NEW DELHI: Japanese troops along the Assam front massed their strongest concentrations around Kohima this week, threatening Dimapur, on the railway line which supplies Allied bases in Assam and Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell's troops in the Mogaung Valley.
The invaders have severed the Manipur Road in two places, virtually isolating Imphal, which is now cut off from supplies along the main route.
Imphal has Japs to the north, northeast and south, but the enemy has made no attempt to storm the Manipur capital to date.
Most of the invading columns are bypassing Imphal to take up positions to the north. This would imply either an attack on Imphal from the north or a concentrated drive on Kohima, thence up to Dimapur.
The British also announced the losses of the inhabited localities of Tiddim and Tamu this week. Jap troops effectively block these roads into Imphal from the south and southeast.
The loss of Tiddim was featured by what the British described as the "unique withdrawal" of the 17th Indian Division to Imphal. The Indian troops brought over 90 percent of their vehicles to Imphal in their successful retreat, that had to smash through Jap road blocks. The 17th is now part of the Imphal garrison awaiting the expected Nip offensive.
The British still express confidence that the Japs will be smashed when they come out on the Manipur Plain to do battle. But the British are also relying on the Chindits in the enemy rear to cut off the invading communication lines, which are stretched thin now. The British claim that the Japs haven't been successful in bringing armored units into India, since they have been running their supply route over narrow trails.
News of the Chindits was that they had destroyed a bridge used to carry supplies to the Japs threatened by Stilwell's drive in North Burma. They have also imposed a block on the rail line to Myitkyina, while beating off a Jap attack on their air strip.
The British now claim both tunnels on the Buthidaung-Maungdaw road on the Arakan front.