “Bank of Independence” with “good wishes” inscribed at the bottom.

Several historians contend that in April 1944, Netaji established the Azad Hind Bank or the Bank of Independence in Rangoon (now Yangon) to manage funds donated by the Indian community from across the world.

INA and Netaji’s military ideology

The Times of India, Sep 27 2015

Aakar Patel

Is our revered Netaji the same man who was enamoured of Hitler?

The more interesting thing is that we are interested at all in Subhas Chandra Bose. I accept he is a national hero, and the photograph of him in his martial cap and uniform duly graced the walls of my house (my mother will tweak my ear if she reads this column). But what exactly were Bose's military achievements? I ask because he liked to be photographed in that uniform. If you are struggling to think of any, it is not because you don't know but because there is not much to report. The Indian National Army, which was essentially composed of British Indian Army soldiers captured by the Japanese who were now fighting under Bose, has little achievement to its name.It collapsed the instant the Japanese withdrew air support. So poorly were they led that the vast majority of them died of disease. When they found their way out of the jungles and surrendered, they fell into the arms of the British Indian Army, their former comrades, weeping.

The best description of the group's activities to me has come from R M Kasliwal, the Indian National Army's medical officer. He wrote `The Impact of Netaji and INA on India's Independ ence'. Though he is totally devoted to his boss, the Subhas Chandra Bose he describes is smallminded and focussed on the wrong things. I recommend the book very strongly to readers of the Sunday Times of India. Here's an example, where Kasliwal describes a meeting with Bose: “One day he sent for me in his office at the Supreme Headquarters. I entered his room and saluted him and then he started talking to me about some important medical matters when he suddenly moved his left hand at which I thought that he was asking me to take a seat and so I sat in a chair in front of his table and had about 15 minutes of conversation with him and after this I saluted him and returned to my office. In a few minutes General Bhosle came to my office and told me that Netaji was very annoyed with me because I had occupied a seat in his office without permission.“

Dr Kasliwal writes that Bose had the catholicity of Akbar and the intellectual genius of Vivekananda. But actually Bose knew little about how to manage an army and, as I have said, the INA could not fight without the Japanese. Dr Kasliwal's descriptions of how this happened are almost comic, so poorly run was the INA. Netaji's interest, going by this book, was mainly in inspecting parades, which were a serious and timeconsuming ritual for Bose, himself neither trained nor particularly fit. And the other activity was making daily speeches, two hours long, on the radio, which exhausted him.

After reading this book, the penny dropped for me on Bose. I was not surprised to come across this description from another work by Nirad C Chaudhuri. It is from before the war, and from Bose's time in the Congress: “Bose organized a volunteer corps in uniform, its officers being even provided with steel-cut epaulettes... his uniform was made by a firm of British tailors in Calcutta, Harman's. A telegram addressed to him as GOC was delivered to the British General in Fort William and was the subject of a good deal of malicious gossip in the (British Indian) press. Mahatma Gandhi being a sincere pacifist vowed to non-violence, did not like the strutting, clicking of boots, and saluting, and he afterwards described the Calcutta session of the Congress as a Bertram Mills circus, which caused a great deal of indignation among the Bengalis.“

This play-acting of soldier-soldier was the primary aspect of Bose's militarism. For a man enamoured of Adolf Hitler, imperial Japan and a believer in totalitarianism, he is awfully revered in India. Why? That is the puzzle.

‘Win over Netaji’s INA is UK’s greatest battle’

By Anon, PTI, 22 April 2013

The Times of India

Britain’s struggle to repel a combined force of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose-led Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army) and Japan during World War II, around Imphal and Kohima in 1944 has been adjudged as the ‘greatest ever battle involving British forces’, a report said.

The clashes that took place in northeastersn corner of India were voted the winner of a contest run by the National Army Museum here, to identify ‘Britain’s Greatest Battle’.

The battles of Imphal and Kohima saw the British and Indian forces, under the overall command of Lieutenant-General William Slim, repel the Japanese invasion of India and helped turned the tide of the war..

The Japanese, along with soldiers of the Azad Hind Fauj, eventually lost (dead and missing) 53,000 in the battles. The British sustained 12,500 casualties at Imphal while the fighting at Kohima cost them another 4,000.

The campaign of Imphal-Kohima was on a shortlist of five battles which topped a public poll. Finally, it was selected as the winner by an audience of more than 100 guests at a special event at the museum in Chelsea on Saturday.

Imphal-Kohima received almost half of all votes. It was far ahead of D-Day and Normandy, in 1944 which received 25% of the vote and came second, followed by the Battle of Waterloo, in 1815 (22%).

At the event, each contender had their case made by a historian giving 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.

“I had thought that one of the bigger names like D-Day or Waterloo would win so I am delighted that Imphal-Kohima has won. You have got to judge the greatness of a battle by its political, cultural and social impact, as much as its military impact,” he was quoted by the Telegraph as saying.

“Imphal and Kohima were really significant for a number of reasons, not least that they showed that the Japanese were not invincible and that that they could be beaten, and beaten well. The victories demonstrate this more than the US in the Pacific, where they were taking them on garrison by garrison,” Lyman added.

The fight for Imphal went on longer than that for Kohima, lasting from March until July. Kohima was smaller in scale, and shorter, from April to June — but the fighting was so intense it has been described as the ‘Stalingrad of the East’. PTI

See also

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: Biography

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: Ideology

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: After-1945

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: Declassified papers

Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army)

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