WW2 India Map Reference (Imphal)

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by 5thindiandivision, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    My friend Raj and his team had a pretty gruelling expedition clambering about in the heavily jungle clad slopes. I told him at least they weren't doing it in the monsoon or being shot at neither!! The metal detector picked up large amounts of shrapnel fragments and several bunkers and foxholes were found.They only had enough time to explore a small part of this feature but hope to return later when the locals have cleared and burnt all the scrub as they always do after January.
    I was hoping for 1:25000 scale maps of Nungshigum like the ones I have for Molvom and Kangpokpi. I have some more photo's and maps to show but it's such a pain in the a*** trying to upload them. I'll give it a go another time...watch this space!!
  2. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    IMGP1074.JPG Map 83L 1:126720 1 inch to 2 miles. Nungshigum. You may be able to find Runaway Hill on here.
  3. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Hi, Lionboxer,

    Wow -- your edition of sheet 83L is an updated version of the same-scale 83L posted by Skoyen89 -- just look at the relief. And your edition's tick marks make it far easier to estimate grid square locations. The RK416790 grid reference for Runaway Hill (see early postings to this thread) is spot-on.

    If there are other sheets at 1:25,000 in the area, then it would be spectacular to find Numshigum Hill at this scale. Do your other 1:25,000 scaled maps have adjoining sheet diagrams that would hint of the existence of a 1:25,000 map covering Numshigum?? And maybe the British Library would know...

    My only other thought would be in searching unit records at Kew, or records at regimental archives, or wherever such unit records are held, for various units which fought at Numshigum Hill and surrounds. I have not studied my history to know which units (British, Indian, or other?) were involved.

    I mention unit archives because on one of my main projects -- finding an RAF Liberator crash in Malaya (located, visited by my Malaysian pals once so far) -- it was the unit archive which provided key evidence leading to the successful rediscovery of the crash site. It was known that the wreck (lost 6 June 1945), with a largely intact fuselage, was found in 1955 by a deep-penetration jungle patrol of the Royal Scots Fusiliers during the Malaya Emergency. The archives of the Royal Highland Fusiliers in Glasgow now hold the records of that Royal Scots Fusiliers patrol (the RSF no longer exist, due to reorganization), and one of my associates on the project -- the surviving RSF officer from the 1955 patrol -- succeeded in finding the patrol diary and the 1955 map upon which the location of the wreck was marked. Brilliant!

    So...maybe you might luck out by chasing down unit records in the hope of finding maps and sketches. But this may be extremely difficult, for all I know.

    Cheers for now,

  4. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    Unit war diaries is where this came from!!!! I'm still looking for a 1:25000 of Nungshigum as I'm pretty sure the fighting troops would have needed large scale maps.
    Funny you should mention downed aircraft in the jungle, Raj is on the trail of one after his sources told him of a crash site deep in the jungle. I have no further details though, and Raj is still planning the logistics of such an expedition.
    Can you tell me how to plot map references from these diaries onto a modern satnav or Google Earth bearing in mind that I am a total techno-duffer (and bit of a Luddite) and I'm not a cartographer (though I do spend lots of time looking at maps and Google Earth trying to locate things). You may like to email me.
  5. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    Hi, Lionboxer,

    I should have guessed you were on top of things, regarding unit histories or diaries.

    I hope there were, indeed, other 1:25,000 maps in the area. All I can suggest is to check the adjoining sheets diagram on other 1:25,000 map, and also to make British Library cartography inquiries. Who knows, the BL might have an index to all of the printed wartime maps.

    A tantalizing lead to an aircraft crash site! I hope a future site visit will prove successful for Raj.

    Matching up a diary's wartime map grid reference or lat / long measurement to a modern Google Earth position is just guesswork, I'm afraid. Even if you can pinpoint the diary reference to a position on a wartime map, the map's geodetic accuracy could be way off -- that's just the way mapping was in days of old. And wartime map grids, spheroids, and ellipsoids -- which are key elements in portraying the curved, irregular earth upon a flat piece of paper -- can be different from any modern maps.

    In a nutshell, you must use the best of your logical and analytical skills to match a wartime diary map reference to a wartime map position (with a 1:25,000 scale being VERY good for an area like Numshigum Hill, and a 1:63,360 or 1:126,720 being far less useful), and then correlate the map to a corresponding lat/long position derived from Google Earth software. Depending on the lay of the land, and the quality of the Google Earth satellite imagery, this can be easy or impossible!! (A lot of good this advice is!)

    Well, there is one other potentially useful alternative that involves a ton of work, or deep pockets to hire someone: obtaining suitably detailed wartime air photo coverage of an area of interest, then scanning the photo, and then "draping" the image (or a small cropped piece of imagery) atop modern imagery in the Google Earth software.

    Then you would likely have to stretch the wartime imagery to fit the modern imagery (using recognizable points seen in both sets of imagery, such as road intersections or stream junctions or other landmarks). It sometimes works pretty nicely in flat areas, but not so well in hilly areas.

    Of course, this will not serve your purposes unless you can first logically correlate the diary's reference to the wartime imagery. This may be next to impossible...who knows? But if you can, then you can measure a lat/long easily in Google Earth simply by moving the cursor over the point.

    Well, all of this is based on your ability to acquire wartime imagery, from TARA (The Aerial Reconnaissance Archive) in Scotland or from NARA (the US National Archives) in College Park, Maryland, USA. Hard to do for most folks. Alas, I'm too busy to do NARA work for you, and I live nearby. It's a very time-consuming process.

    Getting back to that crashed aircraft. Finding it will generate tremendous interest on message boards, especially if an aircraft type, and more so an identity (i.e., serial number) can be ascertained. Please keep us informed, should Raj succeed in reaching the site. Thanks.


  6. martinroe22

    martinroe22 Junior Member

    the map ref i would say is from Ordnance survey all maps i believe where made by them they might have an archive or the only other place i would look at would be the National archive at kew or a Regimental museum if your looking for pictures of the area may i suggest you look at a file here somerset LI 1939 to 1942 - Ge.tt there are over 600 pictures of the somerset light infantry`s time on the NWF in India from 1939 to 1942
  7. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

  8. imphalcampaign

    imphalcampaign Active Member

    Hi Everyone,
    Luckily after so many hard work and many exploration, finally Runaway hill is discovered. The Location is confirmed with the Map from LionBoxer. He is the one who has provided with war Diaries and working late night over war map and Goggle earth. So a big cheers to him. I am attaching the media links which published our discovery.


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