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In the period of frantic planning which followed the launching of the Japanese offensive in December 1941 China's position was early recognized as vital. It was clear that China must be given enough aid to keep her in the war, if not for China's sake, then certainly that her soil might serve later as the base for a counterattack against Japan. But the outlook was gloomy. Japanese air and naval action in the China Sea left seaborne reinforcement out of the question. The fall of Rangoon in March 1942 cut off the flow of supplies by land over the Burma Road. There remained only the air.*

The possibility of establishing a useful air route into China was under serious discussion as early as January 1942, and on 25 February President Roosevelt committed himself to the view that "it is obviously of the utmost urgency . . . that the pathway to China be kept open."1 Planning then contemplated building up the China National Aviation Corporation's2 fleet of DC-3's to the point where twenty or twenty-five of these craft should "maintain essential communications between Calcutta and Chungking." At the same time the AAF was planning to inaugurate a service from Sadiya, a railhead at the eastern extremity of the Brahmaputra River Valley in Assam, two hundred miles over the rugged mountains of North Burma to Myitkyina in the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy River. At Myitkyina cargoes were to be loaded on barges, floated a hundred miles down the Irrawaddy to Bhamo, there to be transloaded once more for truck shipment over the Burma Road to Kunming and Chungking. Seventy-five Douglas aircraft, C-47's and C-53's, allocated to this service were to arrive at

* In preparing this chapter, the writer has benefited greatly from the counsel of Mr. Thomas E. Holt, MATS Historical Office, one-time assistant Historical Officer of the India-China Division, Air Transport Command.


Calcutta by the 15th of June, and meanwhile work was rushed on the construction of a suitable hard-surfaced airfield at Myitkyina. It was hoped that the seventy-five two-engine transports would be able to deliver 7,500 tons a month of cargo to that point.3

When the middle of June came, ten C-53's had been delivered at Karachi for the use of either CNAC or the Chinese government. In addition, a total of thirty-nine Douglas planes for use by U.S. military crews had been flown out, but in July only nine of these were in commission and actually available for air movement eastward from Assam.4

Meanwhile, their task had been made more difficult when Japanese ground forces on 8 May took the Myitkyina airfield that was to have played a key part in the air supply of China.

That disaster left only one means of keeping open a pathway to China—the grim prospect of direct flight from airfields in eastern Assam across the High Himalayas to Yunnanyi, Kunming, or other points in the Yunnan Province of China. The route from Dinjan (near Sadiya) in Upper Assam to Myitkyina had been forbidding enough,5but not so difficult as the more northerly course to which the American airmen would now be restricted.

The distance from Dinjan to Kunming is some 500 air miles. The Brahmaputra valley floor lies 90 feet above sea level at Chabua, a spot near Dinjan where the principal American valley base was constructed. From this level the mountain wall surrounding the valley rises quickly to 10,000 feet and higher. Flying eastward out of the valley the pilot first topped the Patkai Range, then passed over the upper Chindwin River Valley, bounded on the east by a 14,000-foot ridge, the Kumon Mountains. He then crossed a series of 14,000-16,000-foot ridges separated by the valleys of the West Irrawaddy, East Irrawaddy, Salween, and Mekong rivers. The main "Hump," which gave its name to the whole awesome mountainous mass and to the air route which crossed it, was the Samsung Range, often 15,000 feet high, between the Salween and Mekong rivers. East of the Mekong the terrain became decidedly less rugged, and the elevations more moderate as one approached the Kunming airfield, itself 6,200 feet above sea level.

At minimum altitudes on this course violent turbulence was commonly encountered. To avoid this menace, pilots had to climb to


levels at which severe icing occurred during several months each year.6 In the spring of 1943 Col. Edward H. Alexander, commanding ATC's India-China Wing, reported:

The weather here has been pretty awful. The icing level starts at 12,000 feet. Today a C-87 went to 29,500 feet on instruments and was unable to climb any higher, and could not get on top of the overcast. It has rained about seven and a half inches in the past five days. All aircraft are grounded.7

This was in the last week of March. The stifling hot ground weather of mid-May ushered in the true monsoon, in which during five and a half months a rainfall of 200 inches is common. To the stark natural hazards of the route were added those of attack by the enemy, who was particularly active in the winter months of 1942-43 and 1943-44.8

The Hump run was short in comparison with the long overwater jumps of the air route from California to Australia or even over the North Atlantic. Few, nevertheless, will challenge the claim of the men who flew the Hump that theirs was an air transport route of surpassing danger and difficulty.

Its hazards apart, the India-China route had a unique character. The other airways operated by the ATC were extremely important for the strategic supplies, key personnel, and priority mail delivered to combat zones, but no one of them was the sole means by which a combat theater was nourished. In contrast, every vehicle, every gallon of fuel, every weapon, every round of ammunition, every typewriter, and every ream of paper which found its way to Free China for either the Chinese or the American forces during nearly three years of war was flown in by air from India.9

The operation became the more difficult because India itself was not an important source of the military supplies required in China. Most such goods had to be brought to India by water or by air. The water haul, vastly more important here than the air routes connecting India with the trans-African and transatlantic services, was long and painfully slow, whichever of the major ports—Karachi, Calcutta, or Bombay—was the point of debarkation. One shipload of men and supplies which, like most of the 1942 shipments, debarked at Karachi, was at sea for fifty-eight days.10 Once ashore, the cargo was still 1,500 miles by a string of primitive railroads of varying gauges and limited capacity from the jumping-off point in Assam. Calcutta was so menaced by the Japanese in 1942 that relatively few supplies and men were sent there from the United States. Before 1943 was far along its docks were


indeed receiving large shipments, both of aircraft parts and of gasoline and oil. But the Calcutta water front was still nearly 600 miles from the Assam terminus of the Hump route, and the line of communication was tenuous. Slow, ancient barges on the Brahmaputra River carried much of the fuel used by the aircraft. The Assam and Bengal Railroad, built primarily to market the Assam tea crop, had to carry a large part of the load. Between Calcutta and Assam all Hump-bound freight had to be transferred into cars used on the narrower-gauge track up the valley. Though Calcutta was in population the second city of the British Empire, there was late in 1944 no direct road, however poor, by which a truck or even a jeep could carry a load from the metropolis to the ATC base at Tezgaon, 150 miles distant by air. The only possible road connection followed a roundabout route, 450 miles long.11

In spite of these handicaps, the airlift to China was initiated in 1942 and came eventually to prosper greatly. In July 1942 a handful of C-47's delivered a meager 85 tons of United States Army supplies, China Defense Supplies, and passengers to China. In the same month CNAC planes carried approximately 221 tons over the same route. In July 1943 ATC aircraft lifted some 2,916 tons (net) eastbound over the Hump. In 1944 the July figure came to 18,975 net tons. In July 1945 the peak was reached when aircraft of ATC and of various units flying under its operational control hauled the amazing total of 71,042 net tons from bases in India to China.12

Early Efforts—to May 1943

In Washington, planning for the airlift to China involved principally two problems: (1) the provision of the necessary aircraft and (2) the assignment of personnel to fly the planes and to keep them flying. Initially, the Ferrying Command was directed early in 1942 to activate a ferrying group of three squadrons, each having 350 men and 25 C-47 or C-53 aircraft.13

Responsibility for planning in the field fell first on Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton of the Tenth Air Force and his chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Earl L. Naiden, who had to provide for defense of the air route against the Japanese, for weather reporting, for communications, and for the command control of the entire operation. Most vital of immediate needs was that for airfields with hard-surfaced runways, hardstandings, and taxiways. General Naiden, as early as 10 March 1942, asked


the RAF in India to provide three fields in Upper Assam, including one which was already being built at Chabua by native labor using the most primitive tools and methods, and two more in northern Burma, preferably at Myitkyina and Bhamo. Believing that the hard-surfaced airfields in Assam would not be ready before the monsoon season, Naiden reported to Washington that until November he could operate no more than twenty-five aircraft eastward from Assam.14

In Washington the responsible officers in Ferrying Command headquarters and the Air Staff, hard put to find and deliver the transports required in every theater, were tempted to accept this conservative estimate. Nevertheless, in June, under pressure from Dr. T. V. Soong, the Ferrying Command was required to push delivery of the seventy-five aircraft already assigned to the India-China airlift.15 The Ferrying Command had activated the 1st Ferrying Group early in March and had started its ground echelon on the long sea voyage to Karachi before the month was over. To organize the necessary aircrews, the Ferrying Command established the AMMISCA project at Morrison Field, Florida. Over a hundred of the pilots assigned to the project were airline pilots, who as reserve officers were called to active duty for this specific mission. Between 19 April and 13 May 1942 a total of twenty-six planes and crews were dispatched from Morrison Field to India. Others followed after an interval.16

Before the first of the AMMISCA planes left Florida, control of the 1st Ferrying Group passed from General Olds to General Brereton, who also assumed responsibility for all India-China air transport operations. Brereton and Naiden thereupon proceeded to establish what were on paper two rather imposing organizations, the Trans-India Ferrying Command and the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command. Col. Caleb V. Haynes, who had been sent out to command a bomber group, was ordered to take over the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command. With four Douglas transports and ten Pan American-Africa planes and crews borrowed from the trans-African route, he began the delivery over the Hump of aviation gasoline intended for refueling in China the Doolittle Tokyo raiders. Before this task was completed, the transports were diverted to the assistance of General Stilwell in northern Burma. They flew out refugees, wounded soldiers, and, finally, most of General Stilwell's staff and dropped supplies to Stilwell and his party on their famous trek out of the jungle.17 Then came the June crisis in the Middle East which caused Brereton to be


ordered west for reinforcement of the hard-pressed British with most of the tactical planes of the Tenth Air Force and twelve of its transports, leaving Naiden to carry on as best he could in India.*

The weight of cargo and personnel transported from India to China increased gradually. December was the first month in which the lift exceeded a thousand tons. Not until August were airplanes and personnel of the 1st Ferrying Group moved up from Karachi to Assam, and the transfer was completed only in November.18

The failure of the Hump operation to attain the volume anticipated was attributable to a combination of circumstances, the relative significance of which is difficult to assess. The number of transport aircraft which reached the theater fell far below the original intentions. Of the total of sixty-two military DC-3's delivered to India by 16 December 1942, some fifteen had been destroyed or otherwise lost to the service, and four were still with Brereton in the Middle East. This left only forty-three actually on hand in the theater, many of them frequently out of commission for lack of engines and spare parts. The planes in service had to maintain the trans-India air connection between Karachi and Assam, as well as the Hump lift, and were often diverted from their regular mission to meet some combat emergency.19

The fearsome problems of weather, terrain, and enemy interference had not been solved. The communications system was rudimentary. As late as September the most powerful radio sets in operation in China could reach out no more than thirty to fifty miles to provide direction with the Bendix Left-Right Indicator. There was no accurate weather reporting at either Dinjan or Kunming. As one observer put it, "The present system is that if you can see the end of the runway it's safe to take off." Pilots with experience on the Hump run were reluctant to fly at all or to carry loads substantially in excess of stateside airlines standards. Neither pilots nor operations personnel had mastered the techniques required to handle overloads under Hump conditions. Food and living conditions for flight or ground personnel were poor. As late as September refueling of aircraft was accomplished largely by native laborers pumping gasoline by hand from drums.20

More serious than the host of genuine physical handicaps, though based, no doubt, on them, was the mental attitude of Stilwell and Naiden, as well as Brig. Gen. Clayton L. Bissell, Brereton's successor

* See Vol. I, 51213.


in the command of the Tenth Air Force. Flatly characterized as "defeatist" by Frank D. Sinclair, Aviation Technical Adviser of China Defense Supplies, Inc., who made a study of the operation in the field, these leaders viewed the hope of sending as much as 5,000 tons a month over the Hump as quite fantastic. "Of course I agree," wrote Sinclair, "if only 18 aircraft are assigned to the job."21 He believed, however, that if 125 aircraft with proper supporting facilities were assigned to the Hump project alone, it would be feasible to carry 10,000 tons a month from India to China by air.*

Study of his report by the Plans Division of Air Transport Command headquarters led on 9 October to a recommendation that responsibility for the India-China air supply route should be transferred to ATC.22 Four days later ATC officially offered to do the job under certain conditions, and on 21 October that command was instructed to take it over.

ATC's offer was based on the understanding that all aircraft, maintenance facilities, spare parts, and personnel sent out for the project would be assigned to ATC and that ATC would have full control of the operation under the supervision of General Arnold, "to work in close harmony with the Theater commander but not to be under his control so far as the conduct of the operation is concerned."23 This offer was based ostensibly on the thesis that the 1st Ferrying Group had been handicapped in its primary mission by the frequent diversions of its resources to other tasks that seemed more urgent to the theater commander. Singleness of purpose, the control of the operation by an organization whose only mission in the theater was to "get supplies to China and to bring back return loads of strategic materials," would be achieved by assigning the responsibility to the Air Transport Command. "The principal experience of the Air Transport Command is in air transportation, as contrasted with the experience of the Theater Commander being principally in combat and in preparation for combat," argued Col. Cyrus R. Smith, ATC's chief of staff, who added: "The India-China ferry operation must be conducted on the best standards of transportation if it is to have maximum effectiveness."24 There was a caveat attached. "Even if the responsibility should be transferred to Air Transport," wrote Colonel Smith, "there would still remain the job of increasing the effectiveness of communications, bettering the weather reporting and forecasting, materially improving

* The story is recounted from the point of view of the theater in Vol. IV, 414 ff.


the maintenance of aircraft and engines, and, perhaps, the furnishing of a type of aircraft better suited to the peculiarities of the high terrain operation."25

The inference was clear enough. ATC was the agency best qualified to handle any task in the field of military air transportation. The Tenth Air Force had not made the best possible use of the available resources. ATC could handle the job much more successfully if given a large measure of independence of theater control. Responsible officers in the theater would have been less than human had they not opposed the transfer.26 They could hardly be blamed for suspecting the Air Transport Command of imperialistic ambitions.

The offer thus made was quickly accepted: eight days later a message from General Marshall informed Stilwell that the India-China transport operation was to be transferred to ATC on 1 December 1942, and named Stilwell's air officer, Col. Edward H. Alexander, as commanding officer of a new India-China Wing of the Air Transport Command.27 Colonel Alexander, who had served from May until December 1941 as executive officer of the Ferrying Command, was thus returned to a position of key importance in the development of the Army's air transport services.28

When ATC assumed responsibility for the India-China operation at the beginning of December, the initial plan to provide seventy-five C-47's still had to be achieved. In addition, ATC proposed to send a dozen C-87's and during the course of 1943 some fifty C-46's. Early in January 1943 the first three of the C-87's reached India, under the command of Maj. Richard T. Kight, who had recently piloted Wendell Willkie on his 28,487-mile flight around the world. By the second week of March, eleven C-87's and seventy-six DC-3 type aircraft were on hand in the wing. During March, too, the percentage of assigned DC-3's operational daily rose to the unusually high figure of 81 percent.29

Still this fleet was far from meeting the commitments of General Arnold and ATC headquarters. After the Casablanca conference in January 1943, Generals Arnold and Somervell and Field Marshal Sir John Dill had gone to Chungking to consult with General Stilwell and with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who was insistent that provision be made for early offensive action in Asia. In his own initial flight over the Hump, General Arnold gained a firsthand acquaintance with some of the problems involved in the air supply of China; his B-17,


flown by a picked crew, became lost, flew for some time over Japanese-occupied territory, and finally landed, four hours overdue, at Kunming.30 Previously he had consulted with Colonel Alexander and had dispatched orders posthaste to Washington directing that ATC's India-China fleet be built up to 112 DC-3 type aircraft, plus the 12 C-87's, and that a troop-carrier squadron with the Douglas planes be assigned to Stilwell. Alexander was confident that with such a fleet he could transport 4,000 tons a month into China, which he was promptly directed to do. In a letter to Stilwell, Arnold confessed that 4,000 tons a month did "not come anywhere near meeting the demands of either the Chinese Army or the air forces operating in China." At Chungking he learned of the Generalissimo's demands* that Chennault's air strength be built up by autumn to 500 planes and the Hump lift to 10,000 tons a month—both as prerequisites to Chinese participation in Stilwell's project for the reconquest of Burma.31

An immediate obstacle to meeting even the 4,000-ton objective lay in a grave shortage of aircrews. The crews on hand were being worked to the limit of endurance, often flying more than 100 hours a month on the Hump run. The more experienced among them were increasingly victims of flying fatigue. On 13 February Colonel Alexander wrote urging General George "to dispatch to this Wing by the most rapid means up to 308 complete aircraft crews to keep your transports in the air." At the same time he begged one of his intimate friends in ATC headquarters: "Get me some aircraft crews if it is humanly possible. I hate to see good, serviceable aircraft sitting on the ground with no one to fly them. An airplane doesn't need to sleep."32

During the winter months of 1942-43 the India-China Wing operated its China-bound transports from three neighboring fields in Upper Assam—Chabua, Sookerating, and Mohanbari. With the coming of heavy rains in March, it was necessary to discontinue the use of Sookerating and Mohanbari, where neither runways, taxiways, nor hardstandings could sustain operations. Only Chabua was left as a base for the ATC operation, and for Col. Eugene H. Beebe's 308th Bomber Group, whose B-24's began in March 1943 to fly into China the aviation fuel and other supplies required for their bomber missions against Japanese targets. Dinjan, used by the India-China Ferry Command during the 1942 monsoon season, was now occupied by CNAC and by the 51st Fighter Group. By mid-April a new field at Jorhat, 87

* See Vol. IV, 43739.


miles southwest of Chabua, was sufficiently ready to accommodate a squadron of twenty-five C-47's. The failure of the British engineers to complete the airdromes at Sookerating and Mohanbari, in spite of reminders by Bissell and Stilwell, seemed to threaten the entire mission of the India-China Wing. Alexander went so far as to suggest in a letter to General Arnold that "in view of the potential political repercussions which may result from non-delivery of promised supplies to China and possible annoyance and embarrassment to you," representations be made "to Mr. Churchill, if necessary, to build a fire under General Wavell and get some action on Air Transport Command airdromes in Assam."33

Given all the handicaps which existed, it is perhaps not surprising that the Hump lift fell far short of even the 4,000-ton objective during the first eight months of ATC control. There was, to be sure, a substantial though fluctuating increase in the gross tonnage* hauled to China by ATC planes, as is indicated by the following table:34

December 1942 1,227 April 1943 1,910
January 1943 1,263 May 1943 2,334
February 1943 2,855 June 1943 2,382
March 1943 2,278 July 1943 3,451

Meanwhile ATC headquarters and General Arnold had increased the wing's potential by substituting C-46's for the smaller DC-3 aircraft which had thus far carried most of the Hump lift. Colonel Alexander on 20 January 1943 had reported that the DC-3's inability to attain sufficient altitude rendered it "entirely unsuitable for operations on this route." He wanted either C-46 or C-87 aircraft. Earlier, ATC headquarters had planned to send the wing a total of fifty C-46's during 1943, and this program was now pushed aggressively. On 4 March Arnold wrote directly to Alexander the cheering news that the first C-46's were to start at once for India to replace an equal number of C-47's. Thirty were to move out by 15 April, then ten more each month until the total of fifty was attained. Beginning 15 June, ten C-87's were to be sent out each month until fifty of these craft, too, were in service. Thereafter, twenty-four C-54's would be dispatched.35

As usual, actual deliveries were behind schedule. Still the first thirty

* Net tonnage, March to July, ranged from 383 to 651 tons a month lower than gross, the difference was the weight of fuel required for return trips China to India. From November 1943 all Hump tonnage figures mentioned are net.


C-46's, carrying some 250 men—pilots, co-pilots, radio operators, navigators, maintenance personnel, and representatives of the manufacturer—left Florida in three flights on the 5th, 10th, and 14th of April. The thirty planes were piloted by experienced pilots, most of whom were borrowed from Northwest Airlines and TWA. The first of the Commandos reached Karachi on 21 April 1943 and with their pilots were speedily sent to Gaya to inaugurate the transition training of the Army pilots and co-pilots who were to fly the new craft over the Hump. For ten days school kept, but before May was far along the C-46's, based initially at Jorhat, began to fly the Hump.36 And here, on the most difficult of ATC's runs, the plane's faults soon became all too evident.* It was an India-China Wing mechanic who took his first look at the mechanism of the new arrival and turned away remarking, "Boy! A regular plumber's nightmare!" Nicknamed "Dumbo," counted by its pilots as a menace equal to the Hump terrain and weather, and requiring hundreds of time-consuming modifications, the C-46 had but one decided advantage. When the plane got through to China, as often it did, its large cargo compartment carried four tons of gasoline or other supplies.37

Needless to say, neither Brig. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, whose China Air Task Force became the Fourteenth Air Force in March 1943, nor the Generalissimo was satisfied with the flow of cargo to China. Operating always on a minimum of supplies, Chennault found himself so short of aviation fuel and other essential materiel in March and the first third of April 1943 that he was obliged to suspend all combat operations for a time. Meanwhile, in February, Madame Chiang had addressed Congress and pleaded with President Roosevelt for a more vigorous effort to deliver supplies to China. In April, Stilwell and Chennault were summoned to Washington to present to the Combined Chiefs of Staff their conflicting programs for the war in China and Burma, Colonel Alexander followed Chennault to Washington. As he wrote General George, "Anything that happens to General Chennault or the Fourteenth Air Force is of tremendous importance to you and to myself since ATC moves everything to China that General Chennault uses except combat aircraft."38

* See above, pp. 2425.
See Vol. IV, 44243.


ATC on the Ramp: Production-Line Maintenance, Tezgaon, India

ATC on the Ramp: Refueling, China Base

Loading C-46's in India: By Native Labor

Loading C-46's in India: By ATC GI's

The Hump Route: Take-off from Assam

The Hump Route: Nearing Kunming

Transportation in China

In May, during the TRIDENT conference, Stilwell and Chennault presented their decidedly divergent plans for future operations in the CBI. Neither of them gained a complete indorsement from the CCS, but that made little difference to ATC, for both plans required a notable augmentation of the airlift into China. Moreover, President Roosevelt already had promised Madame Chiang an increase in deliveries. The President ordered ATC to raise its Hump airlift to at least 7,000 tons in July, 10,000 tons in September, and the same tonnage in each month thereafter. Of these totals, the Fourteenth Air Force was given first priority on 4,700 tons a month for the initial phase of a projected air offensive, while Stilwell received second priority on 2,000 tons a month, to be used in equipping Chinese armies in Yunnan for a campaign along the Salween River. Any tonnage in excess of 6,700 a month was to be split between air and ground forces at General Stilwell's discretion.39

There followed eight days of conferences between Colonel Alexander and officers of ATC headquarters, CCS subcommittees, and various divisions of the War Department and the Air Staff. As the first fruit of these consultations, General Marshall on 22 May directed Maj. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler, Commanding General, SOS in the CBI theater, to complete by 1 July the airdromes at Chabua, Mohanbari, Sookerating, and Jorhat, with a minimum of twenty hardstandings and essential taxiways at each. By 1 September three additional airdromes in Assam were to be available; all seven were to have 6,000-foot paved runways, forty hardstandings each, and the appropriate taxiways. On 23 May Colonel Alexander and the ATC headquarters staff completed a detailed estimate of the requirements for meeting the July and September objectives. Supplementary planning occupied the succeeding days and nights, and on 28 May OPD issued an order directing General Arnold to carry out the basic and supplementary plans. On 1 June the essential directives were issued. Exactly thirty days remained before the beginning of the target month.40

The plan called for completion of scheduled airdrome construction, for delivery to India of a large number of C-46's and some 14 C-87's, and for the assignment of additional aircrews. More aircraft mechanics and other service personnel would be needed, both in the India-China Wing and in X Air Service Command, which was responsible for third- and fourth-echelon maintenance of Alexander's transports. A steady flow of spare parts, maintenance and servicing equipment, and


motor vehicles must be kept moving out to India. New groups and squadrons needed to be established. British cooperation was required, not only for the completion of airports and housing facilities, but also to insure the prompt movement by rail or barge to the Assam bases of Hump cargoes, of fuel for the Hump aircraft, and of the equipment and materials required by the British engineers in the work of airdrome construction. The portion of the task which was made primarily the responsibility of the Air Transport Command generally, as distinct from that of the India-China Wing, was known as Project 7. It involved the movement by air from Florida to India of personnel, aircraft, and materiel.41

The airplanes and the men who were designated for air movement to India were quickly assembled in Florida, and the great majority moved out before the end of June. By the middle of July a total of 1,961 men had departed by air, 442 on ferried aircraft and 1,519 on regular ATC runs across the South Atlantic; over 118 tons of cargo had been shipped by air; all fourteen C-87's, one C-54A, and thirty-two C-46's had departed the United States, and all but two of the aircraft had cleared Accra on the eastward flight. There were difficulties en route, particularly in the Africa-Middle East Wing, but the movement, ATC's largest to date, was eminently successful.42

Still larger numbers of specialized personnel were shipped to India by waterborne transport. Yet by July the men, planes, and facilities which ATC had considered essential to meeting the month's 7,000-ton objective were not yet available to Alexander, who had been promoted to brigadier general on 27 June. Early in July, he forecast a total Hump lift of only 5,100 tons for that month, and on the 11th he revised his estimate downward to 3,200 tons. In the end the actual lift for the month was 3,451 gross tons, the best record to date, but less than half of the announced objective. General Chennault sent a message of congratulations expressing appreciation for "the excellent tonnage carried to China during July." Quite different was the reaction of Arnold, who in conversation with George and in a message to Alexander pointedly expressed his dissatisfaction.43

Reasons for the failure were not hard to find. When July began, only two of the four airfields which were to have been completed had paved runways of the required length; in all there were forty-nine usable hardstandings instead of the eighty called for. Hardly a third of the personnel included in Project 7 had reached India, and their


qualifications for service there left much to be desired. ATC had been assured that the pilots transferred from the Training Command for the project would be two-engine pilots, the "cream of their classes." As a group, to be sure, they had a high average flying time, but most of those who arrived before 1 July had served as flight instructors on single-engine aircraft and had never flown a multimotored plane. The few two-engine pilots were far from ready to handle the new, complex, and heavy C-46. An attempt to check some of them out at fields in Assam was discontinued because of a sharp increase in the ground-loop accident rate. Alexander had to establish a transition training school near Karachi, with sixteen instructor pilots and eight to ten C-46 aircraft, all badly needed on the Hump, in order to qualify the newly arrived pilots for their mission. Sandstorms soon forced removal of the training program to Gaya, where it was shortly interrupted by torrential storms. Refueling units and vehicles required to transport aircrews from their quarters to their landing strips had begun to reach Calcutta, but they were still six or seven weeks away from the points where they were needed in Assam. Spare parts for C-46 aircraft were extremely scarce. Some twenty-six of the C-46's were already out of commission, many for lack of spare engines and other parts. Maintenance personnel, still too few, were so inexperienced that the wing engineering officer and his single assistant were obliged to make frequent trips to the operating squadrons "in order personally to perform maintenance work." Even the best of maintenance men worked under terrible handicaps. Their work had to be done largely at night; Alexander reported: "Except on rainy days maintenance work cannot be accomplished because shade temperatures of from 100° to 130° Fahrenheit render all metal exposed to the sun so hot that it cannot be touched by the human hand without causing second degree burns." Meanwhile X Air Service Command, taxed to capacity, could not keep up with the demand for third- and fourth-echelon maintenance and repairs. Finally, a flooding of the field at Kunming, the only important Chinese terminus of the route, caused serious damage to several transports and slowed up the turn-about time.44

In spite of the monsoon, the British engineers and their native workmen continued construction on the hard-surfaced facilities at the Assam air bases. As the training program for newly arrived pilots began to bear fruit, the gross tonnage hauled over the Hump crept up gradually. From August through November the lift was augmented


by the services of Project 7-A, a contingent of twenty-five flight crews, supported by thirty-four maintenance and operations men, all civilians supplied by American Airlines. These experienced flight crews were handicapped by the same difficulties as the men assigned directly to the India-China Wing, but during the four months of their service in the theater they delivered approximately 2,100 tons of cargo to China. Operating from Tezpur, a newly opened ATC field seventy-one miles west of Jorhat, the airline pilots had from seven to ten C-87's available for their work.45

In August the total Hump tonnage, including that carried by the civilian crews, was a thousand tons greater than in July. The July goal of 7,000 tons was finally reached and passed, three months later, in October. In December all records were broken. By the 18th of the month the November record had been equaled; on the 26th the 10,000-ton objective was reached; and by the end of the month the India-China Wing reported 12,590 (net) tons delivered to China bases.46 One can well understand the rejoicing with which Washington greeted these glad tidings from India, for General George could now relax in the confidence that General Arnold was in a position to convey to the White House news it had long insisted upon receiving.

The problem of airport construction at the Assam fields seemed to have been licked, though heavy traffic made for constant repairs. There was still urgent need for aircraft and for the wherewithal to keep them in service. The rate of attrition on C-87 and especially C-46 aircraft was very high; yet the fleet had continued to grow in size until a figure of 229 major transports assigned to the wing was reached in October 1943. November saw a drop to 207, while the delivery of C-46's was stopped to permit modifications which ATC considered essential. For over two months no additional C-46's arrived in India. The gap was filled in part by delivering more C-87 aircraft and by borrowing 25 B-24D's, retired combat aircraft, from the theater. The number of transports actually available for operations in December was materially larger, because of the arrival of large numbers of new, modified C-46's and C-87's from the United States, and of spare parts which made it possible to put back into service aircraft long idle for lack of them. For the first time the India-China Wing had a large fleet in actual operation.47

Meanwhile the wing had received important gains in personnel. As against a total assigned strength of 2,759 men in June, it could muster


in December a total of 10,851. Even though the incoming officers, as a whole, were young and inexperienced, and the enlisted men inexperienced and in many cases malassigned, the reinforcements helped.48Early in September General George inspected the India-China Wing. Accompanying him on his visit was Col. Thomas O. Hardin, commanding officer of ATC's Central African Sector, a hard-driving airlines executive of great and varied experience. On 16 September Colonel Hardin was transferred to the India-China Wing and given direct charge of the Hump operation as commanding officer of the newly created Assam-China Sector (shortly renamed the Eastern Sector) of the wing. Hardin proved to be still a hard driver. In October and November he gradually introduced a policy of night flying, though night radio communication and radio navigational facilities were decidedly inferior to those available by day and though field-lighting equipment was poor. Brig. Gen. C. R. Smith reported from the field in December:

Hardin is steaming like an old fire engine.... I have never seen a man work harder.... He usually works in the office in the morning and spends the afternoon going from one field to another. He has probably broken by now most of the Air Force rules about operations.... If Tech orders were now enforced here, I doubt that there would be an airplane in the air.49

During his September inspection of the India-China Wing, General George concluded that nothing was more essential to the expansion of the lift than an adequate flow of airplane parts and engine accessories. A paraphrase of one of his messages puts it clearly enough: "In this Wing condition of spares for all type transport airplanes similar to gentleman who has several sets of evening clothes, shoes and top hat but has no collar or tie. In such case his evening outfit is useless."50 He directed his Washington headquarters to set up a weekly flight to carry the parts most in demand, direct from the Air Service Command depot at Fairfield, Ohio, to India.

This was the beginning of the much publicized FIREBALL run. The C-87's assigned to the operation were flown at first by ATC's special mission organization, the 26th Transport Group. The first of the "hot-shot" ships took off on 11 September for Agra, location of the CBI Air Service Command's depot. Early in November the job, together with four C-87's with which to do it, was turned over to the Ferrying Division. The aircraft were based at Miami, and, to speed their passage, crews were staged at key points along the Southeastern


route. It was the intention stateside that the flights should extend to Chabua, but by 2 December no FIREBALL trips had arrived at that base. Cargoes had been unloaded at Agra and disposed of by the Air Service Command there. However, the cargoes carried on the FIREBALL ships added to the number of aircraft available for service over the Hump. Further help came in December when new C-46's arrived loaded with C-46 spare parts.51

Still another factor which aided in the hauling of more than 12,000 tons of cargo into China in December was the utilization by the India-China Wing of aircraft sent out to carry the materiel for constructing a gasoline pipeline from Assam to China. In August General Arnold had agreed to provide the air transportation required. On his orders ATC hurriedly set up Project 8 for the mission and provided 16 C-47 and 40 C-46 aircraft, with the necessary flight and ground personnel. By the first of November the C-47's, as well as 155 of the project's officers and 779 of its enlisted men, had reached India and were assigned to a newly opened ATC base at Misamari. The C-46's delayed by the modification program began to appear in December. Meanwhile, since no pipe had yet arrived, Colonel Hardin put the C-47's to work flying the Hump to Yunnanyi laden with aviation gasoline and bombs. In December the Project 8 planes based at Misamari hauled 8.2 per cent of the total eastbound Hump tonnage. The theater command apparently lost interest in the pipeline, and Project 8 itself for all practical purposes was merged into normal Hump operations. When, subsequently, ATC planes carried pipeline materials into China, the haul was thought of as merely a part of the regular tonnage allocation for the Hump lift.52

General George's September visit to the India-China and Africa-Middle East Wings led to a shake-up in the command of the ATC wings. General Alexander was brought home to take command of the Caribbean Wing. Brig. Gen. Earl S. Hoag, who had commanded the Africa-Middle East Wing for barely a hundred days, moved out to India to take Alexander's place. Brig. Gen. Vincent J. Meloy, formerly in command of the Caribbean Wing, took over the Africa-Middle East Wing and, later, the new North African Wing. Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer had recently been sent out as Commanding General of Army Air Forces, India-Burma Sector, of the CBI theater.* With Stilwell's concurrence, Stratemeyer and George defined

* See Vol. IV, 449-55.


the relationship between the India-China Wing and Stratemeyer's command. They agreed, among other things, on the removal of wing headquarters to New Delhi, for greater ease in consultation and coordination, and designated the commanding general of the wing Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Air Transport to Stratemeyer.53

There were disadvantages in such a move. Some officers in ATC headquarters feared that Hoag's staff and that of Stratemeyer would become too closely linked to allow conformance with Air Transport Command doctrine. This did not happen. More serious was the fact that New Delhi, 1,252 miles from Chabua, was for communications purposes practically as distant as Washington from the Hump operation. General Hoag, who felt tied to his desk by the lack of a qualified executive, thus did not enjoy close personal contact with actual operations. On the other hand, he was vigorous in his endeavors to secure for his men in the field the materiel which they required to do the job. By personal contact with AAF, Air Service Command, and theater officers at New Delhi, he was often able to settle in a few minutes' conversation matters which might have hung fire for days or weeks had he been stationed, like his predecessor, "on the line" in Assam.54

As weekly reports from the Hump indicated that the December record would exceed all commitments, enthusiasm mounted. On 27 December Stratemeyer recommended that the wing be cited in War Department general orders. The next day the President himself directed the citation of the wing and sent his personal thanks to every officer and man concerned. Colonel Hardin, who received chief credit from General George, was ordered back to the United States for a month's leave and was quickly promoted to brigadier general. At the Pentagon, on 29 January, he accepted the presidential citation, formally presented to him as representative of the wing by General Arnold.55

General Chennault, writing to General Hoag, noted some of the accomplishments of the Fourteenth Air Force during December, "using the gasoline, ammunition, bombs, and other supplies which the India-China Wing of the ATC has delivered to us." He concluded his detailed report of combat activities by saying, "I am particularly anxious that your pilots and crews know that only through their efforts can we accomplish these important missions."56

The operations of the India-China Wing took a grave toll of men and aircraft. Between June and December 1943 there were 155 major aircraft accidents in the wing, 135 on the Hump route. Crew fatalities


totaled 168. The introduction of twenty-four-hour-a-day flying in October helped push the monthly total for November up to 38 major accidents on the Hump; in the record month of December, however, the number dropped to 28. In spite of regrets over the many casualties, ATC headquarters at Washington, New Delhi, and Chabua, felt obliged to push the job, as General Smith put it, "for all it is worth." He continued:

We are paying for it in men and airplanes. The kids here are flying over their head—at night and in daytime and they bust them up for reasons that sometimes seem silly. They are not silly, however, for we are asking boys to do what would be most difficult for men to accomplish; with the experience level here we are going to pay dearly for the tonnage moved across the Hump.... With the men available, there is nothing else to do.57

In the hope of reducing the accident rate by improving the technical skill of the young pilots flying the route, wing headquarters sent out a series of earnest appeals to ATC for check pilots competent to conduct a program for upgrading flight personnel. The first of these reached the theater by the end of the year.58 At the same time the wing was developing an aggressive search and rescue program intended to save the men who crashed or bailed out over mountain or jungle. The early search missions had been impromptu affairs. When a plane crashed, was abandoned, or was reported missing, the first available crew and plane that could be spared were assigned to the search. At Chabua there gradually developed a more specialized search and rescue organization, under the leadership of Capt. John L. ("Blackie") Porter. His men became known as "Blackie's Gang." Theirs was a difficult tree-skimming mission. In July 1943 they were assigned two C-47's. One of their first rescue attempts involved the crew and the passengers (twenty men in all, including Eric Sevareid, CBS commentator) who had abandoned a disabled C-46 on 2 August over the much-feared Naga country in northern Burma. Needed supplies were dropped, and Lt. Col. Don Flickinger, Wing Flight Surgeon, and two medical aides parachuted to the assistance of the survivors. A rescue party walked in, and the mission was a complete success. Late in October wing headquarters established a special search and rescue unit at Chabua with Captain Porter in command, under the control of the operations division of the Eastern Sector. After a very successful series of rescues, Porter was killed on 10 December 1943 when his B-25 and another rescue plane were lost to enemy action


The rescue craft thus destroyed were replaced, however, and the work went on.59

A New Program of Expansion, 1944

The success of the wing in exceeding the 10,000-ton objective naturally led responsible leaders in the field to fear that they would be asked to increase their commitments. Generals Hoag, Smith, and Stratemeyer all warned General George and General Arnold against agreeing to such requests. Arnold personally warned President Roosevelt that he must not expect the December tonnage to be maintained month by month. General Hoag held that the saturation point of the route as then constituted lay somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 tons. Early in January 1944, he sent Admiral Mountbatten's headquarters an estimate of Hump tonnage, by month, for the year. He envisioned a drop to 10,000 tons in August, during the worst of the monsoon period, and predicted that peaks of 15,000 and 16,000 tons, respectively, might be reached in the following November and December. Substantial increases in tonnage beyond these estimates would require a protected route over Myitkyina, as well as more freight terminal fields in China, in addition to Kunming and Chengkung, where instrument letdowns could be accomplished in bad weather. He would need, too, increases in personnel and assigned aircraft, nine airfields in Assam, and sufficient supplies, fuel, and equipment.60

Earlier experience with supposedly reasonable commitments may have made Hoag and his superiors conservative. For the first six months of 1944, indeed, his estimates proved pretty accurate, being overly generous by about 4,000 tons. For the second half of the year, however, his advance figures were grossly in error. Instead of the 77,000 tons he predicted, deliveries to China between 1 July and 31 December were more than twice as great. For individual months the difference between actual accomplishment and his estimate was startling: for July, 19,050 against 12,000; August, 23,675 against 10,000; December, 31,935 against 16,000.61

The discrepancy, however, is more imaginary than real. Hoag thought of his estimates as little more than an "educated guess," subject to change on the basis of changing conditions. He could not have foreseen these in their broad pattern—the June decision of the CCS to step up the war against Japan or the sharp increase in aircraft production which would give him more than twice as many transports and


more than five times as many four-engine planes in December as he had in January. Nor could he have expected, on previous experience, the relatively lavish provision for personnel and airport construction that came.62

The tactical situation influenced the India-China operation in a variety of ways. In February of 1944 the Japanese launched a northward drive in the Arakan Sector. The Indian 7 Division, which received this attack, soon required the air delivery of supplies. British and American troop-carrier planes undertook the task. When they were withdrawn for overhaul, ATC transports, with five British soldiers to the plane serving as pushers, dropped some 446 tons of food, ammunition, and medical supplies. A more potent threat to the India-China operation was felt in March when the Japanese moved northward across the Assam border in the area surrounding Imphal. Their advanced elements came at one time within thirty miles of the Assam-Bengal railroad, key artery for the movement of Hump cargo and fuel to the Assam bases of ATC. Aircraft of the India-China Wing helped move British Indian troops from Arakan to meet the new thrust. Brig. Gen. Thomas O. Hardin, who succeeded to the command of the wing* on 15 March 1944, feared for a time that the Japanese might succeed in cutting off the flow of supplies to the Assam airports. During April some twenty of his C-46's were employed in direct support of the Allied defense of the region. They delivered over 2,100 tons of fuel, ammunition, and other supplies to Allied troops there, with a loss which Hardin estimated at not less than 1,200 tons of Hump tonnage. But the enemy did not succeed in cutting the rail connection supporting the Hump operation.63

Late in April General Stilwell started his two-pronged offensive, pushing southward across the ranges from Ledo toward Myitkyina and westward from Yunnan across the Salween. In immediate preparation for this offensive the India-China Wing, at Stilwell's request, flew approximately 18,000 Chinese troops from Yunnan to Sookerating, whence ground transport and troop-carrier aircraft moved them into position in North Burma. Although these troops were carried as reverse Hump tonnage, their transportation reduced the eastbound lift, since planes returning from Kunming had to be diverted to Yunnanyi to pick up their human cargoes. Offloading them at Sookerating delayed transports based elsewhere in Assam. Hardin felt that the movement

* General Hoag was assigned to take command of ATC's European Wing.


reduced Hump tonnage by at least 1,500 tons. While the tendency in ATC headquarters and elsewhere was to measure the achievement of the India-China Wing in terms of Hump tonnage, it is fair to notice that a large portion of that tonnage since the autumn of 1943 had been devoted to building up General Stilwell's YOKE force in Yunnan for this offensive. The transportation of ammunition, motor fuel, and other supplies to an army preparing to take the offensive can hardly be counted a more significant contribution to military success than the movement of troops into position, even if the movement be in a reverse direction and hence not applicable to the eastbound figure which had become almost a fetish.64

The India-China Wing was presently called upon for still another chore for Stilwell's campaign. On 17 May 1944 his troops captured the airstrip near Myitkyina, though the city itself did not capitulate until 3 August. Meanwhile in late May and early June, Hardin's planes flew some 2,500 combat troops, including 250 airborne engineers, from southern India via Assam to the Myitkyina area. Not only men and unit equipment but also such cumbersome items as bulldozers, tractors, graders, and rollers were included in the movement. Called the GALAHAD diversion, this whole movement had a direct bearing upon the India-China Wing's primary mission. By helping to clear the Myitkyina area of the enemy and to build airdromes there, it made possible the ultimate use of a direct air route from Calcutta to China. Even more immediately it enabled planes on the Assam-China run to take a more southerly, lower altitude course over the Hump. Chennault criticized the expenditure of air supply upon Stilwell's campaign to recover Burma; Hoag and Hardin, and ATC leaders generally, felt quite otherwise about it.65

Meanwhile the largest Japanese forces yet employed in China had launched a series of campaigns which won for them a corridor connecting their holdings in Manchuria and North China with French Indo-China. Driving southward from the Yellow River, south and southwest from Hankow, and west up the Hungshui River from Canton, they seized control of the chief railroad lines of eastern and southern China, and one by one overran the major bases of the Fourteenth Air Force in that area. On 4 September they captured the airfield at Lingling. On 11 November they took the important air base of Kweilin and then in quick succession the fields at Liuchow and Nanning. With Chinese resistance crumbling, it looked as if the Japanese


might take Chungking and Kunming. Although the Chinese defense forces and the coming of winter finally checked the drive in that direction, eastern China had been isolated, and the political prestige of the Chinese central government had received a disastrous blow.66

Since the function of ATC in the theater was to carry "Aid to China," its very reason for existence was threatened. The new emergencies intensified the urgency of delivering maximum cargoes, especially to the Fourteenth Air Force. At the same time the India-China Division* was called upon for a series of special missions in aid to China. Thus on 4-5 July, at the request of Chennault, ICD aircraft flew in a quantity of 75-mm. howitzers, ammunition, and other equipment and evacuated some 150 persons and 61 tons of freight from the Kweilin area. Between 1 July and 30 September, ATC delivered a total of more than 300 tons of ammunition and equipment at Kweilin for the Chinese forces defending the city. Early in November, when the fall of Liuchow was imminent, division aircraft, in a total of forty-four trips, evacuated 298 passengers and a weight of passengers and cargo amounting in all to 138 tons. To counter the Japanese advance in December, over 18,000 troops of the Fifty-seventh Chinese Army were moved from Hsian on the Yellow River to Chanyi. At the same time the worsening tactical situation led to the return by air from Burma to China of the 14th and 22d Chinese Divisions and other units of the Sixth Chinese Army. The Tenth Air Force was in control of this operation, and the India-China Division did little more than supply planes and personnel. Still the C-46's of the ATC transported over 14,000 troops out of a total of 25,354 men carried.67 If these and other special missions had the effect of reducing the weight of cargo which might have been delivered to the Fourteenth Air Force and other consignees in China, they bore with equal relevance upon the basic mission of the entire India-China transport operation.

The deployment of the B-29 units of the XX Bomber Command to China, beginning with the first flights from the United States on 26 March 1944 gave the India-China Wing a new customer and increased the pressure on the wing's Hump potential. As early as February the wing was given an allocation of 1,650 tons firm, and 2,275 tons possible, to be delivered that month for XX Bomber Command (MATTERHORN project), though a failure on the part of the shipping

* All ATC Wings were raised to Division status, 1 July 1944.
See Vol. V, 52, 7879.


organizations to have the cargo available in Assam kept actual deliveries down to 381 tons. In March, however, ATC aircraft hauled some 3,602 tons, roughly three-eighths of the Hump tonnage for the month, to stock the new command's bases in the vicinity of Chengtu with aviation gas and other supplies.* At that time ATC had twenty C-87's devoted directly to the MATTERHORN haul which had been provided by XX Bomber Command. The cargo capacity allocated by the theater for the delivery of supplies to XX Bomber Command, and the quantities delivered thereon, varied greatly from month to month, but by the end of the year nearly 30,000 tons, according to ATC figures, had been hauled to XX Bomber Command units, and another 4,573 tons to the 312th Fighter Wing, a Fourteenth Air Force organization assigned to defend the four large B-29 bases in China. A very large portion of the total, over 13,000 tons, was delivered under great pressure in October and November in connection with missions against Formosa.68

Long before that, mounting demands had compelled AAF and ATC headquarters to face the problem of further augmenting the Hump lift. As early as March 1944 three key officers of ATC headquarters, the Chief of Staff, Brig. Gen. Bob E. Nowland, and his Assistant Chiefs of Staff for Operations and for Priorities and Traffic, Cols. Harold R. Harris and Ray W. Ireland, on returning from inspection of the India-China Wing, reported that the ATC would have to increase its Hump commitments or some other agency would move in. "The pressure for additional supplies in China," they wrote, "is actually only just beginning and we must constructively plan to expand faster than we have been called upon to undertake to date or else fall behind the war procession in the near future."69

Both the theater and the India-Burma Sector, AAF, were increasingly eager to see the Hump lift expanded. In June General Stratemeyer appointed a board of officers, headed by Brig. Gen. William D. Old, to study what action might be taken by the several agencies in the CBI. The board made various specific suggestions to the India-China Wing and to various theater agencies and arrived at the rather obvious conclusions that substantial gains could be made by more efficient use of existing resources and by adding to those resources. The first conclusion was substantiated by the India-China Wing in June

* For variant figures on this operation and an explanation of the lack of agreement among the several authorities, see Vol. V, 8190.


when it delivered a record 15,845 tons of cargo to China. The truth of the second was demonstrated by the achievements of the next six months.70

While General Old's board was at work, Brig. Gen. William H. Tunner, Commanding General of ATC's Ferrying Division, and Col. James H. Douglas, Jr., ATC Deputy Chief of Staff, were also studying the problem on the ground. They reported that the China-bound capacity of the route could be built up to 20,500 tons in October, 27,500 in November, and 31,000 in December if certain specified conditions were met. First, the theater was to make available three suitable airfields in eastern Bengal, one each by 15 August, 15 September, and 15 October. The AAF should provide at least fifteen hundred experienced mechanics for shipment overseas before 1 September. Transport aircraft already allocated to ATC must be delivered on schedule. By 1 October the CBI should provide service and repair units capable of furnishing both supply and third- and fourth-echelon maintenance for the enlarged fleet. Finally, landing facilities and gasoline were to be made available in the Myitkyina area.71

The augmentation plan, accepted by General George and submitted to General Arnold on 3 July 1944, was quickly approved by the War Department. Although all its conditions were not met on time, the actual record of deliveries over the Hump far exceeded the planned accomplishment, month by month, as indicated in the following table:72

Proposed Deliveries in Tons
Actual Deliveries in Tons
14,000 22,314
20,500 24,715
27,500 34,914
31,000 31,935

The average number of aircraft actually in commission on the Hump operation in June was 108.4; in December, 249.6. Aircraft trips to China increased from 3,702 in June to 7,612 in December. This increase in traffic called for more airfields. In China a major improvement was the relief of congestion at Kunming, where much gasoline and time was wasted in bad weather by planes stacked up over the airport, awaiting their turn to let down through the overcast. The opening of Luliang to extensive ATC traffic in August


gave Hump aircraft a second all-weather alternate (Chanyi was the first) to Kunming and helped to break this particular bottleneck, even in face of heavier traffic. Increased "long-haul" deliveries to XX Bomber Command airdromes in the Chengtu area increased the total weight of deliveries without putting pressure on the short-range bases near Kunming. Although the largest amount of cargo continued to be dispatched from the six established fields in Assam, the last two months of the year saw the serious beginning of operations across the Hump, with C-54's and C-109's (Liberator-type tankers) from Kurmitola-Tezgaon, newly acquired ATC base in East Bengal. Meanwhile, between July and December, the number of men available in the India-China Division to handle the increased workload more than doubled.73

With its greater resources, ATC was able to aid XX Bomber Command while increasing its deliveries to Chennault's heavily reinforced command from 7,439 tons in January, and only 4,988 in March, to 12,448 tons in June, 16,985 in November, and 14,688 in December.74

In April 1944, with the establishment of the Allied Air Forces, India-Burma Sector of the CBI, General Stratemeyer's and General Hardin's headquarters, together with those of the CBI Air Service Command, the Eastern Air Command, and the sector's communications, weather, and statistical organizations, were moved from New Delhi to the Calcutta area. There the combined headquarters were located in the buildings of a large jute mill (Hastings Mill) some sixteen miles north of the city. While the discomforts of the new location were numerous, it was only half as far as New Delhi from the Assam bases; with the development of a direct lift from East Bengal to China, the advantages of the new location would become still more obvious.75 Early in September General Hardin, with well over two years of arduous foreign service to his credit, was recalled to the United States. His successor in the India-China Division was Brig. Gen. William H. Tunner, of ATC's Ferrying Division, who brought with him several key officers from his old staff. What the men surrounding him came to call the "age of big business" in the India-China Division (ICD) was already under way. These men, who brought into practice some of the techniques of large business enterprise, built upon the foundation laid by General Alexander and more particularly General Hardin. The latter had forced Hump deliveries up from 4,624 tons in September 1943 to 23,675 in August 1944.


As a parting tribute the men of the division on 22 August celebrated "Tom Hardin Day," when they delivered 1,300 tons of cargo "over the Rockpile."76

Big Business in the Air, 1945

Only the war's end halted the process of augmenting the airlift of the India-China Division. As tonnage increased, there was less and less talk about any figure to be regarded as the maximum possible achievement. General Tunner and his staff acted upon the thesis that virtually any amount could be delivered if only the requisite facilities and men were provided. Under constant pressure for more Hump lift, they continued to press for additional airfields, especially in China and West Bengal, and for improved navigational facilities. At the same time, in a continuing drive for "production," Tunner insisted upon increased efficiency and upon a fuller exploitation of the existing facilities.

Emphasis was directed at aircraft utilization and then by a logical step at aircraft maintenance, long a sore spot in India-China operations. In July 1944 a technical inspector had recommended the establishment of production line maintenance (PLM) at the Assam stations. Such a procedure, already in use in stateside Training Command bases, called for towing the aircraft through a succession of stations, at each of which a fresh group of maintenance men performed specific maintenance operations in which they were presumably specially skilled. General Tunner adopted the idea, and a program of hangar and apron construction to make it feasible was launched. In December Lt. Col. Robert B. White, Division Aircraft Maintenance Officer, wrote the several base commanders, pointing out the advantages of such a system; he anticipated some resistance on the part of engineering officers and attempted to combat their skepticism by stressing the efficiency of the new system.77

In an effort to get PLM started, Division headquarters exerted on the bases a degree of pressure which to some extent defeated its purpose. Some of the lines were organized too hastily, as at Jorhat, where the new system was inaugurated on 16 February 1945. Inadequate hangar and parking facilities hampered the program at some stations, lack of necessary equipment at others. Some base commanders and maintenance officers were halfhearted in their attitude toward the new methods, partly in fear of at least a temporary loss of efficiency


and thus of Hump tonnage. Many pilots were distrustful of the quality of PLM maintenance and strongly preferred the old way of doing things, in which each airplane was the direct responsibility of a given crew. Slumps after good starts occurred at some bases. Nevertheless, General Tunner reported PLM an overall success, largely responsible for the rise in the average percentage of assigned aircraft in operation from 78 per cent in January to 85 per cent in July. He reported a 25 per cent reduction in the time required for 100-hour inspections, while the quality of the inspections had improved. He gave PLM the major credit for the steady increase in daily utilization of C-54 aircraft at Tezgaon from an average of 7.51 hours in April to 11.65 hours in July.78

The transition to PLM had been made possible by a standard practice of assigning only one type of transport to a given base. By March 1945 each of four Assam bases (Chabua, Sookerating, Mohanbari, and Misamari) had at least 48 C-46's; three (Tezpur, Jorhat, and Shamshernagar) had at least 30 C-87's and/or C-109's; while Tezgaon had an average for the month of 39.3 assigned C-54's. The total number of aircraft available for the Hump operation increased substantially at the beginning of 1945, but thereafter it remained practically constant. The average number in commission for the Hump service in December 1944 was 249.6; in January 1945, 287.4; in February, 336.8; in April, 325.9; in July, 332. Personnel assigned to the Hump bases, likewise, increased only moderately after the first of 1945. From a total of 17,032 military personnel in December, the Hump bases in India jumped to 19,025 in January and reached a peak of 22,359 in April. Thereafter there was a slight decline. In China, where the need for economy of American manpower was extreme, and where ATC did not gain full control of any bases until 1 July 1945, the numbers of military personnel assigned rose from 2,530 in December to 5,959 in August. In addition to military personnel, the India-China Division employed some 47,009 civilians, mostly in manual labor duties such as loading and unloading aircraft.79

The most striking increase in eastbound tonnage carried over the Hump came in January, when 44,098 net tons were delivered as against 31,935 tons in December. The increased tonnage of January owed much to the Allied victory in Burma. The use of the Assam bases and of the high Hump routes had been at best a desperate matter of expedience, dictated by the presence of the Japanese forces in


Burma. Now it was most natural to fly increasing amounts of cargo directly from Bengal to China. Even the planes based in Assam could fly farther south and at lower altitudes than in the previous years. And the availability of a relatively low-level route made it feasible, at last, to bring into service the C-54 aircraft whose limited ceiling had made them useless for the excessive altitudes of the northern routes, but which could carry a cargo in excess of seven tons, approximately twice that of a C-109 tanker and 70 per cent greater than that of a C-46. On New Year's Day the direct run by C-54's from the Calcutta area (Barrackpore) to Kunming was inaugurated. As the season advanced, the fields in eastern Bengal (Tezgaon and Kurmitola) sharply increased their contribution to the division's India-China haul.80

Trained men, skilfully designed machines, and a succession of military successes had made possible a vast increase in deliveries to China. But the Hump, even along the lower-altitude routes now in regular use, was still a fearsome barrier capable of taking a heavy toll of life and aircraft. This it proved at the turn of the year. In January, 23 major aircraft accidents occurred in the Hump operation; in February, 38; in March, 46. These accidents took a toll of 134 crew members, dead or missing. At division headquarters and in Washington the number of accidents caused increasing concern. At the beginning of the year, General Tunner had warned his base commanders: "In striving for high aircraft utilization, we will not sacrifice flying safety. One hour of daily utilization lost can be made up later . . . the loss of one load of passengers and crew can never be recovered." When minor corrective measures failed to halt the accidents, ATC headquarters in early March reacted strongly. Hitherto accidents had normally been considered in relation to thousands of flying hours, or thousands of tons transported, and the ratio had been reduced sharply since January 1944 when there were 1.968 accidents per 1,000 flying hours in the Hump operation. Now, while praising this improvement, General Smith wrote to Tunner that there must "be a substantial reduction in number of accidents per week and per month, irrespective of graphic comparisons with tonnage transported and hours flown."81

Under such pressure as this, General Tunner's headquarters in turn increased the pressure upon base commanders. Those officers felt themselves caught between two fires—the continuing demand for


tonnage and the new insistence on an absolute decrease in the number of accidents. Col. Francis M. Coates, ICD Chief of Staff, recommended to Tunner at the end of April that flying safety be relegated to a position secondary to Hump tonnage.82 Ten days earlier General Stratemeyer, seriously disturbed when the India-China Division on the 15th reduced its forecast for April tonnage from 48,000 to 42,000 tons, took the matter up directly with General George in Washington. Stratemeyer presented figures tending to show that the accident rate per flying hours and per sorties was now low in relation to that incurred in combat operations. He flatly urged George to consider the Hump operation a combat job and to modify his accident policy accordingly.83

General George insisted that ATC had always regarded the India-China run as a combat operation. While refusing to abandon his drive for a higher standard of safety, he did give Stratemeyer an opportunity to specify any particular rule or regulation which interfered with tonnage objectives. Stratemeyer proposed permitting an increase in the gross take-off and landing weight of C-54 aircraft. More serious than weight limitations, he thought, was ATC's insistence on measuring Hump accidents in terms of actual numbers rather than in relation to hours flown or ton-mile of delivery. General George agreed to follow a relative standard—accidents per thousand airplane hours—rather than the absolute standard.84

In spite of the understandable frustration of the base unit commanders in the field, they and their subordinates somehow succeeded in achieving what division headquarters demanded. They increased deliveries over the Hump, and they reduced not only the accident rate but also the total number of accidents a month. The following table tells the story:85

Hump Lift (under ATC Control) India to China
No. of Major Accidents (ATC Hump Oprs.)
Accident Rate per Thousand Aircraft Hrs.
No. of Crew Fatalities
January 44,098 net tons
February 40,677
March 46,545
April 44,254






General Tunner believed that an important cause of accidents would be removed with the promised substitution of C-54's for C-109 and C-87 aircraft. The accident rate on the Consolidated types was almost 500 per cent higher than on the C-54's. With this point of view, Stratemeyer and ATC headquarters agreed. A real difficulty, however, lay in finding the requisite C-54's.86

One program toward this end, the so-called "272 plan," provided for building the C-54 fleet up to a total of 272 aircraft by October 1945. By April 1946 the India-China Division was to have 540 C-54's and 410 C-46's calculated to produce a Hump lift of 86,300 tons. Because of the existing shortage of the R-2000 engines which powered the C-54 aircraft, ATC headquarters had earlier proposed to return to Florida, for routine engine change and related maintenance, all India-China C-54's as they needed such service. Aircraft in this "maintenance pipeline" were to carry cargo and passengers in each direction in regular traffic schedules of the ATC divisions through which they passed. Of the 272 Skymasters scheduled for the division it was now proposed that a dozen be reserved for training and special missions, while 60, with accrued engine time of between 600 and 800 hours, were always to be in the pipeline, either returning to the United States, undergoing maintenance in Florida, or returning to India. The engine changes, a responsibility of the Caribbean Division, were to be performed at Morrison Field, though temporarily the load was to be shouldered by the ATC base unit at Miami.87

The plan called for an expensive building program at Morrison Field. When approval by AAF Headquarters came in April 1945, the contractors were handicapped by a labor shortage, and the work was accordingly delayed. The same shortage of skilled civilian labor plagued the PIPELINE project itself. The military personnel assigned, largely returnees from overseas, were top-heavy in grades and discharge points and extremely light in qualifications for first-class maintenance work on C-54 aircraft. The planes themselves were in poorer condition than had been anticipated. Roughly treated in the Hump service, they required an excessive amount of sheet-metal work and fuel-cell repair. Accordingly, the number of man-hours required to handle a pipeline airplane averaged 5,511.6 in July, as against an advance estimate of 3,500; this meant an average of thirty-four days on the ground at Morrison Field instead of an estimated


seven days. The India-China Division complained bitterly of the delays.88

By May it was plain that the C-54 fleet would not be able to carry to China the required volume of cargo, particularly since ATC headquarters was hard pressed to procure on schedule the C-54's for the "272 program." When in April ATC delivered only 44,254 tons over the Hump as against an allocation of 48,770 tons, General Stratemeyer in May planned a new augmentation of the Hump service. After the recapture of Rangoon, the India-China Division was reinforced by several tactical organizations whose primary mission had been completed. These were the 7th Bombardment Group, the 308th Bombardment Group, the 443d Troop Carrier Group, and the 3d and 4th Combat Cargo Groups, plus two combat cargo squadrons of the 1st Combat Cargo Group, with the support of the twelve airdrome squadrons. Operational control passed to the India-China Division. Thus the ICD was to fix quotas of tonnage to be delivered by each organization, to prescribe routes and destinations, to establish procedures for dispatching, briefing, air-traffic control, radio, loading, and reporting, and to determine turn-around standards in China. Administrative control was to remain with the parent air force.89

In order to provide a base for the 7th Bombardment Group's transport operations, ATC aircraft and personnel transferred from Tezpur to other India-China bases. The 308th Bombardment Group for a while continued to base at Chengtu, flying to Dergaon, India, for cargo. In July 1945 the 308th moved to Rupsi in Assam. The 443d Troop Carrier Group took station at Dinjan, and most of the units of the 3d and 4th Combat Cargo Groups, flying C-46 aircraft, were stationed at Myitkyina North and West. The 3d Combat Cargo Squadron was based at Myitkyina East, the 2d at Bhamo. One of the squadrons of the 3d Combat Cargo Group was stationed at Luliang. Between them the attached tactical organizations had a total of 207 aircraft available on the last day of June, and 261 a month later.90

Fitting the tactical organizations into the India-China Division organization was not easy. Their rated personnel, accustomed to looking down on the ATC as a non-combat outfit, at first tended to count their assignment to a non-tactical mission a degrading anticlimax. They were bitterly indignant when they learned that they were to be given a week of special training flights in preparation for flying the Hump. Personal friction between the tactical units and ICD personnel


continued, and mutual fault-finding was widespread. However, friction did not prevent the tactical organizations from making a large contribution to the India-China lift. Starting toward the end of June, they carried 6,488 tons that month, over and above the new record total of 48,899 tons hauled in ATC aircraft. Thus they enabled the India-China Division to achieve its first 50,000-ton month. In July the peak was reached when ATC transports lifted 51,418 tons into China and the attached tactical groups nearly 20,000 tons. Even in August, when the pressure had been removed, the attached units lifted more than 11,000 tons eastbound, against 41,727 tons carried in ATC aircraft.91

Though the weight of the Hump lift was vastly greater in 1945 than in 1944, its character and recipients changed but little. One major customer for Hump tonnage had withdrawn. This was the XX Bomber Command, which in January absorbed over 12 per cent of the Hump lift. Thereafter, as its missions from China declined and ceased, its receipts by April became practically nil.

Gasoline and oil accounted in 1945 for nearly 60 per cent of all net tonnage carried eastbound over the Hump. Ordnance supplies (including motor vehicles, dismantled for the Hump crossing, and appropriate spare parts, as well as bombs and ammunition) amounted to approximately 15 per cent of the total lift. The balance, roughly a fourth of the total, included passengers, a relatively small quantity of Air Corps technical supplies, PX supplies, and a larger proportion of Quartermaster supplies. As ATC headquarters suggested, when a woman wrote General George protesting the transportation of beer over the Hump, the decisions as to what should be hauled were made by the commanders in the field on the basis of their judgment as to what commodities would make a contribution to military success against the enemy.92

The westbound lift across the Hump was always smaller than the eastbound haul and became smaller relatively month by month. By 1945 most aircraft westbound over the Hump flew empty or with small amounts of ballast. Nevertheless, the traffic out of China had made a minor contribution to the prosecution of the war. Aircraft bound from China to Assam, East Bengal, or Calcutta carried a variety of people, including injured and ailing troops on their way to hospitals in the United States. Thousands of Chinese troops were transported from China to India for training or for combat. The


planes carried, too, such strategic materials as tungsten ore, tin, hog bristles, mercury, silk, and even green tea (valued as an agent of good will in northern Africa). Though of considerable importance, no one of these commodities possessed sufficiently high priority to win air transportation beyond India.93

After the division in October 1944 of the CBI into the India-Burma and China theaters, the commanding general of the China theater (Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer) controlled cargo assignment through an agency called Hump Allocation and Control, or more commonly, Humpalco. Each month the India-China Division submitted to Humpalco a presumably firm commitment as to Hump capability for the following month, together with estimates for subsequent months. Near the middle of the month, Humpalco assembled all using organizations in China, at which meeting the total amounts to be allotted each for the coming month were determined. Each organization's allotment was then also broken down into specific amounts of such general categories as aviation gasoline, motor gasoline, and bombs. Within their specific allotments, the users then placed their requisitions with the shipping organizations in India. The general and specific requisitions were transmitted to Humpreg (otherwise Hump Regulating Office), an India-Burma agency which controlled the dispatch of cargo and personnel to China. A given tonnage was assigned to each base for each shipping agency, and the shippers were responsible for placing material at the proper bases.94

The end of hostilities cut short India-China Division's plans for further expansion. Kharagpur, a former B-29 base, and three new bases, prepared ad hoc, all in West Bengal, were to be transferred to the ATC and were to house 240 C-54's. Even more ambitious was the ORIENT project, also stillborn. Predicated on a long-term occupation of China by American air forces, it called for a series of airlines radiating out from Shanghai to Vladivostok, Harbin, Mukden, Peiping, Lanchow, Hanoi, and Colombo. Russian opposition to any unnecessary contact by foreign powers with areas within the Soviet sphere and the rapid demobilization of U.S. forces killed this scheme.95

The proposal was rooted, however, in the expansion which had taken place in the ATC's operations within China proper. Until well into 1944 the Air Transport Command had counted its mission accomplished when the weight of cargo to which it was committed had been unloaded at the existing China bases. That indeed was as


much as General Chennault, the principal customer of the Hump airline, wanted the ATC to do, though in many cases the commodities landed at Kunming or another base still had to travel several hundred miles to the user. The internal transportation system Chennault employed in getting aviation gasoline and other supplies to the using squadrons was a crazy combination of Chinese and American trucks, such railroads as the meter gauge line between Kunming and Chanyi, riverboats, sampans, junks, and steamboats. By April 1944 Chennault also had in service eleven C-47's, of the 322d Troop Carrier Squadron. B-24's of the 308th Bombardment Group likewise flew intra-China, as well as over-the-Hump transport missions. For long, Chennault vigorously opposed an intra-China air transport service by the ATC, which he thought would put an inordinate burden upon Hump deliveries to the Fourteenth Air Force; further, he insisted that the air force commander ought to control his own supply movements in forward areas. He did not hesitate, however, to ask for the use of ATC planes for emergency deliveries and evacuation in China. Finally, in October 1944, he consented to ATC's basing fifty C-47's in China. He still insisted in December, however, that further expansion by the ATC in China should be postponed until ATC could deliver 15,000 tons a month for air operations only.96

The number of aircraft assigned to the India-China Division's intra-China operation remained practically constant (66 to 72) from the beginning of 1945 until after V-J Day, though the proportion of C-46's as compared to C-47's increased materially. These intra-China aircraft were based at Chengkung, Chanyi, Luliang, and Kunming. Intra-China tonnage fluctuated considerably from month to month, with a peak in May of more than 11,000 tons. When idle in China, the intra-China aircraft were used to augment the eastbound Hump lift. After April, however, such runs were very few.97

As the scope of ATC operations to and within China expanded, the route across India grew in importance. Although its principal reason for being was to support the Hump operation, it was also an extension of the series of airways extending from the United States through the Azores, and over North Africa, to Karachi. As such, the character of its cargo was very different from that carried over the Hump. The much smaller trans-Indian lift was given over primarily to mail, personnel, and high-priority supplies. The regular traffic was carried by DC-3 and C-46 type planes, with a total average number


in commission varying from 76 in February to 60 in May. Their total lift, in terms of manifest tons, ranged from 18,362 in March to 12,083 tons in April.98

In 1945, as in the previous year, a substantial share of the India-China Division's capacity was devoted to airlift of troops and their equipment. The troop movements of 1944 had been largely defensive in character. So also was the ROOSTER movement (21 April-11 May 1945), in which the Chinese Sixth Army was transported from Chanyi, Chengkung, Luliang, and Kunming to assist in the defense of the Fourteenth Air Force base at Chihkiang. As a direct result of this airlift, the Japanese were smashed back, with heavy loss of life, and the use of the air base made secure. Generally speaking, however, the movement of troops by the India-China Division in 1945 was by way of support to the Chinese advance which recovered the bases lost in 1944.99

With the collapse of Japanese resistance, ATC helped move Chinese troops into Shanghai and other forward areas.

Several of these movements were of impressive weight. In the ROOSTER movement the intra-China fleet, reinforced by thirty C-46's from the Assam bases, made 1,648 trips, carrying 25,136 troops, 2,178 horses, and 1,565 tons of equipment and supplies, for a total tonnage of 5,523. At the same time some 369 tons of aviation gasoline were flown into Chihkiang for the Fourteenth Air Force fighters.100The DISC project for transporting Chinese troops from Burma to Nanning in southern China was of like magnitude. The first phase was accomplished by the North Burma Air Task Force, but on 23 June ATC was given operational control. By 14 August over 23,000 Chinese troops with their organizational equipment, including nearly 3,000 mules, had been delivered.101

One of the 1945 special movements involved the transportation of the Mars Task Force, including 6,235 American ground troops with their equipment, from Burma to China. These soldiers, who had played a grueling part in the recovery of Burma, now became the first American infantry unit assigned to fight in China. They were flown to China points, mostly by ATC C-47's based at Myitkyina, between 14 March and 25 May.102

When the war ended, the Allies had to take over control of large areas still, or very recently, occupied by the Japanese. The Tenth Air Force was made responsible for transporting the 6th Chinese Army from Chihkiang, and ATC for moving the 94th Chinese Army from


Liuchow to Shanghai. The India-China Division's C-54's took off from Kurmitola and Tezgaon fully loaded with gasoline; four out of each five of the Skymasters flew to Liuchow, where gas in excess of that needed for a round-trip flight to Shanghai was removed, and the planes were packed with from 80 to 85 Chinese troops, each carrying his field equipment and rifle. As usual when Chinese troops were carried, the aircraft on arrival at their destination reeked with the nauseating odors of vomit and other filth. Between 9 and 29 September 26,237 soldiers made the air journey to Shanghai.103

The end of the war inevitably spelled the end of the India-China airline. Its decline was rapid, though not as rapid as most of the men whom the ATC had stationed in Assam, Bengal, and China wished. There were still some tasks for military air transportation to perform in the theater. Until seagoing vessels could unload at Chinese ports, air transports must continue to supply the American forces still retained on duty in China. On the eve of V-J Day General Tunner had directed that the moment of victory should be the signal for removing "the high pressure, daily trip consciousness . . . from each operating base." Since "the primary mission of the base is now safety and service rather than tonnage," Consolidated-type aircraft were to take off only during the day, and gross take-off weights were reduced. The ABLE route, crossing the highest and most dangerous portion of the Hump, was abandoned at once, and other safety measures were put into effect.104

Naturally, the eastbound lift of gasoline and other supplies into China declined rapidly. The official figures tell the story: July, 71,042 tons; August, 53,315 tons; September, 39,775 tons; October, 8,646 tons; November, 1,429 tons. At the end of November the Hump was officially closed, though some special mission flights over the route were made thereafter. Meanwhile the India-China Division, stripped in August and September of its attached organizations, had performed the grateful task of flying approximately 47,000 American troops westward across the Hump and thence across India to the embarkation port of Karachi.105

From a primitive barnstorming enterprise the air service from India to China had burgeoned into a large-scale operation, far beyond the wildest dreams of the men who assisted at its beginnings. First and last a grand total of some 650,000 tons of gasoline, munitions, other commodities, and men traveled the air route over the Hump into


China, rather more than half of the total in the first nine months of 1945. One must ask in conclusion what this all meant. The tonnage could have been hauled in approximately 70 Liberty ships, if the requisite ports had only been available, or in 6,500 American freight cars, if only a railroad had existed. The Hump airline was born of an emergency, though in the end its size made it difficult for the men who operated it to remember that it was still properly an emergency communication system.

But a fundamental question remains: What good end was served by the emergency delivery of 650,000 tons of this and that into China? Certainly little went directly to the aid of the Chinese people and relatively little to the Chinese armies, though it can be urged that the regime of Chiang Kai-shek would have collapsed without the support of General Chennault's command and that Chennault's men were wholly dependent upon the Hump lift. It can be argued that it helped to prevent the Japanese from overrunning all of China and preserved for the forces of the United Nations a base for launching an air attack upon Japanese shipping, upon vital Japanese industrial installations in eastern China, upon Formosa, and even upon the Japanese homeland. Thus it may have speeded somewhat the conclusion of hostilities against Japan. Most important in the long run, no doubt, the Air Transport Command's crowded airways to China were the proving ground, if not the birthplace, of mass strategic airlift. Here the AAF demonstrated conclusively that a vast quantity of cargo could be delivered by air, even under the most unfavorable circumstances, if only the men who controlled the aircraft, the terminals, and the needed materiel were willing to pay the price in money and in men. In military and civilian circles alike men were forced to modify their thinking regarding the potential of airlift. The India-China experience made it possible to conceive the Berlin airlift of 1948–49 and to operate it successfully. When the Korean War in 1950 required the emergency delivery of large numbers of men and equipment to the Far East, the precedents and the techniques for doing so were at hand.


Contents * Previous Chapter (4) * Next Chapter (6)


1 Msg., Ammisca #226, Magruder to TAG, 28 Jan. 1942, and draft reply, Ltr., Roosevelt to Gen. George C. Marshall, 25 Feb. 1942.

2 The China National Aviation Corporation was owned 45 percent by Pan American Airways and 55 percent by the Chinese government.

3 Memo for C/S from Big. Gen. Robert Olds, sub.: Air Transport Route from India to China, 25 Feb. 1942; ltr., Brig. gen. Earl L. Naiden to Lt. Gen. H. H. Arnold, 1 Apr. 1942.

4 Memo for AC/S, A-4, from Lt. Col. Robert M. Love, DC/S ATC, sub.: Transport Aircraft Delivered to Karachi, 29 Aug. 1942, in which aircraft are listed by type, plane number, and delivery date; Capt. Larry Peyton, "Report and Survey of the India-China Air Transport Operations," 9 Oct. 1942.

5 Ltr., Brig. Gen. Earl L. Naiden to Arnold, 1 Apr. 1942.

6 1st AC Ferrying Gp., Pilots Folder, Chabua Area, 1942; ICW, ATC, Special Historical Report #3, "Weather Conditions from Lalmanirhat, India to Kunming, China, 26 June 1944"; [Frank D. Sinclair], Memorandum Re: Air Transportation System Dinjan—Kunming, China (hereinafter cited as Sinclair Report), attached to ltr., Whiting Willauer, Sec., China Defense Supplies, Inc., to Col. Harold R. Harris, ATC, 23 Sept. 1942.

7 Ltr., Alexander to Love, 26 Mar. 1943.

8 Ltr., Alexander to Maj. Gen. H. H. [sic] George, 4 Jan. 1943; ltr., Alexander to George, 20 Jan. 1943; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, pp. 183–88.

9 Claire L. Chennault, Way of a Fighter (New York, 1949), p. 234.

10 History and Sidelights of the Third Ferry Squadron, First A.C.F. Command, in MATS Hist. File.

11 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, II, 431–32; ICD Wkly. Summary, 10 Dec. 1944.

12 India-China Route Report for July 1942, 4 Sept. 1942, in MATS Hist. File; ltr., Lt. Col. A. G. Todd, Chief Stat. Control, ATC, to Lt. Col. H. M. Moran, Army Industrial College, sub.: Hump Operations of the Air Transport Command, 6 Feb. 1946, and attached tables; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, p. 44. Net tons include the total haul to China, less the weight of gasoline retained for the return flight over the Hump.

13 Memo for C/S from Olds, sub.: Air Transport Route from India to China, 25 Feb. 1942; msg., Arnold to Brereton, 18 Mar. 1942.

14 Naiden to Air Marshal, R.A.F., India, sub.: Airdrome Requirements for the American Military Air Ferry Service from India to China, 10 Mar. 1942; msg., Aquila 118, Brereton to AGWAR, 28 Mar. 1942; ltr., Naiden to Arnold, 1 Apr. 1942; ltr., Naiden to CG, Trans-India Ferry Command, sub.: Activation of Trans-India Ferry Command, 6 Apr. 1942; ltr., Naiden to Col. C. V. Haynes, Sub.: Constitution of the Assam-Burma-China Ferrying Command, 17 Apr. 1942; msg., Aquila 393, Brereton for Arnold, 18 Apr. 1942.

15 Memo for Ma. R. M. Love from Lt. J. B. Haines, sub.: History and Present Status of the India-China Route, 10 June 1942.

16 Hists. Hq. and Hq. Sq., 3d, 6th and 13th Ferrying Sqs., 1st Ferrying Gp., for 1942; History and Sidelights of the Third Ferry Squadron, First A.C.F. Command, India, both of above in MATS Hist. File; Hist. Ferrying Command Operations, 7 Dec. 1941—39 June 1942, pp. 117–20.

17 R&R, AFAFC to AF Military Personnel, sub.: Transfer of 1st Ferrying Group, 2 Apr. 1942; Comment 2, George to AC/AS, O.C.&R., 19 June 1943, to R&R Maj. Gen. Barney M. Giles to ATC, sub.: Extract from a Directive from General Stratemeyer, 14 June 1943; ltr., Naiden to CG, Trans-India Ferry Command, sub.: Activation of Trans-India Ferry Command, 6 Apr. 1942; ltr., Naiden to Haynes, sub.: Constitution of the Assam-Burma-China Ferrying Command, 17 Apr. 1942; memo for Gen. Stilwell from Brereton, sub.: Operations of the India-China Ferrying Service, 20 May 1942; ltr., Brig. Gen. C. V. Haynes to Lt. Col. Samuel T. Moore, 20 Apr. 1942; Col. S. T. Moore, Tactical Employment in the U.S. Army of Transport Aircraft and Gliders in World War II, VIII, 2–4; Lewis H. Brereton, The Brereton Diaries (New York, 1946), pp. 110–11; See Army Air Forces in World War II, I, 498, 501–2.

18 ATC Historical Officer, Air Transportation to China under the 1-th Air Force, p. 19, and documents there cited; 3d Ferrying Sq., 1st Ferrying Gp., ICW, "History of Station No. 6, ICWATC, APO #629"; 13th Sq., 1st Ferrying Gp., ICW, "History of Thirteenth Squadron, Station #7," in MATS Hist. File; ltr., Lt. Col. Gordon A. Rust to CG, ATC, sub.: Occupations of Assam Bases Prior to 1 Dec. 1942,. 9 March 1945.

19 Sinclair Report; ltr., Col. Ray H. Clark, Tenth AF Technical Supervisor, to CG, AAF, sub.: Report of Technical Inspection, 13th Ferrying Squadron Detachment, 1st Ferrying Group, Bar-Hapjan, Upper Assam, India, 20 Oct. 1942.

20 Sinclair Report.

21 Ibid. See also Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 203–4; cf., Comment 2, 19 June 1943, to R&R, Maj. Gen. Barney M. Giles to ATC, sub.: Extract from a Directive from General Stratemeyer, 14 June 1943.

22 Capt. Larry Peyton, "Report and Survey of the India-China Air Transport Operations", 9 Oct. 1942.

23 Memo for CG, AAF, from Col. C. R. Smith, sub.: India-China Ferry Operations, 13 Oct. 1942.

24 Ibid.

25 Ibid.

26 Interview with Lt. Gen. H. L. George by Lt. Col. Oliver La Farge, June 1946; Comment 2, George to AC/AS, O.C.&R., 19 June 1943, to R&R Giles to ATC, sub.: Extract from a Directive from General Stratemeyer, 14 June 1943.

27 Msg., CM-OUT 07065, Marshall to CG, USAF China-India, 21 Oct. 1942.

28 ICW, General Orders No. 1, 1 Dec. 1942; Admin. Hist. of the Ferrying Command, pp. 16, 61.

29 ATC Weekly Report to CG, AAF, 13 Nov., 4 Dec., 24 Dec., 1942; ATC Résumé of Transportation Operations for the Weeks Ending 2 Jan., 9 Jan., 13 Mar. 1943; memo, Lt. Col. Grant Mason, Jr., to Actg. C/S, ATC, sub.:C-47 Cargo Study India-China Wg., 16 Dec. 1942; ltr., Alexander to CG, ATC, sub.: Comparison of the Performance of C-87's and DC-3's in Transporting Cargo from India to China for March 1943, 1 Apr. 1943.

30 H. H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York, 1949), pp. 310–12; Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 216.

31 Memo for Alexander, from Mason, sub.: Air Transportation Plan for the Supply of Increased Aerial Combat Operations in China, 5 Feb. 1943; ltr., Alexander to Arnold, sub.: India-China Air Freight Operations, 19 Apr. 1943; ltr., Arnold to CG, USAF, China-Burma-India, sub.: Air Transport Command Operations India to China, 7 Feb. 1943.

32 Rpt., Alexander to George, 13 Feb. 1943; Rpt., Alex[ander] to [Love], 13 Feb. [1943].

33 Rpt., Alexander to George, 4 Jan. 1943; Rpt., Alexander to George, 1943 Program for the India-China Wing, 24 Mar. 1943; Rpt., Alexander to Arnold, India-China Air Freight Operations, 19 Apr. 1943; Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 247–49.

34 Tables attached to ltr., Todd to Moran, sub.: Hump Operations of the Air Transport Command, 6 Feb. 1946; History of the India-China Wing, ATC, June–December 1943, p. 446.

35 Rpt., Alexander to George, 20 Jan. 1943, ATC Plans Div., Rpt. on Air Cargo Capacity from India into China during 1943, 8 Jan. 1943; Rpt., Arnold to Alexander, 4 Mar. 1943.

36 See extracts from Roosevelt Der Tatevasion, "Lifeline for China"; TWA Pilot's Reports (C. D. Brown and W. H. Butler), 27 May 1943 in MATS Historical File.

37 Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec., 1943, pp. 231–46; Hist. Hump Operations, 1 Jan.–31 Mar. 1945, pp. 10–11.

38 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 217; Rpt., Alexander to George, 22 Apr. 1943.

39 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 220–24; draft ltr., [CG AAF] to C/S, USA, India-China Air Transport Wing, 23 May 1943.

40 Copies of the documents on which this paragraph is based are found in a volume kept in the ATC Plans Division entitled "ICATC July and September Targets, 'Project 7,'" now in MAYS Hist. File. See esp. paper entitled "ICATC Program to Meet Transportation Objectives during July and September 1943," 23 May 1943; memo, Brig. Gen. J. E. Hull, Actg., AC/S for CG, AAF, 28 May 1943; memo, Col. Fred C. Milner, AAG, for CG, ATC, sub,: India-China Air Transport Wing, 1 June 1943.

41 See file cited in n. 40.

42 Project No. 7, Final Progress Rpt., 17 July 1943; ltr., George to CG, SAW, et al., sub.: Project No. 7, 21 July 1943; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, esp. pp. 52–53.

43 Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, esp. pp. 75–75; ltr., Alexander to CG, ATC, sub.: Informational Rpt. on the India-China Wing, 4 July 1943; ltr., Alexander to CG, ATC, sub.: Weekly Informational Report on the India-China Wing, 11 July 1943; ltr., Capt. Jesse M. Gregory to CG, ATC, sub.: Weekly Informational Report, 6 August 1943.

44 Reports cited in n. 43; also ltr., Gregory to CG, ATC, sub.: Weekly Informational Report, 6 Aug. 1943.

45 Reports cited in n. 43; tables atched. to ltr., Todd to Moran, sub.: Hump Operations of the Air Transport Command, 6 Feb. 1946; Rpt., American Airlines Inc., sub.: Project 7-A.

46 Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, pp. 76–89.

47 Ibid., pp. 81–89, 299–306, 313–16.

48 Ibid., pp. 334–338, 344; ltr., Brig. Gen. Earl S. Hoag. to George, 26 Nov. 1943; ltr., Smith to George, 5 Dec. 1943.

49 Msg., Aquila W2193, George to Smith, 16 Sept. 1943; ltr., Smith to George, 5 Dec., 12 Dec. 1943; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, pp. 159–64.

50 Msg., W1943, George to Smith, 3 Sept. 1943; ICATC 743, George to Smith, 7 Sept. 1943.

51 Msg., W1943, George to Smith, 3 Sept., 1943; 396 AQ, Smith to George, 2 Dec. 1943; ltr., Smith to George, 5 Dec. 143; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, pp. 265, 279; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 141–43; Hist. Ferrying Div., ATC, V 188–99.

52 Ltr., Arnold to CG, USAF, India-China-Burma, Pipeline Project, 27 Dec. 1943; ATC Plans Div., "Requirements for Led-Kunming Pipe Line Project," 19 Aug. 1943; ltr., Lt. Col. George Richardson, Actg. AC/S, Plans, ATC, to AC/AS, Plans, sub.: History of Project 8, 17 Jan. 1944; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, pp. 97–122, and documents there cited.

53 Admin. Hist. ATC. Mar. 1943—July 1944, pp. 68–69; ltr., Stratemeyer to CG, ICWATC, and CG, CBI-ASC, sub.: Organization, Control and Responsibilities of ICW in CBI Theater, 14 Sept. 1943; ltr., George to CG, I-B Sector, CBI Theater, sub.: India-China Wing, Air Transport Command, 16 Sept. 1943.

54 Ltr., Col. J. H. Douglas, DC/S, ATC, to Hoag, 26 Oct. 1943; ltr., Hoag to George, 26 Nov. 1943; ltr., Smith to George, 1 Dec., 5 Dec., 23 Dec. 1943; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, p. 36.

55 Msg., ATC 1088, George to Hoag, 26 Dec. 1943; msg., Aquila W3015, Stratemeyer to George, 27 Dec. 1943; msg., CM-OUT-10137-4142, Marshall to Stilwell, 28 Dec. 1943; draft memo, George for Arnold, sub.: Colonel Thomas O. Hardin, 17 Jan. 1944; WD Press Release, sub.: India-China Wing, ATC, Receives Presidential Citation, 29 Jan. 1944; WD Gen. Orders 10, 29 Jan. 1944.

56 Ltr., Chennault to Hoag, quoted in ltr., Brig. Gen. C. R. Smith to ATC Hq. Div., Sub.: Results of Increased "Hump" Tonnage, 18 Feb. 1944.

57 Ltr., Smith to George, 1 Dec., 5 Dec. 1943; Hist. India-China Wg., ATC, June–Dec. 1943, pp. 175–76.

58 Ltr., Hoag to George, 30 Dec. 1943; ltr., Smith to George, 1 Dec., 5 Dec., 1943; msg., 580, Hoag and George, 30 Dec. 1943, msg., CM-IN-454, Smith to George, 1 Jan. 1944.

59 Search and Rescue in the India-China Division, ATC, I, 12–30; ltr., Smith to George, 12 Dec. 1943.

60 Memo for CG, I-B Sector, CBI, from Hoag, 20 Dec. 1943; memo, Arnold for President, sub,: Lift of the Hump, 5 Jan. 1944; ltr., Smith to CG, AAF, sub.: Review of Operation—India-China, 11 Feb. 1944; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 27–31, and documents there cited.

61 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 29, 44.

62 Ibid., I, 30, 35–37, 57, 66–71, 84–86, 343–44.

63 Ibid., I, 3, 23–23, 208–13; ltr., Hardin to George, 9 May 1944; AAF Evaluation Bd., IB and China Theaters, Rpt. No. 9, 15 June 1945, p. 12; Moore, Tactical Employment … of Transport Aircraft … VIII, 28–31, 59–60.

64 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 213–16; ltr., Hardin to George, 6 Apr., 9 May 1944; series of message from CBI theater, Sept. 1943—Jan. 1944, breaking down Hump tonnage by consignee; table 13A "Breakdown of ICD-ATC Deliveries by Consignee, 1 January 1944," AAF Evaluation Bd., IB and China Theaters, Rpt. No 9, 15 June 1945.

65 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 216–18; memo for CG, I-B Sector, CBI, from Hoag, 29 Dec. 1943; ltr., Hardin to George, 6 Apr., 9 May 1944; Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 311–14.

66 AAF Evaluation Bd., IB & China Theaters, Rpt. No. 9, 15 June 1945, pp. 22–24.

67 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 233–47.

68 Ibid., 93–116; ATC Monthly Rpt. to CG, AAF, 15 Apr. 1944; AAF Evaluation Bd. IB & China Theaters, Rpt. No. 9, 15 June 1945, table 13A and p. 25.

69 Preliminary Report of Inspection Made by General Nowland, Colonel Harris and Colonel Ireland of … India-China … Wing, ATC, 25 March 1944.

70 Ltr., Bd. of Officers to CG, AAF, I-B Sector, CBI, sub.: Report of Findings of Board Directed to Investigate the Maximum Delivery of Air Cargo to China, 21 June 1944.

71 Msg., E 291–955, Douglas to George, 23 June 1944; memo for Arnold from George, sub.: Increased Air Transport Life into China, 3 July 1944.

72 Memo for Arnold from George sub.: Increased Air Transport Lift into China, 3 July 1944; History of the India-China Division, ATC, 1944, I, 66.

73 Hist. of India-China Div., ATC. 1944, I, 36–38, 64–87; Augmentation of Air Transport Operations between India and China, 26 Apr. 1944.

74 AAF Evaluation Bd. IB & China Theaters Rpt. No. 9, 15 June 19145, tables 26B, 26C, 35A.

75 Memo for Douglas from Lt. Col. J. Paul Barringer, sub.: Establishment of Hastings Air Base as Rishra, India, in 24 June 1944; memo for CG, ATC from Douglas, sub.: Hastings Air Base—India-China Division Headquarters, 4 July 194; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, 8–9.

76 Ltr., Smith to George, 12 Dec. 1943; msg. 595A, Baker to George, 22 Aug. 1944; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 3–4, 14–16; 1945, p. 542.

77 Ltr., White to CO's AAFBU, ICD, sub.: Production Line Maintenance, 11 Dec. 1944: Hist. India-China div., ATC, 1944, I, 43–54; 1945, p. 325.

78 Col. R. B. White, "Summary of the Development of Production-Line Maintenance in CID," 15 May 1945, in Hist. Hump Operations, 1 Jan.–31 Mar. 1945, pp. 325–36; ltr., Tunner to CG, ATC, sub.: Summary of ICD Activities (Jan.–July 1945) for ATC Annual Rpt. to CG, AAF, 1 Sept. 1945; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 324–29.

79 Hist. Hump Operations, 1 Jan.–31 Mar. 1945, p. 36; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, III, 764–71; 1945, pp. 114–19, 443–46, 537, 543.

80 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 443–44, 542; Hist. Hump Operations, 1 Jan.–31 Mar. 1945, pp. 9–15, 74–82.

81 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, p. 539; msg., ATC 0323, Smith to Tunner, 5 Mar. 1943; ltr., CG, ICD-ATC, to CO's al AAFBU, ICD-ATC, sub.: Flying Safety—Accident Prevention, 3 Jan. 1945, quoted in Hist. Hump Operations, 1 Jan.–31 Mar. 1945, p. 48. See also pp. 40–72 for a detailed analysis of the problem.

82 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 349–51.

83 Msg., CABX 5105 ACG, Stratemeyer for George, 19 April 1945.

84 Msg., ATC 1505, George to Stratemeyer, 12 Apr. 1945; msg., CAVX 5280 ACS, Stratemeyer to George, 24 April 1945; msg., ATC 1803, George to Stratemeyer, 25 Apr. 1945.

85 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 351–53, 539, 542.

86 Ltr., Douglas to Tunner, 24 Feb. 1945; ltr., Tunner to Douglas, 10 Mar. 1945; ltr., Tunner to Douglas, 10 Mar. 1945; ltr., Tunner to George, 2 May 1945; msg., CABX 5280 ACS, Stratemeyer for George, 24 Apr. 1945.

87 Ltr., Douglas to CG, ICD, sub.: Restudy of India-China Operation, 28 Apr. 1945, and App. A; ltr., Col. Samuel E. Gates, AC/S Plans, ATC, to CG, ICD, NAFD, NATD and CO, CRBD, sub.: India-China Division C-54 Augmentation Program, 7 June 1945; CRBD Study of the C-54 Pipeline Maintenance Project, 1945, pp. 4–35; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, p[p. 69–73.

88 CRBD, Study of the C-54 Pipeline Maintenance Problem, 1945, pp. 36–119.

89 Ltr., Tunner to George, 2 May 1945; ltr., George to Tunner, 21 May 1945; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 43–46.

90 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 44–52.

91 Ibid., pp. 52–56, 543.

92 Ibid., pp. 64–68, 321–13; memo, Douglas for George, 7 Feb. 1945, inclosing draft of ltr. to Mrs. Miller.

93 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 123–27, 254–55, 257; 1945, pp. 321, 542, 544; memo, Lt. Col. Laigh C. Parker for Smith, sub.: Transportation of Raw Materials on ATC Aircraft, 27 Aug. 1943; unsigned draft memo, for the record, P.&.T. Div., ATC, sub.: Highlights regarding Movements of Strategic Material during 1944, 13 Dec. 1944.

94 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 293–99.

95 Ibid., pp. 32–34, 268–69.

96 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 188–202; 1945, pp. 119–20; AAF Evaluation Bd., IB & China Theaters, Rpt. No. 9, 15 June 1945, pp. 14–17.

97 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 119–27.

98 Ibid., pp. 132–40.

99 Ltr., Tunner to CG, ATC, sub.: Summary of ICD Activities (Jan.–July 1945) for ATC Annual Report to CG, AAF, 1 Sept. 1945; Hist. India-China Div., 1945, pp. 189–96.

100 Ltr., Tunner to CG, ATC, 1 Sept. 1945, cited in n. 99; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 194–95.

101 Ltr., Tunner to CG, ATC, 1 Sept. 1945, cited in n. 99; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp., pp. 168–72.

102 Ltr., Tunner to CG, ATC, 1 Sept. 1945, cited in n. 99; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp., pp. 150–68.

103 Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1945, pp. 199–209.

104 Ibid., pp. 100–102.

105 Ibid., pp. 102–14.

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