Unknown to Japanese intelligence 50th Indian Brigade battalions were exercising and patrolling with light equipment around Kohima.
The 50th (Indian) Parachute Brigade was formed at Dehli in October 1941 under command of Brig WHG Gough.
It consisted of the 151 (British) Parachute Battalion commanded by Lt Col MA Lindsay and was made up from volunteers from 23 British infantry battalions serving in India. In October 1942 the Battalion was transferred to the 4th Parachute Brigade forming in the middle east and re-designated 156 Parachute Battalion.
152 (Indian) Parachute Battalion formed from volunteers from 19 indian infantry regiments and was commanded by Lt Col BE Abbott.
The 153 (Gurkha) Parachute Battalion was made up from volunteers from 9 Gurkha regiments under Lt Col FJ Loftus-Tottenham.
154 (Gurkha) Parachute Battalion did not join the Brigade until October 1943 and was a direct transfer from the 3rd Battalion Gurkha Rifles.
Brigade units included the 411 (Royal Bombay) Parachute Section Indian Engineers under Capt MJJ Rolt and the 50th Indian Parachute Brigade Signals Section commanded by Capt EJ Buirski.
Progress in training and equipping the Brigade was slow from the outset, in March 1942 there were shortages of parachutes, transport aircraft and gliders. Limited airborne operations were undertaken. Troops were dropped from ancient Valencia bi-planes near Hyderabad Sind in July 1942, to operate against dissident Hur tribesmen, who had been de-railing trains. Intelligence gathering groups were also parachuted into Burma.
During February to March 1944 the brigade fought an epic and costly ground battle at Sangshak, blunting the advance of two Japanese divisions on Imphal as reinforcements were gathered to defeat the offensives at Kohima and Imphal.
The final and only airborne operation undertaken by the Brigade was a successful parachute assault mounted on the 1st May 1945 by a composite Gurkha parachute battalion on Japanese defensive positions at Elephant point, at the mouth of the Rangoon River.
By the summer of 1945 the 50th Parachute Brigade had been expanded to form the 44th (Indian) Airborne Division.
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