Bolt Action Blog - East of the Empire

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Re: Bolt Action Blog - East of the Empire

Postby Primarch on Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:23 am

Lt. General Mutaguchi - Continued...

The plan put forward by Mutaguchi was incredibly bold. His three infantry divisions and supporting units would cross the Chindwin river and advance across country to the border of India where British forces were believed to be assembling for an offensive into Burma. Due to the rugged nature of the terrain they had to cross, the Japanese supply lines would be virtually non-existant. Instead the men of the army would carry as much equipment with them as they could. Food would be supplied 'on the hoof,' as thousands of cattle were rounded up and distributed to the units. Once the Japanese reached the British lines, they would force them to retreat and resupply from the depots the British had built for their own invasion plans. At that stage it was believed that India would be wide open, with most of the units stationed in India being spread around on police duties and unable to form a cohesive counter attack.

In addition to the Japanese troops, the Indian National Army would accompany the advance. Once the British and loyalist Indian troops near the border were defeated, the INA would take the lead. It was hoped that the news of Indian soldiers advancing into the country to liberate it from the British would lead to an uprising across the country. Any civil disorder would make the task of the Japanese troops far easier.

Once the plan reached the higher echelons of command, it's obvious flaws were picked apart. The Japanese simply didn't have the resources available to conquer India, nor to maintain an army there if the fighting wasn't over with quickly. Advancing thousands of men through dense jungle was audacious enough, but even the boldest commander doubted the ability of 100,000 troops to subdue an area the size of India.
In the end the plan was sent back to Mutaguchi heavily modified. He was authorized to advance to the border of India to counter any invasion into Burma and to ensure that American supplies were not able to reach the Chinese forces fighting the Japanese further east via the Burma road.
As the order filtered back down through the chain of command, and was passed on by Mutaguchi to his divisional commanders, he was careful enough to leave his officers room to continue their advance if the believed it were possible. General Mutaguchi had set his sights on delivering India to the Emperor and wasn't going to pass up the chance to do so if he could help it.

In hindsight, Mutaguchi's plan was overly ambitious to say the least, but in this regard he was a victim of his own success. Up to this stage in the war, the British had retreated at every turn. There was simply no reason to think that they wouldn't continue to do so once Mutaguchi's troops made contact. This, combined with Mutaguchi's intolerance for scepticism from his officers meant that the concerns of the divisional commanders fell on deaf ears.

As time would prove, the plan was flawed in that it simply did not allow for the fact that the troops defending India were not the same troops who had retreated all the way from Singapore a few years earlier. The British, Indian and African troops the Japanese encountered were better trained, better led and better equipped than before. Even so, the speed with which the 15th Army advanced left the defenders reeling and Mutaguchi came within a hair's breadth of opening the way into India.
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