A Series of 8 Books published by Pentagon Press, New Delhi.
The series originally published in 1950 s by Ministry of Defence, describing the contribution of the Indian Armed Forces during the Second World War, was out of print for a number of years. It has now been reprinted by Pentagon Press. The series of eight books showcase the saga of heroism of Indian Army and its contribution during the epoch-making war. The series include the following titles:
· India and the War
· East African Campaign 1940-41
· The North African Campaign
· Expansion of the Armed Forces and Defence Organisation, 1939-45
· Campaigns in South-East Asia 1941-42
· The Arakan Operation 1942-45
· Campaign in Western Asia
· Post-War Occupation Forces: Japan and South-East Asia
When World War II began in 1939, the Indian Army s strength was about 200,000. By the end of the war, in August 1945, it had become the largest volunteer army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men. Serving in divisions of infantry, armour and a fledgling airborne force, they fought on three continents in Africa, Europe and Asia. In Ethiopia, the Indian Army fought against the Italian Army; in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia against both the Italian and German Armies; and, after the Italian surrender, against the German Army in Italy. However, the bulk of the Indian Army was committed to fighting the Japanese Army, first during the actions in Malaya and the retreat from Burma to the Indian border; later, after refitting and training it was at the forefront for the victorious advance back into Burma, as part of the largest army the British Empire ever formed. These campaigns cost the lives of over 36,000 Indian servicemen, while another 34,354 were wounded, and 67,340 became prisoners of war.
The Japanese advance in Asia had reached its furthest point and was halted in battles fought on the territory of India itself, at the Battle of Kohima and the Battle of Imphal. The tales of the operations by the Chindits , behind enemy lines was another significant contribution.
The British appreciated the valour of Indian soldiers during the Second World War with the award of some 4,000 decorations. 28 Indian personnel were awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), while 8 were awarded the George Cross (GC). The Victoria Cross is the highest award for any member of the Commonwealth armed forces for bravery performed in the presence of the enemy, while the George Cross is the highest gallantry award for civilians as well as for military personnel in actions which are not in the face of the enemy, or for which purely military honours would not normally be granted. Originally, VCs had to be living, although posthumous awards were allowed from 1905. Another qualification was that you had to be white. It was in World War I that the British had to accept and acknowledge the bravery of Indian soldiers and Khudadad Khan became the first Indian to be awarded the VC.
While it has never been acknowledged officially, the fact remains that after World War II, it was the Navy and other mutinies of Indian soldiers and airmen, and the great strength of the very professional Indian Army,
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Lt. Gen J F R Jacob PVSM (Retd.) released the series on 30th October, 2012, at IDSA Auditorium. General Jacob is a veteran of the Second World War and his later career saw him at the helm of the operations against East Pakistan in 1971. Later he was Governor of Goa as well as Punjab. The DG IDSA, Dr. Arvind Gupta and other dignitaries were present for the function, which was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar. The panelists included Lt. Gen Y M Bammi, Brig. Rahul Bhonsle, Col. P K Gautam, Dr. U P Thapliyal, and Sqn Ldr R T S Chhina.
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