Battalions at Kohima

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by Welbourn, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Welbourn

    Welbourn Member

    Sorry if this is a bit of a 'Newbie' question as I am more of a WW1 buff, but is there a definitive list of the battalions that were involved in the battle at Kohima?
    Thank you in advance
  2. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    Only one complete battalion was responsible for the Defence of Kohima - 4th Battalion of the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment, though various numbers of men from other units found themselves within the perimeter and assisted in the defence to various degrees. Other battalions, of the 6th Brigade of 2nd Infantry Division and of 33 Brigade of 7th Indian Division were involved with the relief of the siege.

  3. zahonado

    zahonado Well-Known Member

    1/8 Lancashire Fusiliers were there somewhere I believe.
  4. dave1212

    dave1212 Junior Member

    bamboo43 and Owen like this.
  5. Welbourn

    Welbourn Member

    Thank you all for your help.
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

  7. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    This depends on whether you mean the Kohima Garrison or the British 2nd Division that came to relieve them, or both!!

    The Garrison was made up of a scratch force of "odd's and sod's" from small units and sub-units that were gathered around the nucleus of the Royal West Kent's and Assam rifles so would not have "Kohima" as a battle honour. I have only just recently uncovered another such group of men that were previously unknown of and are certainly not in any of the books I've seen.
    I have contacted Bob Cook, the curator of the Kohima Museum and two other leading authors and experts about the battle of this. If you contact Bob on the museum website he will be able to tell you more of the details.

  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is an order of battle for the area on 3 April 1944:

    The Battle of Kohima - 3 April 1944

    Kohima Garrison
    1 25-pounder (24th Reinforcement Camp)
    1st Battalion, Assam Regiment
    1 Company, 3/2nd Punjab Regiment (140 all ranks)
    1 Company, 1st Battalion, The Burma Regiment (Garrison Battalion)
    1 Company, 5th Battalion, The Burma Regiment
    2 Platoons, 27/5th Mahratta Light Infantry
    1 Composite Company, Gurkhas
    2 Composite Companies, Indian Infantry
    3rd Battalion, The Assam Rifles (Organized into 7 Platoons)
    Detachment, ‘V’ Force
    The Shere Regiment (Nepal)
    1 Company, British NCOs and men
    200 British ORs from the Reinforcement Camp

    XXXIII Indian Corps
    149th, 150th Regiments, RAC
    11th Cavalry (Armoured Cars)
    45th Cavalry (Light Tanks)
    1st Medium Regiment, RA
    5th Light AA/Anti-Tank Regiment, IA
    24th Mountain Regiment, IA (From 5th Indian Infantry Division)
    429th Field Company, IE
    44th Field Park Company, IE
    10th Engineer Battalion, IE
    1st Battalion, The Burma Regiment
    1st Battalion, The Chamar Regiment
    1st Battalion, The Assam Regiment - Under Kohima Garrison
    The Shere Regiment (Nepal) - Under Kohima Garrison
    The Mahindra Dal Regiment (Nepal)

    2nd Infantry Division
    10th, 16th, 99th Assault Field Regiments, RA
    100th Light AA/Anti-Tank Regiment, RA
    5th, 208th, 506th Field Companies, RE
    21st Field Park Company, RE
    2nd Reconnaissance Regiment
    2nd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment M-G
    143rd Special Service Company

    4th Infantry Brigade
    1st Battalion, The Royal Scots
    2nd Battalion, The Royal Norfolk Regiment
    1st/8th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers

    5th Infantry Brigade
    7th Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment
    2nd Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment
    1st Battalion, The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders

    6th Infantry Brigade
    1st Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers
    1st Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment
    2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry

    161st Indian Infantry Brigade
    4th Battalion, The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment
    1/1st Punjab Regiment
    4/7th Rajput Regiment

    33rd Indian Infantry Brigade
    1st Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment
    4/15th Punjab Regiment
    4/1st Gurkha Rifles
  9. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member Patron

    No mention of RWK's? They were there from the 29th March I believe.
  10. psmiddx

    psmiddx New Member

    My dad was a Major at Kohima with the British Indian Artillery. He told me an amazing story of how close the Japanese soldiers got to their lines (as we know about the close-in fighting). He said that once, the enemy got so far in, that they were 'inside of the arc' of the guns and that they had to bury the guns down in trenches, so they could aim them 'flat' - then this enabled to blow them up at close range.
    Tony Wait likes this.
  11. Fitzgeraldr

    Fitzgeraldr Active Member

    I have just been reading the war diaries of the 1st Bn Essex and it seems that they were also involved around Kohima 8th/9th May after fighting their way there.War Diary report on the 9th May 1944 "1 sec 44 Coln patrol (sjt Heal) left to ambush track to Kohima in rear of enemy posns."
  12. Tony Wait

    Tony Wait Member

    The books explain that 4th Field Royal Artillery became part of 5th India Division along with RWK’s etc in Burma during WWII. 5th India Division was divided into three brigades (9th Indian Brigade,123rd Brigade and 161 Brigade) My question is this. Would elements of 4th Field RA become attached to all three brigades? Or just one? Any help would be appreciated
  13. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    4 Fd Regt RA formed part of 5 Indian Inf Div for several periods during the war, as did several other artillery regiments, both UK and Indian. If, at the time, there was only one artillery regiment in the division, then one battery would support each brigade as its primary task, though the whole regiment could support the same brigade if in range and in case of urgency. If three regiments, then each regiment would support one brigade as its primary task. If two, then it was probably up to the CRA at Div HQ to allocate.
    4 RWK was part of 161 Indian Infantry Brigade, part of 5 Indian Infantry Division. The Royal West Kent Regiment were, I believe, the only regiment to bear the battle honour 'Defence of Kohima', though I have an idea that a certain artillery battery were awarded it too.
  14. Tony Wait

    Tony Wait Member

    Many thanks Chrisgrove. In the books I have read, 4th Field RA either rarely gets mentioned or not mentioned at all. So following 161 Indian Infantry Brigade has been the only way I can try and understand where my father was in Burma.

    JITTER PARTY Well-Known Member

    Tony, If you don't mind me commenting, I think it would be a mistake to concentrate solely on the link between 161 Ind Bde and 4 Fd Regt. Previous responses have suggested that any field regiment in the division could, and would, provide support to any unit, and fire on any chosen target. This does not imply that the units were in anyway linked or even in close proximity.
    By all means read all of the relevant brigade and battalion War Diaries, but this is unlikely to give you any additional information about your father's whereabouts. The 4 Fd Regt War Diary will be your primary resource, and, as mentioned previously, it is worth checking the 5 Ind Div CRA War Diary too.
    Of course, these resources must be used in conjunction with your father's service records, that you have shared in the other thread, which are quite sketchy. Three months is quite a long period away from the regiment, but there is no indication why, except for the x(ii), or exactly where he was, which hospital, was he evacuated further, etc. You may need to come to terms with the possibility that this information is no longer recoverable.

    Whatever more you manage to find, we already know that he served in a great regiment of a famous division, fought in the Arakan, in India and during the reconquest of Burma. No mean achievement.
  16. Tony Wait

    Tony Wait Member

    Many thanks for all your help and advice. I agree with your kind comments Jitter Party and really appreciate what you have said.
  17. LEELUMS 21

    LEELUMS 21 New Member

    Hi I havent been on this website in a very long time I am trying to find out more about who was in the 4th battalion royal Weat Kents as accoring to a christmas letter home my grandad was George W Cherry was in D Company along with a VC winner Lt John Harman and the other name is a Capt Doresea I think he took over part way through the kohima battle are there any other documents that mention them or photos anyone has i have just put some more on pinterest would be most grateful for any more info did try to get his war records but they refused really got on my nerves i am his grandson why on on would i want his records.
    Thanks again if you have anymore info

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  18. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member


    I am not sure why the MOD refused your request for his records but that would say whether he was still in the Royal West Kents at the time of the Battle of Kohima. The other options are that he was transferred out between December 1943 and the battle in early April or that he was away from the unit in hospital at the time. Both would show in his records.

    I think I can recall something to say that there has been a list compiled of the West Kents at Kohima. Have you tried a really thorough Google search and also on this site?
  19. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

  20. LEELUMS 21

    LEELUMS 21 New Member

    He was in the Royal west kent till 1946 as he was kept on and I believe went to Rangoon I can bview file on availableif you go there i would love to view in anyone has a copy. 20201021_115225 (1).jpg 2018-07-02 07.57.29.jpg i have added some of him if anyone has any info I would be very grateful.

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