In the spring of 1944 there were fierce battles between the allied forces (british, Indian, Gurkha, Punjabi) and the Japanese. The Japanese came from Burma and wanted to conquer India. Kohima and Imphal were in the way and had to be taken. There were hard fighting on the hills of Kohima, the hardest on the ridge by the deputy commissioner’s villa and on the tennis court (!). If the Japanese won here, they would get out of the hills and it would be easier to get into India. That is war historians compare the battle at Kohima to the battles at Stalingrad and El Alamein. Only 74 km away was a huge supply depot, and at Imphal, an airport.
The conditions were terrible with rain, mud and steep hills. They were dug in on each side of the tennis court and could throw hand grenades at each other. There were horrible hand-to-hand fighting and supply was difficult for both sides. Two separate factors that seem to have made the difference were the guerilla work behind the Japanese lines to disrupt the supply lines, and that the Allied forces were able to pull! a tank up through the mud to take part in the fighting on the ridge.
The casualities were great an many of them are buried at the memorial cementary in Kohima, around the tennis court. A few pictures from there.
I got the same feeling as when I saw the war cementary in Northern France, sad, full of questions, what can power do to individuals, why is not humankind more civilized? At the same time: Why did I not know about this?