In March 1942 the fate of the Allies hung in the balance. Despite Pearl Harbor, the Americans had yet to intervene decisively in the Second World War and, while events in Europe showed signs of turning, the speed and precision of the Japanese advance through Southeast Asia and into Burma threatened to overwhelm British defences. India was at risk, and no one needed reminding that the loss of the jewel in the empire’s crown would be catastrophic, not just for British interests in the Subcontinent but also for the prosecution of the war effort elsewhere.
With a touch of good fortune, the British chiefs of staff identified Lieutenant General Bill Slim as the right man to take command of the main Indian Army units keeping the Japanese at bay in Burma (they became known as Burcorps). After deciding his position was impossible to hold, Slim