ABSTRACT

For twenty months following the loss of Burma in May 1942, despite constant pressure and aspirations for a counter-o ensive, the British in South-East Asia had been forced almost completely onto the defensive to hold the ring while they made the necessary operational and logistic preparations to take the war back to the enemy. ey simply did not have the resources, the means or the skill to attack the enemy successfully in any strength until the beginning of 1944. e rst Arakan o ensive over the winter of 1942-3 had been attempted before India or its Eastern Army were ready for battle, with concomitant results. If it achieved anything, it was to convince the British once and for all that the infantry were the dominant arm in the jungle and had to be properly manned, trained and equipped for their demanding role. Fortunately, at the same time, Operation LONGCLOTH proved that British troops, properly trained and supplied by air as well as animal transport, could actually operate e ectively in the jungle, independently of ground LofC. During that period, therefore, valuable lessons were learned, experience was gained and the overall capability of British forces was gradually much improved. e combined tactical and logistic lessons from these two operations, as well as increasingly successful patrol contacts with the enemy, were to have a profound in uence on the outcome of battles and the shape of the campaign from then on.