Battle of Imphal

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Imphal and the Chindits

Imphal and Manipur are intimately connected to the two famous Chindit expeditions of 1943 and 1944. The expeditions involved the sending in of Long Range Penetration groups deep into Japanese-held Burma and kept supplied by air. Pioneered by British Major General Orde Wingate, the Chindits’ main objectives were to disrupt Japanese communication and supply lines in Burma. 

Imphal was the base of the first Chindit expedition of February 1943, Operation Longcloth. At the time, Wingate’s headquarters were set up in the city. Imphal’s airfields were among those used for flying out men of the 2nd Chindit expedition of early-March 1944, Operation Thursday, as well. On land, the Chindit 23 Long Range Penetration Brigade was involved in disrupting Japanese supply lines between Ukhrul and Burma during the battle for Ukhrul in early July 1944.

Unfortunately, Imphal and Manipur are also associated with the passing away of Wingate. His plane took off from an Imphal airfield on the evening of March 24, 1944, and crashed near Thilon [71] village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district. His remains and those of his American co-passengers were disinterred from the Imphal War Cemetery in 1950 and reburied at the Arlington National Cemetery in the Unites States.