China's Blockade Becomes Complete
When Stilwell conferred with the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang on 1 April he could not charge a clear, apparent repudiation of the Soong-Stimson accord on command, for he was faced with something else. The Generalissimo had given Stilwell command of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma and then treated Stilwell exactly as he did his other army commanders. The Generalissimo believed in exercising the most detailed command from Chungking, on the basis of information which he received days late over an uncertain communications net.1 And so he had sent radio after radio and letter after letter to his commanders in Burma--some bypassing Stilwell, some going to him. The Generalissimo's March 1942 letters to Stilwell have not survived, but Stilwell's description of them suggests they were like those of April and May 1942, which are available: "They direct all sorts of action and preparation with radical changes based on minor changes in the situation."2 The result was that Tu had ignored Stilwell's orders, and that Alexander, to whose supreme command in Burma the Chinese had agreed, was in fact unable to exercise that command.
At the conference with the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang on 1 April, Stilwell asserted that the Chinese commanders had failed to obey and did not indicate his belief that in reality they were obeying the Generalissimo. (Stilwell took the same line with his superiors in Washington, in that he did not put the
CONFERENCE AT MAYMYO, BURMA. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek with Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, 9 April, 1942.
principal blame on the Generalissimo but rather on the division and army commanders.) Stilwell asked the Generalissimo to relieve him, adding that since the Chinese had accepted British command his presence was no longer necessary. If the Generalissimo was dissatisfied with Stilwell, certainly here was the opportunity to send him home. On that note Stilwell returned to his quarters.3
Next day he was invited back to Huang Shan, the Generalissimo's country estate, to learn that the Generalissimo was ready to take steps to confirm Stilwell's full authority. This the Generalissimo proposed to do by appointing Lt. Gen. Lo Cho-ying as Stilwell's executive and by personally visiting Burma to make Stilwell's status clear to the latter's subordinates. Quickly taking advantage of the more favorable atmosphere, Stilwell asked for the services of British-trained guerrilla units from Kiangsi Province. The Generalissimo at once agreed. Stilwell felt the request appealed to the Generalissimo, that he had been irked by British control over Chinese units.4
Sometime between the 2d and 4th of April Stilwell asked for the seal of authority. The Generalissimo agreed. On the 15th General Shang Chen sent the chop to Magruder:
Acting under the instructions of the Generalissimo, I am sending you, by special messenger, an official seal bearing in Chinese the following inscription:
"Chief of Staff, Headquarters of the Supreme Command of the Allied Forces, China War Theater."
You are kindly requested to hand the seal over to Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell for his personal use.5
The Generalissimo then flew to Burma for conferences with the Chinese and British commanders over the 6th and 7th of April. There he lectured the Chinese generals and made it clear that Stilwell commanded. He told Alexander that the British must stand firm where they were, that there must be no more withdrawals. Stilwell was also encouraged by his own government. Roosevelt was very pleased by the frankness of Stilwell's report on the Toungoo fiasco and especially with his prompt measures to correct the situation. Apparently established in command beyond doubt, Stilwell prepared an ambitious plan for the discomfiture of the 55th Division and began to busy himself with its execution.6
Stilwell asked the War Department to send an American infantry division to India, saying its presence would greatly strengthen his hand even if it could not be brought to Burma at once.7 When it soon became obvious that no U.S. division would be assigned to him, Stilwell remarked in casual conversation with his staff that he wished he had some Chinese Communist troops in Burma, that he was sure they would accept orders from him. His G-2, Colonel Roberts, deprecated the suggestion, observing that since the Chinese Communists were not fighting the Japanese in China they were not likely to be willing to fight them in Burma. In 1944, Stilwell told Marshall that the Chinese Communists would have been willing to fight under him in 1942, and a passage in one of his analyses of the situation implies that in that year he had sought to use them somewhere but had been refused permission by the Generalissimo.8
The Pyinmana Plan and the Irrawaddy Front
General Stilwell's plan to defeat the Japanese at Pyinmana called for the 96th Division to concentrate in defensive positions there. (Maps 2 and 4) The 200th Division was to be poised and ready north and northeast of Pyinmana. The 22d Division was to fall back slowly on Pyinmana. On reaching its vicinity, the 22d was to fall back rapidly to the northwest, allowing the Japanese to come into contact with the 96th Division. Two weeks were allowed for this. As soon as the Japanese were well involved, a heavy counterattack was to be launched with all three divisions. "For the sake of policy," this emerged as "General Tu's Plan" for a counteroffensive. To the Chinese right, it would be essential for the British to hold in the Irrawaddy valley. They doubted their ability to do this and, when the Generalissimo visited Burma, Army in Burma headquarters asked for a Chinese division. One division was promised on condition that the British hold just north of Allanmyo.9
Deployment of the Chinese forces for the Pyinmana battle began on 3 April, and the 200th and 96th Divisions were in place by 6 April. The 22d Division executed its delaying mission successfully. The Japanese were still to
Japanese Conquest of Central Burma
be delayed as late as 17 April, for when the Chinese battalion on the outpost line withdrew prematurely, the officer responsible was sentenced to be shot. The Pyinmana trap was ready to be sprung, but events forced its dismantling before the intended victim was fairly ensnared. General Stilwell had ordered the 22d Division to delay for two weeks. It had done that but as the Chinese and Stilwell waited for the Japanese, events along the Irrawaddy had, by the 17th, made it impossible to execute the Pyinmana plan.10
An ultimate withdrawal from Prome to Allanmyo had been agreed on by Generals Wavell and Alexander, but the 63d Indian Infantry Brigade holding Prome, when attacked by the Japanese on the night of 30-31 March, withdrew after brief and desultory fighting, leaving 17th Indian Division's right flank exposed. On learning that the Japanese were passing through the gap, thus raising the possibility of a road block in his rear, the division commander after a consultation with corps headquarters ordered a retreat to the Allanmyo area. The movement was made speedily and without enemy interference.11
While the Chinese were insisting on the holding of Allanmyo and Stilwell at Pyinmana was awaiting the chance to launch his attack, the British commanders in Burma had been thinking of still further withdrawals. On 3 April Wavell radioed the War Cabinet that 1 Burma Corps would probably have to fall back to Magwe, about twenty miles up the river beyond Minhla, because the position they held was untenable. He was not hopeful of the situation in Burma and was considering the various evacuation routes. Next day, at Wavell's request, Alexander submitted his own estimate in equally dark terms, for he thought a gradual withdrawal northward inevitable, with the Allies covering Mandalay as long as possible. To complete the picture, Brereton submitted a similar estimate.12 Since Wavell and Alexander took this attitude, it is hardly surprising that, though there was no Japanese pressure, between 3 and 8 April 1 Burma Corps fell back from about Allanmyo to the line Minhla-Taungdwingyi. Though the Japanese Air Force was usually much in evidence in those dark days, there was no contact with their ground forces.
This withdrawal was announced to Stilwell's and the Chinese 5th Army headquarters on 6 April. The British liaison officer painted a depressing picture, saying that as a result of previous battles their battalions were down to 300 or 400 men each and tanks could not operate off the roads without careful prior reconnaissance. The Chinese were upset by the news and caustic in their comments. General Sibert told the British liaison officer that the Chinese were
extremely disappointed in British withdrawals and that continued withdrawal would have a serious effect on the attitude of the Chinese. On the 10th Lo and Tu presented Stilwell with a letter, dated 9 April, from the Generalissimo, saying there would be no Chinese division to aid the British; a battalion was enough.13
This letter began a series of references to the Irrawaddy front in communications from the Generalissimo that go far to illustrate his method of long-range command and his bypassing Alexander, to whose over-all command in Burma he had recently agreed. On 10 April the Generalissimo reversed his stand of the 9th and wrote:
. . . According to our original plans a strong division must speedily be sent to support the British forces in meeting the northward advance of the enemy along the Irrawaddy. This is a strategic move which can by no means be neglected. It is my fundamental plan for the destruction of the enemy forces in Burma. It is imperative that, be the circumstances what they may, a division or more of our strength be so dispatched, as I directed in the first place. . .14
On the 12th he again ordered the reinforcement of two key points within the British sector.15 On the 15th the Generalissimo wrote:
. . . The British force moreover are now in a hopeless position and to reinforce them by a division will not avail to maintain their lines. They will not wait until our forces have fought a decisive action at Pyinmana but will voluntarily abandon their positions and retreat to the Western bank of the Irrawaddy river. In view of this certainty our forces must quickly frame new plans for independent action without reference to the movements of the British forces. . . .16
This passage is certainly clear enough even if contradictory of the order three days before. On 20 April the Generalissimo reversed himself once again and ordered Stilwell to rescue the British.17 As a result of these reversals and the physical impossibility of moving divisions about at that rate, when the British did take their stand on the line Minhla-Taungdwingyi to the right flank of the Chinese, there were no Chinese to help them in their attempt to hold a forty-mile front with 10,000 men and thirty-six guns.18
The Collapse of the Irrawaddy Front
The 17th Indian Division, less the 48th Brigade, held Taungdwingyi, a prepared position. At the other end of the line the 2d Burma Brigade was in Minhla, and four brigades in the center were to operate as a striking force. By a clever ruse, the Japanese opened a hole near the western end of the line. In trying to plug that breach, the imperial forces in the center of the line inclined westward, also opening a hole. This was very apparent to British commanders on the spot, who decided to accept the gap, to move the 1st Burma Division back on the great Yenangyaung oil fields, but at all costs to hold Taungdwingyi, the link with the Chinese. On the night of the 15th word was received that some 2,000 Japanese were bypassing the 1st Burma Division and heading north, undoubtedly toward Yenangyaung.19
Moving unobserved by the 1st Burma Division, the 214th Regiment, plus the 2d Mountain Artillery Battalion, established itself around the ford of the Pin Chaung, north of Yenangyaung, believed to be the only suitable exit for motor transport in the area. Beginning at 0100 on 15 April, shortly before the Japanese revealed their presence, the great Yenangyaung oil fields were burned on General Slim's order. At midnight of the l6-17th the Japanese opened fire on advanced elements of the Burma Division, whose main body was then twelve miles to the south, making the dreaded road block again a grim reality. The block was reported to corps headquarters, and arrangements were made through corps headquarters on the night of the 17th for co-operation with the Chinese 38th Division, 66th Army. Once the 38th Division was intended for the defense of Mandalay. But in compliance with the Generalissimo's 10 April order, it had moved toward the Irrawaddy as of 12 April to strengthen the link between the two armies, and so its 113th Regiment was now within marching distance.20
Maj. Gen. Sun Li-jen, the 38th Division commander and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, took personal command of the operations, supported by the tanks and artillery of the 7th Armored Brigade Group that had crossed the Pin Chaung Ford before the Japanese opened fire. The first phase of the Burma Division's attack on 18 April went according to plan and carried it to the outskirts of the little suburb north and east of Yenangyaung where the roads of the area converge for the ford. There the attack bogged down, with the Indian, Burmese, and British troops exhausted by days of marching and fighting in heat of over 110° F. Sun left Kyaukpadaung the night of the 17th to relieve the trapped Burma Division. Unfortunately for hopes of a
speedy rescue, he had been informed it was in a perimeter on the main highway just north of Yenangyaung. The Chinese attack of the 18th cleared a large section of the Pin Chaung by 1000 but went no further. At 1700 Slim urged the 38th Division to attack again, but it refused to do so without further reconnaissance. Sun remarked to Merrill at the time that every Allied action in Burma to date had failed for lack of proper reconnaissance and that he was not minded to repeat the error.21 Far to the south the 17th Indian Division demonstrated against the rear and flank of the Japanese force, sending out two columns, each of a battalion of infantry and a squadron of tanks, which the Japanese ignored. Within the perimeter of the Burma Division, the situation was now grave, and late on the 18th General Scott asked permission to abandon his transport and to make his way across country, a request refused on the grounds that the Chinese would soon appear.22
The Chinese attacked into Yenangyaung at 0800 on 19 April, expecting to meet the Burma Division there. Instead, they found the Japanese entrenched in five strong points. By 1130 three were taken, but there was no contact with the exhausted Burma Division. That force had managed to hold during the night of the 18-19th, though to the south it was now in contact with elements of the 215th Regiment. An attack toward the ford in the morning made little progress, and some of the troops were demoralized. Another attack planned for later in the morning was canceled for fear it might lead to an inadvertent clash with the Chinese. Unknown to the Burma Division, a renewed Chinese attack by 1500 was making steady progress. To meet it, the Japanese shifted some of their men, leaving a gap. Consequently, when the tanks with the Burma Division were finally ordered to leave the road and look for a way out to the east over the oxcart tracks, at about 1300 they reported an unguarded track, and by using it, a part of the Burma Division with some tanks and vehicles was able to escape to the north. About 1600 under the force of the Chinese attack the Japanese fell back to the south and east, and the rest of the division was withdrawn over the black-top road. For its escape the division paid with most of its motor transport, its 40-mm. antiaircraft guns, most of its 3-inch mortars, eight cannon, four tanks, and 20 percent casualties.23 Stilwell's action in sending the 38th Division to aid the British and guard his flank satisfied the Generalissimo: "I have received the news of the Yenangyaung trouble. The oil fields are lost. We must make our own plans--immediately move the best troops to crush the enemy's left. . . ."24
As a result of these setbacks along the Irrawaddy, which threatened his right
flank, Stilwell had to abandon his cherished plan for the Pyinmana battle though he hoped the Allies could reorganize their forces and form new lines. The Irrawaddy defeats were no surprise to him; several days before the Battle of Yenangyaung he reported the British forces were near exhaustion and collapse, but if they could hold a few days more he would counterattack from Pyinmana. He thought the general situation critical and the British command discouraged. Stilwell thought it probable the Allies would be "back in the hills" by 10 May.25 The mishaps of the 1st Burma Division and the resulting threat to Stilwell's flank and rear required immediate emergency measures, so he ordered the Chinese 200th Division to Meiktila (18 April) to fill the 60-mile gap to his right and rear. Tu accepted the order; then he did nothing to execute it. Not yet aware of this, Stilwell concluded that the Japanese had overextended themselves in the Irrawaddy and decided that he might make a virtue of the necessity by falling on the 33d Division with his 22d, 200th, and 38th Divisions while the 17th Indian Division attacked Magwe. He also thought only two enemy regiments were on the Sittang front. After being quickly worked out with Alexander, Slim, and Tu, the plan was ordered on the 19th with great hopes of a real success. On the 20th it was canceled, and Tu's action forgotten for the time, because it became clear that one more disaster had befallen the Allies in Burma.26
The Japanese Drive to Lashio
In the account of the campaign so far, the two great corridors into northern Burma have figured prominently. There were still other routes to the north which Stilwell's staff described as permitting a Japanese attack directly on Lashio. These were the many tracks and the principal road north through the Shan States. Here the Chinese 6th Army (General Kan) was deployed, with the Temporary-55th Division (1st, 2d, 3d Regiments) along the Mawchi-Htuchaung-Bawlake-Loikaw Road, the 49th Division at Mong Pan, and the 93d Division at Kengtung. As yet there had been only border skirmishes, though on occasion they made screaming headlines in the American press, and the 6th Army had contributed nothing to the campaign in central Burma despite attempts by Stilwell to use the Temporary-55th Division at Toungoo. What held the 6th Army in the Shan States was the belief that there were some 50,000 Siamese and Japanese troops in northern Thailand, including two Japanese
divisions.27 Actually, the only major Japanese unit in the whole of Indochina and Thailand was the 21st Division, at Hanoi, French Indochina. In early 1942 the Japanese held those countries with small garrison forces.
The British liaison officer with the 6th Army invited Kan's attention to the scattered state of his divisions and the absence of a central reserve. The proposal to remedy these defects bogged down in administrative formalities, Kan saying that higher authority had made the dispositions, which he could not change, and when he agreed that the matter should be referred to Headquarters, Army in Burma, that body replied no Japanese threat was anticipated. This was an unfortunate state of affairs because the Temporary-55th Division was the principal obstacle to the revised Japanese plan for the encirclement and annihilation of Burma's defenders.28 Since a Chinese document taken at Toungoo said the principal Chinese forces would seek a decisive engagement south of Mandalay, the Japanese decided to make a final revision of their operational plan to aim at a gigantic encirclement of Burma's defenders south of Mandalay and Lashio. The revised 15th Army operational plan, issued at Toungoo on 3 April, called for the use of all its divisions, directing the 56th on Lashio, the 18th and 55th on the east and west suburbs of Mandalay respectively, and the 33d up along the Irrawaddy's banks, sending one element to the Mandalay plain and another to Bhamo. For its mission the 56th Division was heavily reinforced with the 14th Tank Regiment and two battalions of artillery and was made mobile by the attachment of ample motor transport. If weather permitted, airborne troops would seize Lashio.29 The Japanese thus aimed at a double envelopment. Lashio was the goal, for its capture, cutting the Burma Road, would go far to isolate China and to prevent a retreat by the Chinese forces in Burma.
When the Chinese company garrisoning Mawchi was driven out during the first week in April, the encircling Japanese column moved on in its attempt to cut the Burma Road and force on Burma's defenders the alternatives of surrender or flight through the jungles and mountains. At first there was no great concern felt; the Japanese force seemed small. But it moved east and north steadily, defeating a Chinese regiment, which had to be ordered to withdraw and reorganize.30
The Generalissimo was disturbed when he received word of this, and wrote Stilwell on 8 April:
Special attention must be given to the enemy forces in the Mawchi sector. If they are a regiment in strength it would seem that our division under Gen. Ch'en Mien-wu will not be equal to the task of repulsing them single-handed. It is my view that if the enemy is not genuinely taking the offensive against the center of the 5th Army a detachment of mechanized troops with tanks and mounted artillery [sic] should be despatched to assist General Ch'en's division in destroying the enemy forces at Mawchi. The security of our rear may thus be safe-guarded. This will certainly be the soundest course.
The effect of this was lost by his writing the following day:
. . . At the moment we must give our whole attention to the concentration of the 5th Army's strength in preparation for a decisive battle at Pyinmana. It would be best for whole or half of the British tank strength to be moved to support our center. In this way we could be sure of success. . . .31
At Stilwell's headquarters, his G-2, Colonel Roberts, had been for some days concerned over his inability to locate the third regiments of the 33d and 55th Divisions. When the Chinese reported this series of contacts on the east flank of the Allies' central concentration, Roberts was alarmed. Because of the pressure under which Stilwell was then working, Roberts had to raise the issue at mess, suggesting that this was one of the missing regiments and that its goal was Lashio. Stilwell immediately appreciated the menace and called a conference with Tu and their staffs on 9 April.
. . . The estimate of the Japanese strength and plans was that Japs would advance in 3 columns from West and East: Prome-Magwe; Toungoo-Pyinmana; and Bawlake- Taunggyi, with Mandalay as their objective; flank columns to provide double pincers. . . .32
It was an excellent estimate of the Japanese plan. To counter it, the 93d Division less one regiment would close on the Temporary-55th Division; the 49th Division plus one regiment of the 93d Division would continue to watch the Thailand border; the 66th Army would mass below Mandalay as rapidly as possible, and the Pyinmana plan would go on as before. Orders for the concentration were put into the cumbrous and unwieldy Chinese staff machine.33
On 11 April Stilwell visited the 6th Army, where it was now known a Japanese blow would fall though incomplete order of battle data on the Japanese led to a very serious underestimate of its weight.
Chen Li-wu "just pulling back, of course (Better place to fight)." Jap strength can't be greater than 2,000. 55th is to fight in Bawlake area, seriously. 3d Regt to come down at once. By PM, 11th, one regiment in Bawlake (less one bn and one co) and one regt in position at Mei Chaung. Ch'en says he will counterattack from west . . . 55th has about 6,500 men. 200th has 6,125. 38th has 7,500--1,750 per regt plus 2,500. 55th has ten TM's [trench mortars] per regt plus 50 rds.34
After Stilwell's visit to the 6th Army front and at his insistence Lo reprimanded Kan. Stilwell also wanted General Chen relieved. Drafting his notes to Lo, Stilwell wrote:
I recommend that General Kan, CG, 6th Army be reprimanded.
He does not control the actions of his division commanders.
He has moved, without orders, units under the control of the Zone Commander.
He does not keep sufficiently informed about the military situation, or the care and supply of his troops.
I recommend that Gen. Ch'en Li-wu, CG of the 55th Division, be relieved of command at once.
He has no control over his division.
He has already withdrawn, without orders, before an inferior Jap force, and needlessly given up vital ground.
He has shown no disposition to obey his strict orders to attack and re-take Mawchi, but instead has taken a defensive stand with six battalions opposed by only one battalion of the enemy.35
Though the Temporary-55th Division was in a poor state, untrained, poorly organized and disciplined, its units strung out along the road in bivouac areas with no preparations for defense, Chen was not relieved.36
Stilwell apparently checked the 6th Army sector still further by calling in the commander of the 49th Division for consultation. The Chinese reported his front quiet, and Stilwell noted: "Front apparently well covered. . . ."37 AVG aircraft and pilots were brought up for an attempt at reconnaissance.38
When the movement orders finally were delivered on 13 April, the 93d Division would not obey them and was supported in this by Kan, both insisting that trucks be furnished. Vehicles were so few, and the drivers so terrified of the Chinese, that thirty days would be needed to move the division a distance it could march in eight. Area headquarters for the Southern Shan States was not helpful, refusing to give troop movements priority over backloading
rations until Alexander's headquarters approved. Subsequent negotiations were complicated by the diversion of trucks by still other Chinese authorities. Compounding the failure, Stilwell's headquarters and liaison officers were unaware that the 93d Division was not moving.39 When the 93d Division finally began to move, it was too late to affect the issue. The 49th Division was not ordered west until the 20th.40
While these attempts were being made to bring aid to the Temporary-55th Division, its 1st Regiment, which was falling back after its earlier defeat by the Japanese, was overtaken by them and further punished, while the 2d Regiment, Temporary-55th Division, which had been moving south, was taking up defensive positions on the Htu Chaung Creek. Here followed a brief pause in which the Temporary-55th Division was content to remain passive in bivouac along the road. The Chinese troops were suffering severely from thirst, and the energetic British liaison mission with the 6th Army tried to bring down truckloads of fresh water. This ended when the Chinese promptly confiscated the trucks. Colonels McCabe and Aldrich, Stilwell's liaison team with the 6th Army, pleaded with Kan to counterattack, or at least to patrol aggressively. They had no success, and a strange sort of truce settled on the battlefield. The Japanese put it to good advantage.41 While the Temporary-55th remained passively in bivouac, the 56th Division sent company after company toiling through the woods parallel to the road on which the Chinese camped.
A frontal attack on the Htu Chaung on 16 April was followed on the 17th by attacks from the flanking companies along the full forty miles of road from the Htu Chaung north. By morning of the 19th one Japanese element was a few miles south of Loikaw and was joined in an hour by a battalion which had marched diagonally across the mountains from Toungoo.42 Under these attacks from front, side, and rear, the Temporary-55th Division simply disintegrated, its soldiers fleeing to the hills. The two battalions of the 93d Division, the first part of the long-awaited reinforcements from the east, turned about and returned whence they had come. The road to Lashio was open to the exultant Japanese. Communication between the Temporary-55th Division and the 6th Army ceased on the night of 18 April; the division was no longer a fighting unit.43 Unaware as yet of the Temporary-55th Division's collapse, Stilwell wrote, "Col. Chiang will start them if they have not yet jumped off. 1st objective, Mawchi; 2d objective, Toungoo."44
Attempts To Prevent the Debacle
The collapse of the Temporary-55th Division and the failure to stem the Japanese in the Irrawaddy forced the complete recasting of Allied plans. One last attempt was made to save north Burma. Surveying the problems involved in trying to command part of a coalition army of races and nationalities drawn from the British Isles, India, Burma, and China and highly frustrated by the difficulties he faced with the Chinese, Stilwell tore off a page of copy paper and appraised his situation as follows:
Yesterday, April 19, Lo Cho-ying went up to Maymyo without notifying me. Lin Wei had phoned him that he had an important letter (CKS, of course). Lo did not dare hesitate. We had just arranged the general plan of attack and everything was apparently agreed upon. (Incidentally, all of our measures conformed to the provisions of the letter.) Today we learned that the 55th was smashed and the Japs already far north of Loikaw. I directed Yang to order Kan to bring up a regiment of the 49th to Loilem and block off, also to order the 22d to the Pyawbwe-Thazi area, with one regiment directed on Kalaw (the 22d has not yet appeared at Yamethin). Tonight, news comes that the 96th is in trouble at Kyiddaunggan. I am sending Sibert down to investigate. The 200th is moving to Kyaukpadaung. The 114th Infantry [Regiment, 38th Division] is moving to Taungtha. The 113th [Infantry Regiment, 38th Division] is coming back to Kyaukpadaung. Slim wants to withdraw the Burdiv [1st Burma Division] and the Mcz Brig [7th Armored Brigade]. (I am objecting to latter save piecemeal.)
Meanwhile, Tu goes to Kyaukpadaung, and there is no one to direct the 96th and 22d. Lo goes to Maymyo and there is no one to direct the 6th Army. Lo confers with Alexander and Lin Wei and I do not know what they have decided to do. Slim wants to turn the whole thing over to Tu, and so does Alexander. Somebody has to control the mess and I am the goat. Lo sends word by Chiang that he has decided to go to Kyaukse because the phone service is good, and asks me to go up there, tomorrow night. He may not or does not know even now what is happening to the 6th Army and the 96th Division. What I have ordered may be the exact opposite of instructions he may be putting out. I have sent Chiang to get him and bring him back here at once, urgent.
This is another sample of long-range command and army politics. If CKS continues his tactical masterpieces, the mess will merely get worse. It is an impossible situation, which I will have to see through as best I may. CKS has made it impossible for me to do anything, and I might as well acknowledge it now.45
Stilwell's countermeasures to block the Japanese drive to Lashio should be appraised against the persistent belief that the Japanese task force was a small one. As late as 21 April, Stilwell's G-2 considered it was a reinforced battalion of the Japanese 55th Division that had moved on Mawchi. Colonel Roberts further believed that the 18th Division was in Thailand (whereas it was now on the Sittang front). It was more than ever probable, Colonel Roberts thought, that the Japanese in Burma had been reinforced, but he admitted that he did not know if the 18th Division had moved.46
Stilwell's further reaction was to order the 200th Division to Taunggyi
to attack the Japanese in the Loikaw--Loi-lem area. This forced the abandonment of the attempt to hit the Japanese 33d Division at Yenangyaung. "First priority, plug the Loikaw break!"47 A concentration of the 49th and 93d Divisions on the Temporary-55th Division had already been ordered. In the Sittang valley the 96th Division was ordered to delay the Japanese for one week. The 17th Indian Division was now falling back on Meiktila. Three days later, on the 25th, a conference was held between Alexander, Stilwell, Lo, and Slim, at which they laid plans for a concentration before Lashio and for the motorized 200th Division to sweep up behind the Japanese task force that was racing for Lashio. This plan accorded well with Stilwell's earlier orders and was based on them. The Mandalay concentration was successfully completed.48 The 96th Division continued in the delaying role earlier intended to cover the counterattack at Yenangyaung, and it held back the Japanese while the 17th Indian Division, 7th Armored Brigade, and the 22d Division took positions around Meiktila and Thazi. In so doing, the 96th Division suffered heavy losses in a series of actions climaxed when Japanese tanks caught the whole division on the road on 24 April. From Meiktila north to the Mandalay area, the several brigades of the 17th Indian Division, the 22d Division, and a regiment of the 38th Division, with invaluable assistance from the 7th Armored Brigade, covered one another in a series of leapfrogging movements under pressure from both the 18th and 55th Divisions.49
To the east four Chinese divisions were maneuvering, and to the south the Chinese 5th Army Command (200th Division, reinforced) was on its way to Taunggyi. Two of the four divisions (49th, 93d) had been in the Shan States when the first attempts to keep the Japanese from Lashio were being made. The 93d, as noted earlier, began its march west after some delay but on learning of the defeats in the west turned about and returned to Kengtung. The 49th Division was sent west on 20 April from its post ninety miles from Taunggyi and moved so fast that on the 21st it was in contact with the Japanese. The subsequent engagement, of minor nature, did not affect later events.50
On 23 April the 6th Army's commander forbade the now-assembled 49th Division to attack and ordered it withdrawn. The 49th Division commander, Gen. Peng Pi-shen, was infuriated by the order. He was ready to attack, knew that the 200th Division was attacking Taunggyi from the west and that it was to go on to Loi-lem. A juncture of the 200th and 49th Divisions behind the Japanese Lashio-bound task force could have great results. Peng and his chief of staff discussed open disobedience, tried for three hours to reach General
Kan by radio, and, finally, slowly complied with the order. This excellent division never had a chance to display its worth in battle, but it retreated to China in good order.51 At the time this withdrawal was not known to Stilwell or Lo.
Of the three divisions of the 66th Army then entering Burma, the 38th Division had already been in combat and done very well. The 29th Division was marching in down the Burma Road and its leading regiment entered Lashio on 29 April, the day the city fell. The 28th Division was in the Mandalay area and on 22 April was ordered to take positions across the roads south of Lashio. There was confusion on the railways, confusion further compounded by changes in the movement orders of the 28th Division. As a result, six days later on the night of 28-29 April, the three regiments of the 28th Division were strung out all the way from Maymyo to a point just south of Lashio. Thus, of the nine Chinese divisions in Burma, several took very little part in the operations culminating in the fall of Lashio. But at the time this was not reported to Stilwell and Lo, who accordingly could not intervene and complete the concentration to defend Lashio. One reason for the failure to move divisions was that Stilwell could not get lend-lease trucks from the Chinese authorities in Lashio with which to move troops. Asked to provide 150 trucks of the 850 then in Lashio, they sent 22.52
Colonel Boatner called on the AVG to help stem the Japanese rush to Lashio. In response, they flew strafing missions on the 24th and 25th, burning a number of gasoline trucks caught on the open road and attacking a Japanese troop convoy. Through an error later attributed to General Lin Wei of the Chinese General Staff Mission to Burma, who was believed to have furnished the AVG with inaccurate data on the location of Chinese troops, the AVG also strafed some Chinese units.53
Generals Stilwell and Lo were with the 200th Division when it was rushed from the Meiktila area to retake Taunggyi. For this operation the 1st and 2d Reserve Regiments were attached; the task force was designated 5th Army Command and placed under General Tu. The critical importance of speed had been stressed, but when the 5th Army Command encountered the Japanese outposts near Taunggyi, it promptly halted. These were the security detachments of the Taunggyi garrison, one Japanese battalion. On arriving next morning, the 25th, at 1030, Stilwell found the 5th Army Command still halted and ordered an immediate attack. Contact was made with a few more Japanese at 1130, and by afternoon a little more distance had been gained, whereupon Lo ordered Tu to take Taunggyi that day or suffer the consequences, with a reward of 50,000 rupees to the troops if the town fell. In the late afternoon of
the 25th Taunggyi was finally taken from its small Japanese garrison. Gathering momentum, the 200th Division reached Loi-lem on the 29th. From that area it later began its retreat to China.54
Lashio fell in the early afternoon of 29 April to the 148th Regiment after a 5-hour battle. Another Japanese regiment quickly followed into the city. Colonel Boatner had tried to slow the Japanese by destroying the bridges to the south. Two Chinese battalions had made a stand across the roads below Lashio, but these efforts only gained a few hours. Boatner and his British colleagues had destroyed what they could, but the Japanese gained 44,000 tons of arsenal stores, some of which were repossessed three years later. As many women and children as possible were flown out.55
Plans for the Future
Alexander's and Stilwell's problems at this point in the campaign fell naturally into three parts. Only the first two were similar for both commanders. Each had to conserve his forces as far as possible. Both were ordered to protect communications across north Burma from India to China. But Alexander's further responsibilities lay toward India, whereas Stilwell's mission was to support China. Stilwell's thoughts in the latter days of the campaign, up to the time when the Japanese cut him off from the north, were shaped by the concerns he shared with Alexander, plus the plan he conceived in early April to carry out his mission to China.
On 16 April Brig. Gen. William R. Gruber, who had been representing Stilwell in India in conferences with Brereton and with Wavell's headquarters, received from Stilwell an order to go from Burma to Chungking to present Stilwell's Proposal to Organize and Train a Chinese Force in India.56 Framed during the perils and problems of the First Burma Campaign, the plan molded all of Stilwell's later proposals. The project was presented to the Generalissimo on 27 April.57
Acting as the Generalissimo's chief of staff, Stilwell warned the Generalissimo in his proposal that the Japanese would probably interrupt any road or airline across north Burma that might become operative in the near future. This would isolate China from the lend-lease stores accumulating in India. To counter this, Stilwell proposed moving about 100,000 Chinese soldiers to India to equip them with lend-lease and train them into an élite corps from
which an improved Chinese Army could grow. The Chinese force would be organized into two corps of three divisions each.
Stilwell's command provisions were interesting:
Selection of Commanders and Personnel.--Selection of Chinese officers up to the grade of regimental commander, non-commissioned officers, and men to be made in accordance with policies personally dictated by the Generalissimo so as to insure the availability of personnel of the highest type suitable to handle the technical equipment involved. Carefully selected Chinese officers will be used from the outset in all grades up to and including regimental commander. Higher commanders and principal staff officers initially to be American officers until such time as Chinese officers can be substituted.
To move these men to India, Stilwell proposed they be concentrated about Kunming in order to begin their move about 15 May 1942. From Kunming they would march or be flown across north Burma via Myitkyina-Mogaung-Shingbwiyang to Ledo. The immediate and obvious objection to the plan as it appears is the difficulty of moving the Chinese troops from China to India. Stilwell wrote: "Movement to railheads in India to be made by marching with such assistance from highway transport organizations and the U.S. Air Freight Line as may be practicable. . . ." Any such marching would have to be done during the monsoon rains over dry-weather roads and pack-horse trails.
How he would use the 100,000 soldiers was tersely stated:
Operation Objectives.--Upon completion of the training of this force estimated between 4-6 months, operations to be undertaken in the following phases:
1st Phase--Recapture Burma; the decisive effort to be made from India, a secondary effort to be made from China and the northern Shan States.
2nd Phase--Eject the enemy from Thailand.
After conferring with General Gruber, the Generalissimo agreed to the plan "in general," with a few modifications. The Chinese leader wanted half of the senior officers to be Chinese, plus formal assurance from the British and U.S. Governments that his troops would not be used to maintain the British position in India in the event of civil disturbance there. Gruber concluded his message by saying he would fly to Delhi on 3 May to present the project to Wavell and Wheeler.58
Alexander's plans on 23 April were:
. . . . to cover the communications between India and China. A withdrawal North of Mandalay will cut the LOC [Line of Communications] via the Chindwin, Mandalay, and Lashio. In the event of such a withdrawal it will be necessary to cover the broken ends of the communications with India and China via the above route and also to cover the projected route between India and China via the Hukawng Valley.
In the event of a withdrawal North of Mandalay, all Chinese forces east of the railway Mandalay-Pyawbwe are to withdraw to the North and NE for the defence of the Lashio Road under the direction of the GOC, Chinese Armies.59
The order stated that because of the bottleneck in communications at Mandalay and the need to protect the Chindwin and Shwebo routes, British forces and the Chinese 38th Division would not become involved in close defense of Mandalay. It further directed that Headquarters, Army in Burma, would move on the axis Shwebo-Mandalay.
Below Mandalay the course of the Irrawaddy River placed it directly across the Allied line of retreat, and only the Ava Bridge offered a ready crossing, a situation which, as the Allied forces crowded against the river, must have seemed uncomfortably like that on the Sittang in February. So, on 25 April after a conference with Stilwell, Alexander ordered a withdrawal to the north bank of the Irrawaddy, to begin that night. On the same day tanks and trucks of the 5th Army could be seen moving north through Lashio to China, passing troops of the 66th Army stolidly moving into Burma. The evacuation of the 5th Army was without Stilwell's orders and was the beginning of the collapse that rendered futile any hopes of holding Myitkyina and the trace of the Ledo Road.60 On 26 April Alexander decided that the fall of Lashio would be a matter of days. A Japanese thrust from Lashio via Bhamo to Myitkyina would make any stand north of Mandalay futile, and so the defense of India would have to be his major consideration.
At a conference on 29 April between Alexander, Stilwell, and Lo, Alexander decided to hold the line Kalewa-Katha-Bhamo-Hsenwi; failing that, he would move the bulk of his troops to India. The 5th Army troops, with the 22d and 38th Divisions, would delay along the Mandalay-Myitkyina railway, while the 96th Division would go directly to Myitkyina. When and if necessary, Alexander would move his headquarters to Myitkyina as well. Necessary supply arrangements were begun.61 It was Stilwell's intention at the time to make his next stand in north Burma, so he wrote in his diary on 30 April, "Our crowd direct to Myitkyina." He himself planned to go to Loiwing to direct the fight to keep some sort of communications open to China. To the War Department he reported on 4 May that Chinese control of their troops was weak and collapse seemed near. General Lo and the Chinese quartermaster had left Stilwell and his staff to their own devices. He said that he would try to move to Myitkyina, but if that failed, he would go west to Imphal in India.62 Team I (or Item) of the seven radio teams that had reached India in March from the Java convoy was in Burma, part of it with Stilwell's personal staff, from about 27 April 1942 to the end of the campaign. This handful of radiomen and
Brereton's few B-17's were the only American reinforcements to reach China, Burma, and India in time to play any part whatever in the lost campaign.63
The Evacuation of Burma
The withdrawal to the north of the Irrawaddy was covered in its initial stages by the 48th Indian Brigade at Kyaukse. Skillful use of artillery and armor held off elements of the 18th Division in a well-fought action, and the Japanese were kept below the Myitnge River until the bridges were blown. There was no Japanese pressure on the 63d Indian Brigade and the Chinese 22d Division along the river line, but it was felt that they could not withstand a heavy attack, and so they were withdrawn across the Irrawaddy the night of 30 April. The great Ava Bridge was destroyed at midnight. Central Burma was now firmly held by the Japanese.64
The general withdrawal to the line indicated by Alexander on 29 April was ordered for 2 May; the Chinese forces in the eastern half of Burma were already in full movement back to the Salween River, whose mighty gorge was the natural defense line of southwestern China. Stilwell's and Alexander's hopes of a stand across north Burma began to vanish as the Chinese streamed out of Burma. The aircraft that was to take Stilwell to eastern Burma failed to arrive on time, and Loiwing, his intended destination, was evacuated that same day. Gradually, Stilwell was being driven to the conclusion that he could exercise no control over the Chinese armies and that evacuation of his personal staff was his next problem.
Nevertheless, as of 5 May Stilwell still intended to go to Myitkyina and was just a few hours ahead of the 5th Army. On the 4th he had learned that the railway was blocked, so he took his party north by motor convoy. On 5 May, halting his convoy near Indaw, a railroad station, he and his aides went on ahead to inquire about the railway. They were told it was blocked north and south of Indaw. Because Japanese were reported at Bhamo, within easy striking distance of Myitkyina, Stilwell decided then and there on 5 May not to attempt to make his way by car to Myitkyina but instead to take his party due west to India, as it would be impossible to reach Myitkyina before the Japanese, who occupied it on 8 May.65
In marching out to the west, Stilwell could make arrangements for the reception in India of his Chinese troops. Stilwell, Lo, and Alexander agreed on
30 April that if the plan to hold the line Kalewa-Katha-Bhamo-Hsenwi failed, the 5th Army troops plus the 38th Division would march from Katha to Imphal. This withdrawal would be the beginning of the plan to put Chinese divisions in India and bring them up to strength with replacements and supporting troops. The 30 April understanding that the Chinese would march out to India should now have been in effect, but orders from the Generalissimo sent the 96th and 22d Divisions wandering through northern Burma.66
The War Department approved Stilwell's withdrawing to India on the assumption it was related to his training plan.67 Indeed, Stilwell's conduct of the whole campaign received the approval of the American and Chinese Governments. On 18 April he received a formal commendation from the Secretary of War and warm personal greetings came from General Marshall on the 29th when the campaign was nearing its dismal close. Madame Chiang sent a long cable to Currie saying that the Generalissimo had "entire confidence" in Stilwell.68 In Cabinet session Roosevelt "expressed great satisfaction over Stilwell's handling of the whole situation," a sentiment Marshall relayed to Stilwell on 12 May.69
For the Chinese divisions that went east, the campaign in Burma merged into a fight to keep the Japanese out of China; but the Allied forces that withdrew into India could halt there without an invading army on their heels. An invasion of India was not scheduled, and the 15th Army halted its pursuing forces on the borders of India. Alexander's hopes of keeping a foothold in Burma had to yield to India Command's belief that it could not maintain his forces there. The withdrawing imperial forces had to fight two engagements as they fell back. The 215th Regiment, 33d Division, occupied Monywa, across the withdrawal route, on 1 May, overrunning the Burma Division headquarters and taking all its code books. The 63d, 13th, and 1st Burma Brigades fought their way into town so that the transport could bypass the town on cart tracks and head north to Ye-u, where all the tracks for the Chindwin River began.70 The 1st and 2d Burma Brigades made their separate ways to the Indian frontier. The rest of the army marched to the river port at Shwegyin where it fought off the pursuing 213th Regiment, which came up while embarkation was in progress.
There were no further interruptions, and the force reached Tamu on 14 May
as the first rains were falling. It had been a hard march, aggravated by the accumulated fatigues of the campaign, by the forbidding terrain, and by the presence of refugees fleeing the Japanese terror. The Burma Corps was in no shape to withstand an attempted invasion of India. It brought out 10 25-pounders, 4 antitank guns, 14 3.7-inch mountain guns, and about 80 vehicles. Of 31 infantry battalions, 5 mountain batteries, 1 field regiment, and assorted line of communications troops, some 12,000 exhausted and malarious survivors reached India. These units had suffered 13,000 casualties, with 9,000 missing in action.71 Unfit for combat as they were, these troops, plus the 1st Indian Infantry Brigade and one other battalion and the Chinese 38th Division, were all that guarded the 500-mile frontier of Assam. In Bengal there were only the very new 14th and 26th Indian Divisions.72
The Chinese Withdrawal
Of the Chinese divisions, the 22d and the 38th, plus fragments of the 28th, 96th, and 200th, made their way westward to India. The 5th Army and the 38th Division moved north together from Mandalay until they reached the Indaw-Katha area. On 4 May General Lo received orders from the Generalissimo sending the 5th Army to Myitkyina. Lo himself had sought to persuade Tu to retreat on India. General Sun took counsel of himself, concluded the supply situation would be impossible in north Burma, and after making a vain appeal to Chungking for guidance, sent his 38th Division to India. After a brief engagement with the Japanese, the 38th Division detached the 113th Regiment to act as a rear guard. The 113th Regiment seemed trapped for a few days but made its way across the Chindwin on 30 May. Of this regiment, Colonel Wyman, of Stilwell's staff, wrote: "The story of the 113th is really an epic." Its companion regiments, in good condition, reached India on 25 May. An incident might have been precipitated by an excitable refugee who advised the Governor of Assam that the 38th Division was a "mere rabble" who should be disarmed and confined. The governor endorsed this proposal, and General Gruber was forced to intercede with General Wavell to prevent such an affront to Chinese pride. The Assam tea planters received the Chinese with great coolness, and there was mutual relief when the 38th Division was sent to permanent quarters in Bihar Province. From the First Burma Campaign the
38th Division and its brilliant commander emerged with their reputations established. To the tactical feat of Yenangyaung, the gallant and capable Sun Li-jen added the unique achievement of bringing his division through the Chin Hills as an intact fighting unit with discipline and morale unimpaired.73
The Generalissimo's orders for the 5th Army changed again on 18 May, and the 5th was ordered to "take position" between Myitkyina and Fort Hertz. At one time it had been within a few days' march of the Indian border (Manipur State) and safety, before veering north toward China.74 At this time the 5th Army was the 22d and 96th Divisions, headquarters and army troops, and assorted stragglers. The two divisions parted company. Survivors of the 22d Division emerged in the Ledo area in July and August, having made good their withdrawal over the ghastly "refugee trail." The local British area commandant estimated that about 30,000 persons essayed the refugee trail, of whom 23,000 succeeded. Months later the bones of those who failed were whitening the trail, in many places literally so.
The first civilian refugees and Chinese troops lived off food stores accumulated for coolies working on the Burma side of the Ledo Road. The local Kachin tribesmen were very charitable and gave freely of their stores. When these were gone, looting by the refugees began. The American and Royal Air Forces dropped food in the Hukawng and Mogaung Valleys on a large scale. One hundred and fifty tons of supplies were dropped at Shingbwiyang between 29 June and 12 August and a total of 132 tons at other points along the trail for the 5th Army and 22d Division alone. Colonel Boatner, who surveyed the area, believed there was no shortage of food after the Chinese reached Taro.
The struggle to reach Taro took a heavy toll, and the evacuation of the Chinese was caught up in the flood of civilian refugees leaving Burma. Boatner reported that Chinese soldiers of the 96th Division looted and murdered among the refugees and Kachin tribesmen and that many Chinese officers made their men stagger out under useless equipment and displayed incompetence and callousness in handling the food dropped to them. The discipline of the 38th Division and the professional skill of its commander were a striking contrast. To alleviate the situation along the refugee trail, Indian authority sent officers into Burma from Ledo who improvised crude refugee camps and did their best to keep the stream of soldiers and civilian refugees flowing steadily into India. Sheer physical exhaustion, heartbreak at the loss of family and livelihood, intestinal disease, raw food, and malaria were the principal killers. The camp administrators, knowing that the apathetic and indifferent
would die on the road, bullied and beat the laggards into moving on and encouraged and fed the stouthearted.75
All that the small group of Americans who had been flown from Burma to India could do was act as liaison between the Chinese and British, and Brereton's air force. Lacking resources of their own the Americans sometimes felt that they were contributing nothing. The AAF could consider it had kept the Chinese from perishing miserably in the northern Burma jungles. It alone had made possible the amazing march of the 96th Division, which made its way to Taro, then turned north to Shingbwiyang and Fort Hertz, from whence it made its way through the largely unknown country of northern Burma back to China. By its endurance the 96th Division showed some of the very best qualities of the Chinese Army, as it had earlier shown some of the worst.76
Moving directly to India to arrange for the reception of the Chinese divisions which he expected to follow him, Stilwell led a heterogeneous group: the small staff which he had kept after moving the bulk of his headquarters out to China and to Calcutta, the Seagrave ambulance unit with its nineteen gallant Burmese nurses, the Friends Ambulance Unit, a Chinese general with his bodyguard, a group of British officers, a newspaperman, nine mechanics, and three civilian refugees. Stilwell had undisputed command and used it to bring his people through the jungles quickly and in good health. No detail of command was too small for his attention.
Stilwell abandoned his motor transport on 6 May and engaged porters from a village near by. His plan was to go west for two days on foot. This march would place his party on one of the tributaries of the Chindwin, flowing west and south in the direction of India. The stream would in turn carry them near the village of Homalin, very close to India. Over the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th the party, with Stilwell always in the lead, marched westward. Heat exhaustion took its toll. Several people fell out and had to be revived. High above, the monkeys grimaced and chattered as the khaki snake wound slowly west along the trails and in the shallow streams. At the village of Maingkaing a day was spent building rafts. While the rest of the party moved westward by raft, traveling night and day, 1st Lt. Eugene P. Laybourn took the mules and a group of Chinese overland to Homalin. The mule train was met on schedule. The Chindwin was crossed on 13 May. The next day there was clear indication that the journey was nearly over, for the trails began to incline upward and the air to cool. India's guardian mountains were near. The march of the Stilwell party was not like the purgatory suffered by those who perforce came out through
north Burma but the general loss of weight and fatigue revealed the strain endured. Capt. Roscoe L. Hambleton, who tried to make his way out with the Chinese 5th Army, died of privation before reaching India.77
Stilwell's safe arrival on Indian soil 15 May created a new figure in contemporary American legend: "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, the acid-tongued, indomitable, gruff-voiced, kindhearted old soldier who could make his way through any jungle. Stilwell offered no alibis, sketched no soothing picture of a triumphant withdrawal, but flatly stated: "We got a hell of a beating. It was as humiliating as hell. We ought to find out why it happened and go back!"78
Akyab, on the Bay of Bengal, was evacuated on 4 May by the 14/7 Rajputs, placed there in late January to keep the Japanese from using its airfield as a base from which to bomb Calcutta. Two more battalions went there on 18 March and were taken out shortly after because of the Japanese occupation of the Andamans. Heavy Japanese bombings in late March affected civilian morale, malaria began to make serious inroads on the garrison, and nationalist sentiment was increasing sharply. A strong force of Japanese-led Burmans with artillery was reported on the mainland at the end of April, and this, added to the other circumstances, made withdrawal of the battalion appear advisable. Akyab was occupied soon after.
While the remnants of four imperial and Chinese divisions were struggling through the mountains into India, on the other side of Burma six Chinese divisions were returning over the paths they had taken so hopefully three and four months before. All but the Temporary-55th and 28th Divisions were in relatively good order; behind them the 18th and 56th Divisions were pressing rapidly north and east. Here there could be no disappearing into the jungle. The Japanese exploited their success energetically, and for a time it appeared they would not be halted short of Kunming itself. Several months before, Churchill gave his opinion that the Japanese would not invade India when they had conquered Burma but that they would attempt an invasion of Yunnan Province, so the Japanese might take the terminus of the Burma Road and complete the isolation of China. When the pilots of the AVG destroyed a Japanese truck convoy with pontoon equipment and mightily harassed the 56th Division's truck convoys, they considered they had halted a possible Japanese invasion of China. Further support to this view comes from the fact that the Japanese did attempt to infiltrate across the Salween and sent patrols and swimmers across it just as they had in February before Martaban. On the other hand, six years later the commanding general of the 18th Division, a staff officer of the 56th Division, and a staff officer of the 15th Army denied that there was
WITHDRAWAL FROM BURMA. Convoy on the road en route to India, above. Below, the Stilwell group walk up a river after abandoning their vehicles.
WITHDRAWAL FROM BURMA. General Stilwell, followed by two aids, Lt. Col. Frank Dorn and 1st Lt. Richard Young, leads the way through the jungle above. Below, a brief rest is taken at a campsite. Left to right, Capt. Paul L. Jones, Lt. Col. Frank D. Merrill, Col Robert P. Williams, and Col. Adrian St. John.
any plan to invade Yunnan. Their statements are supported by an order of 26 April from 15th Army directing pursuit to the line of the Salween. Whatever the recollections of Japanese officers six years later, the Chinese Government and General Chennault, having witnessed the debacle in Burma, were thoroughly alarmed and did their best to make invasion of Yunnan impossible.79
The Japanese occupied eastern Burma along four lines. One column thrust along the Burma Road, one went straight east from Loi-lem, and the two columns of Siamese plodded north from Chiang Mai. The Reconnaissance Regiment of the 56th Division left Lashio on 30 April and went on up the Burma Road, scattering a battalion of the Burma Frontier Force, taking the suspension bridge over the Shweli west of Namhkam, and going on to Bhamo. On the way they had a brush with the Chinese 29th Division and thrust them aside. The 148th Regiment went straight up the Burma Road to the hills near the Salween. On 4 May they were relieved by a smaller unit, retraced their steps, and went on to take Myitkyina on the 8th. The unit which had relieved them pressed on to the Salween River and was halted there by the Chinese, who wrecked the bridge. The Japanese delay to permit the relief of the 148th Regiment may have been a great blunder, for a bridgehead over the Salween gorge would have been of tremendous value.80
Around and between these racing columns with their infantry in trucks and with tank spearheads, the 28th, 29th, and 200th Divisions were fighting and marching their way to the Chinese border. The adventures of the 200th Division were especially notable. Its successes in the Taunggyi area were made futile by the capture of Lashio, but the 200th Division, plus half of the 2d Reserve Regiment and two battalions of the Temporary-55th Division, was still in Taunggyi on 6 May. That day the 200th Division received conflicting orders from the Generalissimo and General Tu. The division commander obeyed General Tu's order and marched on Myitkyina, which lay many miles to the north.81 While trying to make its way through a mountain pass, the division came under Japanese rifle fire. The commander, the same General Tai who fought so well at Toungoo, was wounded and died soon after. The division turned back and took an easier route.82 This led the 200th Division toward Bhamo, in which vicinity it turned sharply east and made its way over the mountain paths to China. In effect, the 200th had cut right across the Japanese lines of communications and made its long journey behind Japanese task forces that were fanning out along the Yunnan border, many miles to the east.
As for the 28th and 29th Divisions, the former as of 4 May had two regiments
scattered between Lashio and Lung-ling, with the rest of its personnel north of Lung-ling. By 15 May it had collected itself and moved east of the Salween. The terrain in this section of the world lent itself well to such cross-country escapes, for by moving at night, troops could escape aerial observation, and the Japanese by day could not see through the sheltering mountains. Moreover, the Japanese could not be present in great force everywhere, and there must have been many gaps through which hardy and determined men could find a path. The 29th Division on 4 May was badly defeated at Wanting and soon had one regiment and two battalions scattered south of Wanting, with the rest of the division north of Lung-ling.
The lower Salween country was occupied by Japanese and Thai troops--the 56th Regiment, 18th Division, from Loi-lem in Burma, the others north from Chiang Rai in Thailand. There was some fighting in the Kengtung area. After three days the Generalissimo intervened and ordered the Chinese 6th Army, of which only the 49th Division was fighting, to fall back on Puerh, China. This it did at once, thus bringing the 49th and 93d Divisions back to Chinese soil. The Japanese followed, taking Kengtung on 28 May, and advancing on Mong Yawng, fifty miles east, on 30 May. On the southern Salween front the Japanese were thus moving on in the full tide of hot and successful pursuit, but on the northern portion of that enormously long front, 250 miles away, the Chinese had halted, rallied, and mounted a counteroffensive with six divisions.
The curtain went up on the last act on 9 May. The Chinese 71st Army opened an attack toward Lung-ling, committing its 87th and 36th Divisions, keeping the 88th Division in reserve at Pao-shan.83 The attempt failed, and the 87th was driven back, the Japanese following and attacking Hongmoshu, just northwest of the Hwei-tung Bridge over the Salween River. The Chinese counterattacked on the 15th. On 23 May the fighting took a favorable turn for the Chinese, and they captured Hwangtsoapa (sixteen miles northeast of Lung-ling on the Burma Road) and Fangmakiao (about ten miles south of Lung-ling). Heavy fighting developed next day at Shatzupo to the north, and the Chinese were well into an attack on a considerable scale, headed just south of west. Shatzupo was taken the next day. The inevitable Japanese counterattacks were repulsed, and by the end of May there was general and confused fighting throughout the Teng-chung-Lung-ling-Hwei-tung Bridge area. The situation was in hand, and the Japanese made no grand break-through into Yunnan Province.84
The AVG took part in these actions, first by helping to halt the Japanese advance and then by aiding the Chinese counteroffensive. Chinese bombers attacking Lashio were escorted on 2 May, and on the 7th and 8th enemy columns
west of the Salween were bombed and strafed. One Japanese air raid on Pao-shan, the new AVG base, was successful because of surprise; for the second, the defenders were aloft and ready, destroying seven Japanese fighters. The monsoon rains shielded the Japanese ground forces in the middle of May. From 25 May on the AVG could and did attack steadily, the effort varying from 5 P-40's on 25 May to 12 on 29 May. Hanoi airfield was raided, too. Such was the opulence of Japanese air power in that region that some 60 aircraft were seen on the field, of which 1 transport and 15 fighters were claimed as destroyed. For the month the AVG could claim 24 fighters, 1 bomber, and 57 trucks as destroyed, for a loss of five pilots killed in action and 6 aircraft destroyed.85 The Tenth Air Force from its bases in India attacked Mingaladon field, Rangoon, on 4 and 5 May, Myitkyina airfield on the 12th and 13th, and the Rangoon docks and Myitkyina on 29 and 30 May.86
At the end of May 1942 the Japanese held most of Burma with its rice, oil, tungsten, manganese, and 16,000,000 people. They had completely isolated China by land and could reasonably hope to isolate it by air. From Burma they could launch their attacks into China or India as they chose. From Burma they could bomb Calcutta and its neighboring cities, the very center of the Indian war effort, or they could reach far into western China. In taking Burma, they outfought and outmaneuvered 9 Chinese divisions, 5 Indian infantry brigades, 2 Burmese infantry brigades, 1 British armored brigade, and 6 British infantry battalions, totaling perhaps 81,000 men, supported by a modest complement of artillery, an American fighter group, and several Royal Air Force squadrons. In winning this victory, the Japanese used 10 infantry and 2 armored regiments with ample air support and claimed to have lost 1,280 dead and 3,158 wounded.87
Writing at the end of the third volume of his diary and dating his remarks 10 May, which meant he wrote them on the march out, Stilwell poured his bitterness into a scathing analysis of the campaign:
Hostile population; no air service; Jap initiative; inferior equipment (arty, tks, MG, TM): inadequate ammunition (50 rds [per] TM, 100 rds [per] arty [piece];) inadequate transport (300 trucks, mostly in 5th A;) no supply set-up; improvised medical service; stupid, gutless command; interference by CKS; Br. mess on R.R.; rotten communications; Br. defeatist attitude; vulnerable tactical situation; knew it was hopeless.88
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1. The Generalissimo described his system of command to Stilwell some months later in a conference, 24 June 1942. See Min (Chinese version), Conf, Stilwell and Generalissimo, 24 Jun 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. Stilwell's appraisal of the system, based on experience of it, is on pages 77-78 of The Stilwell Papers.
2. (1) Quotation from The Stilwell Papers, p. 76. (2) Upon his return to the United States in 1944, Stilwell filed the Generalissimo's letters of April and May 1942 in three folders which are now in the Hoover Library. One group is in SNF-12; one is a folder labeled CKS Correspondence; and the third is an inclosure to General Lo Cho-ying's account of the First Burma Campaign in SNF-12. (3) "The Generalissimo, however, is the military commander in chief of the Chinese forces and it is his custom to give direct instructions to his divisional commanders. He sees no impropriety in this. In fact he actually gave me some of his communications to his divisional commanders in Burma, obviously expecting me to concur in their propriety and reasonableness. These communications, however, were direct orders and had the effect of completely undermining Stilwell's position as Commander-in-Chief in the field." Rpt, Dr. Lauchlin Currie, sub: Rpt on Visit to China, 24 Aug 42. OPD 336 China (24 Aug 42) F/W 111, A47-30.
3. (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 76-80. (2) Stilwell Diary, 1 Apr 42. (3) Stilwell B&W, 1 Apr 42.
4. (1) Stilwell Diary, 2 Apr 42. (2) Stilwell B&W, 2 Apr 42. The British-trained Kiangsi troops were in the 32d Group Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Li Mo-an.
5. (1) Ltr FAB 66, Gen Shang to Magruder, 15 Apr 42. Stilwell Folder, China 1942, Stilwell Personal Papers. (2) Stilwell Diary, 4 Apr 42. Editor White's passage on page 116 of The Stilwell Papers omits Stilwell's recording on page 49, Stilwell B&W, of the fact that he received the chop as chief of staff instead of one proper for the commander in chief of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma.
6. (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 82-83. (2) CM-IN 2406, Stilwell to AGWAR, 7 Apr 42. (3) The Campaign in Burma, p. 30. On 8 April 1942 Tu was at pains to announce that Lo now commanded. (4) Rad, Marshall to Stilwell, 3 Apr 42. AG 381 (12-19-41).
7. Rad AG WAR 448, Stilwell to Stimson and Marshall, 3 Apr 42. Item 5, Bk 1, JWS Personal File.
8. (1) Interv with Brig Gen Frank N. Roberts, 25 Apr 51. (2) Rad CHC 1241, Stilwell to Marshall, 3 Jul 44. SNF-131. (3) Stilwell's cryptic comment is: "Use of Reds: 1942--No. Later attempts. No. Use of Cordon troops (Hu /Tsung-nan?/). No. Finally 1944--a few units grudgingly moved through fear for Kunming." The passage is from a paper found among his miscellaneous writings, which begins with the passage, "Mission.--Raise efficiency of Chinese Army for participation in the war. Chiang Kai-shek failure to carry out . . .," and ends, "No support anywhere. Chinese could not believe Chinese troops could fight the Japanese. No interest in Ramgarh or in Burma." Stilwell Papers, Hoover Library. (4) No other references to this episode have been found by the authors in any source examined by them.
9. (1) Notes by Col. Frank N. Roberts, as collated by Capt. John LeR. Christian. MIS Folder, Burma Campaign, MID Library. (2) Foucar, pp. 202, 224. (3) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 30, 31.
10. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 30, 42. (2) Opns Jour, Burma, 16 Mar-2 May 42, Col Roberts, G-2, p. 11. MID Library. (Hereafter, Roberts' Journal.)
11. (1) Foucar, pp. 140-44. (2) Roberts' Journal, p. 11. (3) Burmarmy Sitrep, 4 Apr 42.
12. (1) Rads London 2312, 2337, 3, 6 Apr 42. A47-136. (2) Speaking to MacMorland on 10 April, Col. Orde Charles Wingate, later the famous Chindit commander, forecast a withdrawal to northern and eastern Burma. MacMorland Diary, 10 Apr 42. (3) CM-IN 2166, Brereton to AGWAR, 7 Apr 42.
13. (1) Roberts' Journal, p. 21. (2) First Burma Campaign, a diary of the campaign kept by Col. Willard G. Wyman, 6 April 1942. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (Hereafter, Wyman Diary.)
14. Ltr, Generalissimo to Stilwell, Lo, and Tu, 10 Apr 42. SNF-12.
15. Ltr, Generalissimo to unnamed addressee [Lin Wei], 12 Apr 42. SNF-12.
16. Ltr, Generalissimo to Lo, 15 Apr 42, Incl to Lo's account of the Burma Campaign. SNF-12.
17. Ltr, Generalissimo to unnamed addressee [Lin Wei], 20 Apr 42. Folder, CKS Corresp, First Burma Campaign, Stilwell Personal Papers.
18. Normal divisional organization called for 9 infantry battalions; at this time the 17th Indian Division included the remnants of 17. The 1st Burma Division with 7 weak battalions was badly understrength, but received 3 battalions from the 17th and 1 from the 7th Armored Brigade before it reached the Yenangyaung oil fields. Rad, New Delhi 49, 31 Mar 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. The Japanese had three regiments plus artillery, perhaps 15,000 men. Though the odds were not impossible, the defenders did not yet appreciate the importance of aggressive patrolling and co-ordinated attacks. Consequently, the Japanese could move almost at will through the gaps on the long front.
19. (1) Foucar, Ch. 17. (2) Roberts' Journal, pp. 14, 18-21. (3) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 36-43. (4) SEATIC Bull 245, 5 Oct 46, sub: History of Japanese 15th Army, pp. 24-25.
20. (1) Foucar, p. 158. (2) Belden, Retreat with Stilwell, p. 107. (3) Roberts' Journal, pp. 21-22. (4) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, App. A. (5) Wyman Diary, 16 Apr 42. (6) The Stilwell Papers, p. 83. (7) Stilwell Diary, 12 Apr 42.
21. (1) Foucar, pp. 161-64. (2) Belden, Retreat with Stilwell, pp. 133-51.
22. (1) Foucar, pp. 164, 168. (2) The Campaign in Burma, p. 48. (3) Stilwell understood the 17th Division's demonstration to be a major thrust against the 33d Division's rear. Stilwell Diary, 18 Apr 42.
23. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 48-50. (2) Belden, Retreat with Stilwell, pp. 152, 160-64. (3) Roberts' Journal, pp. 21-22. (4) Foucar, pp. 164-65, 167.
24. Ltr, Generalissimo to unknown addressee, 20 Apr 42. Stilwell Personal Papers.
25. (1) Stilwell told the Generalissimo that Yenangyaung was the sole cause of the abandonment of the Pyinmana plan and the subsequent Chinese withdrawal, not any action of the Chinese. Madame Chiang to Currie, quoting Stilwell's radio, Maymyo 68, 19 April 1942, verbatim. WDCSA 384 (4-28-42). The message is also quoted in The Campaign in Burma, p. 44. (2) CM-IN 4660, Stilwell to Marshall, 15 Apr 42. (3) Rad, Stilwell to SEGAC (The Generalissimo's, radio call station Chungking), 18 Apr 42. Stilwell Personal Papers.
26. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 45-46. (2) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 36, 45, 46. (3) Wyman Diary, 19 Apr 42. (4) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 89-90. (5) Stilwell Diary, 17, 18, 19 Apr 42.
27. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 30, 33, 28, 11. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 69, 71, 74. (3) Colonel Aldrich, the American liaison officer with the 6th Army, tells of attempting to persuade Kan to move. (4) Supply and Evacuation Plan for a Withdrawal, 4 Apr 42. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. This paper lists a drive through the Shan States as second among Japanese capabilities.
28. (1) French Indochina and Thailand Order of Battle Review, 1 Oct 45. MID Library. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 85-87. (3) Brig John F. Bowerman, British Ln Off with 6th Army, Notes on Duties with the Chinese Expeditionary Force, Combat Rpts and Misc Ln Off's Rpts. (Hereafter, Bowerman.) ALBACORE Hist File, Northern Combat Area Command Files, KCRC. (4) Interv with Col Aldrich, 1948. HIS 330.14 CBI 1948. Colonel Aldrich knew Brigadier Bowerman, whose report is cited above, and considered him an excellent soldier and a careful observer.
29. (1) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (2) Japanese Study 94, Ch. VI.
30. (1) Wyman Diary, 6 Apr 42. (2) Bowerman. (3) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 34-35. (4) Roberts' Journal, pp. 13-14. (5) Foucar, pp. 198-99.
31. (1) Ltr, Generalissimo to Stilwell, 8 Apr 42, appended to Lo's account of the First Burma Campaign. SNF-12. (2) Ltr, Generalissimo to Stilwell, 9 Apr 42. SNF-12.
32. Wyman Diary, 9 Apr 42.
33. (1) Interv with Col Roberts, 4 Dec 46. (2) The Campaign in Burma, p. 39. (3) Foucar, p. 198. (4) After the war the Japanese gave their plan as:
"The 56th Division will leave Loikaw on 20 April and advance through Laihka to the vicinity of Lashio in order to cut off the enemy retreat and prepare for the next operation. . . . The 18th Division will start from the east side of the Toungoo-Mandalay railway and advance to the eastern part of Mandalay and cut off the Mandalay-Lashio road. . . . The 55th Division will advance to the southwest part of Mandalay by first defeating the enemy west of the Toungoo-Mandalay railway, to smash the enemy main force at the Irrawaddy River. . . . The main body of the 33d Division will advance from the east bank area of the Irrawaddy River to the vicinity of Myingyan. It will then advance to defeat the enemy main force in the vicinity of Mandalay by outflanking the right wing of the enemy."
Japanese Study 88.
34. Stilwell Diary, 11 Apr 42.
35. (1) These recommendations are undated and are in Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 87.
36. (1) Bowerman. (2) Interv with Aldrich. HIS 330.14 CBI 1948.
37. Stilwell Diary, 12 Apr 42.
38. Wyman Diary, 12, 14, 15 Apr 42.
39. (1) Bowerman. (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 39, 53, 63. (3) McCabe's and Aldrich's reports reached Stilwell through British signals to Maymyo. (4) Memo, Boatner, 30 Jul 42, sub: Rpt on Some Activities of 93d Div in Burma. SNF-21.
40. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 53, 63, 50. (2) Foucar, p. 199. (3) Memo cited n. 39(4).
42. (1) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (2) Map, Japanese Study 100, Annex 5.
43. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 40, 52. (2) The Chinese Army in Burma. MIS Folder, Burma Campaign, MID Library. (3) Foucar, p. 199. (4) Roberts' Journal, p. 23. (5) Ltr, Aldrich to Sunderland, with notes, 18 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950.
44. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942.
46. Memo, Roberts for Stilwell, 21 Apr 42. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942.
47. Stilwell Diary, 21 Apr 42.
48. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 52-55, 63-64. (2) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 90-92.
49. (1) Roberts' Journal, pp. 22, 24-26, 27-30. (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 54, 57, 59, 60-71. (3) Burmarmy Sitrep, 29 Apr 42. (4) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (5) Foucar, pp. 173-80.
50. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 53, 64, 74. (2) Foucar, p. 201.
51. Memo cited n. 39(4).
52. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 41, 53, 54, 64, 74. (2) Roberts' Journal, pp. 24-26. (3) Foucar, pp. 171-201. (4) The Brereton Diaries, p. 124. (5) Wyman Diary, 26 Apr 42.
53. (1) The Campaign in Burma, p. 64. (2) Int Summary, AVG Activities for Apr 42, AVG Hq. AVG File, Gen Ref Br, OCMH.
54. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 52, 58, 62, 67, 75, 83. (2) Stilwell Diary, 23, 25 Apr 42.
55. (1) The Campaign in Burma, p. 74. (2) Foucar, p. 74. (3) Ltr, Boatner to CG AAF CBI, 13 May 42, sub: Incidents Prior to and Immediately Following Fall of Lashio (April 20-29, 42). HIS 330.14 CBI 1950. (4) Ltr, Boatner to Chief, HD SSUSA, 14 Nov 47. HIS 330.14 CBI 1947.
56. Stilwell Diary, 16 Apr 42.
57. Memo, Stilwell for Generalissimo, 27 Apr 42, sub: Proposal to Organize and Train a Chinese Force in India. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. General Gruber opened and ended the proposal with a note that this was not presented as coming from the U.S. or British Governments.
58. (1) Gruber told Stilwell of this by a penciled note on lined paper with no date or sender's number. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942. (2) ". . . Gruber reports complete success of his job. We to have complete direction of move (the staff is squabbling a bit)." Stilwell Diary, 29 Apr 42.
59. Operational Instruction 46, Army in Burma, 23 Apr 42. Stilwell Misc Papers, 1942.
60. (1) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 47-49. (2) Bowerman. (3) The Campaign in Burma, p. 73.
61. (1) On 27 April 1942 the Chinese received orders from the Generalissimo to fight a mobile battle, to stay in Burma, and to hold Kengtung and the Bhamo-Myitkyina area. Lo's account of the Burma Campaign. SNF-12. (2) Ltr, Generalissimo to unknown addressee, undated. CKS Corresp, Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 93. (4) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, par. 54. (5) Wyman Diary, 30 Apr 42. (6) Stilwell Diary, 29, 30 Apr 42.
62. Rad, Stilwell to AGWAR, 4 May 42. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library.
63. Sgts John and Ward Hawkins, History of the 835th Signal Service Battalion. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.
64. (1) Foucar, pp. 175-80. (2) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 74-75. (3) CM-IN 7935, Stilwell to AGWAR, 30 Apr 42.
65. The entry of 5 May in the Wyman Diary, "Possible presence of Japs at Bhamo dictated movement out of Burma via Imphal," with Stilwell's action of the same day in asking about a train to Myitkyina, seems to fix 5 May as the date that Stilwell elected to move out of Burma to the west. Had he made the decision on the 4th of May, he would not be asking about trains north on the 5th. The Stilwell Papers, pp. 96-98.
66. (1) See n. 57. (2) CM-IN 7490, Stilwell to AGWAR, 28 Apr 42. (3) MacMorland Diary, 25 Apr 42. (4) The Stilwell Papers, p. 94. (5) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 74, 75. (6) Memo, Gruber for Stilwell, 12 May 42. Folder, Operations-Burma Evacuation, Gen Ref Br, OCMH.
67. (1) Rad WAR 575, Marshall to Stilwell, 30 Apr 42. Paraphrased in Folder cited n. 66(6). (2) CM-IN 1606, Stilwell to Marshall, 6 May 42.
68. (1) Rad, Marshall to Stilwell, 18 Apr 42. AG 381 (12-19-41). (2) Rad WAR 570, Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Apr 42. (3) Rad WAR 336, Marshall to AQUILA, 12 May 42. Paraphrased in Folder, cited n. 66(6). (4) Cable, Mme. Chiang to Currie, 6 May 42. Folder 19B, OPD Exec 10.
69. Notes after Cabinet Mtg, 1 May 42. WDCSA 334-M, A46-523.
70. (1) Alexander Report, Supplement to The London Gazette, pars. 55, 61, 62. (2) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (3) The Stilwell Papers, p. 97.
71. (1) Foucar, Ch. 21, p. 241. (2) Owen, Campaign in Burma, p. 26. (3) The Campaign in Burma, p. 76. (4) The Stilwell Papers, p. 97. Many of the missing were dead, who under conditions of jungle warfare had simply disappeared. Some 3,000 were members of Burmese units, many of whom had probably deserted. British and Indian units reported 6,000 missing in action. Of these, many were undoubtedly prisoners of war, and a great number of these unfortunates must have died in Japanese custody. The enemy was not meticulous in reporting such matters.
72. Hist Sec (India), India at War, 1939-1943, p. 113. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. The 2d and 5th British Divisions arrived in India from the United Kingdom that summer. The latter went to the Middle East after a brief stay. A great deal of ordnance was also received from the United Kingdom.
73. (1) Ltr, Brig Cawthorn, Dir of Mil Int, GHQ (India), to Gruber, 15 May 42; (2) Ltr, Gruber to Wavell, 16 May 42. Folder, Chinese Army, Trek from Burma, Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (3) History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. V, p. 3. (4) Foucar, pp. 189, 201, 203. (5) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 82-87. (6) Wyman Diary, 8 Jun 42. "Gen. Sun's constant supervision of all matters pertaining to his troops is of the highest type." In a letter, Wyman to Stilwell, 17 June 1942, the former calls General Sun "a top soldier." Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (7) Lo's account of the Burma Campaign. SNF-12.
74. Chih Hui Pu Diary, p. 2. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH.
75. (1) Ltr, Boatner to Stilwell, 23 Aug 42, sub: Rpt on Activities in Dibrugarh-Ledo-Tipang Area from 20 Jun to 16 Aug; MS, Evacuation of Burma, Folder, Chinese Army, Trek from Burma. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. Evacuation of Burma appears to be a fragment of a long report by one of the officers sent up the trail. It gives the impression of a flood of horrors, perils, and adventures on such a scale that the author had neither the time nor inclination for fear or disgust. The extraordinary became commonplace, and he strove with it and recorded it as a matter of routine. (2) MA Rpt 655, 21 Sep 42. MID Library.
76. (1) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 86-87. (2) History of CBI, p. 35.
77. (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 99-103. (2) Wyman Diary, 1-20 May 42. (3) Ltr, Nowakowski to Sunderland, 13 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950.
78. (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 96-104. (2) Wyman Diary, 1-20 May 42. (3) Though Stilwell did not reach Imphal, capital of Manipur State, until 20 May, his party crossed the border at Saiyapaw on the 15th. History of CBI, p. 26.
79. (1) Foucar, pp. 206-08. (2) Statements of General Tanaka, General Takeuchi, Lt Col Taro Hayashi, and Col Motohisa Yoshida. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (3) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (4) MacMorland Diary, 8 May 42. MacMorland quotes Chennault assaying that the AVG had stopped an invasion.
80. (1) Japanese Study 88, Ch. IV. (2) The Campaign in Burma.
81. The preceding passage on the withdrawal of the Chinese Expeditionary Force from Burma is based on Japanese Study 88, and the Campaign in Burma, pp. 24, 80-89, 91.
82. Rpt, With the 200th Division Withdrawing into China, translated by "P. F." SNF-21.
83. Sources cited n. 81.
84. Japanese Study 88 speaks of fighting the 71st Army (heroes of Shanghai fighting in 1937) along the Salween. It states the Chinese counterattacked, and that the 56th Division "checked" these attacks.
85. Int Summary, AVG Activities for May 42, Hq AVG. AVG File, Gen Ref Br. OCMH.
86. The New York Times, May 15, 16, June 2, 1942.
87. (1) Japanese Study 100, sub: Summary of Progress of Operations by 15th Army. (2) In a postwar survey, U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey Report 64d, Ground Logistics. (9) Statistics of Losses, the Japanese losses show 9,600 battle casualties including 7,400 killed in action and 500 dead from wounds received in action. This report is in the National Archives. (3) The Campaign in Burma, pp. 90-91.
88. Stilwell Diary, 10 May 42.