Elephant in the room: Indian Army in Burma

The rarely heard CBI Theater

The War Room

Chennai, Nov 4:

The China-India-Burma Theatre was ablaze with heavy firing during the Second World War. Indian soldiers died in thousands over a two-week period at Imphal. The combat zone was reduced to a Maharaja’s tennis court as the Battle of Kohima ended and came knocking on Indian doors.

India’s intrusion in a global war was unprecedented.

Despite having had a significant impact on the East, why was the Burmese zone rarely acknowledged in India?

“It is interesting to note how India’s place in the world is attributed to the summer of 1991 and the new liberalization policy. The assumption is that this ‘Asian Power’ is a consequence of the last 25 years or so. I believe that the Second World War was the catalytic moment of India’s emergence in the world stage”, said Dr. Srinath Raghavan, author of India’s War: The Making of Modern South Asia and a senior…

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 9, 2017, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. That is an interesting article. There is so much we didn’t learn in school about the war, so many facets of it probably unknown by most people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s good to see your post on this all-too-often overlooked part of that global battle that was World War II.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is some fascinating piece of history, these snippets of history deserve to be remembered completely, I think they are amazing, the history of the past will always be remembered by our living older generation, unfortunately with our new generation, and the changing political face of our world today, our future generation will be recalling a completely different scenario, our records will be archived into the libraries of research.
    Great repost gp.


  4. In the “100 best true stories of WWII” I read about Stilwell’s trek through Burma as well as some related stories. It really opened my eyes to what they went through.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your post resulted in a “stumbleupon” journey with several links, and links within those…
    One such was about a Hawker Typhoon pilot (below) but this was in the ETO not the CBI.

    However this map overlay page might be of use to you. Note – after following the directions, you still must click on the green arrow to produce the desired comparison. Check out the relative size of India, over Australia.

    Liked by 3 people

    • For some reason, I thought India was larger than that. The overlay map is interesting, thanks for the link!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for leaving the overlapmap link (I think – I spent waaaay too much time there – lol – comparing India to Australia, the US, then other countries to each other — sheesh!). I’m with GP – I had a sense that India was so much larger.

      Great reblog, GP. You are right – very little is taught about so much, and this is yet another fascinating example of what was omitted. Thanks for sharing.
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
      ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Off topic, but since you have been honest (saw your web page) I must say we have diametrically opposite views:

        Liked by 1 person

        • We’re probably not as far apart as you might think – although my research & experience does not line up with the info in the video you featured in your link.

          *ALL* of the many teachers I know expect correct spelling and arithmetic totals. What they (and I) object to is shaming children for incorrect answers and “teach to the test” methodology. There are more effective ways to correct and many more things to learn than can be measured metrically – they are ALL important if we are to have an educated populace.

          Our main divide seems to be with medication. GP’s blog is not the place for a discussion of this off-topic issue, so I’ll simply leave you with my personal experience:

          FAR from “dumbing me down,” I struggle for access to my own rather fine brain **without** my medication.

          I have read most of the research and books from the past 30 years, and have heard stories from many hundreds of ADD/EFDers who will say the same.

          Like glasses – not everybody needs meds to focus, but for the ones who do they are practically a miracle (and studies show that soundbites about over-prescription are simply not accurate — I would agree with you if they were).

          Liked by 1 person

  7. The war in Burma was unimportant and quite unknown to the British ‘man in the street’ and has mostly remained so. Newspapers of WW2 had huge front page photos of smiling GIs catching pigeons in Trafalgar Square using war bonnets and string, petty squabbles like Kohima being relegated to a few lines around page five “Far East reports activity around Kohima” …

    The Brit 14th Army was called ‘The Forgotten Army’ for very good reason (with just a hint of lingering bitterness in such players as are still around).

    Interestingly large numbers of ‘fuzzy wuzzies’ all over the place elected to serve with the Axis (whom they saw as potential liberators).

    Liked by 1 person

    • The “fuzzie-wuzzies” were the natives in New Guinea, not a part of the CBI.
      “Petty squabbles” like Kohima should not have been ignored. Those battles took the lives of many a good man and they should not be forgotten.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fuzzy wuzzy became a generic term, and was often used as such. I must admit that as such I had no idea, so thank you.

        ‘Petty squabbles like Kohima’, the way I use it, was cynicism (actually, embittered sarcasm).
        The entire 14th Army was aptly termed ‘The Forgotten Army’.
        Not good …

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Very interesting! Whether it was India, or the Filipinos mentioned in your father’s letters, fighting for the Japanese, it’s easy to forget not everyone saw the issues the way we did. And I guess all the horses, mules, and even elephants “got volunteered” into the fight without getting to vote on it!

    Liked by 3 people

    • No, the animals never do get to vote on their service. As far as opinions on the issues, I try to look at all sides – but as you said, “not everyone saw the issues the way we did.”

      Liked by 2 people

  9. When my father served in India during the war, he rated the Sikhs, Gurkhas, and Punjabis as some of the bravest and best soldiers he had ever served with.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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