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The British-led 14th Army in Burma, 1942–1945: The Remarkable Recovery and Successful Transformation of a Military Organization at War

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image of International Journal of Military History and Historiography
For more content, see International Bibliography of Military History (Vol 1–35).

The British-led 14th Army was the Indian Army’s principal formation fighting against the Imperial Japanese Army in Burma from 1942 to 1945. Successive defeats in the Far East made the Indian Army the object of disdain, ridicule and scorn expressed by the senior political and military leadership in London. This leadership dismissed their socially inferior Indian Army counterparts as a “second XI”, commanding a second-rate organization comprising “black” troops. The Indian Army, however, had learnt from its earlier mistakes and had undergone a remarkable recovery and successful organizational transformation amidst bitter combat against their Japanese foe. Improvements in leadership, training and morale, tactical innovations, and the brilliant execution of operational strategy helped resolve London’s strategic impasse over the war against Japan. The end result was the greatest Japanese military defeat in history until it was eclipsed by the Red Army’s decisive blow against Japanese forces in Manchuria in August 1945.

Affiliations: 1: Trade Advisory Division, International Enterprise Singapore, ; 2: Institute of Governance and Policy, Civil Service College, Singapore,


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