A Largely Indian Victory in World War II, Mostly Forgotten in India

tags: World War II, India



Soldiers died by the dozens, by the hundreds and then by the thousands in a battle here 70 years ago. Two bloody weeks of fighting came down to just a few yards across an asphalt tennis court.

Night after night, Japanese troops charged across the court’s white lines, only to be killed by almost continuous firing from British and Indian machine guns. The Battle of Kohima and Imphal was the bloodiest of World War II in India, and it cost Japan much of its best army in Burma.

But the battle has been largely forgotten in India as an emblem of the country’s colonial past. The Indian troops who fought and died here were subjects of the British Empire. In this remote, northeastern corner of India, more recent battles with a mix of local insurgencies among tribal groups that have long sought autonomy have made remembrances of former glories a luxury.



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