The India-Based Air Effort
On 21 December 1943, Stilwell arrived at Ledo to take over the North Burma Campaign, "under better auspices than last time."1 No student of classic antiquity, Stilwell probably did not have in mind the full definition: "aus'pice. . . . 1. A sign, . . . used in augury, as the flight of birds, . . . or phenomena in the sky." But if the omens were better in December 1943 than they had been in March 1942, it was largely because of happenings in the skies over India and Burma. Anglo-American air power, based on India, was approaching giant maturity, and was about to make possible a campaign of a type never seen before, a campaign in which the customary Japanese tactic of encirclement was turned against its authors with devastating results. To understand the differences between the campaigns of 1942 and 1943-44, one must understand techniques of air support and air supply evolved between March 1942 and December 1943, and the extent of Allied air superiority in Burma.
Command and Administration of the Air Forces
After SEXTANT, Mountbatten reached a firm decision that his command must include an integrated (i.e., Anglo-American) air force. His earlier hints of such a move to Marshall, Arnold, and the Generalissimo had been well received. He had been impressed by the work of an integrated air force in North Africa, and felt he could not "accept a state of affairs where a subordinate Commander in my theatre had independent responsibilities for combat air operations." On learning of the project, Stilwell and General Stratemeyer, commanding the Army Air Forces, India-Burma Sector, objected, for they believed that if there was to be no operation for retaking all Burma, and at this time none seemed very likely, there was no need of an integrated air force. In a way, this was a reversal by Stratemeyer, who had first rather liked the idea, then had changed his mind after Mountbatten's October visit to Chungking.
Despite the opposition of the two senior U.S. commanders in SEAC, Mountbatten thought it time to establish his authority in the theater and felt sure that the CCS would not reverse him. Marshall approved, though he reminded
Mountbatten of the U.S. commitments to China and warned that the time would come when the U.S. would have to move part of the Tenth Air Force to China.2
On 12 December the Tenth Air Force and the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bengal Command joined their combat strength to become the Eastern Air Command (EAC), though preserving their administrative entities. Stratemeyer assumed command 15 December. He had the Strategic Air Force under operational control of Brig. Gen. Howard C. Davidson, the Tenth Air Force's commander; the Third Tactical Air Force under operational control of Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin of Bengal Command; the Troop Carrier Command under operational control of Brig. Gen. William D. Old, and the Photographic Reconnaissance Group under Group Captain S. C. Wise. Third Tactical Air Force was in turn composed of Northern Sector Air Force (AAF) in north Burma, 221 Group (RAF) in Manipur, and 224 Group (RAF) in the Arakan. Naming Stratemeyer to command was a graceful gesture by Mountbatten, for the bulk of EAC's aircraft, especially fighters, were British. Eastern Air Command began operations in January 1944 with 576 fighters (141 AAF), 79 heavy bombers (48 AAF), 70 medium bombers (37 AAF), 10 AAF reconnaissance aircraft, and 84 transports (51 AAF).3 This strength was cut a fortnight later when the 341st Bombardment Group (M), less the 490th Squadron, was assigned to the Fourteenth Air Force in China.
In June 1944 the combat strength of the Tenth Air Force was reconstituted as a tactical air force of two fighter groups and one troop carrier group plus administrative and service elements to support the North Burma Campaign. Experience had demonstrated that the North Burma Campaign was tactically independent of operations in Manipur State and the Arakan and that operations in the three sectors did not require central direction of tactical air support. Troop Carrier Command was eliminated and its units split between Tenth Air Force and Third Tactical Air Force. This then gave EAC five subordinate air commands: Strategic Air Force (still an integrated Anglo-American force); Third Tactical Air Force (mostly RAF plus the 12th Bombardment Group [M] and the 459th Fighter Squadron); the Photographic Reconnaissance Group (Anglo-American); the Tenth Air Force; and 293 Wing RAF, charged with defense of the Calcutta industrial area.4
The Japanese Air Effort in Burma
The senior headquarters for the Japanese Army air force in Southeast Asia was 3d Air Army at Singapore. The defense of Burma was still charged to the 5th Air Division, veterans of the First Burma Campaign. Under 5th Air Division, in late November 1943, were the 4th Air Brigade, with the 8th (light bomber), 34th (light bomber), 77th (fighter), and the 50th (fighter) Air Regiments; and the 7th Air Brigade, with the 12th ("heavy" bomber), 98th ("heavy" bomber), and 64th (fighter) Air Regiments. Also under 5th Air Division were the 21st, 33d, 77th, and 204th Air Regiments (fighter), and the 81st Air Regiment (reconnaissance). After the war, the Japanese estimated this force comprised about 129 fighters, 30 "heavy" bombers, 47 light bombers, and 15 reconnaissance aircraft. The Japanese naval air force was also represented. It had been drained by the fighting in the Southwest Pacific, but at least its 28th Air Regiment was present in October 1943, with 30 fighters and 9 bombers.5
Eastern Air Command estimated Japanese strength at 277 aircraft, including reconnaissance craft. Though outnumbered by EAC, 5th Air Division had a few counterbalancing advantages. Its rear areas were well out of the reach of all but the heavy bombers, which were too few to neutralize Japanese bases. The 5th Air Division had scores of forward airstrips so that it could prepare its operations in the rear areas, stage them through any of the forward strips, then quickly disperse on returning. Pilots and aircrews were good; their equipment, adequate.6
Not waiting for their opponents, the Japanese airmen undertook to cripple the anticipated Allied attack on Burma by genuine strategic bombing, a series of attacks on Calcutta. The fanfare attendant on SEAC's creation, the appointment of an admiral as Supreme Allied Commander, and signs of Allied preparations around Ledo, Imphal, and Calcutta convinced the Japanese that a major operation against Burma was imminent.7
Neutralization of Calcutta seemed advisable. Preparations began in October 1943. The 4th Air Brigade attacked RAF fields about Imphal in November to divert attention and resources from the Calcutta area. Calcutta itself was attacked on 5 December by the 7th Air Brigade, with 94 fighters and 18 heavy bombers from six air regiments, and 8 reconnaissance aircraft, plus 30 fighters and 9 bombers of the Imperial Navy's 28th Air Regiment. "Considerable damage
was done to dock area," Eastern Air Command admitted later, and its dispatch adds: "The Japanese Air Force, in fact, controlled the air over Burma and, while maintaining a constant threat against the vital air route to China, was harassing Allied ground and air installations in the Assam valley, the Arakan, and Bengal."8
Though a second attempt at the strategic bombardment of India was thus launched by the Japanese, and though this initial attempt was followed by a Christmas Day attack on Chitagong by about fifty aircraft, nothing more was done, and again the Japanese laid down a weapon to which northeast India and the Assam line of communications were most vulnerable. After the war, the Japanese explained that though they had fully appreciated the importance of bombing Calcutta, they were handicapped by the lack of bombers. Of the four Japanese bomber units in Burma, two were transferred to New Guinea in late January 1944, leaving only fifteen light and nine heavy bombers. With the bomber units went three fighter regiments. What remained was not enough for sustained and effective operations.9
The interval before preparations began to stage for the proposed Japanese offensive against India was used by the Japanese airmen for attacks on the Hump airfields and on the transports themselves. Tinsukia airfield was attacked by about fifty fighters and eighteen bombers on 8 December, and Kunming on the 18th and 22d of December. Beginning mid-January 1944, Japanese pilots made an effort to attack ATC transports as they were spotted by Japanese observers in and around Sumprabum in north Burma. The effort seemed "a serious threat" to EAC, but it was short-lived because in May the Japanese lost the Myitkyina airstrip from which the attacks had been made.10
When the third phase of the Japanese offensive began with a diversionary attack in the Arakan, the 12th, 64th, and 204th Air Regiments co-operated by making sweeps over the battlefields.11 Where classic air doctrine called for attacks on the hostile airfields and forces until air superiority had been attained, the Japanese interpreted air-ground co-operation in the most literal sense by ignoring the airfields in order to engage in fighter sweeps over the battlefields. When the sound of the engines died away, the battle resumed as though the Oscars had never passed above. "The period in which we [Japanese] held control of the air [the EAC] avoided us and after we had returned to our base would appear in the air over the battlefields. As a result, they disrupted the attacks of our ground army. Taking advantage of the unfavorable conditions existing when we attacked the ground with our fighters, they would challenge
us to an air battle. Thus, with the passing of time, battle became more difficult."12 For February 1944, EAC claimed only 15 Japanese aircraft certainly destroyed and 6 probably so, as against 25 of its own lost, but the Japanese attempt was a failure for day after day the transport aircraft flew in supplies for the divisions trapped by the Japanese thrust.13 And, when the British commanders had stopped the Japanese offensive in the Arakan, they were able to disengage the 5th and 7th Indian Divisions from the Arakan and rush them north by rail and air to meet the next phase in the Japanese offensive. Thus, air transport gave Generals Giffard and Slim an advantage in strategic mobility which the Japanese could not match, and which the two British commanders exploited to the utmost.14
The 5th Air Division's support of the main Japanese thrust on Imphal was more skillfully handled. On 12, 15, 16, and 17 March, the Japanese attacked the airfields from which EAC was supporting 4 Corps on the Imphal front. They bombed the airstrips used for the flying in of an ambitious attempt by Maj. Gen. Orde C. Wingate's Long-Range Penetration Groups on 10, 13, 16, 17, and 18 March. These operations were mixed with attacks on fields in the Arakan, at Tinsukia, and at Ledo. March cost EAC fifty-seven aircraft destroyed and missing. Eastern Air Command headquarters believed the Japanese lost fifty-nine in the air and fifty-eight on the ground. The Japanese account is incomplete but suggests that EAC claims are exaggerated.
However, one Japanese operation was an utter fiasco and minor disaster. The 62d Air Regiment, nine heavy bombers, was brought to Burma to attack the Ledo area. With an escort of about sixty fighters, the 62d Air Regiment made its attempt on 27 March 1944. Lacking radar bombsights, the Japanese loosed their bombs at random through a heavy overcast. EAC fighters attacked the force on its way home when it was low on fuel. Eight of the bombers were shot down and the ninth made a forced landing.
Though the Japanese at the end of March had failed to prevent EAC from maintaining whole divisions by air supply, a feat impossible against a foe that has air superiority, they were still very much in the fight against an Allied opponent that, during March, had a daily operational average of 582 fighters. The Japanese aircraft replacement system worked well from January to June 1944, giving 3d Air Army from 100 to 150 aircraft a month, most of which went to Burma. The trained aircrews were not replaced.15
If the Japanese in March did feel a certain satisfaction at having held their own against very heavy odds, their complacence must have been short-lived, for in March EAC was only beginning to hit its stride. After March, the balance tilted in its favor ever more rapidly. Eastern Air Command dispatched 8,353 sorties in January 1944 and 18,109 in March. By May the figure was up
to 23,490. EAC dropped a modest 1,513.4 tons of bombs in January 1944, 3,189 tons in March and 4,073.7 tons in May. American components of EAC expended 279,000 rounds of 50-caliber ammunition in January, 675,000 in March, 1,280,000 in April, and 867,989 in May. The RAF was proportionately active.
This steady acceleration of effort, reflecting among other things an increase in the AAF components of the EAC from 297 aircraft in April to 444 in May, weighed ever more heavily on the Japanese. After June their losses in fighters forced them to cease attempts to intercept EAC's attacks, an admission of defeat. After the war, the Japanese considered that "well-planned aerial combat tactics and superior planes always gave the enemy an upper hand in the engagements." Japanese sorties in support of the attack on Imphal, and against Wingate's Chindits, which had reached a peak of 570 sorties in April, fell to 423 in May, and plummeted to 115 in June.16
The drop in Japanese sorties was much sharper than that which the monsoon forced on EAC. Whatever the exact count of sorties made by the Japanese, their effort during the crucial month of their attack on India was but a fraction of EAC's, and there was not a chance of their attaining the air superiority they held so often in 1941 and 1942. Indeed, EAC controlled the air space over the battlefield, which meant that the Japanese could no longer match the Allied ground forces in strategic mobility, nor was the most important Japanese tactic in jungle warfare, encirclement, the menace it had once been. Now, thanks to EAC's air superiority, the Allies could fly whole divisions to the scene of action, while the Japanese struggled to bring troops forward over bomb-damaged rail lines or on foot over muddy trails. On the battlefield itself, the Japanese could surround Allied units still, for they had all their old skill and aggressiveness in maneuver, but the success was an empty one, for the air transports could always deliver supplies to the surrounded unit. This was a grim omen, for when the Allies were on the offensive, air supply meant that Chinese, Indians, British, and Americans could operate independently of ground lines of communications, could move freely past the Japanese flanks into the Japanese rear areas, and there block the roads that fed the Japanese. When this happened the Japanese would have to cut their way out or starve, for EAC's fighters and bombers would see to it that no Japanese transports appeared over the battlefield.
Support of Ground Forces
In the difficult terrain of Burma, where artillery was hard to bring forward and tended to lessen the mobility of Allied units, EAC's fighters, fighter bombers,
and bombers of all types acted as substitutes. Suitable targets, according to current local practice, were troop concentrations, bunkers, machine gun nests, artillery, towns and villages sheltering the Japanese, and supply convoys. The choice among types of bombs and ammunition was governed by the nature of the target. Where possible, cover was used in the approach, and attacks were made from medium or low altitude. Despite the seemingly obvious worth of close tactical air support, it was not common or particularly effective before the spring of 1944. Earlier, the priority demands for bombing transport, factories, and air installations had absorbed most air resources. There had also been the belief that fighter aircraft should confine themselves to missions of escort and interception. Last of all, there had been no effective mechanism whereby the ground forces could obtain air support on call.
By May 1944, Northern Sector Air Force, the AAF component of the Third Tactical Air Force, had worked out a technique for air support in siege or mobile warfare. For the former, A-2 and A-3 were responsible for joint planning with the task force G-2 and G-3. The latter two chose the targets, while the air staff "planned the attack, determined the number and type of aircraft to be used, the types of bombs, the techniques of attack, the selection of the units . . . and the briefing of the crews." For mobile warfare, Northern Sector Air Force provided the "air party":
Personnel of an air party consisted of a team of one or two officers with six to eight enlisted men. Their station was with an advanced brigade at the front. . . . They were in [radio communication] with the air office, giving immediate information on targets selected by the army and approved by the air party. They also served as guides to aircraft which were making the air strikes. Sometimes, when it was impossible to observe the tactical situation from the position of the air party, an L-5 was used for strike observation, which worked through the air party.17
Radio and photography were vital in the air-ground support mechanism. Of the several air elements in Burma, the Tenth Air Force reached the highest point in air-ground radio communication, using high-frequency SCR-117 or -118 for point-to-point transmission linking the air party with the air force's signal center, and very high frequency radio for communication with the aircraft making the attack. "In cases of emergency, it took about twenty minutes for communications to be sent from the air party to fighter group headquarters. In some cases aircraft were over the target thirty minutes after the original request." The Tenth Air Force also made complete use of photographic facilities. Low-level verticals, reconnaissance strips, obliques, and pinpoint shots were used. Both air and ground personnel used photographs for target designation, briefing, and aerial identification of targets.
Of equal importance in target designation were the efforts of the Kachins, Burmese, and Americans working for the Office of Strategic Services in Detachment 101. Operating behind the Japanese lines, and well equipped with
radios, these daring men sent a steady flow of data on the location of supply dumps, rest areas, billets, command posts, and the like.18
About one third of the fighter sorties were in direct support of the infantry. This meant 221 Group flew 9,000 such sorties between March and July 1944, while their colleagues of 224 Group flew about 5,000. During siege operations in north Burma, Northern Sector Air Force and successor commands averaged thirty-three fighter sorties a day, a rather deceptive figure, for these sorties were flown in monsoon weather so that good flying days saw many times the thirty-three figure flown. The RAF expended 25,000 rounds of 40-mm. ammunition in ground support during the first six months of 1944. In the same period the fighters dropped 9,327 tons of bombs.19
Air-ground co-operation was most marked in its effect on the Japanese 15th Army's attack on India in spring 1944. To obtain surprise, the Japanese deliberately omitted much necessary preliminary engineer work on the dirt trails from the Chindwin River forward that were to sustain their three divisions in battle. The Japanese planned on a grand rush that would carry them over the British supply dumps in a matter of weeks. The opening phases went well; then the battle settled down to hard pounding. At this point the 4 Corps at Imphal depended on air supply, 33 Corps driving to relieve it depended on the Bengal and Assam Railway and Dimapur road, and 15th Army on the jungle trails.
Allied fighters swarmed over the dirt trails all day long, bombing and strafing. Japanese supplies could be moved only at night, a task fantastically complicated when the monsoon rains began. As a result of the constriction of the roads, from May 1944 on 15th Army quite literally starved. Looking back on their experiences at Imphal, the Japanese commanders and staffs approached eloquence in dilating on the importance of air-ground co-operation: "With a good signals system and air supplies, the Allies were able to carry out their operations freely and unhindered whereas the Japanese without air supplies and with their only means of supply--ground transport--cut off, were in a paralyzed state. . . . The difference in ground-air cooperation between the Japanese Army and the Allies was the difference between victory and defeat." To this comment by Lt. Col. Iwaichi Fujiwara, sometime G-2 and G-3 of 15th Army, could be added similar ones by Lt. Gen. Takazo Numata, Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Southern Army.20
A form of air support most highly valued by the infantryman was the air evacuation of ground casualties on the grand scale. Where previously the wounded, in default of other means of transport, had jolted and swayed for agonizing days in litters, ambulances, and trains on the long trip back to hospital,
now small liaison aircraft could land on a rough airstrip immediately behind the lines, pick up the soldier, and fly him to a collecting point. There an air transport with a flight nurse would receive him and fly him back to hospital. The worst part of the journey would be that to the first airstrip for if the soldier was wounded in the hills it might take the litter bearers several days to cover the seven or eight miles to the nearest airstrip. If the soldier in north Burma happened to be wounded near the combat supply road which ran south and east through the Hukawng and Mogaung Valleys, he could be taken by ambulance to the clearing company, and by ambulance again to the American field hospital. Evacuation of British and Indian units followed a similar pattern; the same facilities served all Allied troops. Between December 1943 and August 1944, 18,256 casualties were evacuated from north Burma by air. From Burma as a whole, EAC in sixteen months evacuated more than 106,000 casualties.21
As noted before in this history, Burma is not an ideal subject for the demonstration of strategic bombardment, for it is very large, and predominantly agricultural. The Japanese Army depended on the Burmese economy for food, oil, some clothing, and a few simple munitions and spare parts. After October 1943 and the opening of the Burma-Siam Railway almost everything else came in by train. Of the targets found in Burma, the oil fields, the supply dumps, and the rail lines seemed the most promising. The Japanese Army depended on its infantry, so its oil needs were modest, and even sharp reductions in the capacity of the Yenangyaung oil installations seem not to have hurt Burma Area Army's supply position. Japanese dumps closer to the front suffered heavily in the all-important Manipur area, but not elsewhere in spring 1944. The railroads, to Allied target analysts, seemed clearly indicated as the most promising target, though not an easy or fragile one. Against these several classes of targets for strategic bombing, Strategic Air Force in January 1944 could pit 61 B-24's, 25 Wellingtons, and 32 B-25's. In June, the command had 53 B-24's, 13 Wellingtons, and 69 B-25's. Such was not an imposing force with which to attack an area the size of Germany.22
"The main purpose of the Strategic Air Force . . . was to disrupt the enemy's entire transportation system in the India-Burma Theater. . . ." The initial EAC directives gave first priority to hostile air force installations, but in practice this mission fell to the Tactical Air Force. Shipping was given second priority, for its highly mobile nature made it a target of opportunity. The railroads were always present, and they had third priority. After the opening of the
Burma-Siam Railway Japanese shipping disappeared from the Rangoon area and sea sweeps were not profitable. As of 31 March 1944 the 7th Bombardment Group (H) had dropped only nineteen tons of bombs on shipping in the Rangoon area. In practice, then, until June 1944 the railroads were the number one target for Strategic Air Force. Then Operational Directive 10 gave first priority to support of Fourteenth Army (the British formation on the Manipur front) and second to attacks on shipping and railways.23
The Fourteenth Air Force was not an appreciable factor in isolating Burma through destruction of Japanese shipping. On the other hand, its operations did introduce the element of delay and uncertainty into the southward movement of Japanese supplies by sea. Eastern Air Command's antishipping operations by bomb and mine made the Japanese happy to leave the task of supplying the Burma Area Army to the Burma-Siam Railway. Up to spring 1944 the Japanese maintained a limited traffic in small wooden ships between Singapore and Rangoon. Then the increasing efficiency of the Allied bombers restricted them to night operations along the coast line, and finally toward the war's end reduced them to using luggers and farmers' skiffs ("country boats") between Moulmein and Rangoon.24
In attacking land communications, Strategic Air Force followed four principles: (1) to attack railways as the most important such target within reach, (2) to pick bridges as the most vulnerable point on the railway, (3) to isolate segments of line and destroy rolling stock and engines trapped therein, and (4) to use diversity of attack to confuse the enemy.
Bombing the railways did not bring major results in the 1943-44 campaign because the means at the airmen's disposal were inadequate, though they attacked with devotion and skill. On New Year's Day, 1944, B-25's blew out 140 feet of the 400-foot Mu River span, vital for carrying supplies toward the Chindwin area. The weather turned bad in January and 50 percent of the missions were canceled. The 7th Bombardment Group was withdrawn for special training in February. Its return in March, plus the addition of the 12th Bombardment Group, made for a greater weight of attack. The 1,650-foot Sittang Bridge, site of the 1942 tragedy, was crippled in April 1944 as soon as the Japanese repaired it after months of effort. The 700-foot bridge just north of Mandalay on the line to Myitkyina was successfully attacked. With these bridges went more than a score of others. When the Japanese moved against India, the bombers switched their attention to the roads west from Ye-u and Wuntho and pounded them daily. Attacks were also made on the Yenangyaung oil fields.25
The 7,348.3 tons of bombs dropped by the Strategic Air Force up to 30 June
BOMBING OF BRIDGES such as this Mu River bypass bridge slowed the movement of Japanese supplies to the Chindwin area.
1944 did not affect the campaign because they did not disrupt Japanese rail traffic. Makeshift repairs and gangs of coolies could always carry supplies over breaks in the lines. The four main sectors on which the Japanese fought in Burma shared one common peculiarity in that each was separated from the railhead by many miles of unimproved road. In the case of the 18th Division in the Hukawng Valley 140 miles lay between it and the railway. The 15th Army left its railhead even farther behind when it attacked toward Imphal, and further complicated its supply problems by crossing a major river and a mountain range. When 15th Army failed to take the British supply dumps in the first rush it simply thrust its head into a noose. The 28th Army in the Arakan depended on a combination of dirt trails and coastal waterways. Only the 56th Division on the Salween front had a good supply situation and it was significantly near the Lashio railhead. Until the 3d Indian Division was dropped astride the railway to Myitkyina that line had no trouble in bringing supplies to the 18th Division's railhead.
The ultimately crippling Japanese supply problems on the Arakan, Manipur, and north Burma fronts began at railhead, with the inherent limitations of a dirt road many times compounded by a steadily worsening truck shortage,
TONNAGES SHIPPED TO BURMA OVER BURMA-SIAM RAILWAY:
NOVEMBER 1943-AUGUST 1945
Year and month Short tons Year and month Short tons Total 228,550 September 18,050 October 19,500 1943 November 20,400 November 7,600 December 21,850 December 9,500 1944 1945 January 11,400 January 11,400 February 12,350 February 5,200 March 12,350 March 5,300 April 10,150 April 3,900 May 11,250 May 1,200 June 12,700 June 1,000 July 15,650 July 500 August 17,100 August 200
Source: SEATIC Bull 246, Burma-Siam Ry, 3 Oct 45. MID Library.
monsoon rains, and the constant attacks of Allied fighters and bombers.26 Japan's principal supply route to Burma, the Burma-Siam Railway, was not affected by air bombing in the first six months of 1944. Traffic over it increased steadily. Allied prisoners of war later reported that on occasion they saw as many as ten trains a day moving in each direction. After the war, the Japanese claimed that traffic on the Burma-Siam Railway increased from a daily average of one train in December 1943 to three trains in June 1944.27 (Table 1)
The coming of the monsoon rains and the diversion of some of the U.S. B-24's to air cargo operations brought a sharp reduction in strategic bombing. Tonnage dropped from the 2,069 mark of May to 285 in July and 206 in
August, rising thereafter to 416 in September. Tonnages did not hit the 1,000 mark for the rest of the year.28
Because the U.S. combat effort in Burma was primarily in the air, an appraisal of air operations cannot be omitted in a theater history. Not until the fall of 1944 were there two U.S. regimental combat teams in Burma, while in the air the United States contributed two air forces, the B-29's, and the tremendous Air Transport Command effort. It is notable that an enormous disparity of strength in the air could not prevent the Japanese from advancing at will in the Arakan and Manipur sectors until they reached the point at which the Indians and British planned to hold and fight it out.
When the battle on the ground was fairly joined, air supply, which is possible only if the air space over the battlefield is controlled by friendly hands, prevented the Japanese encircling tactic from defeating the Allies once more. Allied control of the air permitted continual attacks on the roads supplying the Japanese, thus making their supply situation on the Imphal front ultimately impossible. In north Burma, the encircling tactics that Stilwell used against the Japanese forced them, in the absence of their own air supply, to fight a series of retreating actions with heavy losses in equipment and supplies, further complicated by the deficiencies of their primitive line of communications.
It is noteworthy that the heaviest Japanese rail traffic coincided with the heaviest EAC bombing effort, then fell off sharply in October 1944 when but 500 tons of bombs were dropped. (Table 2) The decline immediately followed the monsoon rains in which bombing had been light and sporadic. The great slump in Japanese rail traffic in Burma did not come until January 1945, when tactical aviation was able to cover the rail net as in spring 1944 it had interdicted the jungle trails, when Allied troops were progressively overrunning the railways, and when the Japanese shipping situation was approaching the catastrophic. The contrast between the relative futility of the strategic bombing effort in the 1943-44 campaign and the success of air supply, indicates that air supply, made possible by air superiority, is the key to Allied victory in Burma.29
The nature of Burma's terrain and climate and the Japanese military system, which had taken such clever advantage of them in the 1942-43 campaigns,
AVERAGE DAILY TRAFFIC AT TERMINALS OF PRINCIPAL BRANCH LINES OF JAPANESE-OPERATED RAILWAYS IN BURMA:
JANUARY 1943-AUGUST 1945
[Number of Railroad Cars]
a Estimates of Burma Area Army, which did not control traffic on Burma-Siam line.
Year and month Total Martaban Mandalay Myingyan Prome Lashio Myitkyina Burma-
1943 January 337 0 161 76 40 25 35 0 February 229 0 109 58 25 17 20 0 March 241 15 102 63 29 20 12 0 April 240 11 136 49 21 15 8 0 May 229 8 128 51 19 12 11 0 June 351 21 169 65 58 14 24 0 July 347 27 183 47 58 15 17 0 August 335 29 174 53 54 13 12 0 September 180 13 98 42 21 6 (b) 0 October 202 16 86 38 27 15 20 0 November 197 25 66 47 29 14 16 0 December 218 39 61 54 23 19 18 4 1944 January 250 34 133 26 26 17 8 6 February 213 13 102 33 28 19 4 14 March 233 27 73 40 35 19 17 22 April 202 36 100 17 29 12 8 (b) May 237 39 102 19 31 14 5 27 June 245 32 128 33 27 11 2 12 July 227 38 136 16 22 14 1 (b) August 222 45 124 24 22 6 1 (b) September 220 41 117 13 23 7 1 18 October 191 25 97 12 16 6 2 33 November 216 24 72 22 19 6 1 72 December 189 32 65 19 18 15 0 40 1945 January 113 36 43 12 16 6 0 (b) February 149 35 34 16 8 5 0 51 March 71 11 18 20 14 0 0 8 April 15 5 6 0 0 0 0 4 May 32 25 0 0 0 0 0 7 June 28 13 0 0 0 0 0 15 July 21 13 0 0 0 0 0 8 August 19 13 0 0 0 0 0 6
b Figures not available.
Source: USSBS. Atchd Sheet 1, 64g (8). National Archives. Daily average data based on records of Burma Area Army.
impressed themselves strongly on the senior Allied ground force officers in India and Burma. The geographic factors of heavily wooded jungle, rough terrain, and monsoon climate greatly aggravated the problems of moving supplies on the ground. Roads, when made, had to be maintained, and a great deal of the road's capacity was consumed by maintenance, thus reducing its pay load. A more economical system for the supply of forward elements was needed. In the light of these factors, by summer 1943 the American members of the staff of the Chinese Army in India explicitly accepted the principle that when the North Burma Campaign began, troops in the forward area would be supplied by air.30
The experiments that finally led to this conclusion began with the airdrops made to refugees fleeing Burma in May, June, and July 1942. That summer, General Wingate organized his first Long-Range Penetration Group to operate solely on air supply. Concurrently, a small unit of Australian troops, retreating from the Japanese across New Guinea's Owen Stanley Mountains, was supplied by air. When Allied strength in New Guinea permitted a counteroffensive, the 2d Battalion, 126th U.S. Infantry, was supplied by air on its way back over the mountains. Wingate's February 1943 expedition was supplied by air.31
With these experiences in mind, Stilwell in late February 1943 resolved that isolated troops in the Naga Hills, such as air-warning stations and Chinese outposts guarding the Ledo Road, should be supplied by air. Details came from laundry and ordnance personnel, the 51st Fighter Group supplied containers and parachutes, the Ferry Command at Chabua assigned some C-47's, and a junior officer, 1st Lt. Frederick L. Wood, Jr., of Ordnance, was put in charge.
The experiment worked so well that at the end of the year permanent organization seemed advisable. This covered simply the warehousing, packing, dropping, and receipt of supplies. By September 1943, the air supply of combat in north Burma was accepted as a matter of course. G-4 of the Combat Troops, Ledo Sector, was responsible for target designation and proper delivery. SOS stored and packed. The air forces delivered. No one organization was charged with sole responsibility. This division promised future administrative difficulties.
When the Chinese Army in India opened the North Burma Campaign in October 1943, the air supply resources committed to the effort were: 1st and 2d Troop Carrier Squadrons; 518th Quartermaster Battalion (Mobile), charged with procuring, warehousing, packing, and dropping; the 3841st QM Truck Company, which did the hazardous and responsible work of kicking supplies from the transports on schedule; and the 3304th QM Truck Company, which received and distributed. These units were under Base Transportation Section,
KICKERS PREPARE TO DROP SUPPLIES in north Burma.
Base Section No. 3. The problems involved rapidly passed beyond its scope and in October the base section S-4 took over.32
Allocation of Transport Aircraft
By the end of December 1943, air deliveries had increased from the 199 net tons of April 1943 to 1,391 tons. In percentage the increase was great, but the greatest development lay in the future. As part of the integration of the air forces, Troop Carrier Command was activated 15 December 1943 under General Old, with headquarters at Comilla. Under him were the 1st and 2d Troop Carrier Squadrons listed above, plus the 27th and 315th Troop Carrier Squadrons, and 31, 62, 117, and 194 Squadrons of the RAF.33
Mountbatten was fully aware of the possibilities of airborne operations, while his headquarters was coming to appreciate what might be done by standard
infantry divisions on air supply. He sought energetically to increase the allotment of transports for SEAC and saw the ATC as a source of aircraft for the proposal to drop a division on the rail line to Myitkyina. The initial agreement was that Mountbatten could divert the equivalent of 1,100 tons a month from the ATC to furnish air supply to his campaign. Later, the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested that while the CCS should recognize that SEAC must have resources adequate to its tasks it was also necessary to have a firm commitment to China over the next six months for ATC tonnage. Specifically, the JCS proposed that SEAC's transport allotment be increased from 11 C-47's or 8 C-46's in February 1944 to 188 C-47's or 126 C-46's in the following month, when major offensive operations were to take place. The CCS approved, but since the expected major operations vanished when the Generalissimo refused to cross the Salween, there were only seventy-six transports on hand for SEAC when March began.34
Mountbatten did not regard seventy-six planes as adequate, and his representatives in Washington were asked to press for more, on the grounds that his resources would not permit him to take and hold the Myitkyina area as the JCS desired. He told them:
After seeing the performance of Stilwell's Chinese forces and hearing of the wonderful show which Wingate and Cochran's No. 1 Air Commando have put up I am becoming convinced that Allied Forces could march all over Burma provided they have adequate air supply and air support and I hope that you will do all you can to emphasize the need for more transport aircraft and yet more transport aircraft and the rapid formation of further Air Commandos on Cochran's style both in England and America.35
To Mountbatten's request, thus relayed, General Arnold replied that he was forming four transport groups totaling 400 aircraft. The first 100 planes went to SEAC in May 1944. Thus SEAC began to acquire the great fleets of air transports which so changed the nature of war in Burma. The difficulty in the way of Mountbatten's having the full complement that he requested lay in his omitting to support his request with detailed plans for future aggressive operations. The Joint Planners, in default of such data, preferred to recommend that SEAC have but 200 transports and Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific, the balance.36
As for the type of transport aircraft used, the C-47 had qualities of stability that resulted in its being assigned almost all airdropping missions. It was easy to load and balance the C-47 so long as cargo was tied down as far forward as possible. When the aircraft was in flight, cargo could be dragged to the door
and kicked out without upsetting the transport's balance. In the case of the C-46, cargo had to be arranged in the fuselage literally with slide rule precision lest the craft's flying qualities be adversely affected. Nor could cargo be shifted readily when the aircraft was in flight, for the same reason. Therefore the C-46 and the four-engined C-54 were most useful on the Hump, while the stable, sturdy, and dependable C-47 was excellently adapted to dropping supplies from low altitudes.37
In north Burma, the SOS continually altered and enlarged its organization to keep pace with the expanding needs of the combat troops for air supply. Base Section No. 3, under Colonel Pick, recognized that air supply had outgrown the stage at which a quartermaster battalion could meet the responsibility, and decided to activate a packing and airdropping unit on an ad hoc basis. The 3962d and 3964th QM Truck Companies, of the 518th QM Battalion (Mobile), plus kicking crews from the 3841st QM Truck Company began operations on 1 December 1943 from the Sookerating Tea Factory, Sookerating, Assam, near the airfield of that name. (See Map 1.) It is worthy of note that all air-delivery equipment used in the CBI Theater was of British or Indian origin. Not until GALAHAD's air-supply personnel arrived at Dinjan airfield in late January 1944 did the air-supply personnel have a chance to examine U.S.-made airdrop equipment.38 At the front, matters were simplified by a decision to drop directly to the troops, relieving the quartermaster personnel drawn from the 3304th QM Truck Company of their mission of receiving and distributing. In February 1944, Base Section No. 3 set up an airdropping section under its S-4 to perform its share of the administrative work of air supply.
Within EAC, the mechanism initially set up by Troop Carrier Command to apportion aircraft among the several fronts did not work well. Aircraft were allocated on the basis of advance estimates of a month's requirements in terms of air-supply tonnage. In practice, it proved impossible for any commander to estimate the urgency of his needs fifteen to forty-five days in advance. The result was an inflexibility wasteful of aircraft. G-4 of the Sino-American combat troops in north Burma had to be forever appealing to Troop Carrier Command to alter its schedules on the basis of a changed tactical situation, while simultaneously informing SOS of the degree of priority attached to each mission.39
The rigidity of this system of aircraft allocation was no doubt a partial cause of the shortage of aircraft supporting the North Burma Campaign. Even the
opening of a subdepot at Shingbwiyang airstrip in the Hukawng Valley, January 1944, though it shortened turnaround time, did not relieve the problem. General Boatner requested Base Section No. 3 to build the supply levels in the forward area up to the required point. That his request, with its implied demand on aircraft, went to SOS, implies the threefold nature of the air-supply mechanism at that time. A fortnight later Boatner wrote to theater headquarters, pointing out that he had 14,000 men in advance of the roadhead and all dependent on air supply, and that a regiment, a tank group, and a British brigade had been moved into his area with no increase in his air resources. This recourse yielded nothing, and so finally Boatner wrote directly to Stilwell.
The theater commander promptly interceded with Stratemeyer and Old. On 11 February Stilwell told Stratemeyer that the next few weeks would be critical, after which, progress on the Ledo Road would ease the supply situation. Stilwell understood that troop-carrier aircraft had been diverted, tonnage into Fort Hertz increased without his consent, and aircraft diverted from air-supply missions for secret tasks without prior notice. Over a six-day period his headquarters had asked for 158 planeloads and received only 98. Not intending to be deprived of his resources, Stilwell was depending on Stratemeyer to see that a failure in air supply did not interfere with his operations.40
The experience with this transport shortage, and the obvious effort to find a responsible agency, were probably among the reasons for the decision to reconstitute the Tenth Air Force as the organization supporting Stilwell's campaign. No criticism of the air forces was implied in Boatner's letters, for it was recognized that the energy, skill, and valor of the pilots and crews in delivering supplies through all sorts of weather, and meeting the demands of units that were at times improvident in their use of air supply, often made good the errors of the other agencies. It was an experimental period.
From January to May 1944, the combat headquarters in north Burma, the SOS, and Troop Carrier Command argued among themselves over the administration of air supply to Stilwell's forces. Each had good reason for its claim to be the co-ordinating agency. SOS could contend that supply of the troops was its normal mission. The airmen considered that their possession of the means made them logically responsible for delivery at the right time and place, that SOS could well surrender the related ground operations. Stilwell's field headquarters was not so active on its own behalf for it did not desire to be responsible for SOS and AAF activities but it did insist on the needs of the ultimate consumers. The solution finally settled on in May 1944 was that G-4 of Stilwell's field headquarters, Chih Hui Pu (later Northern Combat Area Command) should institute and operate a system of priorities.41
Matched with the reactivation of Tenth Air Force, 20 June 1944, as Stratemeyer's Tactical Air Force supporting the North Burma Campaign, the decision to give Stilwell's G-4 control over air-supply priorities meant that Stilwell controlled his tactical air support and was free to use his air-ground team as the needs of the campaign might suggest.42 There was the utmost flexibility in the allocation of aircraft to meet G-4's priorities, and the requirements of the ground forces in general. Thus, the 3d Combat Cargo Group, AAF, which arrived in India 30 May, was attached to the Tactical Air Force by the order of 20 June 1944, but supported both the 4 Corps at Imphal and the Chinese troops in north Burma with impartiality. The group's arrival lifted the total of AAF transports on hand from 112 to 191. It was an experimental unit with 150 aircrews, some of them veteran ATC personnel.43
The techniques worked out by trial and error began to yield remarkable results by July 1944. Matters did not of course always run smoothly, either before or after the priority system was set up. On 7 June 1944, the American liaison officer with the Chinese 38th Division reported that unit had actually received only twenty-five supply drops of the sixty that G-4 claimed were delivered. The liaison officer was beginning to be annoyed. Willing though he was to go hungry, he was profoundly irritated at being assured supplies had been delivered when he was exceedingly well aware they had not. In November, his successor radioed that if the complete failure of the Chinese medical supply system was his fault to let him know, but if, in fact, there was no medical supply system, would G-4 please create one. The soldiers at the front were using parachutes for dressing wounds, and there were practically no drugs left in the former hospital which was now but a rest camp.44 But if the machine of air supply was not foolproof, it did ultimately feed, clothe, and arm five Chinese divisions, one British division, an American brigade, and a host of service troops.
G-4 of Stilwell's field headquarters changed its former Air Dropping Section to an Air Control Section to inaugurate the priorities system in late June. Ninety percent of all requests from units in the field were marked "urgent" by the submitting unit; they were of course reviewed and reclassified as "urgent," "first priority," or "second priority," by the airstrip or target designation of the point to which delivery was requested, and by the air base whence the load was to originate.
The priorities sheet was teletyped early at night to all interested agencies
PACKING SUPPLIES FOR AIRDROP. Drums of gasoline are prepared (above,) and eggs are packed by the "country basket" method (below)
and was used as the daily operational orders on the basis of which SOS assembled and packed the loads, and the Air Forces delivered. G-4 kept complete data on the supply status of all units supported, so as to equate it with the progress of operations as reported by G-3. The priorities once set were then followed up by G-4 to see that deliveries were made or to investigate failures if any occurred. The priorities sheet in turn permitted operational economies. Aircraft were loaded at night to be ready for a dawn take-off. Knowing what loads were available at each field made it possible for aircraft that finished one mission to go to a near-by field, pick up another load, and make another delivery before returning to the base. Operation of the priority system brought an immediate 50 percent increase in tonnage delivered without need for added facilities.
SOS through study and experiment steadily improved its own methods of loading aircraft and packing supplies. Generally, they reflected the adoption of American industrial techniques familiar to many Army personnel through their civilian experiences. Standardized loads, production line techniques in packaging, prepacking of loads, plant layout designed to speed the flow of material, simultaneous loading, fueling, and crew briefing, round-the-clock operation of facilities, all were adopted. Suggestions for improvement in this application of advanced industrial techniques to jungle warfare came from all ranks, a full 50 percent of whom were Negro troops. In emergencies, air-supply personnel worked twenty-four hours a day without sleep to get the loads out on time.
There were three methods of delivering supplies--by landing the cargo aircraft at a forward strip, by parachuting supplies through the door of the aircraft, and by "free-dropping," as the method of dropping supplies packed simply in sacks came to be called. (Table 3) The simplest and most economical procedure, given the existence of a safe and suitably located airstrip, was to deliver supplies direct from the transport. When that method was possible, its economy and convenience made it preferable. When airstrips were not available or practical, then free-dropping and parachuting were used, to which the items most in demand--rations, forage, fuel, and ammunition--were well adapted. Oil and gasoline were dropped in 55-gallon drums, protected by sacks of rice husks as bumpers, and suspended from multiple parachutes.
Dropping supplies from the aircraft to the ground raised major problems of packaging. Since air-supply techniques were being worked out on a local basis in CBI, and no equipment came from the United States before late in 1943, Indian material had to be used, and proved extremely practicable. A container that could withstand the impact of the ground--a considerable force even when parachutes were used--was found in the "country basket." This was a woven bamboo frame, covered tightly by hessian cloth, with a cradle of heavy ¾-inch rope fastened to the parachute. Experience revealed that the baskets should not be too large, so that a number of them could be kicked out of the aircraft on one flight over the drop zone. The basket proved so sturdy
TONNAGE DELIVERED TO NORTHERN COMBAT AREA COMMAND BY AIR
APRIL 1943-MARCH 1945a
Year and month Sorties Number of short tons Total Landed Free-dropped Parachuted Total 58,710 152,828 89,914 33,136 29,778 1943 1,623 4,920 0 2,676 2,244 April 66 199 0 109 90 May 116 348 0 190 158 June 53 160 0 88 72 July 194 583 0 321 262 August 85 255 0 142 113 September 103 308 0 139 169 October 177 532 0 293 239 November 381 1,144 0 629 515 December 448 1,391 0 765 626 1944 38,897 101,874 60,713 22,826 18,335 January 863 2,589 0 1,424 1,165 February 941 2,823 0 1,831 992 March 1,555 4,648 698 1,022 2,928 April 2,290 5,913 2,011 2,543 1,359 May 1,614 4,408 1,895 1,542 971 June 1,616 4,004 1,773 1,305 926 July 3,606 9,456 6,151 1,938 1,367 August 4,974 12,748 9,094 1,749 1,905 September 4,328 11,188 8,711 1,584 893 October 5,481 14,360 10,598 2,370 1,392 November 6,041 15,894 10,206 3,294 2,394 December 5,588 13,843 9,576 2,224 2,043 1945 18,190 46,034 29,201 7,634 9,199 January 6,370 16,215 8,985 3,024 4,206 February 5,829 14,716 9,545 2,312 2,859 March 5,991 15,103 10,671 2,298 2,134
a Excludes air supply to GALAHAD.
Source: NCAC History, App. 6, pp. 16-17.
and resilient that there was no need to pack rice husks or sawdust round its contents. Made by Indian contractors, the country basket was a most useful tool, and was used in great quantity. Parachutes, too, were of Indian manufacture.
Because parachutes and containers were relatively expensive and scarce, free-dropping was used when possible. Rice, salt, animal forage, and various ration items for Indian troops lent themselves well to being packed in 35-pound burlap sacks which in turn were put into larger sacks. Once labeled with a code symbol to indicate the contents, the sack was ready for dropping.
By ingenuity it was found possible to deliver items that would seem most unlikely candidates for airdropping. Chinese units received live poultry and pigs as rewards for distinguished action or to mark feast days. Eggs were safely dropped. Radios, radio parts, high explosives, field ranges and small carts were able, when carefully packed, to survive dropping.45
Initial operation of the priorities system tended to overload communications facilities. In July 1944, the theater signal officer joined with the G-4 of Stilwell's field headquarters to obtain better co-ordination of commercial, SOS, and AAF lines. "Top priority for their use after 1500 hours was given to air control." Code machines were obtained and used to send messages in the clear. The form of messages was also improved. Initially, Signal Corps insisted on use of its own style in the arranging of messages, with numbers spelled out and the whole text given as one big paragraph with no indentations for numbered subheads. As a result, messages on receipt had to be retyped to make them usable. Repeated protests finally brought agreement to sending radios in any logical readable form.46
Problems of Air Supply
The greater number by far of the troops supplied by air in north Burma were Chinese, and Chinese cultural traits in contact with the latest Western gadgets produced results which ranged from the sidesplitting to the tragic. Americans and Chinese might not always agree on what was humorous and what was not, but contacts between the two peoples produced a wealth of anecdotes and a number of problems. On one occasion, a Chinese unit was first at the drop field when some blood plasma was delivered. The plasma disappeared, and only later was it learned that the Chinese had made their pack horses drink it. "But why?" they were asked. "Weren't your horses well?" "Perhaps so," the Chinese admitted, "but the medicine made them better!"
Chinese troops were far easier to supply by air than were U.S. or British soldiers. The individual Chinese required but three pounds of rations a day as against the American's five pounds. He did not ask the variety in his diet that the American demanded. The Chinese was not only extremely careful of his possessions, in contrast to the habitually wasteful American soldier, but Chinese units had a way of acquiring more, and more, and still more equipment, while American units could be trailed by what they discarded. Consequently,
"once Chinese Units were fully equipped little was ever heard from them except requests for ammunition, rations, medical supplies and certain short-lived items of equipment."
But the Chinese had their failings. Every Chinese unit of any size had its liaison unit of an American officer or two and some enlisted men. These received their own rations, mail, and supplies by airdrop through the Chinese division G-4. Somewhere between the Chinese staff officer and the liaison team, American mail, packages, and supplies tended to vanish. In the classic Chinese fashion, rations and ammunition were overordered on the grand scale. Thus in December 1943, the Chinese 38th Division's requisitions were 280 percent in excess of its strength.
Naturally, there were times when even the extraordinary carrying powers of the Chinese could not cope with this manna raining down. Supply dumps and less formal caches were left behind, and there was great barter with the Burmese. When the Yunnan border was approached, pack trains began to carry American lend-lease to the Yunnan bazaars, as in the days when the Burma Road was hailed as "China's life line."
Many American service units such as hospitals were attached to Chinese units and shared the same dropping fields and airstrips. Sincerely grateful as the Chinese were for the medical care they received, many Chinese failed to see any connection between it and the food that was dropped for hospital personnel. Consequently, the medicos had to be vigilant, quick, and strong, to claim their rations on the instant.
The Chinese seemed to find it hard to mark dropping fields correctly, and having once marked a field were reluctant to mark it again, feeling that every pilot in north Burma would know the spot once supplies had been dropped on it. Occasionally, Chinese fired on transports coming in for a supply drop, and were extremely careless about putting mortar or artillery fire through the air space in which transports were flying. For their part the transport crews sometimes carried small arms and grenades and would use both against areas which they believed held Japanese. They were sometimes mistaken in their beliefs.
Nor did the Chinese ever seem to realize that there was genuine danger in the falling packages. The Chinese "stood on the field or rushed out from the sidelines to catch parachuted supplies as they floated like manna from the skies. Many of these were killed by free dropped rice bags, some crushed and not a few actually beheaded."47
The basic cause of much of the Chinese soldiers' behavior probably lay in a fear that some day this wonderful and incomprehensible flow would end, a fear reawakened whenever supplies failed to arrive on time. No Chinese general had ever been so mad as to pour out goods and wealth like this! Surely even the American barbarians would someday realize that one did not use good iron
to make a nail or a good man to make a soldier. But though the supply machine sometimes faltered, it never failed, and the Chinese soldier continued his patient, valorous, enduring advance.48
Equipment for airdropping was sometimes in very short supply. During November and December 1943 it was necessary to fly supplies of rope and hessian cloth from Calcutta to Assam since fresh stocks were not forthcoming through regular channels. Investigation revealed that supplies which had been dispatched some weeks before had been sent by river barges. These in turn had been stranded during a period of low water. After this experience supplies were sent by rail all the way. Parachute stocks on occasion fell so low as to cause concern. Such emergencies were met by applying "extreme pressure" on the troops to collect, preserve, and return parachutes, for normally no parachutes were ever returned from the front.
Because delivery of the desired items to the proper point depended on adequate information, quick and accurate communications between the central control point for air supply at Ledo and the airfields was necessary. One reason lay in the fact that sometimes it was necessary to change the destination of a plane while it was in the air. For another, a steady flow of data as to the requirements of troops was necessary for effective preplanning. Until a teletype system was installed in May 1944, a telephone was used, and, because of inherent deficiencies in the Indian system of that date, was unsatisfactory.49
The supply effort was not without its price. From January to August 1944 inclusive, the AAF lost 32 transports destroyed or missing, and had 24 damaged.50 The dollar cost was high, for air supply is an expensive operation, whose economy is found in its speeding of victory. Even using equipment that was of Indian manufacture and so less expensive, SOS estimated the cost of air supply as:
$1,909.65 per ton parachuted
$ 94.07 per ton free-dropped
$ 49.61 per ton landed51
The cost of parachuting supplies reflects the price of the parachute. To drop a ton of supplies using American parachutes called for, among other things, fourteen 24-foot parachutes at $72.00 each, a total of $1,012.00. Free-dropping a ton of supplies called for $14.75 of drawstring bags and stencil equipment. Expenses could have been sharply reduced if troops and commanders had cooperated in salvaging parachutes, but less than 1 percent was ever reclaimed. Parachutes were a great aid in softening some of the miseries of war in the jungle, doing service as objects of barter with the Burmese, foxhole lining, "tentage, bandages, target panels, towels, handkerchiefs, sheets, and pajamas."
PARACHUTE-COVERED FOXHOLE in the Burmese jungle.
On its own initiative a drop team of the Chinese 50th Division salvaged 998 British and U.S. parachutes. The saving of $38,000.00 drew a letter of appreciation from the commanding general to the division commander and his drop crew.
The cost to the Air Forces of one sortie was about $1,285.00. Total expense of delivering 18,300 tons in one month was $12,688,742.25. The major item was operating the aircraft, $7,760.00. Next was the expense of parachuting 2,394 tons, or $4,571,000.00. Landing 10,206 tons cost but $47,049.66, which points an obvious moral, since dollars are the bookkeeping symbol for the expenditure of a given amount of energy, skill, and raw material by the economy at a time of great strain.52
The B-29 Command Problem
The decision to place B-29's in China, Burma, and India injected yet another command problem into an already tangled situation. Chennault and Mountbatten both wanted to command the B-29's, confronting Stilwell with
a delicate problem of intratheater relationships. Brig. Gen. Edgar E. Glenn, Chennault's chief of staff, told General Hearn, his opposite number in Stilwell's headquarters, that it was a "well known fact that the Chinese have applied for and have been refused representation on the Joint Chiefs of Staff [sic], the reasons being that the sphere of influence of the JCoS [sic] did not include China." Because Glenn understood that the JCS were retaining ultimate control of the B-29's, he felt that under the circumstances the command arrangement would anger the Chinese. He further claimed it was unjust that Chennault should not be given command of the B-29's and informed Hearn that the proposed operations "demand a complete unification of command for proper co-ordination." Glenn demanded as well that that the B-29 project be completely divorced from SEAC.53
Hoping to receive command of the B-29's and approval of his strategic views by a presidential order overruling the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, Chennault in late January 1944 put his case before the President through direct correspondence.54 He may have believed that events had provided the answer to the objections Stratemeyer had raised to his plans in October 1943. After SEXTANT, the Generalissimo had been offered the opportunity of delaying his portion of the Burma campaign until November 1944. This offer could be taken as reason to divert Hump tonnage from the Chinese ground forces to the Fourteenth Air Force. In December 1943, Hump tonnage had jumped from the 7,300 tons of November to 13,450 tons as the TRIDENT decisions finally bore fruit.
Basically, Chennault's memorandum and letter to the President were the familiar Chennault Plan, but with considerable attention to the command problem posed by the B-29's. Chennault recommended that the B-29's under his command should attack Japanese industrial targets after air supremacy in China had been won and Japanese ocean shipping decimated. Fourth priority should go to attacks on Japanese Army installations in China proper, Formosa, and Hainan. The Fourteenth Air Force's commander stated that if the Chinese Army attacked the Japanese positions on the Yangtze River after the Fourteenth Air Force had vigorously bombed them and injured the Japanese line of communications the Japanese would soon begin to withdraw. Consistent with his earlier proposals, though he stressed the need for improving the line of communications to his airfields and estimated the needs of that project in terms of Hump tonnage, Chennault would provide no Hump tonnage for the Chinese Army. Accordingly he wrote:
The objection, that the Japanese ground forces can capture and destroy the East China air bases, has always been made to previous proposals for a China air offensive of this type. This objection is founded, however, on experience in a period when the Chinese armies were entirely without air support. It also ignores the most striking fact of the war in China, that
Japanese forces have never succeeded in penetrating Chinese territory to a distance of more than about 100 miles from a major supply line. This was so even when the Japanese enjoyed air supremacy in China. The situation has now been radically changed by the transfer of air superiority to the Chinese side. In the first place, as has been noted already, traffic on the major Japanese supply line within China, the Yangtze River, has actually been interdicted experimentally for a short period of time. Almost all Japanese supply lines within China are water borne, and can no longer be considered dependable. In the second place, the recent battle of Changteh, the first in which Chinese troops have had well organized air support, showed that with this assistance the Chinese armies are quite capable of resisting and throwing back a serious Japanese advance.
It is not denied that the Japanese might perhaps capture certain of the East China air bases if they organized a major offensive, employing large numbers of first class troops and an overwhelming strength in the air. But organizing such an offensive would be self-defeating. By concentrating their effort in China, the Japanese would inevitably risk rapid loss of their new empire in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific.55
Chennault also pressed his claims with Arnold. He told Arnold that the cost of B-29 operations from the Cheng-tu area would be prohibitive because of radar-directed Japanese fighters. Again, Chennault insisted that "the commander of the air forces in China must be given complete command and control of all such air forces and supporting services as are based in or are operating from China."56 Whatever Arnold's views on command may have been, he was wholeheartedly behind MATTERHORN, the plan for basing B-29's in India, staging them through China, and using them to cripple Japan's steel industry. This was apparent in his comments on a letter from Wedemeyer which questioned the possibility of a major bombing offensive from China. Wedemeyer urged that all Hump tonnage go to the Fourteenth Air Force. On receiving Wedemeyer's views, Arnold promptly passed them on to Marshall with the remark that they were just another attempt to discourage the long-range bombing of Japan, and reminded Marshall that not long before efforts had been made to discourage "our" flying 10,000 tons a month over the Hump.57
It is not known whether the President replied directly to Chennault's January 1944 proposals. However, one may surmise that many things had happened since May 1943 to change Chennault's position vis-à-vis the President. At the time of the TRIDENT Conference, May 1943, the President had been paying much attention to China. China was an issue in American domestic politics, as speeches in the Senate made clear. Now, in 1944, American attention was increasingly drawn towards Europe. Everyone in high position knew that the cross-Channel assault was scheduled for spring and that the whole war would revolve on it. Against this tremendous fact, even the colorful and dynamic Chennault could not compete. Since the President's personal attention
Tonnage Shipped From India to China by Air:
was being given to pending operations in Europe, he was no longer desiring to set Hump priorities.
What attention Roosevelt did spare to air matters in China went to the B-29 project. By an irony of history, Chennault and his friends now occupied the spot Stilwell and Marshall had filled in May 1943--that of arguing against a project close to the President's heart.
Therefore, the whole of Chennault's October-January proposals for 1944 was not approved. It remained politic to give the Fourteenth Air Force approximately half of the Hump tonnage being received in China. (Chart 5) The careful studies of the line of communications to the east China bases, made by the Fourteenth Air Force and the SOS, bore fruit in a series of theater projects to improve the eastern line of communications.58 Theater headquarters approved Chennault's proposals for the organization of the reinforcements arriving for him. In late December 1943, the 68th Composite Wing under Col. Clinton D. Vincent was set up for operations in east China; the 69th Composite Wing under Col. John Kennedy, for operations in the west. In January, eighteen P-40's and thirty-three B-25's arrived to reinforce, but bad weather limited operations.59
Admiral Mountbatten was also concerned over the place of the B-29's in the Allied command structure in Asia. Since his arrival in Asia, Mountbatten
had been confronted with delicate and involved command problems. There was the problem of Mountbatten's relations with his three British commanders in chief, one of whom had been almost openly hostile; there had been the problem of Mountbatten's relation to Stilwell, who was extremely sensitive and highly suspicious of Mountbatten; there had been the problem of integrating the air forces into EAC. Mountbatten's remedy for this had been to blend tact with firmness. Where it seemed advisable he asserted his authority; on other fronts, he waited to see how the cards were falling.60
Now came the proposal to place still another command within SEAC, one whose logistic needs would have to be met through the port of Calcutta on which Mountbatten depended. Support of the B-29's could well mean a diversion of his resources to achieve ends that would contribute nothing toward accomplishing his directives.61 Consequently, he objected to independent B-29 operations in his theater and offered suggestions to the CCS, which if accepted would have placed the B-29's at his disposal. Agreeing that the B-29's should operate under the general direction of the JCS, he suggested that missions be assigned by the chiefs of staff organization responsible for the theater in which the B-29's were based (for SEAC, the British Chiefs of Staff were responsible). Orders from these would go to the commander of the B-29's and to the theater commanders in whose areas the missions would be executed. The B-29 commander would be required to co-ordinate each mission with each theater commander concerned. In effect, under such an arrangement, each B-29 mission would require the JCS's obtaining the previous assent of the British Chiefs of Staff, Mountbatten, and the Generalissimo. Mountbatten saw the justification for these suggestions in the probable clash in priorities between MATTERHORN and other projects in his theater.62
The initial CBI Theater orders setting the place of the B-29's in the theater command structure directed that XX Bomber Command be placed under the command and control of Stilwell, who in turn was designating Stratemeyer to exercise it on his behalf.63 Stilwell did not want Chennault to command the B-29's for fear he would base them at Kweilin and the other east China airfields to raid Japanese shipping. Stilwell believed such a move would provoke an immediate Japanese reaction and feared the Chinese could not defend the airfields. A successful defense, he now estimated, would call for fifty rebuilt Chinese divisions, which were not at hand.64
Eleven days after Stilwell put the B-29's under Stratemeyer, Brig. Gen. Kenneth B. Wolfe, commanding the XX Bomber Command, called on Stilwell to discuss the command problem. The two men agreed that command of the B-29's should be kept from both Chennault and Mountbatten. Stilwell believed that Stratemeyer, because of the integrated nature of EAC, was vulnerable to pressure from Mountbatten, and even more, feared that Stratemeyer contemplated arrangements which would give Chennault practical control of the XX Bomber Command. Therefore, with General Wolfe's concurrence and in accord with a suggestion from Marshall, Stilwell set up a new command structure on February 15, 1944.65
The order Stilwell issued stated that "following general directives from the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff" the XX Bomber Command would be under Stilwell's "direct command and control." Logistical support, so far as it lay within the capabilities of the local air force commanders, was split between Stratemeyer and Chennault on a geographic basis, the former in India, the latter in China. Where B-29 operations in Southeast Asia and China were concerned, Stratemeyer was to consult with Wolfe, then offer his recommendations to Stilwell. Chennault was to do the same for B-29 operations from bases in China. In effect, this meant that Wolfe would direct the XX Bomber Command in operations along the lines laid down by general directives from the JCS.
The manner in which these orders had been framed is most indicative of the personal relations that obtained among several of the China-Burma-India Theater commanders on the eve of the theater's most intense activity, and so was significant. But on 28 March the JCS brushed aside the contentions of the local commanders and decided that the China-based B-29's would be commanded from AAF headquarters in Washington. In effect, they would be commanded like a fleet at sea which might base now at this island, and now at that, but would not be tied to any one theater.66 Stilwell and Chennault, therefore, had their authority circumscribed in that this great new engine of war would draw on their reserves, would affect events in their theater, for which they would later be held responsible, but would not be at their disposal.
Logistical Problems of the B-29's
In retrospect, Maj. Gen. Vernon Evans, who had a wide and varied experience in CBI as Deputy Chief of Staff, Rear Echelon (the New Delhi headquarters), and later Chief of Staff and Theater Commander, India-Burma Theater, remarked that the support of XX Bomber Command was among the major logistical problems of CBI Theater.67 Since CBI Theater had built roads and
pipelines across the jungle and the mountains, had equipped and supplied Chinese troops, and nurtured two air forces, it is plain that General Evans was comparing preparations for and support of the XX Bomber Command with logistical problems of the first magnitude.
CBI Theater had to build five airfields in India for the B-29's, complete with facilities, and link them to the oil tanker terminals by a pipeline; arrange for the building of airfields in China; supply common-user and Air Forces items, both in India and in China; furnish higher echelon maintenance; fly gasoline and supplies over the Hump to Cheng-tu. The last was a tender point. Though MATTERHORN was supposed to be fully self-supporting, from February to October 1944 ATC had to fly 17,931 tons over the Hump to Cheng-tu. This tonnage was a very heavy drain on the meager resources available for U.S. operations in China, and equal to the tonnage flown into China for the Chinese Army from May 1942 to October 1944.68
CBI began its share in B-29 airfield construction in India by supplying trucks and heavy equipment from other projects to supplement the Indian forces extending the existing runways. The U.S. engineer battalions allotted to the task were slow in arriving and it was necessary to divert two aviation engineer battalions from the Ledo Road. By 18 March, SOS, CBI, could report that the fields at Kharagpur and Chakulia were "barely operational" and on schedule. On 30 June four fields were ready, with the fifth, Kalaikundah, delayed because an engineer aviation battalion was diverted for forward airstrip building.69 Because oil supply by tank car would have sorely strained transport, it was decided to lay pipelines from the oil terminal at Budge-Budge to the fields. (See Map 1.) By 23 February 1944, Indians and Americans working together strung 100 miles of pipe, and by 13 March pumping to the storage tanks at Kharagpur and Chakulia could begin.70
In China, after initial difficulties over finance were overcome, the Chinese Government went forward with a tremendous airfield construction program. About 200,000 peasants were mobilized, some of them volunteers, most conscripted. To these were later added 100,000 more, plus 75,000 contract laborers. American and Chinese engineers laid out the runway extensions, for as in India the Cheng-tu B-29 fields were existing fields, extended and improved. Using hand implements and pulling rollers by sheer muscle power, the peasants finished four B-29 fields and three fighter strips by 1 May 1944. The Chinese War Area Service Corps furnished housing and food, for XX Bomber Command tried to keep the number of Americans at Cheng-tu to a minimum to lessen the burden on the Chinese economy.71
When Stilwell entered the field in December 1943, an important prerequisite of victory was at hand--control of the air. With care and foresight, he had armed and trained two Chinese divisions, was preparing a third, and had secured solemn guarantees of untrammeled command. The rapid growth of U.S. air power, the increasing knowledge of what air power could do, gave Stilwell by December 1943 an advantage that his adversary, General Tanaka, could not hope to match. Hundreds of miles ahead of Stilwell the bombers ranged, harassing Tanaka's supply lines. Unrestrained, the reconnaissance planes peered up and down the valleys. The fighters came on call to blast machine gun nests and entrenchments. Endlessly, the transports sailed overhead, cascading rice, bullets, and bandages to Stilwell's Chinese. Liaison planes now evacuated the wounded from the jungle, where once their injuries would have meant slow death.
In only one way did the new strength and potentialities of U.S. air power positively handicap Stilwell and CBI Theater in the campaigns of 1943-44. The XX Bomber Command's B-29's, with their demands on Hump tonnage and theater facilities, conflicted directly with Stilwell's still unrepealed though practically abandoned mission of reforming the Chinese Army. That the B-29's were flying from China would be to the Japanese one more reason for a major effort there, yet B-29 demands on Hump tonnage made it even more unlikely that anything effective would be done to stop the Japanese once they moved.
With the conclusion of this period of planning and preparation, which may be taken as roughly October-December 1943, the Allied war in China, Burma, and India proceeded by force of geographic circumstance in two very distinct compartments. On the India-Burma side of the Hump, Stilwell was fighting his own campaign, to break the blockade of China. For many months, events in Burma and India proceeded without affecting those in China, and Stilwell left the conduct of the war in China Theater to its Supreme Commander, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. As the campaign in Burma moved to its climax, the center of interest shifted to China, where events began to crowd ever faster on one another. But the two campaigns moved separately, on either side of a gigantic mountain range. Though they affected one another, they were related only at the highest level; the daily ebb and flow of battle might have been in two separate wars. The campaign in Burma was the first to reach the critical point.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (2) * Next Chapter (4)
1. The Stilwell Papers, p. 267.
2. (1) Quotation from Extract, SAC's Personal Diary, 11 Dec 43. SEAC War Diary. (2) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. VIII. (3) Ltr, Mountbatten to Arnold, 27 Nov 43; Ltr, Marshall to Mountbatten, 4 Jan 44. Item 676, Msg Bk 18, OPD Exec 9.
3. Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Despatch on Air Operations in Eastern Air Command (SEA) Covering the Period 15 December 1943 to 1 June 1945, MS (hereafter EAC Despatch), App. 16, Incls 1, 2. OCMH. The heavy bombers were B-24's and Wellingtons with a few Lancasters and Halifaxes; the mediums were B-25's; the fighters were mostly Hurricane IIc's, IId's, and P-40's. Five squadrons were so fortunate as to have Spitfires, while two others had P-38's and P-51's. The Vultee Vengeance dive bomber was used by five squadrons, Burma being one of the few areas in which it was to be found. The versatile and successful Beaufighters acted as night fighters and light bombers.
4. EAC Despatch, pp. 44, 7-8.
5. (1) The Japanese fighters were mostly single-engined 1941 model Oscars, with two 12.7-mm. guns and with a top speed of 334 mph at 16,400 feet, and twin-engined two-seated 1942-model Nicks, with three 12.7-mm. and one 20-mm. guns and with a top speed of 340 mph at 13,000 feet. The light bomber was the Lily, with a 57-foot wingspread and a 1,100-pound bomb load. The "heavy" bombers were Sallys, with a maximum bomb load of 2,200 lbs. and with a wingspread of 70 feet. The Sally was a 1937 model; the Lily was a 1939 model. TM-E 30-480, Handbook on Japanese Military Forces, 15 September 1944, pp. 58-75. Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 8. (2) Japanese Study 94. (3) SEATIC Bull 248, 22 Apr 47, pp. 24-25. MID Library.
6. EAC Despatch, pp. 12-13.
7. (1) Japanese Studies 89 and 94. (2) SEATIC Bull 242, 7 Aug 46, p. 12; SEATIC Bull 247, 22 Apr 47, pp. 110-11. MID Library.
8. (1) Japanese Study 94. (2) EAC Despatch, p. 11. (3) Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 8.
9. (1) Bull cited n. 5(3). (2) USSBS, Japanese Air Power (Washington, 1946), p. 20. (3) Japanese Study 94. (4) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. IX. (5) Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 9.
10. (1) Japanese Study 94. (2) EAC Despatch, p. 17. (3) Japanese Officers' Comments, p. 10.
11. It will be recalled that the first phase was the elimination of the Chinese bridgehead across the Salween River in October 1943 and the second phase was the attempt by the 18th Division to occupy the upper Hukawng Valley. The purpose of these moves was to secure the flanks and rear of the Japanese forces making the main effort. See Stilwell's Mission to China, pp. 353-54.
12. Japanese Study 94, p. 58.
13. EAC Despatch, p. 18.
14. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 99, 106.
15. (1) Japanese Study 94. (2) EAC Despatch, App. 1. (3) Bull cited n. 5(3).
16. (1) EAC Despatch, Apps. 3-7. (2) Japanese Study 94, p. 67, Table, pp. 62-65. Japanese statistics give the number of aircraft dispatched by day. The 8th, 50th, 64th, and 204th Air Regiments supported the Japanese in north Burma, with about fifty-five fighters at the beginning of March 1944, dropping to about thirty-two planes at the end. The table suggests each fighter averaged 4.2 sorties. That month EAC fighters averaged 21, over the whole of Burma. Even if the Japanese fighters are credited with sorties along the Salween, and over Myitkyina and Ledo, 10 sorties a month would be a generous estimate, for in none of these other areas was 5th Air Division an active factor. Very probably the Japanese were greatly handicapped by maintenance problems.
17. EAC Despatch, pp. 72, 79-80, 81; quotation on p. 82.
18. (1) For a more detailed account of Detachment 101, see Chapter I, above. (2) NCAC History, App. 8, Brief Sketch of Detachment 101 in the NCAC Campaign.
19. EAC Despatch, pp. 84-86, 87-88; Apps. 5, 6.
20. Col Fujiwara, SEATIC Bull 240, 9 Jul 46, pp. 23-24, 51; SEATIC Bull 242, 7 Aug 46, pp. 31-32; SEATIC Bull 247, 22 Apr 47, p. 25. MID Library.
21. (1) EAC Despatch, p. 90. (2) NCAC Air Supply, Vol. I, App. 4.
22. EAC Despatch, App. 2. These are daily operational averages. The RAF seems to have had maintenance problems. Rarely was more than 50 percent of its contribution operational.
23. (1) Activities of the 7th Bomb Gp (H), Tenth Air Force, 1 Feb 43-31 Mar 44, MS, p. 1. KCRC. (2) EAC Despatch, pp. 47-48.
24. (1) For an analysis of Fourteenth Air Force claims see Stilwell's Mission to China, Chart 8. (2) Japanese Study 116. (3) SEATIC Bull 247, p. 28. MID Library. (4) EAC Despatch, pp. 53-58.
25. EAC Despatch, pp. 58, 60-63.
26. In the peak year, 1942, Japanese truck production was but 35,386 units. The shortage of trucks was general in the Japanese Army. At the end of the war, the Army in the home islands had but 8,900 trucks. USSBS, The Effects of Strategic Bombing on Japan's War Economy, pp. 65, 220. App. Table C-158.
27. Three sources were drawn on for the above appraisal. (1) Interrogations of Japanese senior officers conducted immediately after the war by SEATIC are in Bulletins 246 and 247, Military Intelligence Division Library. Among the officers questioned were: Lt. Gen. Masaki Honda, Commanding General, 33d Army; Lt. Col. Masayuki Taguchi, 56th Division staff; and General Tanaka, Commanding General, 18th Division. (2) Questionnaires, prepared by the authors, were answered by the above Japanese officers in 1948, plus Lt. Gen. Kunomura Momoyo, 15th Army staff; Lt. Gen. Eitaro Naka, Chief of Staff, Burma Area Army; Lt. Gen. Tadashi Katakura, Chief of Staff, 33d Army; Col. Fujio Kawamichi, Chief of Staff, 56th Division; Maj. Iwao Takahashi, 15th Army staff; and Lt. Col. Shinroku Iwakoshi, Chief, Imperial Headquarters Supply Section. All replies are in OCMH Files. (3) SEATIC Bull 246 has a wealth of information from prisoner-of-war and Japanese sources.
28. EAC Despatch, App. 4. The B-24's carried 2,621 tons of cargo in September 1944.
29. (1) Bull cited n. 27(3). USSBS, The Effect of Air Action on Japanese Ground Army Logistics (Washington, 1947), p. 57. The tonnage chart on the page cited was drawn by a Japanese officer in 1946. Page 32 in the text says that the decline in traffic is attributable to the monsoon's washing away the makeshift bridges which replaced those damaged by bombing. The chart shows in 1944 and, significantly, 1943 a sharp drop beginning in July-August, or one or two months after the monsoon began. The chart shows this seasonal dip to be an annual feature, falling to the same level every year. Whereas traffic in 1943 recovered sharply, it plummeted in 1944, for late in that year large segments of the rail net came under Allied control.
30. (1) Opn Plan ALBACORE, 8 Aug 43. Folder, ALBACORE, LEDO STRIPTEASE, NCAC Files, KCRC. (2) NCAC Air Supply, pp. 8-I to 16-I.
31. (1) Frank Owen, The Campaign in Burma (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1946), p 45. (2) Rpt, G-3 Section During Papuan, New Guinea Campaign, 2 Oct 42-24 Jan 43. AG 332-333.4. (3) Stilwell's Mission to China, Ch. VIII.
32. NCAC Air Supply, pp. 35-III, 5-III, 7-III, 10-III. Though the kickers shared every hazard of the aircrew, they long performed their dangerous duties without Air Medals, Distinguished Flying Crosses, flight pay, a fixed number of missions, or any of the recognition and perquisites given Air Forces personnel. Many kickers had more than 1,400 flying hours, while a considerable number had more than 1,000 hours.
33. NCAC Air Supply, p. 11-III.
34. (1) CCS 411/1, 26 Nov 43, sub: Opns in SEAC. (2) Rad SEACOS 89245, 1 Dec 43. ABC 384 (Burma) 8-25-42, Sec IV, A48-224. (3) Min, CCS 138th Mtg, 7 Dec 43, Item 8. (4) CCS 411/5, 7 Dec 43, sub: Opns in SEAC. (5) Rad RE-240, Brig Gen Vernon Evans, DCofS, USAF CBI, to Stilwell, 11 Feb 44. Bk 6A, JWS Personal File.
35. (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, p. 73, par. 138. (2) Quotation from Minute SC4/440/W, SAC for Wedemeyer, 16 Mar 44. SEAC War Diary.
36. (1) Min, CCS 151st Mtg, 24 Mar 44, Item 3. (2) JCS Memo for Info 302, 11 Sep 44, Incl C, par. 5.
37. Notes of Joseph Bykofsky, Transportation Section, OCMH, on draft manuscript of this chapter. Mr. Bykofsky was in an air supply organization during the later phases of the North Burma Campaign.
38. NCAC Air Supply, pp. 7-III to 10-III.
39. NCAC Air Supply, pp. 6-III to 13-III, 17-III to 20-III.
40. (1) NCAC Air Supply, pp. 13-III to 18-III. (2) File 97-1597, 11 Feb 44. Folder, Chinese 38th Div Rads-In, NCAC Files, KCRC.
41. NCAC Air Supply, pp. 17-III to 20-III.
42. EAC Despatch, App. 17a.
43. EAC Despatch, pp. 123-24.
44. (1) Rad, Col Thomas F. Van Natta, III, U.S. Ln Off, 38th Div, to Cannon, 7 Jun 44. MTF Msg Bk, NCAC Files, KCRC. (2) Rad 260-3155, 9 Nov 44. Folder, Chinese 38th Div Rads-In, NCAC Files, KCRC.
45. NCAC History, App. 6, pp. 11-22.
46. NCAC Air Supply, pp. 21-III to 31-III.
47. (1) NCAC Air Supply, pp. 57-III to 63-III; quotation on pp. 61, 62. (2) Ltr, Dupuy to Ward, 12 Sep 52. OCMH.
48. NCAC Air Supply, pp. 57-III to 63-III.
49. NCAC History, App. 6, pp. 25-26.
50. EAC Despatch, App. 10.
51. NCAC Air Supply, p. 1-VII
52. NCAC Air Supply, pp. 1-VIIff.
53. Rad M 27 JB, Glenn to Hearn, 8 Jan 44. Item 1606, Bk 5, JWS Personal File.
54. Ltr, Chennault to President, 26 Jan 44. Hopkins Papers.
55. Plan of Air Operations in China, 1 Jul-Dec 44. Folder, Chennault Air Plan, CT 39, Dr 1, KCRC.
56. Ltr, Chennault to Arnold, 26 Jan 44, sub: MATTERHORN Project. Bk IX, Hopkins Papers.
57. Memo, Lt Col George C. Cox for Col Frank McCarthy, 28 Jan 44; Memo, Arnold for Marshall, 29 Jan 44, sub: Bombing of Japan. Case 282, OPD 381 China, A47-30.
58. Joseph Bykofsky, The History of Transportation Service in China, Burma, and India, in World War II (Bykofsky MS). OCMH.
59. Organizational structure of the Fourteenth Air Force is explained in Fourteenth AF History.
60. (1) Extracts, SAC's Personal Diary, 12, 22 Dec 43, 1 Jan, 16 Feb 44. SEAC War Diary. (2) Ltr, Mountbatten to Field Marshal Sir John Dill, 26 Jun 44; Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 9 Jul 44. Item 70, Folder 57, OPD Exec 10.
61. Rad RE-338, Egan to Stilwell, 24 Feb 44. Item 48, Bk 6A, JWS Personal File.
62. Rad DIAL 29, SEACOS, 25 Feb 44. SEAC War Diary.
63. GO 13, Hq USAF CBI, 30 Jan 44.
64. (1) CM-IN 8578, Stratemeyer to Arnold, 14 Jan 44. (2) Rad AQUILA 31, Stilwell to Marshall, 23 Jan 44. Item 1670, Bk 5, JWS Personal File. (3) Memo, Timberman for ACofS OPD, 2 Nov 43, sub: Bomber Offensive from China. Case 192, OPD 381 CTO, A47-30.
65. (1) Stilwell Diary, 11 Feb 44. (2) Note, Stilwell's hand, titled Black Book, SUP 55.
66. Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II: V, The Pacific: MATTERHORN to Nagasaki, June 1944 to August 1945 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 45-52.
67. Interv with Gen Evans, Jul 46.
68. History of CBI, Sec II, Ch. VIe. (2) Briefing Data Prepared for Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley. Hurley Papers. (See Bibliographical Note).
69. Rpts, Gen Covell, CG, SOS USAF CBI, to Somervell, 4, 21 Jan, 23 Feb, 18 Mar, 17 Apr, 21 Jun, 19 Jul 44. OCMH.
70. SOS in CBI, pp. 459-60.
71. History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. VIe.