Chapter X
Facing the Command Problem

The relationships of command within the Generalissimo's China Theater had not been thoroughly explored by the President and the War Department in concert since China Theater had been set up in January 1942, when the United States feared China might make a separate peace. What attention had been given to the command situation since then had been in the nature of specific responses to specific pressures from the Chinese or Chennault. The lack of harmony between the President and the War Department had not permitted continuing attention and close supervision. Therefore, no agency of the U.S. Government ever inquired as to why the Chinese had not been willing to set up an Allied staff for China Theater, as they had pledged themselves to do in 1942, or, of course, sought to hold the Chinese to their promise. The issue of whether the Chinese would let Stilwell command any Chinese troops in China had been dropped by the Chinese as soon as he arrived in Chungking. The Soong-Stimson accord of January 1942, and the Generalissimo's reply to the inquiry of John J. McCloy, then Assistant Secretary of War, had implied such an intent on the part of the Chinese, but the U.S. Government had never pursued the matter.1

The impending Japanese offensive, threatening the Chinese Government with defeat, revived the command question. The Generalissimo's China Theater was an Allied theater, for two American air forces operated in it. Had all gone well in China Theater, probably the command situation would have stayed as it had for two years, with the question of Stilwell's exact powers and duties in that theater undefined.

If the Generalissimo could hold east China, there would be no one to question his conduct of affairs. In 1937-38, when China's armies lost the Yangtze valley, the sea ports, and the key centers of north China, the loss could be ascribed to various causes beyond Chinese control, and since no American forces were involved, the U.S. Government could not concern itself with the quality of Chinese leadership. The events of 1944 followed on two years in which one group of American officers had predicted them, and threatened to affect the American effort in the Pacific. Moreover, they contrasted with the


unbroken chain of successes in north Burma, where Chinese troops under Stilwell's command had defeated some of the best units in the Japanese service.

Stilwell's Mission Laid Aside

At the Cairo Conference, Stilwell had sought for a directive from the President on China policy, but had received none. After Cairo, the President in effect took the conduct of American military relations with China in his own hands, but on an improvised, ad hoc basis with no attempt to keep Stilwell informed of the President's goals. Then came the 2 May 1944 JCS directive, with its order that Stilwell stockpile supplies in China to support Pacific operations, at a time when Hump tonnage could not even support existing U.S. activities in China.2 From SEAC, the AXIOM Mission had visited Washington to urge Mountbatten's views. Moreover, on 1 May 1944, as noted above in Chapter VI, Stilwell had told his deputy theater commander, General Sultan, that he could not carry out his mission of opening a land line of communications to China unless CBI Theater was reinforced by U.S. combat troops.

As he was accustomed to do, Stilwell on 24 May turned to Marshall for guidance, reviewing his missions as he saw them and asking Marshall to correct him where he was wrong. Stilwell saw his duties with the British as being to co-operate generally in furthering the war against Japan. As for the Chinese, Stilwell said he understood:

My mission vis a vis the Chinese is to increase the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. The basic plan is to equip and train a first group of thirty divisions, followed by a second group of thirty. To get this mission accomplished I have never had any means of exerting pressure. I am continuing to work on the problem as I have from the beginning,--by personal acquaintance and influence, by argument and demonstration. This is a slow process, so slow as to require evaluation from the point of view of time available, and possible results to be obtained.

Commenting on his relations with the British, Stilwell revealed how the irritations and fatigues of the campaign in north Burma, then at its height, were pressing on him, for he judged the British with extreme harshness. He doubted that the help they were giving in the war against Japan was worth the American logistical support currently being extended to SEAC. He rated the RAF in India as far from impressive, and the Indian Army as being even less so. Unless there was a wholesale shake-up in the British command in India, Stilwell saw no chance of an effective attack on Burma from India in the fall of 1944. In his opinion, "The British simply do not want to fight in Burma or reopen communications with China."

Turning to affairs in China, Stilwell revealed by his comments that he wanted the President to apply the quid pro quo approach not only to the question


of whether the Chinese should join in operations in Burma, as he had, but also to the problems of making the Chinese Army a more effective fighting force. Stilwell had well-nigh ended his personal share in this activity, but it was, as this radio showed, still close to his heart:

CKS will squeeze out of us everything he can get to make us pay for the privilege of getting at Japan through China. He will do nothing to help unless forced into it. No matter how much we may blame any of the Chinese government agencies for obstruction, the ultimate responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the G-Mo. If he is what he claims to be, he must accept the responsibility. In spite of delays, evasions, broken promises and double crossing, we have accomplished something. By fall we can have five fairly dependable divisions, with corps troops, in the CAI [Chinese Army in India]. We have partially trained and equipped twenty-six divisions in Yunnan. Some of these are now getting tested in combat, and we shall soon know how much good we have done them. We have conducted schools at Ramgarh, Kunming, and Kweilin that have made a great impression on a large number of Chinese officers of all grades. We have U.S. instructors in all divisions of the Y-Force, and we are ready to start a similar system in the second group of thirty divisions. This foundation could produce a big improvement in China's ground forces, if we could deliver the necessary equipment and get the sincere cooperation of the G-Mo. Up to date we have not had it, nor will we get it except through pressure.

So with the Chinese the choice seems to be to get realistic and insist on a quid pro quo, or else restrict our effort in China to maintaining what American aviation we can. The latter course allows CKS to welsh on his agreements. It also lays the ultimate burden of fighting the Jap Army on the U.S.A. I contend that ultimately the Jap Army must be fought on the mainland of Asia. If you do not believe this, and think that Japan can be defeated by other means, then the proper course may well be to cut our effort here to the A.T.C. and the maintenance of whatever air force you consider suitable in China. If on the other hand you think it worth while for me to continue on my original mission of increasing the combat effectiveness of the Chinese Army, that is still feasible, but it can be accomplished only if and when we get on a realistic basis with the G-Mo, or whatever passes for authority in China.

As to present and future possibilities, as I see them, the maximum that I can reasonably hope to accomplish with the present British and Chinese high command working under their present policies, and with the American resources now available to me, is to hold the Myitkyina area as an air base, with supply by road, air, and pipe-line. To insure the reopening of communications with China, I still need an American corps and more engineers.

I request your decision. Is my mission changed, or shall I go ahead as before?3

Marshall's reply on 27 May made it clear that Stilwell was primarily a U.S. theater commander, made his mission to China for the present definitely subordinate to supporting U.S. operations in the Pacific, and stated that the United States wished to avoid a major effort in Asia. Marshall did not mention the crisis in China, nor the post of chief of staff to the Generalissimo in the latter's role of Supreme Commander, China Theater.

Your mission with respect to the British as stated in your radio DTG 240240Z May twenty-fourth is correct. Your mission with respect to the Chinese as stated by you is your primary mission and has the President's approval. Decisions taken at QUADRANT and SEXTANT Conferences especially those contained in CCS 319/5, CCS 417, and CCS 397, set up


requirements for your accomplishment which for the time being interfere with your primary mission.4 Decision has been made for example that operations in China and Southeast Asia should be conducted in support of the main operation in the Central and Southwest Pacific.

Japan should be defeated without undertaking a major campaign against her on the mainland on Asia if her defeat can be accomplished in this manner. Subsequent operations against the Japanese ground army in Asia should then be in the nature of a mopping up operation.

Timely support for Pacific operations requires that priority be given during the next several months to a buildup of our air effort in China.

The heavy requirements for our operations against Germany and for our main effort in the Pacific, preclude our making available to you the American corps you request to assist you in the reopening of ground communications with China. We are forced therefore to give first priority to increasing the Hump lift.

Accordingly the U.S. Chiefs of Staff are about to propose to the British Chiefs of Staff that Mountbatten's directive be changed. . . .

Our view is that your paramount mission in the China Theater for the immediate future is to conduct such military operations as will most effectively support the main effort directed against the enemy by forces in the Pacific. In order to facilitate timely accomplishment of this mission, for the present you should devote your principal effort to support of the Hump lift and its security, and the increase in its capacity with the view to development of maximum effectiveness of the Fourteenth Air Force consistent with minimum requirements for support of all other activities in China. In pressing the advantages against the enemy you should be prepared to exploit the development of overland communications to China.5

Stilwell Called to China

As May melted into the hot, damp June of east China summer, Japanese actions made it unmistakably clear that ICHIGO was not another foray, but a major effort. Chennault and the Generalissimo grew steadily more alarmed. But even as Stilwell moved to place what resources he had in China behind the Fourteenth Air Force, he sought to end the long-standing differences between himself and Chennault by asking Marshall to relieve the Fourteenth Air Force commander. Concluding that Chennault's action in submitting his "air estimate" to the Generalissimo after Stilwell had specifically told him not to was insubordination calculated to embarrass Stilwell in his relations with the Generalissimo, he asked Marshall to relieve the air commander of all responsibility for the Fourteenth Air Force's operations and relegate him to training and leading the Chinese Air Force.6

General Marshall was traveling when Stilwell's communications arrived, and Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, Deputy Chief of Staff, answered for him.


Because of the current situation in China and because of the political aspects of the case, the War Department thought it best not to take action. McNarney pointed out that if Chennault was removed and central China then lost to the Japanese, responsibility for that loss would of course be placed on Stilwell. As McNarney wrote this, the British and American forces under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower were battling to make good their foothold in Normandy after successfully crossing the Channel. Conceding the force of McNarney's advice, Stilwell asked him to return the papers and forget the incident, for "with the performance going on in the main tent you can't be bothered with side shows."7

Just after Stilwell asked Marshall to relieve Chennault, the latter in a most urgent radio followed by a clarifying letter warned that the Japanese were again on the move, this time south from Hankow. This offensive was the second or TOGO phase of Operation ICHIGO. Describing the situation as one of the "utmost gravity" Chennault predicted the Japanese would take their objectives in east China unless the Chinese were powerfully assisted. He believed that given a minimum of 10,000 tons a month for operations in north China, east China, and from Kunming, the Fourteenth Air Force could stop the Japanese. Chennault asked again that he be allowed to draw on the MATTERHORN stocks at Cheng-tu, and that he have almost all the ATC tonnage entering China.8 With Chennault's radio Stilwell received word that the Generalissimo wanted him to come to Chungking as soon as possible.9 Stilwell felt the critical situation around Mogaung and Myitkyina, where the fighting was growing steadily heavier, would not permit him to leave for a week or ten days.10

Chennault's warnings were immediately reinforced by others from the Chinese and from Stilwell's own staff which confirmed the impressions given by Chennault. On 31 May, as it began to seem Myitkyina would not soon fall, Ho Ying-chin, the Minister of War and Chief of Staff of the Chinese Army, called in General Ferris and Maj. Gen. Adrian Carton de Wiart (SEAC's liaison with the Chinese). General Ho believed that a recently concluded Russo- Japanese fishing pact had secret annexes, permitting the Japanese to withdraw troops from Manchuria. Ho feared that the Russians, the Chinese Communists, and the Japanese were working together. He warned that the Japanese manpower situation might permit the raising of thirty-five new divisions. General Ho believed the Japanese held the great arc of their Pacific perimeter from Burma through the Bonin Islands with forty-three divisions, and that they planned to fight the decisive naval battle for mastery of the Pacific somewhere along the line Kuril Islands-Hokkaido-Bonin Islands-Formosa.


General Ho entertained the liveliest fears in regard to China, for he told Ferris and Carton de Wiart that the Japanese were trying to drive China out of the war. To support this view Ho offered detailed information on Japanese troop movements and construction projects in China. To meet the emergency, Ho asked that the United States urge the Russians to contain the Japanese in Manchuria, and that Chennault be given the means to attack the Japanese supply centers in Hankow and the enemy's Yangtze shipping. Ferris relayed the warning to Stilwell with the comment that the Chinese were definitely concerned, that though they might have somewhat overestimated Japanese strengths it was reasonable to assume that Chinese intelligence sources were good.11

That same day of 31 May, Gen. Shang Chen, head of the Chinese Military Mission in Washington, delivered a similar warning to the President on behalf of the Generalissimo. The Generalissimo believed that the Japanese were moving six divisions from Manchuria to China, and that they aimed to seize the entire Hankow-Canton rail line and the airfields at Kweilin and Heng-yang. To meet this threat the Generalissimo asked that:

  1. The 14th U.S. Army Air Force should be strengthened. With the exception of whatever small amount that is absolutely necessary, the air tonnage between India and Kunming should all be allocated for the shipment of gasoline and spare parts for the said Air Force. It is therefore urgently requested that the total tonnage for shipment of supplies to the 14th U.S. Army Air Force be increased to at least ten thousand (10,000) tons.

  2. . . . the entire stock of gasoline, spare parts and aircrafts [sic] stored in Chengtu [for the B-29's] be immediately turned over to the 14th U.S. Army Air Force to be concentrated for operation along the Peiping-Hankow Railway.

  3. It is also requested that the Chinese Air Force be strengthened, if possible.

  4. The ground troops should also be strengthened. Request is made to have eight thousand (8,000) launcher rockets, each with one hundred (100) ammunition, delivered as soon as possible in order that the fire power of the Chinese troops in the various war areas may be effectively increased.12

The Generalissimo also called in Chennault and Stilwell for conferences. In Chennault's 29 May warning to Stilwell, he mentioned that he had received such an order. Probably as a result of this meeting, Chennault radioed Stilwell that his June Hump allocation of 6,700 tons was "hopelessly inadequate," that 10,000 tons delivered was the minimum.13 A day or so later Stilwell received direct word from the Generalissimo that his presence in Chungking was urgently desired.14


Probably the same day that he received the Generalissimo's request, Stilwell had word from Ferris that the Japanese "move south from Hankow has actually started."15 It was time for Stilwell to visit China.

Chennault Given 10,000 Tons

On the eve of his departure from his Burma headquarters, Stilwell received from Dorn a pessimistic account of how the Fourteenth Air Force and the Chinese were reacting to the Japanese drive. Dorn reported that officers of the Fourteenth Air Force were complaining to newspapermen of lack of support from theater headquarters, and that Chennault was charging that supplies had been diverted from him to support other U.S. activities. In that connection, Dorn asked Stilwell to recall that in April 1944 two thirds of the Y-Force Hump tonnage had gone to Chennault and in May more than half. Dorn charged that of 30,000,000 rounds of rifle ammunition allotted to the War Ministry in November and December 1943, the Chinese had taken delivery of but 7,000,000 rounds and now stated they did not know where the 7,000,000 rounds were. Radio sets and antitank rifles turned over to the Chinese at the end of 1943 were still in Chungking the last Dorn knew of them. Dorn reported that only a few days before 4 June 1944 the Chinese had in Kunming equipment and ammunition for five battalions of field artillery, plus considerable stocks of antitank ammunition. The only recent arms shipment to east China had been equipment for a battalion of field artillery, which U.S. Army authorities had sent to the Kweilin training center.16 This report, with others which came in from American liaison personnel as the fighting progressed in east China, may have reinforced Stilwell's conviction that merely giving arms and ammunition to Chinese authorities was not the solution to China's military problems.

In writing to Mrs. Stilwell on 2 June, the general offered a brief analysis, in language cryptic but still capable of translation in the light of Stilwell's relations with the Generalissimo and the President in 1942 and 1943. Stilwell wrote that the Generalissimo had been offered "salvation," that is, a modernized and re-equipped Chinese Army, but had rejected it. Now, with the Japanese driving through east China, it was "too late" to create the powerful ground force which, in Stilwell's repeatedly expressed opinion, was the only thing that could save China. "This [the crisis in China] is just what I told them [the Generalissimo and the President] a year ago," he added, "but they knew better."17

On 5 June 1944 Stilwell conferred with the Generalissimo. The Chinese leader began by questioning Stilwell as to the progress of the Chinese Army in India. He seemed dissatisfied with the performance of the Chindits but appeared to accept Stilwell's reassurances. Then the Generalissimo turned to China,


saying matters there were so serious that the entire air effort should be used to stop the Japanese--"the situation was one to be solved by air attack." Stilwell agreed with the Generalissimo that affairs were indeed serious but added that all ground and air resources in China Theater should be used. The Generalissimo, consistent with his 31 May request to the President, then asked Stilwell to give Chennault the B-29 supplies and to suspend transport of arms and ammunition over the Hump.

Stilwell replied that he was diverting 1,500 tons a month from the B-29 share of Hump tonnage, that he had asked JCS permission to use B-24's as flying fuel tankers. With these measures, the Fourteenth Air Force would get the 10,000 tons a month that Chennault had said would be enough. This did not satisfy the Generalissimo, who asked that the B-29 stocks at Cheng-tu be turned over to Chennault. Stilwell demurred, saying that he thought instead of suspending all Hump tonnage to Z-Force, to the unengaged portion of Y-Force, and to the U.S. Navy personnel in China. In the light of this he suggested that China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) aircraft, which were under contract to the Chinese Government, should devote their entire capacity to Chennault's supplies. The Generalissimo objected, for he felt that the paper money CNAC craft flew in was essential to the war. Stilwell replied that Chiang could hardly ask for the B-29 tonnage if the Chinese did not use all their resources. Stilwell was applying the bargaining technique that he always sought to use with the Chinese. The Generalissimo then agreed to consider use of the CNAC transports and Stilwell promised to ask for permission to use the B-29 stocks if the situation grew worse.18

True to his word, Stilwell on 6 June shifted Hump allocations all across the board, cutting all other activities to raise the Fourteenth Air Force's allocation to 8,425 tons. With 1,500 tons from the B-29 allocation Chennault would have his 10,000 tons.19 To Marshall, Stilwell radioed that the Generalissimo and he had talked things over, listed the diversions he was making for Chennault, and as an "ace in the hole" requested that he be granted permission to use the B-29 stocks though he would not touch them save as a last resort.20 Then at Kunming Stilwell met with Chennault and the latter's key staff officers.

Stilwell rather chilled his audience by saying he could spare only thirty minutes for their problems, but as the meeting went on he appeared receptive to Chennault's plan to use the B-29's against Hankow, and then stated that he was, as Chennault's minutes put it, "willing and anxious to do everything possible to assist." Stilwell described what he was doing to divert Hump tonnage to Chennault's support. But Stilwell was not optimistic over the east


China situation for he thought there was "nothing to stop" the Japanese. "General Chennault countered with the statement that he felt confident that with the help of the VLR [B-29's against Hankow] he could stop the drive, but emphasized the necessity for immediate action." Chennault impressed Stilwell with the need to use the B-29's at once, and Stilwell implied that it would be done. When the meeting ended, Chennault presented Stilwell with his plan for current operations, and Stilwell took it with him.21

The logistical aspects of Chennault's plan were the important ones from the point of view of Headquarters, CBI Theater, for the airman was a free agent in his tactics. The plan Chennault now gave Stilwell asked for 4,823 tons for north China--of which the Chinese-American Composite Wing was to get 3,097 tons--4,283 tons for east China, and 2,546 tons for the Kunming area.22

The answer the War Department almost immediately returned to Stilwell's request for permission to use the B-29 stocks in an emergency was a refusal in terms that placed Stilwell effectively between the upper and nether millstones of pressure from Chennault and the Generalissimo to use the B-29 stocks in the current critical situation and the determination of General Arnold and the Army Air Forces to use the B-29's only against Japanese industry.

With reference to your 18238 of 6 June regarding VLR stocks in China these are not to be released to the Fourteenth Air Force without express approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is our view that the early bombing of Japan will have a far more beneficial effect on the situation in China than the long delay in such an operation which would be caused by the transfer of these stocks to Chennault. Furthermore, we have positive evidence in Italy of the limiting [sic] delaying effect of a purely air resistance where the odds were nearly 7,000 planes on our side to 200 on the German. Furthermore, the Twentieth Bomber Group represents a powerful agency which must not be localized under any circumstances any more than we would so localize the Pacific Fleet. Please keep this in mind.23

Surely here was faith in strategic bombardment at its highest pitch, while the comment on the probable worth of Chennault's efforts suggests that Stilwell had gone to the limit of his discretionary authority in giving Chennault such priority on Hump tonnage. In reply, Stilwell said: "Instructions understood, and exactly what I had hoped for. As you know, I have few illusions about power of air against ground troops. Pressure from G-MO forced the communication."24

At the time Stilwell replied to Marshall, the B-29's had just completed their shakedown attack on railway workshops in Bangkok, Thailand. On 15 June came the long-awaited attack on the Japanese homeland for which the President entertained such high hopes. About 221 tons of bombs were dropped on the Imperial Iron and Steel Works' Yawata plant, on Kyushu Island. Before the


End of month Total Fighter Medium

March 162 107 12 34 9
April 158 110 12 30 6
May 174 118 16 33 7
June 176 119 16 35 6
July 182 123 11 35 13
August 180 117 14 34 15
September 193 127 15 36 15
October 247 183 15 35 14
November 303 209 29 43 22
December 285 188 23 51 23
January 349 212 63 46 28
February 351 209 65 49 28
March 421 257 73 55 36
April 447 287 74 47 39
May 547 377 82 36 52
June 547 339 79 39 90
July 614 388 86 45 95
August 541 323 81 48 89
September 690 433 102 43 112
October 777 524 109 43 101
November 793 531 106 49 107
December 902 531 104 73 194
a. Includes Photo, Liaison, Transport, Utility Cargo, and Trainer Planes.
Source: Black Book, prepared for Lt. Gen. A. C. Wedemeyer, 1945, OCMH.

end of October 1944 attacks followed at intervals on the Showa Steel Works at An-shan, Manchuria, again on Yawata, on the Plajoe Refinery at Palembang, Sumatra, on the Okayama aircraft assembly plant, Takao harbor, and Heito airfield on Formosa, and on the Omura aircraft factory on Kyushu. In 1944 the China-based B-29's dropped a total of 3,623 tons, with no discernible effect on the east China crisis. Of the attack on Japanese steel production, which it was hoped the B-29's would cut in half, the Strategic Bombing Survey concluded: "The reduction in ingot steel supply, excluding electric steel, was not over 2 per cent and in finished steel less than 1 per cent."25


The Japanese Drive Rolls On in East China

The Japanese had been very pleased with the success of their Honan operations, which had cost them but 869 dead and 2,280 wounded.26 Promoted to field marshal on 2 June, Hata now aimed to take the two communication centers of Changsha and Heng-yang. (See Map 18.) The initial attack would be launched by the 40th, 116th, 68th, 3d, and 13th Divisions, which were stretched along the south bank of the Yangtze in that order from west to east. The 58th, 34th, and 27th Divisions would follow as a second echelon.

The Chinese troops facing them were those of the IX War Area, mostly southern Chinese divisions under a Cantonese, Gen. Hsueh Yueh. After the war, the Japanese estimated Hsueh's strength at about forty divisions. In addition to Chennault's airmen, there were a few other American resources capable of being committed to the campaign, namely, the personnel and the matériel accumulated at Kweilin for the Infantry Training Center. As the Japanese menace grew, the time for training seemed to Stilwell's headquarters to have passed, while the need for accurate and timely information about the Chinese and technical aid to them was steadily more acute. In the first weeks of June, CBI Theater headquarters radioed that Chinese permission in principle had been received to send observer teams to the IX War Area. A party under Col. Woods King was promptly sent to join Hsueh Yueh and his XXVII and XXX Group Armies. When the teams joined their respective Chinese units they found that General Hsueh had established his headquarters at Lei-yang, 100 miles south of Changsha, and they understood that Hsueh would be directly responsible for operations east of the Hsiang River. At Pao-ching (Shao-yang), 120 miles southwest of Changsha, Hsueh's deputy, Maj. Gen. Liu Chi-ming, was reported to have control of operations against the Japanese west of the river.27

The American observer group with Hsueh Yueh, which had been most coolly received, radioed to General Lindsey that the Chinese badly needed arms and ammunition. A special train was then dispatched on 13 June from Kweilin to Heng-yang, with 9 37-mm. antitank guns and 3,000 rounds, 200 Boys antitank rifles and 6,080 rounds, 20 Chinese Maxim machine guns with 218,600 rounds, 26 Bren guns and 13,728 rounds, and 2 rocket launchers with 20 rounds. Their arrival cheered General Hsueh, and his attitude was more cordial. Other observer and artillery teams went out, until by mid-July there were sixteen with Chinese armies south of the Yangtze River.

U.S. Army liaison teams were sent to the headquarters of the IX and IV War Areas, the XXIV and XXVII Group Armies, and the 31st, 37th, 46th, 62d, 64th, 79th, and 100th Armies. The three battalions of the Chinese 29th Field Artillery Regiment were equipped with U.S. 75-mm. pack howitzers and aided


by American liaison teams. These three battalions were then attached to the 31st, 46th, and 64th Armies. Another battalion of Chinese artillery, supporting the 10th Army at Heng-yang, also had U.S. pack howitzers and training.

The action of CBI Theater in giving arms and ammunition to General Hsueh was strongly protested by the Generalissimo's representatives in Kweilin. They said shipments to Hsueh Yueh might fall into the hands of bandits who would use them against the central government. Z-Force Operations Staff headquarters interpreted these protests and warnings as hints that the Generalissimo feared Hsueh Yueh might revolt.28

To meet the problem of giving effective tactical air support despite the handicaps of language problems and poor communications, Chennault had requested and obtained permission on 26 April to expand his air-ground liaison net with General Hsueh's troops. When the Japanese drove for Changsha the 5329th Air Ground Force Resources Technical Staff (Provisional) (AGFRTS) was in the field with thirty-five officers and sixty-five enlisted men.29

The 3d and 13th Divisions on the eastern side of the Hsiang River began moving south 27 May, on a course that would permit them to cut off Changsha from a Chinese force at Liu-yang. The next day the 40th, 116th, and 68th Divisions moved south, directly on Changsha. In the last Japanese drive on Changsha, in December 1941-January 1942, the Japanese motive had been to distract the Chinese from operations to relieve Hong Kong. The 1941 drive on Changsha had been stoutly resisted by the Chinese, and when the Japanese, their mission accomplished, began to pull back north, the Chinese and their sympathizers concluded that a great victory for China had been won. Earlier Japanese operations against Changsha had been to disperse threatening Chinese concentrations, and Japanese withdrawals had been followed by claims of Chinese victories. So, to the Chinese and their friends, Changsha was a name with which to conjure. In 1944 the Japanese were determined to hold what they might win.

In the first days of the drive, the Japanese met resistance only in the Ta-mo Shan hills, where the 99th Army held stubbornly on the west flank of the Japanese advance. The Japanese finally contained it and resumed their southward drive. By 10 June, the 58th, 116th, 68th, 3d, and 13th Divisions were lined up along the Liu-yang Ho, the last geographic barrier north of Changsha. Next day they attacked. The 58th and 116th Divisions found little resistance in front of them. The 3d and 13th Divisions, driving the Chinese from steep hillside positions to take Liu-yang on 14 June, cut off Changsha from the east.

The key Chinese strongpoint at Changsha was a mountain just north and


EVACUATION OF KWEILIN. Refugees at the Kweilin railroad station wait for transportation.

west called Yueh-lu Shan on which General Hsueh, IX War Area commander, had massed his artillery. The 34th Division began attacking it on 16 June while the 58th Division, which had so easily crossed the Liu-yang Ho, swung west to attack Changsha itself that same day. Changsha's garrison, the 4th Army, abandoned the town over the 16th and 17th and marched toward Pao-ching to the southwest. Changsha was occupied by the Japanese on 18 June.30

On 23 June an American liaison team attached to Hsueh's deputy met the 4th Army near Pao-ching. Some of the Chinese officers and men stated they had been attacked by gas sprayed from Japanese aircraft, whose effects, as described by them, seemed like tear gas, though none of the wounded showed signs of it. The 4th Army's commander, a General Chin, was voluble in saying that gas bombs and gas shells had forced them to yield Changsha. On the night of 23 June an American air force sergeant, who had been an air-ground liaison radio operator at Changsha, walked into Pao-ching. He had awakened a few days before to find the Chinese had quietly walked out of Changsha, and hastily followed. Present in the town throughout the engagement, he had heard nothing of gas attacks. The sergeant had observed some Japanese artillery fire


around Changsha; there had been quite a few Japanese air attacks, but he knew nothing of any heavy fighting. Inspecting the 4th Army troops, the American liaison team thought they were fresh, in good condition, and found nothing to suggest that they had just emerged from a bitter defeat. The Japanese postwar account makes no mention of any heavy fighting.31

With Changsha in Japanese hands, Stilwell's staff feared the Japanese might enter Kweilin in another seven days, and so began moving British and American nationals from the Kweilin area. Hospital patients, missionaries, Red Cross workers, and teachers began moving out by air around 21 June. Surplus personnel of the Infantry Training Center and Z-FOS began leaving by truck on 27 June. Obviously, CBI Theater headquarters thought the Japanese would shortly take the key points in east China.32

Vice-President Wallace Suggests Stilwell's Recall

On 19 May, General Ferris had told Stilwell and General Sultan, Stilwell's deputy theater commander in India, that he had learned from the U.S. Embassy of a forthcoming visit of the Vice-President of the United States, Henry A. Wallace, and that Wallace wanted to see something of the U.S. Army.33

Mr. Wallace arrived at Chungking on 20 June and was met by a suitable delegation, including Generals Ferris and Chennault. On leaving for his Kunming headquarters, Chennault left behind him 1st Lt. Joseph W. Alsop to be "air aide" to the Vice-President. Before the war, Lieutenant Alsop had been a nationally syndicated columnist and had known Mr. Wallace both socially and professionally. Stilwell's staff feared that Chennault had stolen a march on the theater commander.34

A report from General Ferris, summarizing "the views of the American Government to be communicated to President Chiang Kai-shek," gave an idea of what the State Department thought the Vice-President should discuss with the Generalissimo, and this seems to have been the only attempt by an agency of the U.S. Government to effect any co-ordination between the Vice-President and the CBI Theater commander. The suggestions for Wallace's guidance referred several times to the desirability of the Nationalist and Communist forces fighting the Japanese rather than one another, and hinted at the lifting of the blockade that the Generalissimo maintained against the Communists. The need for better Sino-Soviet understanding was stressed. The message struck


VICE-PRESIDENT WALLACE is greeted on his arrival at Chungking by a delegation of military and civilian dignitaries.

a chilling note, given emphasis by the current background of crisis in east China, that "China must depend upon herself at the moment rather than to look for major assistance from the outside," which latter would not be forthcoming until after the defeat of Germany.35

Over the next few days, the Generalissimo in Chungking and Chennault in Kunming absorbed Wallace's time and energies, so that Stilwell's staff found little opportunity to present the theater commander's point of view, nor did Wallace feel that he could spare the time to visit General Stilwell in Burma. Reporting on his efforts to place Stilwell's case before the Vice-President, Stilwell's political adviser, John P. Davies, wrote to Stilwell:

Now for the Jones-Davies conducted tours angle. It was a flop because (1) we arrived late (2) we had no letter of introduction to Mr. W. saying we were Theater Commander's Reception and Itinerary Committee until after Alsop had presented a letter from himself to the VP stating that Chennault had appointed him Air Aide to the VP (3) in Kunming Wallace was for three days Chennault's guest with the result that Jones and I were given the best job of run-around I have ever been up against. It was done by two of Claire's boys. I blew up with Chennault about it, uttering a few homely truths about the damage done by


the Chennault-Stilwell feud. To his juniors I read the same line and added that I had as little use for Chennault disciples who needled Chennault on Stilwell in the belief that they thereby won Claire's gratitude as I had for Stilwell enthusiasts who did the same thing to the Theater Commander. It seemed to jar them somewhat so that on the night of June 26 when Wallace, Chennault, Glenn, and the two stooges discussed with me the possibility of the VP visiting you in the Valley, Chennault and Co. were very reasonable and decent, with the exception of [individual's name deleted] who is, of course, congenitally conspiratorial. Decision by VP was against because of weather uncertainty and tight future schedule.36

In the conversations between Wallace and the Generalissimo, General Ferris and John S. Service of the State Department, who was with the Chungking headquarters as a political adviser to General Ferris, were allowed to present themselves on 23 June to support the project of sending an observer group to the Chinese Communists to collect Japanese order-of-battle and target information and to aid search and rescue of Air Forces personnel shot down over north China. After stating the position of CBI Theater headquarters on this matter they withdrew. Headquarters, CBI Theater, was not invited to join in Wallace's discussions of the Communist problem, and Wallace did not try to obtain General Stilwell's views on anything.37

Wallace's advocacy of the observer group project was successful. The Generalissimo agreed that a small party could go, that they could communicate directly with theater headquarters, and that they would be free of Nationalist control.38 The directive from theater headquarters ordered the commanding officer, Col. David D. Barrett, to devote himself to ". . . intelligence concerning both our allies and the enemy, and affording assistance to downed pilots. . . . (Under no circumstances will you engage in discussions or make commitments of any kind pertaining to political, economic, sociological, or military [sic]. All matters of policy and commitments remain responsibility of theater commander.)" The project received the code name DIXIE Mission. Personnel included sixteen officers and enlisted men, plus two U.S. Foreign Service officers, John S. Service and Raymond P. Ludden, who had been assigned to theater headquarters as political advisers.39

After weighing the Generalissimo's and Lieutenant Alsop's comments on General Stilwell, Wallace decided to recommend that Stilwell be recalled. Many years later, Wallace testified that his first impulse had been to suggest Stilwell's replacement by Chennault, but that Lieutenant Alsop had persuaded him that the War Department would not approve, and that Chennault could not leave the campaign he was then directing. On the ground that the Generalissimo had stated that Stilwell could not grasp what the Chinese statesman


called "political considerations," Wallace told President Roosevelt that he considered Stilwell unsuited to his post.

Wallace recommended that another general officer of the highest merit be appointed who could win the Generalissimo's confidence, command all U.S. forces in China Theater, and co-ordinate the Sino-American military effort in China. He added that the Generalissimo had been favorably impressed by General Wedemeyer, who had recently visited Chungking on behalf of SEAC. As an alternative, Wallace suggested the appointment to China of a presidential representative with considerable independent powers, with the right to approach the President directly, and with an official position as Stilwell's deputy.

Wallace believed that the President should take determined steps to stop the steady deterioration of the east China situation or be prepared to accept the loss of China as a base from which to support U.S. operations in the Pacific. He stated that a Sino-American offensive, in its first phase primarily a guerrilla attack, should be launched in east China to avert the loss of Chennault's fields. Wallace insisted that the military situation in China was not hopeless and that the present crisis might even improve American prestige in the Far East since the Generalissimo seemed very eager for military aid and guidance, and, if wisely approached, would probably inaugurate reforms in China's internal political structure.40

Far to the south and west of China, the steady progress of Stilwell's operations in Burma was affecting the command structure within SEAC. Ever since March 1944 Mountbatten had been anxious to see Stilwell transferred from SEAC to China Theater.41 Observing Mountbatten's problems with his subordinates, Wedemeyer told Marshall that SEAC's commanders in chief resisted Mountbatten as Supreme Commander. It was notable, added Wedemeyer, that Stilwell, though often "cantankerous," co-operated promptly as soon as he had a clear-cut directive from Mountbatten.42 Moreover, when Stilwell had solved the command problem presented by his having to act as a corps commander in north Burma under operational control of General Slim, whom he outranked, Stilwell had stipulated that this arrangement would endure only until his Chinese troops reached Kamaing. (See Chart 1.) At that point he would insist on being released from Slim's control, to pass directly under Mountbatten, for he then could reasonably anticipate a speedy meeting with Chinese troops from China and the reassembling of the Chinese Army in India and the Y-Force into an elite force, the Thirty Divisions, under the Generalissimo, for service in China. On 20 May Stilwell had given notice to SEAC that it would soon be time for him to leave Slim's control. Mountbatten therefore thought


it opportune to ask the British Chiefs of Staff to take up with the Joint Chiefs of Staff the appointment of an officer to fill Stilwell's place in SEAC.43

Currently, Mountbatten was moving toward a complete rearrangement of the higher officers in SEAC. From the time of his arrival in the Far East, he had had trouble with his three commanders in chief. When the Imphal crisis arose, Mountbatten was dissatisfied with Gen. Sir George Giffard's conduct of operations, and when later the Supreme Allied Commander found Giffard taking what Mountbatten considered a highly negative approach toward an aggressive conduct of operations he resolved to ask for Giffard's relief. Mountbatten's relations with Admiral Somerville had been equally difficult. Somerville had refused to treat him as a Supreme Commander and in Mountbatten's opinion tried to make of him simply the chairman of a commanders-in-chief committee. As for the RAF commander, Air Chief Marshal Peirse, Mountbatten was not seeking his relief because he did not wish to change all of his principal subordinates simultaneously.44

In June 1944 General Marshall was in London. There were meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff and after one of them General Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, took Marshall aside, thanked him for his many kindnesses to Field Marshal Dill, who was very sick, then startled Marshall by saying that Stilwell would have to be recalled because he did not get along with Mountbatten's commanders in chief or the British in Burma.

General Marshall found this difficult to understand, and asked Brooke why the only aggressive and successful commander in chief Mountbatten had should be singled out for recall. Brooke replied that the British planned to relieve Giffard, Somerville, and Peirse, which to Marshall put a different light on the situation. On Marshall's return to the United States the Joint Chiefs of Staff began to study the question of sending Stilwell up to China Theater.45

No new CCS directives to SEAC resulted from those June meetings of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The CCS were satisfied that their current policy in regard to Burma operations was clearly understood. The main object of current operations was to send the maximum flow of supplies over the Hump. The Kohima-Imphal road had to be cleared, Myitkyina taken, and a defensive position held in the Mogaung-Myitkyina area. There were no comments about any exploitation of possible victory at Imphal by the Fourteenth Army.46

Advised by Marshall that the CCS talks at London had discussed the problems of obtaining the maximum flow of supplies to China, Stilwell commented that such would not be realized by a defensive attitude at Myitkyina or anywhere else and that it would not be realized without bringing in most of it on the ground. He thought it was too bad the Burma campaign had not been


launched in October 1943, for he believed in that case the Allies would now hold north Burma, and by implication a new line of communications to China.47

Stilwell Nominated for Command

The situation within China Theater in June 1944 was such that the President was now ready to go beyond the positions he had taken in March and April and put the full weight of his support behind Stilwell, accepting the Joint Chiefs' analysis of the state of affairs in China and their suggestions for a drastic remedy. Contributing to the choice of Stilwell rather than Chennault was the Army Chief of Staffs conclusion that Chennault's air offensive and the massive ATC structure erected to support it had been a waste of the nation's resources. Marshall thought that "it was not yielding any dividends in China," and was hobbling the war in Europe. The Allies had been handicapped in exploiting the Rome break-through in June 1944 because transport aircraft and crews were in India to support Chennault in his attempt to stop eight Japanese divisions by tactical air.48

Explicitly facing the issues created by Mountbatten's proposal that Stilwell be transferred to China and the Wallace suggestion that Stilwell be recalled, Maj. Gen. Thomas T. Handy of OPD recommended to Marshall on 30 June 1944 that as "the most effective answer" Stilwell be promoted from lieutenant general to general. In supporting his suggestion, Handy presented an eloquent eulogy of Stilwell's North Burma Campaign.

Handy wrote that no general of modern times had faced and overcome the obstacles that Stilwell had. "Against the initial apathy on the part of both our Allies, General Stilwell has welded an effective Chinese Army in Burma." Chinese tactics under his command had been superb, and the campaign for Myitkyina a masterpiece. "Beset by a terrific struggle with the jungle, the monsoons, the Japanese, logistics, to say nothing of mite typhus complications, he has staged a campaign that history will call brilliant."49

After studying Handy's memorandum, Marshall on 1 July placed the matter before Stilwell for his comments, in a radio embodying many of Handy's phrases. Saying that he had waited until Stilwell had consolidated the Mogaung-Myitkyina area before raising the matter, the Army Chief of Staff told Stilwell that the British were pressing for a command rearrangement, and that, of far greater importance to Marshall, things were steadily getting worse in China. He asked Stilwell for a candid opinion on whether the latter thought he could do some good by taking an active part in operations in central China. Marshall remarked that "the pressure" was on to get more tonnage over the


Hump to Chennault, "an immense effort in transportation" that possibly would be completely wasted. He asked what Stilwell would think of transferring his principal efforts to "the rehabilitation and in effect the direction of the leadership of the Chinese forces in China proper," with Sultan commanding in Burma.50

Stilwell's reply began by surveying the India-Burma side of his several positions. He assured Marshall that his present position as acting Deputy Supreme Allied Commander need not stand in the way of his going to China Theater. There was need for a vigorous deputy to Mountbatten, but he doubted that anyone would be allowed to go about SEAC as a trouble shooter for no one would be permitted to dismiss any of SEAC's general officers, even for gross incompetence.

Then Stilwell turned to the China problem, and in his discussion revealed no enthusiasm for the role of field commander of the Chinese forces. After explaining for Marshall some of the personnel problems involved in finding someone to replace him as commander of the Chinese Army in India, Stilwell offered his comments on the situation in China Theater:

Second, the China situation. If I go to China, I could detail Sultan to take over this command during my absence and I believe the Chinese would offer no objection. But if Sultan is made deputy we have the same old situation as soon as he takes command here. Merrill could, but he is physically out of the picture. . . . It is a difficult matter to find a man to command US, British, and Chinese units acceptably. Supposing a steady, seasoned, senior man can be found for this job, and I go to China. The G-Mo is scared, but he is still driving from the back seat, both on the Salween and Hunan. If the President were to send him a very stiff message, emphasizing our investment and interest in China, and also the serious pass to which China has come due to neglect of the Army, and insisting that desperate cases require desperate remedies, the G-Mo might be forced to give me a command job. I believe the Chinese Army would accept me. Ho Ying-chin would have to step out as Chief of Staff, or if he kept the title, give up the power. Without complete authority, over the Army, I would not attempt the job. Even with complete authority, the damage done is so tremendous that I can see only one chance to repair it. This is to stage a counter-offensive from Shansi, and attacking through Loyang toward Chengchow and Hankow. There are units in West Hupeh that could help. The Communists should also participate in Shansi, but unless the G-Mo makes an agreement with them, they won't. Two years ago they offered to fight with me.51 They might listen now. Time and space factors are against us, even if we had good will and full cooperation. You can readily imagine what is involved in organizing and moving such a scattered and loose-jointed force but outside of this one shot I see no chance to save the situation. The units on the Salween should not be withdrawn and cannot be withdrawn in time. The garrison on Indo-China border must stay there, or Kunming is open to attack. I refrain from any comments about the efficacy of air power because you have heard them before. The case is really desperate. The harvest of neglect and mismanagement is now being reaped and without very radical and very quickly applied remedies, we will be set back a long way. These matters must be put before the G-Mo in the strongest terms or he will continue to muddle along and scream for help without doing any more than he is doing now which is nothing. To sum up, there is still a faint chance to salvage something in China


but action must be quick and radical and the G-Mo must give one commander full powers. If the President can get this idea across, we can at least try hoping that a weak and disjointed effort, by dint of numbers and determination, might stop the Japs before they finish breaking up all resistance. The chances are definitely not good, but I can see no other solution at the moment.52

Satisfied with Stilwell's answer, Marshall accepted Handy's suggestion that Stilwell's promotion be recommended and fitted into the solution to China's problem that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were about to propose to the President. In drafting their proposal, the Joint Chiefs were candid almost to bluntness in reminding the President of their own long-held views on China, which hitherto he had disregarded. As Marshall remarked later, the JCS placed Chennault's promises in one column, then pointed out how Chennault had failed on each. Against them they placed Stilwell's predictions and related the fulfillment of each.53

4 July 44


The attached memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff with a proposed message to Chiang Kai Shek are for your consideration.

We are in full agreement that this action is immediately necessary to any chance to save the situation in China.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Admiral, U.S. Navy,
Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief
of the Army and Navy.


The situation in Central China is deteriorating at an alarming rate. If the Japanese continue their advances to the west, Chennault's 14th Air Force will be rendered ineffective, our very long-range bomber airfields in the Chengtu area will be lost and the collapse of China must inevitably result. Whether or not there is a possibility of our exerting a favorable influence on the chaotic condition in China is questionable. It is our view, however, that drastic measures should be taken immediately in an effort to prevent disaster to the U.S. effort in that region.

The Chinese ground forces in China, in their present state of discipline, training and equipment, and under their present leadership, are impotent. The Japanese forces can, in effect, move virtually unopposed except by geographical logistic difficulties.

From the beginning of the war, we have insisted on the necessity for building up the combat efficiency of the Chinese ground forces, as the only method of providing the necessary security for our air bases in China. The pressure on us from the Generalissimo throughout the war has been to increase the tonnage over the Hump for Chennault's air in particular, with the equipment and supply for the ground forces as incidental only. This presents the problem of an immense effort in transportation, with a poorly directed and possibly completely wasteful procedure. Chennault's air alone can do little more than slightly delay the Japanese advances. We have had abundant proof of this in our operations against the German army.


Our experience against both the Germans and the Japanese in theaters where we have had immensely superior air power has demonstrated the inability of air forces alone to prevent the movement of trained and determined ground armies. If we have been unable to stop the movement of German ground armies in Italy with our tremendous air power, there is little reason to believe that Chennault, with the comparatively small air force which can be supported in China, can exert a decisive effect on the movement of Japanese ground forces in China. The more effective his bombing of their shipping and the B-29 operations against Japan the more determined will be the Japanese thrusts in China.

Under the present leadership and organization of the Chinese armies, it is purely a question of Japanese intent as to how far they will advance into the interior of China. The serious pass to which China has come is due in some measure to mismanagement and neglect of the Army. Until her every resource, including the divisions at present confronting the communists, is devoted to the war against the Japanese, there is little hope that she can continue to operate with any effectiveness until the end of the war.

The time has come, in our opinion, when all the military power and resources remaining to China must be entrusted to one individual capable of directing that effort in a fruitful way against the Japanese. There is no one in the Chinese Government or armed forces capable of coordinating the Chinese military effort in such a way as to meet the Japanese threat. During this war, there has been only one man who has been able to get Chinese forces to fight against the Japanese in an effective way. That man is General Stilwell.

The British are pressing for a readjustment of command relationships in the Southeast Asia Command, maintaining that General Stilwell's position as Deputy Supreme Commander and that of the Commander of the Chinese Corps in India are incompatible. The British would undoubtedly concur in the relief of General Stilwell from his present assignment.

After full consideration of the situation in China, we recommend:

  1. That you dispatch to the Generalissimo the attached message, urging him to place General Stilwell in command of all Chinese armed forces.

  2. That you promote General Stilwell to the temporary grade of General, not only in recognition of his having conducted a brilliant campaign with a force, which he himself made, in spite of continued opposition from within and without and tremendous obstacles of terrain and weather, but in order to give him the necessary prestige for the new position proposed for him in China.

    We are fully aware of the Generalissimo's feeling regarding Stilwell, particularly from a political point of view, but the fact remains that he has proved his case or contentions on the field of battle in opposition to the highly negative attitudes of both the British and the Chinese authorities. Had his advice been followed, it is now apparent that we would have cleared the Japanese from northeast Burma before the monsoon and opened the way to effective action in China proper. Had his advice been followed the Chinese ground forces east of the Hump would have been far better equipped and prepared to resist or at least delay the Japanese advances.

  3. That in case Stilwell goes to China, we propose the following arrangements in the Southeast Asia Command to the British Chief of Staff:

    1. Sultan to command the Chinese Corps in Burma under the general direction of Stilwell.

    2. Wheeler, now senior administrative officer on Mountbatten's staff, to succeed Stilwell as Deputy to Mountbatten.54

The President accepted the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,


and the message which they had prepared for his signature was quickly sent to General Ferris for personal presentation to the Generalissimo. To Stilwell at his jungle headquarters, Marshall sent extracts of the key passages from the President's radio to the Generalissimo so that Stilwell would know what was to come, then read him a homily on why, in Marshall's opinion, the President's support, and that of the Generalissimo, had been so long withheld: ". . . the difficulty has been the offense you have given, usually in small affairs, both to the Generalissimo and to the President." At Cairo, Marshall had cautioned Stilwell that the President disliked his frequent loosing of barbed shafts at the Chinese leader. Now, Marshall warned him again that he must do all in his power to avoid offending the Generalissimo. Marshall also remarked that had Stilwell personally, or some member of his staff, devoted more attention to establishing good relations with the President, Mr. Roosevelt's support would have been forthcoming long before.55 Stilwell replied:

Your messages and instructions are unmistakably plain. If this new assignment materializes, I will tackle it to the best of my ability. I am keenly aware of the honor of the President's confidence and of yours, and I pledge my word to him and to you that I will "consistently and continuously avoid unnecessary irritations" and get on with the war. I fully realize that I will have to justify that confidence, and I find it even in prospect a heavy load for a country boy.56

The American attempt to persuade the Generalissimo to accept Stilwell as his field commander began with a radio sent by the President on 6 July 1944. As the President had directed in May 1944, after hearing that the Chinese were rephrasing his messages to the Generalissimo to make them read more agreeably to that dignitary, General Ferris, the senior American officer in Chungking, delivered the message in person:

The extremely serious situation which results from Japanese advances in Central China, which threaten not only your Government but all that the U.S. Army has been building up in China, leads me to the conclusion that drastic measures must be taken immediately if the situation is to be saved. The critical situation which now exists, in my opinion calls for the delegation to one individual of the power to coordinate all the Allied military resources in China, including the Communist forces.

I think I am fully aware of your feelings regarding General Stilwell, nevertheless I think he has now clearly demonstrated his farsighted judgment, his skill in organization and training and, above all, in fighting your Chinese forces. I know of no other man who has the ability, the force, and the determination to offset the disaster which now threatens China and our over-all plans for the conquest of Japan. I am promoting Stilwell to the rank of full general and I recommend for your most urgent consideration that you recall him from Burma and place him directly under you in command of all Chinese and American forces, and that you charge him with the full responsibility and authority for the coordination and direction of the operations required to stem the tide of the enemy's advances. I feel that the case of China is so desperate that if radical and properly applied remedies are not immediately effected, our common cause will suffer a disastrous set-back.


I sincerely trust that you will not be offended at the frankness of my statements and I assure you that there is no intent on my part to dictate to you in matters concerning China; however, the future of all Asia is at stake along with the tremendous effort which America has expended in that region. Therefore I have reason for a profound interest in the matter.

Please have in mind that it has been clearly demonstrated in Italy, in France, and in the Pacific that air power alone cannot stop a determined enemy.

Matter of fact, the Germans have successfully conducted defensive actions and launched determined counter-attacks though overwhelmingly outnumbered in the air.

Should you agree to giving Stilwell such assignment as I now propose, I would recommend that General Sultan, a very fine officer who is now his deputy, be placed in command of the Chinese-American force in Burma, but under Stilwell's direction.57

As a concrete expression of the United States gratitude for the victories in north Burma, as a sign of the special trust and confidence which the President now reposed in him, and to give him a rank suitable for the great responsibilities which, it was confidently expected, would soon be his, Stilwell was promoted to full general on 1 August 1944.58 He then shared the rank with only Generals Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, and Arnold.

The Generalissimo Agrees "in Principle"

After two years during which the United States for a variety of reasons had been content to let Stilwell's position in China Theater be nebulous and ill-defined, it was now moving to undo the decision of the ARCADIA Conference of December 1941 and make Stilwell in effect responsible for the conduct of operations against the Japanese in China Theater. One may doubt that this development was pleasing to the Generalissimo. Stilwell's aggressiveness was well known. If Stilwell took command, he would surely try to devote more of the military resources of Nationalist China to the east China campaign. The current Japanese offensive had been aimed at the east China airfields rather than at the Generalissimo's strongholds of Kunming and Chungking, and the Generalissimo's national troops, as distinguished from the troops of the war area commanders, had taken no part in the east China fighting.59 If Stilwell as field commander directed the Generalissimo's own troops against the Japanese the enemy might well turn his attention to Chiang himself. Moreover, moving major elements of Nationalist forces to east China would affect the Generalissimo's position in Chinese politics in relation not merely to the Communists but also to the several war area commanders.

There may well have been a personal factor. Ever since 1937 propaganda


had hailed the Generalissimo as a military genius who had kept the Japanese at bay, who had outfought and outmaneuvered them and needed only modern weapons to drive them into the sea. Now that eight Japanese divisions were racing through east China, the United States was asking the Generalissimo to drop his military role and let Stilwell, a foreigner whom he remembered as a colonel riding perched on top of a boxcar with the humble Chinese soldiery--the same Stilwell who called him "Peanut" and gibed at him as an incompetent dilettante--take command under the Generalissimo of both the Generalissimo's forces and those of his deadly enemies, the Communists.

Later events suggest that the Generalissimo resolved that Stilwell should on no account hold command in China Theater, and that he rallied all his diplomatic resources to the task of avoiding any such outcome of the crisis. At first glance, a diplomatic struggle between China and the United States in 1944 would have seemed a most unequal one. The Generalissimo wanted lend-lease, credits, and air support, and the United States was the only likely source. The longer China was isolated, the more desperate would be her need for help. If the United States was to insist on a quid pro quo, how could China refuse?

But the Generalissimo had advantages and allies of the greatest usefulness: First, during 1944 the Generalissimo and T. V. Soong, who had quarreled in the fall of 1943, had been reconciled. Soong's assistance brought his great knowledge of the U.S. scene and his influential connections to the Generalissimo's side. Second, the Americans were not united among themselves. Harry Hopkins, though no longer wielding the power he once did, was an intimate friend of Soong's and had long opposed Stilwell.60 Lieutenant Alsop, of Chennault's staff, was Soong's adviser.61 And third, the President was preoccupied with many things and gave the China Theater command question only a fraction of his attention, whereas for the Generalissimo it was a matter that received the fullest exercise of his diplomatic talents.

After weighing the President's message, the Generalissimo adopted a tactic that he had used before, most notably in the winter of 1941-42 when the American Military Mission to China was trying to integrate the American Volunteer Group into the Tenth Air Force. The Generalissimo on 8 July agreed in principle but found a major obstacle to carrying out the President's suggestion at once:

July 8, 1944.

My dear Mr. President:

I have much pleasure in acknowledging receipt of your telegram which came on July 7, conveying to me your deep concern over the war situation in China and your effective suggestion to meet it.


While I fully agree with the principle of your suggestion that directly under me General Stilwell be given the command of all Chinese Army and American troops in this theater of war, I like to call your attention to the fact that Chinese troops and their internal political conditions are not as simple as those in other countries. Furthermore, they're not as easily directed as the limited number of Chinese troops who are now fighting in north Burma. Therefore, if this suggestion were carried out in haste it would not only fail to help the present war situation here but would also arouse misunderstanding and confusion which would be detrimental to Sino-American cooperation. This is the real fact of the situation and in expressing my views on your exacting and sincere suggestion, I have not tried to use any misleading or evasive language. Hence, I feel that there must be a preparatory period in order to enable General Stilwell to have absolute command of the Chinese troops without any hindrance. In this way I shall not disappoint you in your expectation.

I very much hope that you will be able to despatch an influential personal representative who enjoys your complete confidence, is given with full power and has a far-sighted political vision and ability, to constantly collaborate with me and he may also adjust the relations between me and General Stilwell so as to enhance the cooperation between China and America. You will appreciate the fact that military cooperation in its absolute sense must be built on the foundation of political cooperation.

Our people have an unwavering faith in your friendship and sincerity towards China. I had already explained in detail to Vice President Wallace on this subject and I trust he will transmit my views to you.

I shall much appreciate it if you will discuss directly with Dr. Kung on any important question of this nature whenever it should arise in the future. If you have any telegram for me you can give it to him for transmittal.

With my warmest personal regards.

Yours truly,


When the Generalissimo's answer came to Washington, the President was preparing to visit General MacArthur and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz at Honolulu, there to discuss major questions of Pacific strategy. The President was apparently pleased with the Generalissimo's answer for he wrote to Admiral Leahy on 13 July: "Can you get this to the Joint Staff before we leave? There is a good deal in what the Generalissimo says." OPD drafted an answer for the President urging speed, but having been impressed by the Generalissimo's views, the President greatly modified it.

The President was happy to note that the Generalissimo agreed in principle. He urged the Chinese leader to have in mind the importance of speed and remarked that "some calculated political risks appear justified when dangers in the overall military situation are so serious and immediately threatening." Roosevelt then said he accepted the Generalissimo's suggestion about an American political representative in Chungking. The right man had to be chosen for the job, the difficulties had to be explored, and "in the meantime I again urge you to take all steps to pave the way for General Stilwell's assumption of command at the earliest possible moment."63


Thus in the President's answer Stilwell's assumption of command became second to the careful choice of a political representative. Mr. Roosevelt then departed Washington for a prolonged trip through the Pacific.

The Generalissimo's preparatory period, of unspecified length, would presumably be inaugurated with the arrival in China of a Presidential representative previously agreed on as satisfactory to both powers. The arrival of the proposed emissary, and the solution of the command question, were now postponed many weeks while the President visited San Francisco, Alaska, and Hawaii. The Generalissimo had won the first skirmish.

The Ledo Road Project Reduced

In the four-week interim during which the command question awaited the President's convenience, the carrying capacity of the great Ledo Road project was finally set by the War Department at a point which revealed that it was losing importance. General Pick was building the road as a two-way, graveled highway. Its capacity would depend on whether it was brought to two-way, all-weather standard all the way to China and whether enough men, vehicles, and operating facilities were assigned to it to permit fullest exploitation of its capacity. The QUADRANT Conference (Quebec, August 1943) had directed that it be able to transport 30,000 tons a month by January 1945, with an ultimate capacity of 96,000 tons a month.

As early as March 1944, the Asiatic Section of OPD had proposed that the building of the road stop at Myitkyina and that traffic from there simply use the existing road from Myitkyina to China after it had been brought to one-way, all-weather condition with a gravel surface.64 The proposal was shelved for the time being, but in July, with an American landing in the Philippines an ever more likely possibility, Brig. Gen. Patrick H. Tansey, Chief, Logistics Group, OPD, revived it, for he believed that by setting operation of the Ledo Road at a lower level than that originally intended, 35,000 men would be made available for use in the Philippines.

A variety of other arguments presented themselves to General Tansey. He believed that the trucks operating on the Ledo Road would lower by some 26,000 tons the amount of gasoline and lubricants otherwise available to the air force in China, that too many dry stores would be transported, that a great amount of shipping space would be wasted, all of which could be avoided if first priority went to maintaining and increasing air deliveries, building three pipelines to China, and simply improving the existing road from Myitkyina to Bhamo to permit movement of trucks and artillery.65


The AAF informally approved Tansey's suggestion on the ground that the principal advantage of the Ledo Road was that it permitted re-equipping the Chinese Army, which in the light of current plans could not be done in time for the Chinese to co-operate with the U.S. forces in the Pacific.66

These recommendations were strongly opposed by Army Service Forces. Consistent with the support for the Ledo Road always expressed by General Somervell, Maj. Gen. LeRoy Lutes, then Acting Chief of Staff, ASF, and Col. Carter B. Magruder, Acting Deputy Director, Plans and Operations, ASF, denied that the effort involved in bringing the road to two-way, all-weather standard from Ledo to Kunming was out of step with Pacific strategy or would waste American resources.

ASF's planners pointed out that strong Japanese resistance in the Pacific could throw off the whole timetable of Pacific operations. They believed that Japanese resistance on Saipan, where the Americans had landed on 15 June 1944, had already delayed contemplated operations by a month. If the American cross-Pacific advance was to be seriously delayed at any point, then the best possible line of communications to China might be of urgent importance and could not be improvised on the spur of the moment. Only 45,000 tons of equipment remained to be shipped to India, they argued, while maintenance personnel would be needed to keep even a passable trail from Myitkyina east.67

General Lutes doubted that any great savings in manpower would follow from limiting the capacity of the road beyond Myitkyina to one-way traffic. He believed that many of the men needed to build and operate the road at two-way standard beyond Myitkyina would be required to protect and operate the pipeline even though the road was limited in capacity. There were already enough troops allocated to CBI Theater, Lutes thought, to complete the road on the basis originally contemplated.68

OPD did not adopt ASF's point of view but recommended to General Marshall that the Ledo Road be strictly limited. Marshall's advisers told him that if the Ledo Road was opened to one-way traffic enough equipment to meet the minimum needs of the U.S.-sponsored Chinese divisions could be delivered. OPD, though relaying ASF's fear that the Pacific operations timetable was too optimistic, did not share that view. It argued that by the end of 1945, which was the earliest date given for the completion of the road to a two-way standard, the United States would have either occupied Formosa or bypassed it and be operating well beyond, in either case thus being free of any great dependence on operations from Chinese bases.69


Marshall approved the OPD study, and CBI Theater was told that it would receive no increase in personnel to build the road. Therefore, the radio went on, development of land communications to China should be limited to building a two-way, all-weather gravel road to Myitkyina and opening the existing trail from Myitkyina to China. Beyond Myitkyina it was thought desirable to improve the one-way, dry-weather trail so far as practicable with minimum essential permanent bridge construction and transport necessary to install and maintain one 6-inch and two 4-inch pipelines to China and to deliver trucks and artillery. The War Department would supply whatever CBI Theater lacked in resources to meet these goals.70 Thus the War Department, to conserve men for Pacific operations, sharply limited the tonnage that the Ledo Road would ultimately deliver to China.

Within Burma, however, the Ledo Road during 1944, at the very beginning of the year supporting the advance of the Chinese Army in India, carried hundreds of thousands of tons, the bulk of them in vehicles belonging to tactical and service units. In 1944 Advance Section received at Ledo 497,590 tons, and forwarded only 224,804 tons, the difference being carried by organizational vehicles. Of the 224,804 tons forwarded by Advance Section, about half went by road and half by air, so that the Ledo Road was the means of transporting about 75 percent of the supply tonnage for the North Burma Campaign.71 (Chart 7)

Slow Progress Across the Salween

Whatever the War Department in Washington might contemplate in the way of any future development of the Ledo Road, that development necessarily waited on driving the Japanese from north Burma. The Generalissimo's resolution to continue his part in the attempt might not hold against a crisis in east China. It was perhaps significant that he was not sending any replacements to keep the Y-Force up to strength. As for Stilwell, from May to August, he did not attempt to take any part in the Salween campaign, for as will be recalled, he had no command powers over any Chinese troops in China; along the Salween front Gen. Wei Li-huang might well resent any guidance from Stilwell. But Stilwell could not escape the consequences of what happened on the Salween or in east China, for events in those areas would be the background to President Roosevelt's attempt to put Stilwell in command of the Chinese Army.

After the Chinese fell back from Lung-ling in late June, XX Group Army on the north and XI Group Army on the south were faced by one minor and two major strongpoints. (See Map 19.) Northernmost of these was the old


Chart 7
Tonnage Forwarded by USAF SOS CBI Advance Section to North Burma;
January 1944-May 1945

walled city of Teng-chung, with some 20,000 inhabitants. The configuration of the land would permit building a road from China to Myitkyina via Teng-chung, and the Burma Road Engineers had such plans prepared. In the center of the Salween front, Japanese artillery on Sung Shan, or "Pine Mountain," commanded the Burma Road's descent into the Salween gorge. In their initial drive on Lung-ling the Chinese had bypassed Sung Shan and relied on air supply. Failure to take Lung-ling had left a considerable Chinese force in an uncomfortable position on the Japanese side of Sung Shan. If the Japanese could be driven off Sung Shan, supplies could roll right down the Burma Road. Twenty-five miles southeast of Lung-ling was Ping-ka, the obscure valley where cholera lay in wait, and where a Chinese regiment and a Japanese battalion waited out the war in endless small bickerings. Ping-ka was obscure, but the 56th Division had far fewer battalions than General Wei had regiments and had committed one of these few to Ping-ka.

Since General Wei had left a containing force below Sung Shan while he tried to take Lung-ling, there had been an artillery duel between the Japanese guns on Sung Shan and the Chinese since early in the campaign, while the Chinese had launched unsuccessful attacks in regimental strength. As June 1944 ended, this situation continued while Dorn and Wei considered the problems presented by the setback at Lung-ling. To the north, at Teng-chung, a new


phase in the campaign was clearly opening, for the Chinese patrols were closing the exits from Teng-chung valley as XX Group Army deployed before the wall of that strong city.72

The outer defenses of Teng-chung were pillboxes covering every avenue of approach, supported and covered by the 6,500-foot-high, fortified mountain peak of Lai-feng Shan, "The Place Where the Birds Come." Here were 600 or more Japanese with most of the garrison's artillery. Teng-chung itself was girdled by a massive wall of earth that in some places was forty feet high and sixty feet thick at the base, faced throughout with great slabs of stone. Chinese necromancers had carefully laid out the wall in a great square to cut the cardinal points of the compass. Each side had a gate, and each gate now had a Japanese command post, while Japanese machine guns and rifles swept the approaches to the wall, its face, and its parapets. Within the city were about 2,000 Japanese. In all, Colonel Kurashige, who had defended the Kaoli-kung mountains, had about 1,850 Japanese, a heavily reinforced battalion combat team built around the 2/148. Kurashige's orders were to hold Teng-chung until the Chinese threat to Lung-ling passed.73

The XX Group Army's five divisions fanned out around Teng-chung by occupying the heights. With them were the 40th, 47th, and 48th Portable Surgical Hospitals of the U.S. Army. The attack began on 26 June when B-25's of the 341st Bomb Group flew from Yun-nan-i in an attempt to breach the wall. This and subsequent attempts at medium-level bombing, though wreaking severe damage on the residential area--after a bombing on 14 July fires could be seen for thirty-five miles--merely piled rubble around the Japanese positions in Teng-chung. Secure in their dugouts, the Japanese were unshaken, and the airmen turned to skip bombing, trying to hurl their bombs directly against the face of the wall.74

The Chinese infantry attack began on 2 July, when the 116th Division moved against the northwest side of the Japanese defenses. Making the assault in a torrential monsoon downpour, the 348th Infantry, 116th Division, took seven pillboxes on a height four and a half miles northwest of the city. From here the 348th Regiment looked down on the Japanese positions between it and the city. By the end of the first week of July the five Chinese divisions had Teng-chung encircled. Several days later, when a Chinese patrol from XX Group Army made contact with scouts from XI Group Army at the Man-lao Bridge, Teng-chung was again cut off from the Japanese at Lung-ling. Off to the northwest, Chinese guerrillas working for Y-Force occupied a village


CHINESE INFANTRYMEN REST ON LAI-FENG SHAN after an attack on Japanese dugouts.

twenty-six miles from Teng-chung and only the same small distance from Kachin tribesmen, fighting for Stilwell, who had occupied Fort Harrison (Sadon) in Burma.

A week of perfect weather in mid-July permitted XX Group Army to seize an airstrip southwest of Teng-chung, to restore its supplies by air delivery, and to move its lines on the southeast up to easy pack howitzer range of the walls. Here the advance was slowed by fire from Colonel Kurashige's howitzers atop Lai-feng Shan. The Chinese turned to reconnoiter the mountain more carefully and discovered the Japanese had sited their defenses on the slopes facing Teng-chung. The reverse side had much defiladed ground and no entrenchments.

Since Gen. Huo Kwei-chang of XX Group Army had the bulk of his strength on the high ground to the south of Teng-chung valley, he found it comparatively easy to mass three divisions against the weak side of Teng-chung, while one more division was to get a foothold in the city itself. Then the rain closed in again and operations had to await clearing weather. In a week the storms lifted, and at noon of 26 July the first of four waves of P-40's and B-25's hit the northeast wall of Teng-chung and the summit of Lai-feng Shan.

The Chinese attack that followed revealed that previous experiences with


THE WALLED CITY OF TENG-CHUNG after an air attack that breached the wall (arrow).

Japanese positions had not been wasted. The Chinese infantry moved off quickly, on time, and as whole regiments rather than squads committed piecemeal. Mortar and artillery fire was brought down speedily on suspected Japanese positions, and the infantry took full advantage of it by advancing again the minute it lifted. Having taken one pillbox, the Chinese infantry kept right on going rather than stopping to loot and rest. At nightfall they were on top of the mountain and had taken a fortified temple on the summit. After mopping up the next day, the Chinese tallied about 400 Japanese dead. They themselves had lost 1,200. Nevertheless, the speedy capture of Lai-feng Shan was a brilliant feat of arms and dramatic evidence of the capabilities of Chinese troops when they applied proper tactics.

The simultaneous attack on the southeast wall of Teng-chung did not carry across the massive wall, but the Chinese had a firm foothold in the scraggly collection of mud huts just outside the wall which an ancient Greek, a Roman, or a medieval townsman would recognize at once as the sort of suburb so many of his cities had. The Japanese fought stubbornly in defense of these tenements, but making bold use of their lend-lease 37-mm. antitank guns the Chinese knocked down one hut after another at point-blank range. Casualties mounted in this bitter infighting; American medical aid was of great utility. The commander of the 130th Division, who had seen considerable action against the


Japanese, remarked that at Teng-chung his men seemed to fight harder because they knew they would have good medical attention if they were wounded.

Configuration of the ground suggested the southeast as the most logical avenue of approach and the principal Chinese effort was now directed there. On 2 August twelve B-25's breached the southeast wall in five places. Direct hits hammered out a gap fifteen feet wide, but the displaced earth and rubble were still a strong barrier and the Japanese did their best to mend the breach and cover it with machine gun fire. The Chinese needed something more and this was supplied by five waves of P-40's and P-38's which strafed the wall at twenty-minute intervals. This permitted the Chinese to place their scaling ladders against the wall. By this means, one company from the 107th and 348th Infantry Regiments reached the top of the wall just east of the south corner at 1500 hours on 3 August. The Japanese strove to drive them out but the Chinese clung to their advantage, and one lone platoon held fast all during the night. Next morning, Chinese reinforcements moved through the breaches, entered Teng-chung, and took a pillbox inside the city. Barring an attempt at rescue by other elements of the 56th Division, or a change of heart by the Chinese, the capture of Teng-chung was inevitable. The important question was, as General Huo's men crossed the walls on 4 August, how long would it take to capture Teng-chung?

The Battle for Sung Shan

Since the Chinese attempt to cut the center out of the Japanese position on the Salween by taking Lung-ling had failed, the attention of the Chinese commanders had shifted from Lung-ling to Sung Shan.75 The hill mass of Sung Shan dominated the area where the Burma Road crosses the Salween and so barred the direct approach from China down the Burma Road. The Chinese had invested it with a containing force in their initial drive on Lung-ling. That drive had been supplied by air, and now that the Chinese were stalled between Lung-ling and Sung Shan, air supply was not too adequate, and clearing the Japanese from Sung Shan appeared essential.

Sung Shan (the name Pine Mountain applies to its highest peak) is an intricate hill-mass rising to 3,000 feet above the Salween gorge. It is roughly triangular in shape. The Burma Road, in climbing out of the Salween gorge, runs along the northeast side of the triangle, angles sharply round its northern tip, then runs back down along the northwest side of the triangle. In all, thirty-six


miles of the Burma Road were dominated by the Japanese guns on Sung Shan. Time did not permit building a cutoff road to bypass Sung Shan. The Japanese defensive system, manned by some 1,200 men under Maj. Keijiro Kanemitsu, was built around elements of the 113th Infantry, supported by a battalion of mountain artillery, some transport troops, and some engineers. Of the 1,200, only 900 were effective.

In June, during the containing phase, the Chinese had assembled seven 150-mm. howitzers, two 75-mm. howitzers, and two 76-mm. field guns. Later joined by some pack artillery, and directed by an American artillery observer in a liaison plane, the Chinese cannoneers dueled with Major Kanemitsu's gunners. Finally, the Japanese howitzers ceased to fire on the Burma Road Engineers and the Chinese who were preparing to rebuild the Burma Road bridge over the Salween. Now safe, the engineers proceeded with their rebuilding. During this same containing phase, the Chinese New 28th and New 39th Divisions had made attacks in regimental strength against Sung Shan. On 15 June, they succeeded in taking a peak at the southeast corner of the triangle, but failed to take its twin at the southwest corner, two miles away. Other Chinese attempts failed, though heavy casualties were taken in the attempt.

As the period of containment merged into one of preparation for all-out attack, General Wei's hand was strengthened by the arrival of the 8th Army (the Honorable 1st, the 82d, and 103d Divisions). Originally stationed on the Indochina border, it had begun to arrive in battalion increments at the time of the Chinese setback at Lung-ling. The 8th Army had some lend-lease equipment, but only two thirds of its officers had been exposed to Y-FOS training efforts. The relief of the New 28th Division by the 3d Infantry, Honorable 1st Division, on 27 June was not well co-ordinated, for the Japanese were able to reoccupy the positions the New 28th Division had taken in June. Japanese also filtered through the Chinese lines to reinforce Sung Shan, and as further evidence of Japanese determination, on 28 June Japanese aircraft for the first time appeared over the Salween front. A reconnaissance aircraft, three fighters, and two transports circled Sung Shan and made a supply drop, some of which fell in the Chinese lines.

Accompanied by Y-FOS personnel under command of Col. Carlos G. Spaht, the 8th Army assembled east and south of Sung Shan and set 5 July for the attack. The Chinese artillery fired a nightlong preparation, and at dawn of 5 July two Chinese regiments attacked but not in strength. A few positions were overrun, the Japanese counterattacked, and at nightfall the Chinese were back in their initial positions, minus seventy dead. Colonel Spaht reported to Dorn that teamwork between the demolition squads and the assault teams had left much to be desired, that further training was badly needed.

The 8th Army's next attempt was made by the 246th Regiment the night of 7-8 July. It was directed against the southwest corner of the triangle and surprised the Japanese defenders of Kung Lung-po peak. By midnight the



Chinese had all Japanese strongpoints in their hands, but shortly after midnight the Japanese counterattacked over what was for them familiar terrain and drove off the 246th Regiment, inflicting more than 200 casualties. Y-FOS' observers reported that the Chinese grew quite confused during the night fighting and often shot at one another. The 246th Regiment had to be replaced by the 307th Regiment. The 307th faced what was for them a new Japanese defensive tactic between 10 and 12 July. Since the Chinese in climbing up the hills tended to bunch along the easiest routes to the top, the Japanese used their machine guns to keep the Chinese huddled down in the natural cover the hill afforded, then hurled grenades and mortar shells into the parties of Chinese. Such tactics were of deadly efficiency, and so the 8th Army brought up another regiment to reinforce the battered 307th.

Two weeks passed before the 8th Army again essayed an attack on Sung Shan. This time, instead of piecemeal attacks by a regiment or two, 8th Army prepared the attack by moving its howitzers up to pound Japanese positions at from 1,500 to 3,200 yards with direct fire. When the Chinese attacked with three regiments, on the morning of 23 July, the division commander of the 103d personally directed the 75-mm. fire, and on occasion placed shells twenty-five to forty feet in front of the assaulting Chinese. Captured Japanese diaries


contained praise of the artillery and of the 103d Division's valiant infantry. This well-led, co-ordinated attack succeeded and by dawn the Chinese were in Japanese positions almost at the crests of the two peaks Kung Lung-po and Tayakou. Alarmed by the successful Chinese artillery fire, Major Kanemitsu on 26 July pleaded for Japanese air support to attack the Chinese batteries, which had been emplaced in the open to use direct fire. Japanese fighters promptly responded, and machine-gunned the Chinese cannon and crews. The damage plus the moral effect halted the Chinese attack for a week, until 3 August.

When the 308th Regiment resumed the advance on 3 August it had flame throwers which it used with devastating effect to take the crest of Kung Lung-po. There the Chinese found several Japanese tankettes, which had been dug in for use as pillboxes. When the Japanese failed to make their usual prompt counterattack Y-FOS personnel surmised they might be short of ammunition. This was so, and Major Kanemitsu decided to raid the 8th Army's artillery positions and supply dumps to replenish his supply. Seven parties of Japanese volunteers struck during the night of 9 August, destroying several howitzers and taking away all the light weapons and ammunition they could carry.

At this time, Burmese civilians, who had been impressed into the Japanese service as laborers and who were found hiding in Japanese dugouts, estimated that Kanemitsu had 700 men, most of them wounded or starving. Actually, he now had but 300, including sick and wounded.

Having tried attacks by night, during rainstorms, and by surprise, none of which had quite succeeded and all of which had taken precious time, the Chinese now decided on a return to more formal siegecraft. With technical advice from Y-FOS engineers, the Chinese on 11 August began digging under what seemed the key to the Japanese positions that remained in the Sung Shan triangle. Significant of the closeness of the fighting, the tunnels needed to be but twenty-two feet long to put the mines in place under the Japanese pillboxes. One mine held 2,500 pounds of TNT, the other 3,500 pounds.

The mines were fired on 20 August at 0905 and the resulting destruction was quickly exploited by engineers armed with flame throwers. In one pillbox forty-two Japanese were buried alive, of whom five were rescued. The prisoners stated that they had been asleep and had never suspected that they were being undermined. At 0920 the 3d Regiment against light opposition took the few strongpoints that remained on Sung Shan proper. Kanemitsu's men still held out in scattered pockets about the triangle. These launched desperate counterattacks on 21 and 22 August. That of the 22d produced particularly bloody fighting in which the Chinese lost many company grade officers.

After the failure of these counterattacks there was nothing left but mopping up. Actually, since the completion of the new Salween bridge on 18 August and the mine blast on the 21st, the rest was anticlimax, even Major Kanemitsu's death on 6 September, and the macabre ceremony the next day when the


Japanese burned their colors and slew their wounded. Of the 1,200 Japanese on and around Sung Chan, 9 were captured, and 10 were believed to have escaped. The significance of Sung Shan lay in that it had cost the Chinese 7,675 dead to clear that block from the Burma Road, of which some 5,000 were from the 8th Army, leaving it but two understrength regiments fit to fight for Lung-ling.


As August waned, the Generalissimo was committed "in principle" to giving Stilwell command in China. Events along the Salween did not suggest there would be any speedy relief for China by a victory on that front, while in east China the Japanese had not as yet met effective resistance. Delay in breaking the blockade of China and in setting up an effective barrier to Operation ICHIGO in east China meant still further deterioration in China's military and political situation. Defeats in the field place great strain on coalitions; events on the Salween and south of Changsha would be felt as far away as Washington.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (9) * Next Chapter (11)


1. Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. V.

2. CM-OUT 31202, JCS to Stilwell, 2 May 44. For details of the JCS directive, see pages 201-02, above.

3. Rad DTG 240240Z, Stilwell to Marshall, 24 May 44. Item 2740, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

4. (1) CCS 319/5, 24 Aug 43, sub: Final Rpt [QUADRANT] to President and Prime Minister. See Stilwell's Mission to China. (2) CCS 417, 2 Dec 43, sub: Plan for Defeat of Japan. (3) CCS 397 (Revised), 3 Dec 43, sub: Specific Opns for Defeat of Japan, 1944. See p. 75, above.

5. (1) For background on the JCS proposal to change Mountbatten's directive, see Chapter V, above. (2) Rad WAR 42202, Marshall to Stilwell, 27 May 44. Item 2562, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

6. (1) See Ch. VIII, above. (2) Japanese Study 129. (3) Ltr, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 May 44, sub: Discipline. SNF 31. (4) Rad CHC 1123, Stilwell to Marshall, 30 May 44. SNF 131.

7. Rad WAR 47843, McNarney to Stilwell, 8 Jun 44; Rad CHC 1175, Stilwell to McNarney, 9 Jun 44. SNF31.

8. (1) Rad CAK 2773, Chennault to Stilwell and Stratemeyer, 29 May 44. The Chennault-Wedemeyer Letter, Item 39. (2) Ltr, Chennault to Stilwell, 29 May 44. SNF 31.

9. Rad CFB 17887, Ferris to Stilwell, 28 May 44. Item 2565, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

10. Rad, Stilwell to Ferris, 28 May 44. Item 2584, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

11. Rad CFB 17969, Marshall and Sultan from Ferris signed Stilwell, 31 May 44. Item 2571, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. The gist of Ho's warning was repeated by him in Ltr, Ho to Stilwell, 31 May 44. Item 2574, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. Ho added a prediction that the Japanese would attack in India and Burma, at which Stilwell snorted: "Ask him for me how he intends to defend Changsha and Hengyang and I will tell him how we will defend Mogaung." Rad CHC 1136, Stilwell to Ferris, 2 Jun 44. Item 2581, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

12. Aide Mémoire to President Roosevelt (delivered by General Shang, 31 May 1944). China File (Hurley), Item 61, OPD Exec 10.

13. Rad CAK 2981, Chennault to Stilwell, 2 Jun 44. Item 2583, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

14. Memo, Generalissimo for Stilwell, 3 Jun 44. Item 2584, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. The memorandum went out at once to Stilwell as an "eyes alone" radio.

15. Rad CFB 18134, Ferris to Stilwell, 3 Jun 44. Item 2587, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

16. Rad, Dorn to Stilwell, 4 Jun 44. SNF 31.

17. The Stilwell Papers, p. 301.

18. (1) Memo for Record, 5 Jun 44, sub: Conf between CKS and Stilwell. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 302.

19. Rad CFB 18251, Stilwell from Ferris to Fwd Ech NCAC, Hq Rr Ech, Hq AAF India-Burma Sec, ATC Chabua, Humpco Chabua, Fourteenth AF, Kweilin Z-Force, Kunming Y-Force, Delhi SOS, Ramgarh, and Chabua SOS, 6 Jun 44. Item 2595, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

20. Rad CFB 18238, Stilwell to AGWAR for Marshall, 6 Jun 44. Item 2600, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

21. Memo, sgd E.G., 6 Jun 44. The Chennault-Wedemeyer Letter, Item 44.

22. (1) Plan for Defense of East China. The Chennault-Wedemeyer Letter, Item 45. (2) Table 5 shows Fourteenth Air Force aircraft inventory for this period.

23. Rad WAR 47296, Marshall to Stilwell, 7 Jun 44. Item 2603, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

24. Rad CHC 1173, Stilwell to Marshall, 8 Jun 44. SNF 131.

25. (1) Quotation is from the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japan's War Economy, p. 45. (2) The figure on tonnage dropped is from the survey's The Strategic Air Operation of Very Heavy Bombardment in the War Against Japan (Washington, 1946), Chart 8. (3) The B-29 missions are listed in Chapter VI, Section Two, History of CBI.

26. Japanese Study 78.

27. (1) Japanese Studies 78 and 129. (2) History of Z-FOS.

28. (1) Memo, G-4, Z-FOS, for CofS, Z-FOS, Jun 44. AG (Z-FOS) 337, KCRC. (2) History of Z-Force. (3) Hq Kwangsi Comd, Chinese Combat Comd (Prov), U.S. Forces, China Theater, Campaign in Southeastern China, MS in possession of Brig Gen Harwood C. Bowman, USA (Ret), Montgomery, Ala. (hereafter cited as Campaign of Southeastern China), p. 4.

29. Summary of Data; Memo, Chennault for Stilwell, 20 May 44, sub: Activation of AGFRTS. The Chennault-Wedemeyer Letter, Incl I, par. 22, and Incl II, Item 4.

30. Japanese Studies 78 and 129.

31. (1) Rpt, Col Thomas J. Heavey, U.S. Observer, IX War Area, to Gen Lindsey, 26 Jun 44. AG (Z-FOS) 210.684, KCRC. (2) Japanese Study 78.

32. (1) For details of the movement of U.S. personnel from the Kweilin area, see Z-FOS Journal. KCRC. (2) Rad CFB 19135, Ferris to Stilwell, 26 Jun 44. The Chennault-Wedemeyer Letter, Item 51. (3) Rad CFB 19119, Ferris to Sultan, 25 Jun 44. Item 2653, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

33. Rad CFB 17559, Ferris to Stilwell and Sultan, 19 May 44. Item 2544, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

34. Rad CFB 18945, Ferris to Stilwell, 21 Jun 44. Item 2634, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

35. Memo, Ferris for Stilwell, 23 Jun 44, Item 299, Bk 3, JWS Personal File.

36. Rpt, Davies to Stilwell, undated. SNF 31.

37. (1) U.S. Department of State, United States Relations with China, pp. 556-57. (2) Wallace-Alsop Testimony, U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, Senator Pat McCarran, Chm, 17-18 Oct 51.

38. U.S. Department of State, United States Relations with China, pp. 556-57.

39. Ltr O, Hq Fwd Ech USAF CBI to Barrett, 21 Jul 44, sub: Dispatch Observers Sec to Areas Under Control of Chinese Communists. DIXIE Mission, Vol. I, Sec VI, Item 73. OCMH.

40. (1) Rad New Delhi 472, Wallace to Roosevelt, 28 Jun 44. Item 58, OPD Exec 10. (2) Wallace-Alsop Testimony, cited n. 37(2).

41. (1) See p. 119, above. (2) Rad 155, F.M.D. [Field Marshal Dill], JSM to Mountbatten, 10 Mar 44; Rad SAC 1022. Mountbatten to COS and JSM, 13 Mar 44. Item 66, OPD Exec 10.

42. Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 9 Jul 44. Item 57, OPD Exec 10.

43. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 171, 172.

44. Ltr, Mountbatten to Dill, 26 Jun 44. Item 57, OPD Exec 10.

45. Interv with Marshall, 6 Jul 49.

46. CM-OUT 53610, 20 Jun 44. Case 404, OPD 381, A47-30.

47. Rad CHC 1215, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Jun 44. SNF 131.

48. (1) Quotation from Interv cited n. 45. (2) See General Okamura's comments, p. 316, above, and Japanese Officers' Comments, Incl 3.

49. Memo, Handy for Marshall, 30 Jun 44. Item 869, Msg Bk 20, OPD Exec 9.

50. Rad WAR 59012, Marshall to Stilwell, 1 Jul 44. Item 2674, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.

51. The authors could find no trace of the offer to which Stilwell refers here.

52. Rad CHC 1241, Stilwell to Marshall, 3 Jul 44. SNF 131.

53. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China. (2) Interv cited n. 45.

54. (1) Item 57, OPD Exec 10. (2) For details of use of superior air power in Italy, see Sidney T. Mathews, The Drive on Rome, a volume in preparation for this series.

55. (1) See Ch. II, above. (2) CM-OUT 61514, Marshall to Stilwell, 7 Jul 44.

56. CM-IN 7045, Stilwell to Marshall, 9 Jul 44.

57. (1) Received in Chungking as a radio, WAR 6080, Roosevelt to Generalissimo, 6 July 1944, this message was presented to the latter as Memorandum 214, Stilwell for the Generalissimo, on 6 July 1944. Item 2676, OKLAHOMA File, JWS Personal File. (2) See Ch. VIII, above.

58. WD SO 109, 9 Aug 44, par. 1. Stilwell's date of rank in the Army of the United States was 1 August 1944.

59. On 4 December 1944, the Generalissimo stated that national troops had taken no part in the east China fighting. Min, 12th Mtg, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 4 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes, 1-69, 13 Nov 44-15 Jul 45, Job T49-20 CBI.

60. (1) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. X. (2) For the Soong-Hopkins relationship, see Books VII and IX, Hopkins Papers.

61. In the Washington Post, July 25, 1951, Alsop stated: "[John P.] Davies was the political adviser of Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell; I was the adviser of Dr. T. V. Soong and Maj. Gen. C. L. Chennault."

62. Item 60, OPD Exec 10.

63. (1) Memo, Roosevelt for Leahy, 13 Jul 44. Item 59, OPD Exec 10. (2) Rad WH 25, Roosevelt to Generalissimo, 13 Jul 44, presented as Memo 215, Ferris for Generalissimo, 15 Jul 44. Item 2677a, OKLAHOMA File, JWS Personal File.

64. (1) See Ch. I, above. (2) Memo, Chief, Asiatic Sec, Theater Gp, OPD, for Chief, Logistics Gp, OPD, 25 Mar 44, sub: Opn Plan, Burma-Myitkyina-Kunming Road, Project TIG-IC. ABC 384 Burma (8-25-42) Sec 7, A48-224.

65. Memo, Tansey for Handy, 16 Jul 44, sub: Projects TIG-IA and TIG-IC, Ledo Road--Construction and Opn Phases. ABC 384 Burma (8-25-42) Sec 7, A48-224.

66. Memo, Col Donald W. Benner, Chief, Air Services Div, Office Asst Chief of Air Stf, Matériel and Services, for Tansey, 25 Jul 44, sub: Projects TIG-IA and TIG-IC, Ledo Road--Construction and Opn Phases. ABC 384 Burma (8-25-42) Sec 7, A48-224.

67. Memo, Somervell (sgd by Magruder) for ACofS, OPD, 24 Jul 44. ABC 384 Burma (8-25-42) Sec 7, A48-224.

68. Memo, Actg CofS, ASF, for ACofS, OPD, 29 Jun 44. ABC 384 Burma (8-25-42) Sec 7, A48-224.

69. Memo, Handy for Marshall, 14 Aug 44. ABC 384 Burma (8-25-42) Sec 7, A48-224.

70. CM-OUT 85479, OPD to Stilwell 23 Aug 44.

71. Rpt, Gen Pick, CG, Advance Sec USF IBT, to Gen Wheeler, CG, USF IBT, 9 Aug 45; sub: Rpt on Stilwell Road, pp. 97-102. OCMH.

72. (1) See Ch. IX, above. (2) Y-FOS Journal.

73. Japanese Study 93.

74. Apart from using the Y-FOS Journal, Y-FOS 1944 Historical Report, and Japanese Study 93, this portion of the Salween campaign is based on the following sources: (1) War Dept Combat Film 26, Signal Corps Film Library, Washington. (2) Stodter Report. (3) Hist Rpt, Hq 69th Composite Wing, 27th Tr Carrier Sq, and 19th Ln Sq, Fourteenth AF. USAF Hist Div. (4) SOS in CBI, App. I, History of Burma Road Engineers.

75. In addition to the Y-FOS Journal, Y-FOS 1944 Historical Report, Japanese Study 93, and Japanese Officers' Comments, sources consulted for this section are: (1) Rpt, Col Carlos G. Spaht, CO, U.S. Ln Gp, 8th Army, to Dorn, 29 Jul 44. AG (Y-FOS) 319.1. (2) Interv with Spaht, Baton Rouge, La., 1 Oct 48. (3) Of the six Chinese Armies to participate in the Salween campaign, the 8th Army prepared the only detailed and frank account of its role. This translated history, including tactical maps, is among the papers of Colonel Spaht. (4) Ltrs, Spaht to authors, 24 May, 29 Jul, 24 Sep, 2 Oct, and 28 Oct 47. OCMH.

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