20 March 1945
The battles of Mandalay and Meikhtila
On 20 March 1945 Mandalay was recaptured by the British 14th Army's XXXIII Corps under Lt.General Sir Montagu Stopford. Mandalay had been occupied by the Japanese 15th Army under General Shihachi Katamura, which put up a stiff resistance despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned. Meitkila had fallen earlier in the month after a major assault that included the 254th and 255th Indian Tank Brigades (the biggest tank battle in Myanmar history). The photograph shows men of the 11th Sikh Regiment during the fight for Mandalay Hill, which was seized by a mix of British, Gurkha, Sikh and Punjabi units. The battles of Meiktila and Mandalay were the critical battles of the war (after Imphal and Kohima). Rangoon would be recaptured within six weeks, completing what Allied leaders had once thought impossible - an overland conquest of Burma.