Indian III Corps

III Corps (India)

The British Indian Army III Corps was formed in Mesopotamia during the First World War. It also went by the name Tigris Corps.

A new III Corps was formed in the Second World War for service in South East Asia

First World War

Initially formed in December 1915, it was split into two in November 1916 to form the I Corps.

Under Frederick Stanley Maude it took part in the Mesopotamian campaign

Among the component divisions was the;

Second World War

The British Indian III Corps was the primary ground formation that took part in the Battle of Malaya in 1942. It was commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Lewis "Piggy" Heath.

III Corps was formed in mid-1941 as part of the Malaya Command when the increase in tension in the Far East necessitated the dispatch of large reinforcements to the area to deter Japan. The Corps consisted of the Indian 9th Infantry Division, commanded by Major-General Barstow, and the Indian 11th Infantry Division, commanded by Major-General Murray-Lyon. Due to the rapid expansion of the British Indian Army, many of the formations in the Indian divisions were ill-trained and lacked large enough cadres of experienced troops.

The British had plans - Operation Matador and Operation Krohcol to move forward into the south of Siam to forestall Japanese advances. However, lack of forewarning, combined with caution over upsetting Japan needlessly with precipitate actions, prevented the plans from being implemented. This put the garrison on the defensive, a position from which it never recovered.

III Corps was pushed down the Malayan peninsula by Japanese units, who employed novel tactics. When confronted with an Allied strongpoint on a road, the Japanese troops would leave a screen in front of the position, and then send infiltrators round through the jungle to outflank the position. Having been surrounded, positions were usually relatively easy to take. III Corps and the rest of the Allied land forces were pushed back to Singapore itself by February 1942. There they endured a short siege before the island surrendered. Some of the prisoners taken from Indian III Corps subsequently joined the Indian National Army.

After the independence of India, a new III Corps was raised by the Indian Army in the 1980s. It is based at Dimapur in northeast India, and contains mountain formations and is tasked for use in any future Indian war against China. Jane's estimates that it consists of the 23rd Infantry Division, at Ranchi and the 57th Mountain Division at Silchar.

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