The following Despatch was submitted to the Secretary of State for War on the 14th July, 1942, by GENERAL SR ARCHIBALD P. WAVELL, G.C B., C.M.G., M.C., A.DC., Commander-in-Chief, India.
(To cover Reports by Lieut.-General T. J. Hutton and General The Honourable Sir Harold R L G. Alexander.)
1. This despatch covers reports by Lieut.-General T. J. Hutton and by General The Honourable Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander describing the operations in Burma between 15th December, 1941, when the defence of Burma became the responsibility of the Commander-in-Chief in India, and 20th May/ 1942, when the last troops of the Burma Army were withdrawn across the frontier into India. The despatch is intended to explain how the general strategical situation affected operations in Burma and to record the actions I took as the Commander chiefly responsible for them. Although the defence of Burma was three times transferred from one Command to another during the period, I remained personally responsible except for a period of about one week at the end of February, 1942.
2. The vital importance of Burma, in a war against Japan, to the Allied cause in general and to the defence of India is obvious. Through Burma lay the only route by which the Chinese armies could be kept supplied, and bases stocked for Allied air attack on Japan itself. From India's point of view, so long as Burma was in our possession, Calcutta and the great industrial centres of North-East India were practically immune from air attack, and her eastern land frontiers were secure from the threat of invasion.
Section I - Continuation of the Despatch submitted to the Secretary of State for War on the 14th July, 1942, by GENERAL SR ARCHIBALD P. WAVELL, G.C B., C.M.G., M.C., A.DC., Commander-in-Chief, India.
Section II - Report by Lieut.-General T. J Hutton, C.B., M.C., on Operations in Burma from 27th December, 1941, to 5th March, 1942.
Section III - Report by General the Honourable Sir Harold R.L. G. Alexander, K.C B., C S.I.. D.S 0., M C , on Operations in Burma from 5th March, 1942, to 20th May, 1942.
Appendix A - ORDER OF BATTLE—CHINESE ARMIES IN BURMA
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