Operation Spartan (ii)

This was the Allied logistical air support operation for Lieutenant General G. A. P. Scoones’s Indian IV Corps in the Battle of Imphal (18 April/30 June 1944).

The operation was started as Lieutenant General Renya Mutaguchi’s 15th Army was launching its ‘U’ (ii) offensive against Imphal and Kohima as the planned prelude to an invasion of north-eastern India, the British object being to stockpile all necessary supplies for a 30-day siege (2,800 tons of supplies, 300 tons of ammunition and 80 tons of engineer stores by the end of April) in the Indian IV Corps’ base area around Imphal. This required a daily lift of 245 tons, but weather and other circumstances reduced this to 148 tons per day for a month-end total of 1,926 tons. During May the daily rate improved to 194.8 tons (for the delivery of 6,040 tons) and during June to 362 tons (for the delivery of 10,858 tons). The monthly delivery of men by airlift was 1,479 in April, 5,011 in May and 6,071 in June.

In overall terms ‘Spartan’ (ii) delivered 18,824 tons of cargo and 12,561 men, shortfalls of 8,669 tons and 5,939 men on the target figures. The return flights from Imphal evacuated about 13,000 casualties and 43,000 non-combatants.