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The “Forgotten” 14th Army

Updated on February 19, 2012

Who are the "forgotten fourteenth”

General Slim-

When you go home don't worry about what to tell your loved ones and friends about service in Asia. No one will know where you were, or where it is if you do. You are, and will remain "The Forgotten Army."


After reading this quote in a book I was reading I was interested to know more. After a little research I found out that an entire army had been serving protecting India from the imperial Japanese army advance across Asia. I have always been interested in history and I was shocked that I did not know of this army. As a small boy all I was told about to do with the war was the battle of Britain, Second Battle of El Alamein and D-day. Yet there is an entire chapter of it missed.


The 14th army consisted of a total of thirteen divisions served with the Army: 2nd Infantry Division, Indian 5th Infantry Division, Indian 7th Infantry Division, 11th (East African) Infantry Division, Indian 17th Infantry Division, Indian 19th Infantry Division, Indian 20th Infantry Division, Indian 23rd Infantry Division, Indian 25th Infantry Division, Indian 26th Infantry Division, 36th Infantry Division, 81st (West Africa) Infantry Division, 82nd (West Africa) Infantry Division.


That may not mean much to you so to put it in perspective there are 28 troops in a platoon, 4 platoons in a company, 4 companies in a battalion, 4 battalions in a regiment and 4 regiments in a division. Thus, about 7168 troops.  Then you have the commissioned and non-commissioned officers, warrant officers and other administrative personnel including cooks etc. so around about 7500 soldiers. 7500x15= 112500 soldiers. But at most times they wouldn’t be at full strength because of KIA or wounded and it was very difficult to get replacements there as there was no land route and sea was extremely risky. Still that is a lot of men that have almost been completely forgotten, not just to day but even during the war.

General Slim

Some of their military achievements

one of the most difficult places on earth to fight in with its thick jungles, razorback mountains, steep wild valleys and deadly tropical diseases.

On March 6th 1944, the Japanese launched the U-Go offensive in northern Burma. The British were prepared for the Japanese thrust.

By April 5 the Japanese had cut the Imphal-Kohima road and isolated the settlements. Slim ordered his subordinate commanders not to withdraw without permission from higher authority. It was imperative to deny the Japanese the Mountain roads which led down into the Indian plain.

At Kohima, Colonel Hugh Richards, had a force of approximately 1200 men to resist the all-out attack of 12,000 Japanese jungle veterans

The stench of rotting corpses was so thick on Garrison Hill that many of the Berkshires were physically sick as they dug in on the battle-scarred hill.

Only 20,000 of the 85,000 Japanese who had come to invade India were left standing. Thanks to the work of the forgotten 14th the Japanese no longer had the resources or the man power to stage other offensive westwards.

This article lacks in certain areas but I write it hoping that it will insight people to find out more about what the 14th army did and how important it is. However, my main goal is that they are remembered.


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      Keith 4 years ago

      All your dads and grandads should have got a vc for what they went thought

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      Yvonne Anne Rutherford 4 years ago

      My dad, who would have been 91 this year, was in the Forgotten 14th. Thank you for keeping the memory of what he and his friends did alive.

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      CJ Kelly 4 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Great job. Slim is always forgotten. His task of getting the 14th Army into fighting shape is one of the great accomplishments of the War. The battle at Imphal and the hill station at Kohima will always be studied. Thanks.

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      alec  8 years ago

      my uncle served with the forgotten 14th there was a pic in the sun of them on 15th sept this year