Part 19


36. From the above it can be seen that the Indian Command had a full and eventful year in 1942. It had been rudely awakened from a somewhat detached interest in the war by the shock of Japan's aggression and the wholly unexpected disasters in Malaya and then Burma. When the danger approached closely, both the armed forces and the nation were unprepared to meet invasion. Ever since the beginning of the war India had sent troops abroad almost as quickly as they could be trained, and had kept in India, except for the minimum necessary for the defence of the N.W. Frontier and internal security, only new formations under training, with incomplete equipment. In 1942 a considerable proportion of these half-trained formations had been sent to Malaya or Burma in the hope of holding up the enemy. So that in March, 1942, India had not a single fully-trained division. The Air Force, as shown, was similarly ineffective and the Eastern Fleet was unable to control Indian waters. So India stood in greater peril of invasion than for some hundreds of years.

That India was able six months later to pass from a defensive to an offensive basis may be counted something of an achievement, especially in view of the administrative difficulties and internal troubles that were encountered. Prompt assistance was sent from the United Kingdom, and as many troops and air squadrons as could be reasonably spared from our commitments elsewhere were allotted to India.


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