The tennis court--the turning point.
When Britons were asked to choose "Britain's greatest battle," the result was a surprise to many. Waterloo, D-Day, the Somme, Gallipoli (where "six VCs were earned before breakfast") and others were passed over for a siege in a far-off country many had never heard of. The Battle of Kohima, in Burma, marked the reversal of the Japanese advance towards India.
It was here that 2,500 British, Indian, African and Gurkha troops of General William Sties 14th Army (The Forgotten Army) held out for 18 days in July 1944, against overwhelming enemy forces, until they were finally relieved. The battle was so tierce that opposing troops on the tennis court (a key point) engaged each other with grenades. The British battalion (The Royal West Kents) lost 199 killed in the battle, and LCpl John Harman was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. The memorial to the defenders reads: "When you go home, tell them of us and say 'For your tomorrow, we gave our today'."
compiled by Les Peate