The Japanese advance on Kohima came as a surprise to the British military command in Burma. It was only after the Battle of Shangshak, where documents were found detailing the size of the advancing Japanese division, that defensive preparations kicked into action. A small force of Allied troops were trapped in Kohima on what became known as Garrison Hill when the Japanese closed in and took up their positons around the town on 6 April. The Allied troops held out in the face of repeated Japanese attempts to ascend the hill and storm their position. Both sides were plagued by supply shortages, however the Japanese supply lines, which should have brought food to the front, were severely underperforming and the Japanese troops were in a state of starvation by the time the offensive was called off in July. Air drops were vital to the effort to resupply the various trapped Allied forces in the area.
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