Chapter VI
U.S. Forces Organize and Prepare for New Tasks

If Stilwell succeeded in persuading the Chinese to co-operate in retaking Burma, and if the forthcoming reply to the now-modified Three Demands strengthened their resolve to proceed along the lines of the Pacific Front and the China Air War Plan, then Stilwell's chief concern would be American support of the Chinese effort. "Support China" would be an injunction to be interpreted in the most literal terms and to be carried out by a U.S. Army organization modeled to that end.

Although the loss of Burma left Stilwell's Task Force in China, plus the Tenth Air Force and the infant Services of Supply, without a specific immediate mission, the Pacific Front and the China Air War Plan obviously involved future tasks of considerable magnitude for the U.S. Army. Therefore, while waiting for the final settlement of the Three Demands crisis, Stilwell expanded his modest organization into a larger one which, with the tacit approval of the War Department, became known as the China, Burma and India Theater of Operations. It will be recalled that Stilwell had left the United States as a task force commander, indeed, that his willingness to accept that status was one of the reasons he had been given his mission to China. Now, that was to change, and Stilwell, his superiors, and his subordinates soon referred to his position as that of U.S. theater commander in China, Burma, and India.

Apart from setting up his widespread CBI command, Stilwell worked at his three other command and staff assignments. As chief of staff to the Generalissimo, he created an office at Chungking and secured clerical help for preparing his proposals for reform of the Chinese Army and operations in China Theater. This post he kept most meticulously separate from his U.S. Army command, and members of his American staff were not aware of his plans and projects for China Theater. Stilwell sometimes called on individual American officers to prepare staff studies on China Theater problems; at other times, staff sections sent memorandums to their Chinese counterparts, but only with Stilwell's approval. Occasionally Stilwell detailed American officers to confer with Chinese on matters of mutual concern. Until the Chinese would agree to set up a joint staff for China Theater as promised by them in January


1942, Stilwell proposed to discharge his staff responsibilities in China Theater by himself with the aid of a liaison officer, Col. John Liu of the Chinese Army, who also served as a translator, and a few enlisted clerks.

In the conduct of two other responsibilities, Stilwell made free use of American personnel. As the Munitions Assignments Board's agent, he supervised and controlled lend-lease in China, although he never bore a formal title, such as Lend-Lease Administrator for China. As commanding general of the Chinese Army in India, Stilwell staffed a headquarters with Chinese and American officers who would, he hoped, work harmoniously in creating a new army.

Expansion of Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces, CBI, July-December 1942

The command of Chinese troops given by the Generalissimo, the desire to anticipate the arrival of a U.S. corps for which Stilwell's staff was hoping, and finally a War Department directive led directly to the metamorphosis of Stilwell's task force into a theater of operations. When Stilwell reached New Delhi at the end of May 1942, he arranged for General Sibert and a small staff including Colonel Ferris to work with the British in finding a concentration area for the Chinese straggling out of Burma. The Services of Supply (SOS) was spreading across India. The Tenth Air Force was organizing itself for expansion. Sibert, Ferris, and their staff began to look ahead toward the reception of a U.S. corps in India. As the number of Americans in CBI and the extent of their responsibilities grew, the mental horizon of those who commanded them broadened, and so the Stilwell group in New Delhi more and more thought of themselves as acting in the capacity of a theater headquarters. Though the hope of receiving a corps from the War Department lasted for some months, it soon became apparent to the embryonic theater headquarters staff in New Delhi that the Chinese 22d and 38th Divisions if trained, re-equipped, and brought to strength might substitute for an American corps.1

June passed before the Generalissimo charged Stilwell with the task of feeding and caring for his troops in India. The British were finally persuaded to offer Ramgarh, Bihar Province, as the Chinese training center, and on 2 July the Generalissimo gave Stilwell command of the Chinese Army in India. This step passed almost unnoticed, however, so overshadowed was it by the Middle East and Three Demands crises.

On 22 June 1942 the War Department ordered Stilwell to issue orders relieving all units and individuals under his command from assignment to Army Group, Washington, D. C., and to assign them under a permanent change of station to the American Army Forces in "India, China, and Burma."2


The War Department's radio went to Stilwell's staff in Chungking which promptly relayed it to General Sibert in New Delhi. The latter headquarters at once relieved the personnel of the several troop movements which had arrived in China and India from their assignment to Army Group, Washington, D. C., and reassigned them to "this theater of operations." There were no more radios on this point between Washington and Chungking, but thereafter communications from Stilwell's headquarters to the War Department, and from the War Department to Stilwell, referred to him as theater commander, to his headquarters as theater headquarters, and to his command as the China, Burma and India Theater of Operations.3 In the absence of further, conflicting evidence, it must be assumed that both the War Department and General Stilwell regarded the Department's 22 June radio as sufficient authority for the establishment of an American theater of operations in China, Burma, and India.

The next step in the evolution of the CBI Theater was a letter of instructions from Stilwell on 6 July 1942 setting up the command structure for his theater. Stilwell made his headquarters at Chungking the office of record of his command, under the name "Headquarters, American Army Forces, China, Burma and India." The New Delhi headquarters was titled "Branch Office, Headquarters, American Army Forces, China, Burma and India." New Delhi was specifically authorized to issue directives in line with established policies in the name of the "Theater Commander."4 Henceforth, the U.S. Army correspondence and orders within CBI Theater clearly differentiated between the functions and personnel which were assigned to Headquarters, CBI, to the SOS, and to the Tenth Air Force.

A few days later Stilwell established a branch office in Kunming to make the city's shift from a Burma Road terminal to an air ferry discharge point and a major base for Chennault as smooth as possible. Colonel MacMorland, who had suggested the step, commanded the new U.S. Kunming Area Command. MacMorland was to relieve Chennault of housing, mess, supply, and communications responsibilities and to give the Chinese a central American agency with which to deal on supply matters for that area.5 Thus with two branch offices under way at mid-July Stilwell awaited the outcome of his Pacific Front proposals before undertaking any more expansion in his theater.

It was not until Currie was off for Washington with the Generalissimo's set of modified demands and the Pacific Front plan that Stilwell left to inspect his new theater organization. During August he traveled from Kunming to


Karachi, stopping at Chabua, New Delhi, and Calcutta, and spending a week at Ramgarh.6 Command and organizational problems received personal attention at each place. On 18 August the War Department approved Stilwell's candidate for command of the Tenth Air Force, General Bissell. On 26 August the Ramgarh Training Center for Chinese troops was activated with Colonel McCabe as commandant.7 Chart 2 shows the command and staff structure of Stilwell's theater at the end of 1942.

During his tour Stilwell acquainted his officers with the progress of negotiations in Chungking and New Delhi and asked them to relate their activities to that progress. They were told to report difficulties encountered and anticipate the need of staff studies.8 As Stilwell traveled about CBI, wherever he worked was a third theater headquarters, in fact if not in name, New Delhi and Chungking being the other two. Inevitably, a certain amount of confusion resulted in Chungking or New Delhi until Stilwell's decisions reached them by courier or radio and were relayed throughout the command. On occasion it became exceedingly difficult for Stilwell's chief of staff, General Hearn, to determine which headquarters spoke for the commanding general at any one time.9

Hearn's difficulties increased as Stilwell conducted talks first with the Chinese and then with the British and reversed the process for agreements on the Pacific Front and the China Air War Plan. Frequent trips between Chungking and New Delhi gave Stilwell an opportunity to see Bissell, Wheeler, Sibert, Ferris, Chennault, and MacMorland in person. In consequence, Hearn's staff had a difficult job in keeping abreast of orders and policy announcements. Stilwell's many conferences with commanders resulted in a multiplication of staff studies, and the amount of staff work gradually forced the Chungking and New Delhi headquarters to assume staff responsibility for the U.S. Army units within the country of their location.10

Branch Office, New Delhi, soon outstripped its parent headquarters at Chungking both in personnel and activity. In terms of strength, it was the larger of the two by November 1942. New Delhi had better facilities, reflecting the greater resources of India and the fact that the major U.S. effort would be exerted from there. Present in Branch Office until the end of 1942 were the theater finance, inspector general, judge advocate general, surgeon, and quartermaster officers. To these Special Staff Sections, the theater ordnance officer was added in November 1942. On 6 October Branch Office lost Sibert as a commanding general, and Stilwell put a deputy chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Benjamin


Chart 2
Organization of U.S. Army Forces in China-Burma-India
December 1942


G. Ferris, in charge of the office. Ferris also became Stilwell's principal liaison officer with General Headquarters (India). On 24 November Branch Office got a more appropriate title for the scope and size of its activities: Headquarters, Rear Echelon, United States Army Forces, CBI.11

The new organization merited its title because of the extent of its contacts with the Chungking headquarters, with General Headquarters (India), and with the War Department. Ferris kept the Chungking headquarters in touch with the expansion of his special staff through bimonthly reports. The absence of an approved Allied operational plan, while a serious drawback to normal functioning, gave each officer an opportunity to do a great deal of anticipatory planning for Stilwell. If Stilwell or his headquarters staff was dissatisfied with the performance of any function by SOS, the tendency was to place that responsibility under theater headquarters. Thus by the end of 1942 signal, post exchange, malaria and venereal disease control, military police, mail, and censorship were theater functions, which meant that Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces, CBI, exercised SOS functions to a considerable degree.12

Apart from theater staff work, such officers as the theater quartermaster, judge advocate general, postal inspector, and surgeon had many contacts with General Headquarters (India). As a result of co-ordinating their staff work, several international agreements were reached.13 For example, the judge advocate general aided in getting the United States and Indian Governments to agree that "the American military authorities in India had exclusive jurisdiction over criminal offenses which might be committed in India by members of U.S. forces."14 Rear Echelon's necessary contacts with the War Department on "technical or administrative matters" forced Ferris to organize his own office of record.15 The radio teams of the 835th Signal Service Company tied together these several American installations.

The G-1 Section in Chungking attempted to direct personnel matters for the theater until June 1943. Throughout this period the G-1 officer was handicapped by the lack of personnel statistics available to his assistant in New Delhi.16 The G-2 Section in Chungking was rudimentary, with two officers and one enlisted man, one officer being the Order of Battle Section. As plans for the Burma operation progressed, G-2 in Chungking was compelled to rely heavily on General Headquarters (India), which was very helpful.17 It was not possible for Stilwell to set up his own intelligence net in China Theater, for there the Generalissimo was Supreme Commander, and a chief of staff


does not set up an intelligence system in rivalry with his commander. The same situation obtained in India, where Wavell was Supreme Commander.

The G-3 Section in New Delhi continued to work on plans for the recapture of Burma, which Ferris had started immediately after the evacuation of Burma. G-3 was also concerned with procuring, moving, and training troops. It was initially handicapped by the absence of any directive for troop deployment to CBI. There were no American combat troops in CBI, so it was not possible for G-3 to say: "We have fifteen divisions allotted to us, therefore we need so many service troops, making our grand total 750,000 men."18 Rather, troops were needed and allotted as successive projects were added to support China or Pacific operations. Until May 1943 Stilwell's headquarters, SOS, and the Tenth Air Force each submitted requisitions for troops directly to the War Department. In connection with forward planning of supply and construction requirements, the G-3 Section in New Delhi was called on to prepare estimates of troop strengths, so that the Government of India and General Headquarters (India) could have a basis for estimating American requests for supplies and labor. Under the circumstances suggested above, in 1942-1943 these estimates were little better than educated guesses, always likely to be overturned by the next great international conference.19

The G-4 Section in Chungking was small and often inadequate to cope with its tasks. The Delhi section worked under better conditions, disposing of more ample resources, and it was able to plan and carry out the re-equipping of the Chinese forces that retreated on India. The Chungking G-4 Section was the liaison with the Chinese Government for supplies for the Thirty Divisions and for the AAF installations in Yunnan and the east. Though the Chinese intent often seemed good, American staff officers found their administrative practices hard to bear and administrative problems were many.20

Transportation and related problems, such as procurement of gasoline and alcohol for motor fuel, road building, and maintenance, were the subjects of many conferences and many American promptings. Insufficient Chinese appropriations, the Chinese policy of meeting budgetary deficits by printing money, and price control regulations that made the cost of the raw materials greater than the price of the finished product kept Chinese industrial production at a fraction of capacity. Generally, at any given point in China, Chinese contributions to the war effort were limited to what the local countryside could spare.21

During the fall of 1942, lend-lease requisitions came to the War Department from Chinese agencies and from the Chungking and New Delhi headquarters


for the units to be equipped in India and China. There was no theater effort to co-ordinate or screen these requests on behalf of Stilwell as lend-lease representative.22

By the end of September 1942 Stilwell received preliminary indications of what the War Department's reply to the modified Three Demands would be. While there was no immediate hope for U.S. ground troops, a 500-plane air force was promised, and the 3,500 tons a month lend-lease program for the Chinese Army would continue. These resources, plus those that could be procured locally, were all that would be at Stilwell's disposal. Nevertheless, he had deployed his U.S. forces from Karachi to Kunming to assist the Chinese in getting ready for the first phase of the proposed offensive. Of necessity, the creation of two headquarters, of an enlarged Services of Supply with three base sections and three advance sections, and of the Tenth Air Force, had been ordered in advance of approved War Department Tables of Organization and Equipment. To man his theater, Stilwell endeavored to keep his staff small since all personnel so far had come from the casual movements sent to the CBI in the spring of 1942. At the beginning of October only one major headquarters, Tenth Air Force, had a Table of Distribution, and even its subordinate commands were created and operated without such tables.23 On 5 October, as a result of a conference among the New Delhi headquarters, Tenth Air Force, and the Services of Supply, tentative Tables of Distribution for a theater headquarters, a rear echelon, and both major operating commands were forwarded to Stilwell. He studied them carefully in the light of future necessity as suggested by the progress of his negotiations with Chinese and British authority, but it was not until 21 January 1943 that the War Department was willing for the tables to take effect in the CBI Theater.24

Tenth Air Force Plans and Organization

The only U.S. combat unit at Stilwell's disposal was the Tenth Air Force with its subordinate China Air Task Force. Brereton's absence in Egypt left the Tenth with only an acting commanding general until 18 August. The War Department had hesitated to approve Stilwell's candidate, General Bissell, because of Chinese opposition. Bissell's appointment, however, had merit as far as Arnold and Stilwell were concerned. He had been Stilwell's staff air officer since February; he had weathered the Generalissimo's disappointment


on each of China's aviation projects, and he had laid the basis for deploying part of the Tenth Air Force to China Theater. Bissell was well aware of the logistical problems of putting and maintaining air power in the CBI Theater. He was also coping daily with the political problems involved.25

Almost immediately after Brereton's departure the British Joint Staff Mission in Washington (British liaison with the Joint Chiefs of Staff) proposed that the Tenth be placed at the disposal of and under the control of the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (India). In the light of the Three Demands crisis such action would have had a bad effect on the Chinese. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, therefore, assured the British that, if a threat to India developed, Stilwell would co-operate with Wavell in meeting it. In accordance with this policy, co-ordination between the Tenth and the Royal Air Force was maintained by liaison and daily conferences.26

To strengthen Stilwell's hand in getting the Chinese to moderate their demands and to proceed along the lines of Stilwell's proposals to the Generalissimo, the War Department during July outlined the aircraft strength that the Tenth would have by 30 September. It would be brought to 160 fighters, 57 medium bombers, 35 heavy bombers, and 13 P-38's.27 Assuming this combat strength, plus the long-standing promise to put 75 C-47's with the Tenth and 25 transports in the China National Aviation Corporation, Stilwell's air planners envisaged a balanced air force for the CBI Theater. Aware of British concerns in India, but with his 18 July proposal to the Generalissimo more in mind, Stilwell told the War Department about his plan for using the Tenth Air Force.28

Basically, Stilwell's air plan envisaged support for the Chinese ground effort into Burma, operation and defense of the Hump in order to bring 3,500 tons a month to the Yunnan build-up, and aviation gasoline and spare parts for Chennault. This last objective was already being developed, and the Tenth's units were being deployed accordingly. On 6 July the China Air Task Force, consisting of the 23d Pursuit Group (74th, 75th, and 76th Squadrons), with


the 16th Fighter Squadron attached, plus the 11th Bombardment Squadron (B-25's), was activated. On 8 July Chennault assumed command. He had 56 P-40's (only 30 were operational) and 8 B-25's (7 operational). The small size of Chennault's force was often mentioned in the U.S. press.

To balance the China Air Task force, Stilwell planned to place similar fighter and medium bomber forces in upper Assam. (The India Air Task Force was activated formally on 3 October with Brig. Gen. Caleb V. Haynes commanding.) With a task force at either end of the Hump the newly activated India-China Ferry Command (15 July 1942) could operate with greater security. The B-24's promised by Marshall were to be based in India, where they could bomb strategic targets in Burma or move into China Theater, if and when they could be supported there. At the air gateway to the CBI Theater, the Tenth set up a Karachi American Air Base Command under the command of General Brady. His mission was primarily to receive and train crews for combat and transport operations. Logistical support for the Tenth came from its own Air Service Command, which got a new Commanding Officer, Col. Robert C. Oliver, on 14 August 1942.29

Oliver continued to build on the organization which he inherited from Brig. Gen. Elmer E. Adler, who had activated the Tenth's Air Service Command on 1 May 1942 with headquarters at New Delhi. Service command personnel came from the 51st Air Base Group, which on 12 March became the first troop unit to reach the CBI. Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron and the 54th Air Base Squadron of the 51st Group remained at Karachi. The 59th Matériel Squadron was divided into detachments and deployed at airfields across India and in China. On 16 May the 3d Air Depot Group disembarked at Karachi and soon moved to Agra. When Oliver assumed command, the Air Service Command had base units operating at Agra, Allahabad, Chakulia, Bangalore, Dinjan, and Chabua, in India, and at Kunming, China.30

The Air Service Command worked with and through Wheeler's SOS in the procurement of common usage items, and in transportation, except by air, required for movement of all supplies. Quartermaster supplies for the Tenth Air Force came from Wheeler. In addition to supplying and transporting supplies for the Tenth, the Air Service Command repaired, overhauled, salvaged, and manufactured aircraft. An outstanding result of this effort was the activities of the Hindustan Aircraft Corporation at Bangalore. The company was owned


by Mysore and the Government of India. In addition to manufacturing and repairing planes for its owners, the plant was committed to manufacture fifty single-engined Vultees for the Chinese Republic. On 5 August the Hindustan Aircraft Corporation agreed to service, repair, overhaul, and fabricate all necessary parts of American-produced aircraft, engines, and equipment "regardless of use." At first the venture looked promising for the Tenth.31

Although the logistical situation in India was potentially better, Chennault had some local resources to operate on until the Hump could expand. A June survey of Chinese stocks, which the Generalissimo said could be used but would have to be replaced, revealed that (a) 72 P-40's could fly 18 missions a month for three and a half months, (b) 11 B-25's could fly 8 missions during the same period, and (c) 12 B-24's could stage 2 missions over the same period. Spare parts, ammunition, and personnel supplies, however, were in very short supply.32

During the fall of 1942 the Tenth Air Force could not reveal its full potentialities. It was a time of preparation and orientation. The Tenth was dependent on the 12,000-mile supply route from the United States. Often there were diversions of aircraft and supplies along the way. The Indian transportation system between Karachi and the Assam fields was inefficient and was heavily burdened by the needs of the Indian divisions (4 Corps) and the Royal Air Force squadrons concentrating in northeastern India to guard against a possible Japanese invasion. The Indian environment was bad for both the Americans and the aircraft; heat and disease racked the aircrews and abrasive dust ground down the engines. General Arnold believed that there had been lack of proper attention by the Tenth's senior officers to the requirements of their men.33

But over and above its logistic difficulties the Tenth Air Force faced basic problems of strategy and command. If the Allies agreed, the Tenth was in position to play its tactical role. Each day of delay in agreeing on strategy meant that the Tenth would continue to fight on the principle of co-operation with the British and Chinese rather than in an Allied command with them. Difficulties and differences continued to breed as long as this condition existed. Airfield construction, deployment of units, operation of a transport line, selection of targets, allocation of aircraft and air forces supply, and related problems necessarily moved from both Bissell and Stilwell for higher authority to solve.34


Map 6
Transportation System, 1942-1943

The Services of Supply: The Indian Base

The original War Department directive on 28 February to General Wheeler ordered him:

To take necessary action required to push equipment and supplies through to General Stilwell and to assume all supply and administrative functions in India necessary to successful functioning of his command.

To investigate and report upon special supply requirements; supplies locally procurable; special supply difficulties and the availability of storage space.35

The mission received more precise definition in April 1942:

  1. Operate the Services of Supply from base ports in India forward to include the railheads, river heads, and air line terminal in Assam. [Map 6]

  2. Supply all U.S. ground forces in this theater of operations and the U.S. Air Forces to the extent requested by the Commanding General, American Air Forces in India.

  3. Receive, warehouse, assemble and transport Chinese lend-lease and other government supplies.36

The scene of Wheeler's principal activities, India, was 12,000 miles from his port of embarkation, Los Angeles. The round trip by sea required about four months. India's military resources were at the disposal of General Headquarters (India), whose attention was largely fixed on the Middle East. Though the Indian Army and the Government of India were very generous, still, the American military were as guests in another's home; the Americans could ask but could not command. Nationalist sentiment and Japanese successes greatly affected the Indian mind in summer 1942. The Government of India saw the Americans with their needs as another factor in a complex and unstable situation, while Gandhi feared that the Americans were there simply to assist British rule. It is an irony of history that the soldiers brought to Asia to support Chinese nationalism were suspect to its Indian counterpart.37

India was not a perfect base. Some 400,000,000 Indians weighed heavily on the agricultural resources of a land just entering upon the industrial revolution. There was no surplus capacity for unproductive military effort; Indian contributions were sacrifices. The climate and sanitary conditions were especially bad in those portions of India nearest to China, where the major part of the U.S. effort would necessarily be exerted. More than one hundred inches of rain a year fell in many places in Assam, one spot receiving more than 1,000 inches. Intestinal disease, malaria, plague, and smallpox were endemic. The difficulty of obtaining good fresh food in Assam made it worth while to fly perishables


from China to India occasionally on returning transport aircraft. Soldiers lost weight and grew tired and listless because of vitamin deficiency.38

Shipping was always the sovereign influence on Allied strategy and to economize it the U.S. forces were directed to make the maximum possible use of local resources. The port situation added weight to this policy. Bombay, then the best port in India, was "hopelessly clogged with mismanaged Allied shipping."39 Calcutta, the second best, was so exposed to enemy air attack in 1942 as to be thought unusable. And Karachi, the third choice, was separated from the Assam air bases by the whole width of India.40 This expanse was inadequately bridged by the Indian rail net. From Karachi to Delhi, rail traffic passed over a broad-gauge line, part of it double-tracked, that linked Karachi with the hinterland north of Delhi. From Delhi eastward connections were good until Assam was reached, where the real bottleneck was to be found in the Assam line of communications. As the SOS history describes it:

The Assam LOC [Line of Communications] consisted of broad gauge lines of the Bengal and Assam Railway northward from Calcutta to Santahar and Parbatipur; meter gauge lines of the Bengal and Assam railway running eastward from Santahar and Parbatipur to northern Assam; meter gauge lines of the B & A Railway in east Bengal running eastward from a Brahmaputra River ferry connection with the Santahar Branch and northward from Chittagong to a junction with the main lines at Lumding; barge lines on the Brahmaputra River; combinations of rail and barge lines utilizing various transshipment points along the river.41

The broad-gauge section of the line seemed more than able to carry all the traffic that the meter-gauge section could take. The meter-gauge lines had been laid out to support the vast tea gardens of Assam, whose demands were light, and the intermediate managerial staff found it hard to cope with the growth of traffic from three or four trains a day to fourteen. Added to the inherent limitations of meter gauge and inexperienced personnel were the lack of adequate transshipment facilities from broad to meter gauge; the absence of a bridge across the Brahmaputra, which made ferries necessary; the heavy grade between Lumding and Manipur; the general shortage of rolling stock; and the frequent interruptions of traffic by the monsoon.42

General Headquarters (India) had been well aware of this, and in summer 1942 suggested that U.S. railway troops operate key sections of the line. In compliance with the War Department's desire that they function with a minimum of U.S. troops, Stilwell and Wheeler declined the invitation. It may also be surmised that they were reluctant to assume added responsibility in an area that a few months before had been designated one of British responsibility.


Nor was there yet the general recognition of the importance of the Assam line of communications which came later.43

In summer 1942 the British interest in the Assam line of communications was dominant. The line of communications served not only the American airfields which supported Chennault but the British 4 Corps in Manipur State and the tea industry. The tea gardens played the same role in sustaining the British civilian population that the coffee plantations of South America did for the American people. Whether the air raid warden in a London suburb would have his cup of hot tea after a difficult night with the German bombers depended in large measure on the tonnage allocations made by civilian agencies responsible to the Government of India, which sometimes gave short-commons to the Americans.44

First Plans and the Karachi Area

The first American troop units in CBI were the air force personnel diverted from Java by General Brett. They arrived at Karachi on 12 March 1942 with 28 trucks, some bombs, and some small arms ammunition, and needing 619 trucks with other items in proportion. Stilwell's task force received overseas shipment of ten months' rations for 1,000 men, 155- and 105-mm. howitzers, rifles, machine guns, ammunition, a few vehicles, some communications equipment, and six 50-bed hospitals. The first SOS troop units--the 393d Quartermaster Battalion (Port) and the 159th Station Hospital--arrived at Karachi on 16 May 1942.45

The initial War Department supply plan of 28 February 1942 directed that everything possible be procured locally, that six months' supplies of food and clothing be kept in India for all troops, and that an additional nine months' level be kept in China for 1,000 men. The directives of summer 1942 retained the six months' level for India and defined it as including supplies at the port of embarkation and in transit. Because India was so far from the United States the supply position was therefore precarious. The War Department ordered further that requisitions had to be for actual rather than projected strengths; since CBI personnel increased 500 percent between March and December 1942, the SOS had to run hard just to stay in place.46

Base Section No. 1 at Karachi was activated on 27 May 1942, Col. Paul F. Yount commanding, its initial area comprising 360,000 square miles. Present


in the area were 1,033 U.S. personnel, almost half of them medical. Because Wheeler had opened SOS headquarters at Karachi a few days before, offices, barracks, and staging areas had been obtained from General Headquarters (India).47

Most deficiencies in supplies were filled by reverse lend-lease (henceforth, reciprocal aid) from India, some by open-market purchase. Often, ingenuity was needed. One hundred and two sedans were bought in Karachi; 172 truck chassis were found in Bombay and wooden beds and cabs were made for them in Lahore. Cargo diverted from Rangoon and Singapore yielded much signal equipment, office furniture, and tools. The Chinese agreed to the transfer of many supplies from their lend-lease. Subsistence came from local firms on a contract basis.

Building was accomplished by submitting requests to SOS headquarters, which passed them to General Headquarters (India), which in turn gave them to the Royal Engineers for performance. Sometimes as long as three months was needed to obtain sanction, and the actual construction, when finally begun, was done by primitive methods under the supervision of the Base Section engineer. The picture was one of U.S. engineers supervising work and handling heavy equipment, aided by great numbers of Indian laborers. Under these handicaps, work went forward, and by the end of 1942 the Karachi base had a staging area at North Malir cantonment, with accommodations for about 20,000 men, barracks for about 2,000, a well-equipped air base with several landing fields, a depot area with railway spurs, and the other physical equipment of a functioning base.

Some 1,500 Indian employees of all types, from typists to dock coolies, were employed on a reciprocal aid basis, with a consequent economy of U.S. manpower and funds.48

In addition to procuring and distributing supplies for the U.S. forces, the Karachi base had 20,000 long tons of Chinese lend-lease to safeguard. These vital supplies had been casually dumped at Karachi with no attempt to inventory, classify, or safeguard them, or even to clear them from the docks, while the Chinese in Washington were demanding that more supplies be shipped to India immediately. The SOS obtained 1,000,000 square feet of open storage plus 100,000 square feet of covered storage, and in three months 15,000 long tons of Chinese lend-lease were cleared off the docks and properly stored by SOS. In performing its duties of receipt and distribution, Base Section No. 1 unloaded 130,342 long tons at Karachi between March and December 1942 and shipped forward 54,140 long tons to other parts of the theater. A large portion of lend-lease ordnance was sent to Ramgarh for training purposes.49


SOS Expands Across India Into China

Base Section No. 2, with headquarters at Calcutta, began slowly and haltingly because of its exposure to air attack from Japanese bases in Burma. Its existence was authorized on 27 May 1942. The first commanding officer, Lt. Col. Edwin M. Sutherland, took up his duties on 22 June 1942, with a total personnel of four officers, and the section's first troops, Company E, 45th Engineers with attached medical personnel, arrived on 20 September 1942 from Karachi. The first cargo arrived on 24 September, and by the end of the year a total of 9,686.5 tons was unloaded.50

Farther down the coast of India and out of range of all but the four-motored Kawanishi flying boats and raiding carrier aircraft were the ports of Madras and Vizagapatam. Unfortunately, these had but nine shipping berths between them, and moving cargo from them to Assam would mean more strain on the creaky rail system. Calcutta's facilities were excellent, and as soon as the threat of Japanese air attack lifted it was the obvious choice for a base to support the American effort in Assam.

By authority of expediency the engineers were used as a port company. Americans were used as guards and checkers, and Indians were used for the other posts. Fourteen vehicles were on hand for all purposes. By the end of the year, when the engineers were sent to Assam to resume their normal role, Base Section No. 2's strength dropped to eleven officers and eighty-nine enlisted men.51

There were, however, obvious indications that this was only a lull. It had always been apparent that Karachi was poorly sited to be the main U.S. base, so in late summer 1942 SOS urged that the United States accept the hazards involved in making Calcutta the principal American base in India. Stilwell approved of Calcutta's use on 31 August 1942 and planning for the change began.52

There were many obstacles to be overcome before Calcutta could be an efficiently functioning base. The city, India's largest, was overcrowded; its people were strongly nationalist, and pro-Japanese sentiment was present; the food situation, soon to lead to a great famine, was already precarious. There were grave civil disturbances in Bengal Province during August 1942 when nationalist extremists sabotaged communications and attacked police stations. Strict neutrality was enjoined on the U.S. forces. Nevertheless, Calcutta was the logical base for Assam, so planning and preparation proceeded.53

Advance Section No. 1 under Maj. Henry C. Willcox, with headquarters temporarily at Agra, and later Allahabad, was activated on 27 May 1942 to "serve Air Force units within its area, to take delivery from British depots, and


to expedite shipments to forward areas."54 Its first depot operated at Allahabad from July to December. The second depot opened at Gaya in November, assumed the responsibility for handling airfreight to China in December, and was redesignated Air Freight Reception and Discharge Depot No. 1.55

Advance Section No. 2 under Maj. Henry A. Byroade, activated on 27 May 1942, in northeastern India, had for its principal mission support of Tenth Air Force units flying cargo to China and the supplying of cargo to be carried by them. "It controlled the changeover from rail and river transportation to air transport of all supplies and equipment going in to China." Its Advance General Depot No. 2 was the railhead for supplies received and the supply point for troops within the area of the section.56

The SOS established itself in China with the activation of Advance Section No. 3 on 11 June 1942, with headquarters opened at Kunming soon after. Its supply levels were dependent on what could be flown in from India. The supply situation in China differed from the customary in that the Chinese Government undertook to provide food and shelter for the Americans in hostels run by its War Area Service Command, thus substantially limiting the sphere of the SOS. To supervise and control lend-lease for the Thirty Divisions, Stilwell established an Eastern Section, SOS, under Col. Fabius H. Kohloss, which would have no territorial boundaries but would operate like a G-4 section in maintaining liaison between SOS and the Chinese in regard to lend-lease questions. Colonel Kohloss was also charged with the planning for rehabilitation of the Chinese section of the Burma Road in preparation for any offensive into Burma that might be launched from China.57

Local Procurement

By August 1942 Wheeler could report to Stilwell "that the U.S. Forces were practically living off the land."58 In India this involved a major feat of administration, based on the generous help of the Government of India, which in turn rested upon the real sacrifices of the Indian people. The basis of agreement between the U.S. Forces and the Government of India was given in a cable from the Secretary of State for India, from London, on 7 February 1942:


The U.S.A. authorities have called to our attention the importance of arrangements being made as soon as possible regarding the facilities and articles which the United Kingdom and Dominion Governments can furnish the U.S. Present and future dispositions of the U.S. Forces make prompt consideration of these questions of what may be described as "Reverse Lend Lease" desirable for practical purposes and we wish to approach the matter in a generous spirit. However, to give complete reciprocity is impossible. One of the main objects of Lend Lease has been to obtain from the U.S.A. those munitions and materials for which we could not pay out of our dollar resources and current dollar earnings. We still have considerable dollar commitments in the U.S.A. arising from pre-lend lease contracts and not all our requirements are being obtained under Lend Lease. We cannot therefore afford to reduce our current dollar earnings by foregoing payment of raw materials and commercial supplies. We should then transfer to the U.S.A. on Lend Lease terms war munitions and military stores (and analagous services such as servicing or repairing such stores) whether these are issues from stores or involve the placing of a special contract in this country. We should include machine tools in munitions for this purpose. We should sell stores to contractors working for the U.S. Raw materials and commercial supplies we would continue to sell for cash.59

On receipt of this cable an agreement became a matter of defining terms to mutual satisfaction. It was agreed on 22 March 1942 that "raw materials and commercial supplies" meant those articles normally exported by India to the United States, such as mica, jute goods, hog bristles, manganese, shellac, and chromite, of which only jute for sandbags and sacking would figure in SOS's calculations. "Military stores" were agreed to include everything the Army used, including timber, cement, steel, and coal, though the Indian representatives pointed out to Wheeler that steel was in extremely short supply.60

Provision of rations was questioned by the Government of India because of the bad local food situation, but Generals Brereton and Wheeler pointed out that food could be imported from the United States only by sacrificing badly needed arms and that the Quartermaster General (India) had stated he could supply 50,000 U.S. troops. The trend of discussion revealed that the Indian authorities with whom Wheeler was negotiating were disposed to place a liberal interpretation upon the 7 February cable from London and to do their best to supply the Americans. In this favorable atmosphere negotiations prospered, and on 8 June Wheeler with Somervell's approval informed the Government of India that he accepted their most recent proposals, which were then distributed as a letter of instructions from the Government of India to all Indian Army agencies.61

The agreement provided that the SOS would obtain the bulk of its requirements by requisition on the Government of India. Demands would be placed through SOS headquarters rather than through the section commanders. A priority board would consider the supply aspects, and a lend-lease committee, the eligibility for transfer of the items sought. Actual procurement would be


through normal Government of India channels. In requisitioning construction, U.S. forces would accept the usual Indian Army scale of office or housing accommodations or pay cash for desired additional facilities. Supplies not obtained on reciprocal aid could be bought in the open market or imported from the United States. In regard to open-market buying, it was agreed that American commanders would not bid against one another or against the Government of India, nor would they embarrass the price and supply position prevailing. In practice this meant the co-ordination of all purchases over 1,000 rupees ($330.00) by SOS headquarters.62

Reciprocal aid was also extended to the Chinese Army in India, which was paid, fed, clothed, and housed thereby. Much of its ordnance came from U.S. lend-lease to China as did approximately 75 percent of its medical requirements.

Because of these agreements, by fall 1942 all rations were being procured locally except for canned fruits and vegetables which came from the United States and raw coffee which was bought in Brazil and ground in India. Indian coffee, without the chicory usually present, was later substituted. Specifications and patterns for clothing and web equipment were obtained from the United States, and contracts let to Indian factories. Aviation gasoline and motor fuel were being procured from local sources, which in turn were supplied from Iran. As a rule, lubricating oils and greases came from the United States. Office, signal, and electrical supplies were obtained locally, and many such items came from frustrated cargo originally bound for Southeast Asia.63

Unable to obtain data from the Government of India, SOS estimated that the U.S. forces received $36,000,000 reciprocal aid in 1942. The Government of India was unwilling to set a value on reciprocal aid. Repeated requests to India for such information were met with the argument that this would impose an administrative burden which India was not prepared to assume. The Americans were also told that the Government of India was not keeping any records showing the value of goods or services supplied to the United States under reciprocal aid. Since a postwar settlement of lend-lease accounts was expected in which the United States would be badly handicapped were it compelled to accept countering claims at face value, the SOS created its own system for appraising every item received and let its existence be known.64

The Reciprocal Aid System at Work

As both parties to the reciprocal aid agreement began to operate under it, difficulties soon arose from its application. There were two major areas in which differences were fairly numerous: SOS reluctance to accept Indian Army


standards of accommodation, and the reluctance of U.S. officers in the field to use the slow reciprocal aid machinery as against more rapid purchases in the open market. On the question of standards SOS contended that any requisition for the U.S. forces in India was by definition in furtherance of the war effort and so should be approved. The Government of India contended that additions to the Indian Army scale should be covered by American cash purchases. So many differences arose on this point that Wheeler was moved to draft a cable to the War Department summarizing the situation, which he then showed to the Quartermaster General (India).65

Conferences with the Government of India immediately followed. One point at issue was solved by the initiative of General Headquarters (India) in bringing their troops to a higher ration scale, while they yielded to Wheeler on the matter of woolen clothing, another disputed point. The matter was finally settled by a compromise agreement that U.S. requests would be considered on their own merits, that the United States would not ask for imported items, that differences would be resolved in India if at all possible, and that SOS would, on request, withdraw requisitions which might embarrass the Government of India.66

Local purchases offered even more complex problems. To American ways of thought, the supply mechanism of the Government of India was slow, but India could retort that in many cases local U.S. commanders did not preplan their requirements and allow enough time for procurement. Further, if rapid delivery was required, the local supplier was quite ready to exact an exorbitant price, and this the Government of India was unwilling to pay. There was also a general suspicion of the whole lend-lease process on the part of the Indian public, of which manufacturers and suppliers were part. The SOS was not always innocent, for at times it failed to take delivery of an item which it had earlier asked be procured. SOS fully shared India's views on the undesirability of SOS's operating in the open market, with all that such operations implied of bidding against the Government of India. So SOS set up a Procurement Section in fall 1942 to provide central control of all open-market purchases.67

The Procurement Section investigated Indian supply sources, screened requisitions on the United States from local commanders to make sure supplies could not be obtained locally, and examined, in the light of known market conditions, requests which India had rejected. In time the Procurement Section's efforts to cut local market purchases for the American forces met with real success.

The Procurement Section also improved the functioning of reciprocal aid. Close liaison was maintained with American diplomatic and consular agencies


to gain the fullest knowledge of Indian resources and to expand them through nonmilitary lend-lease if local production might be increased thereby. Thus, tire-making equipment was ultimately lend-leased to Indian factories to permit them to supply SOS with automobile and aircraft tires under reciprocal aid.68

Lend-Lease Responsibilities

The SOS was an executive and not a policy-making organization for Chinese lend-lease and was charged with receiving, storing, and transshipping matériel in accord with directives from above. Because SOS had clerical and warehousing facilities, on 1 September 1942 the Chinese agreed to have SOS handle all the different varieties of matériel destined for China that had been diverted to India during and after the First Burma Campaign.69

These may be differentiated by the program under which they were procured or by the procuring agency.

  1. By program:

    1. Those items procured for the use of Ministries of the Chinese Government and for Chinese Troops other than those under American sponsorship or supervision. . . .

    2. Those items procured for Chinese Troops under American sponsorship or supervision. . . .

  2. By procurement:

    1. Items procured by the War Department. . . .

    2. Items procured by the Foreign Economic Administration. . . .

    3. Items procured by the Universal Trading Corporation . . . a corporation set up to purchase for the use of the Chinese agencies non-military or indirect [sic] military material with cash loaned by the United States Government. . . .

    4. Some small amounts of items procured from the British in India for use of the [U.S.-sponsored Chinese Forces]. . . .

    5. Items of Canadian War Supplies under the Canadian Mutual Aid Program . . . the U.S. Army having only custody for purposes of receipt storage and onward movement to China.

Matériel was procured by the War Department and by the Foreign Economic Administration alike for Chinese and American programs, though generally items procured by the Foreign Economic Administration were for Chinese account and were nonmilitary in nature. Since each of the above types of matériel had different legal status, "The difficulties encountered in laying down general rules for the control, handling, and reporting of all types become readily apparent."

Initial handling of Chinese matériel was not systematic. Chinese requests for shipments from War Department procured stocks to China were made orally, and no confirming written directives were issued. Since China National Aviation Corporation flew Chinese matériel over the Hump, the United States was not further concerned once delivery was made to the corporation by the


SOS. The earliest known tally-out for movement of Chinese matériel from Karachi to Assam is dated 11 June 1942. "No regular periodic reports of receipts and issues were instituted until September 1942. . . ."

The Chinese Board of Transport Control was charged with handling, storing, and transporting all matériel procured by the Chinese, how casually has been noted. Gradually the opinion grew that it would be best if SOS bore the sole responsibility for all goods destined for China, irrespective of their legal status, and that the entire process should be placed on a businesslike basis.

These trends finally crystallized in a new arrangement, which was made on 2 August 1942 between General Wheeler and Commissioner Shen Shih-hua of the Board of Transport Control. On 1 September 1942 SOS took over all lend-lease and Chinese-procured matériel then in India and assumed responsibility for future receipt, storage, and transshipment. This left the Chinese with the responsibility of calling forward matériel intended for Chinese agency programs, as air cargo space for China was available. As a result of the agreement, and of the Board of Transport Control's delegating so much of its responsibility, SOS inherited most of the Chinese commission's employees, over 400 of them in Assam alone.

The duties given to the SOS were a considerable step toward complete U.S. administrative control of the very considerable quantities of lend-lease that were in India and on the way there. As cargoes of lend-lease or related matériel were discharged at Karachi, SOS gave the Chinese a checked manifest and a tally-in sheet, both itemized in detail. As cargoes moved out of Karachi toward Assam and the airfields, SOS gave the Chinese shipping advices and tally-out sheets in complete detail. On arrival at Assam tally-in sheets went to the Chinese, and tally-out sheets were furnished when the goods left for China. Priorities were set by the Chinese for the movement of goods by China National Aviation Corporation transports. Stilwell set priorities for dispatch of cargo by U.S. aircraft.

This latter provision meant that as the proportion of U.S. aircraft flying cargo to China steadily increased, Stilwell's power to determine what cargo went to China increased with it. The Generalissimo's objections to Stilwell's role in the lend-lease field had been made clear in the Three Demands crisis. Now, administrative processes were extending this control. Since there was only so much air cargo space at his disposal, Stilwell, as events showed, was adamant that it should be used only for the effective prosecution of the war, which to him meant arms for the Thirty Divisions and supplies for Chennault's aircraft, in such proportions as Stilwell might determine.

Ramgarh Training Center

In April 1942 the Generalissimo gave his approval in principle to Stilwell's plan to train a Chinese Army in India. As the likelihood of defeat in Burma


increased so did the number of the Generalissimo's reservations on Stilwell's 27 April plan, which was now in need of recasting. When the Chinese began to reach India, and the full impact of the Burma debacle was felt, the Generalissimo's initial reaction was to have his troops spend the next three months at the hill station of Darjeeling, from which they might retreat to China via Tibet should the Japanese attack India. On 24 June the Generalissimo went so far as to tell Stilwell he might send 50,000 men to India. On the 29th the Generalissimo approved Ramgarh in Bihar Province as a site, but by that time the Three Demands crisis was under way and so his approval on 2 July went to a much more modest scheme. Stilwell's alternate plan was: to train the 9,000 men as artillerists and heavy weapons specialists; to equip them with lend-lease arms; to organize them into ten artillery and four heavy weapons battalions; to move them into Burma in the wake of a British attack; then, to send them to Yunnan to give fire power to the Thirty Divisions. The Generalissimo agreed that Stilwell would command these troops and would control training and supply, with the Chinese handling discipline and administration.70

The facilities of Ramgarh were ample and suggested larger schemes. The camp had held 20,000 Italian prisoners of war and had actual housing facilities for 12,000 men. There was "a healthful climate and a low malarial rate . . . an open and contrasting terrain for training and firing ranges. Central lighting and water systems also had been installed, and messing, washing, and latrine facilities were available." If the sanitary facilities were improved, it was estimated that 20,000 men could be accommodated.71

With the improvement in Sino-American relations that followed Currie's visit, Stilwell returned to the idea of creating in India a Chinese Army able to play its part in retaking Burma. The Generalissimo was co-operative and agreed to provide 23,000 more men for Ramgarh, with which Stilwell could create by February 1943 a force of two full divisions, three artillery regiments, an engineer regiment, ten artillery battalions, and 1,500 Chinese instructors for thirty divisions. The plan thus hinged on the Government of India's approval of such an increase in the number of Chinese in India. It appeared a great step forward to Stilwell, who took the Generalissimo's approval as evidence that he was at least partly converted. If such was the case, then the approval was vital, for it would be extremely unwise to anger the Generalissimo at the moment he was consenting to accept U.S. aid.72


The proposal met with objections from Wavell, General Headquarters (India), and the Government of India. At first Wavell approved (27 September), but in two days he asked Stilwell for a formal written request, including the reasons. General Sibert replied for Stilwell, stating that the reason was to aid in the reconquest of Burma, and giving assurances that there was no plan to operate independently. In later discussions Wavell suggested a whole host of administrative difficulties, making the Ramgarh project seem impossible. Asked to intervene by Stilwell, Marshall went into action on the CCS level, placing his case before Field Marshall Sir John Dill of the Joint Staff Mission to Washington. Dill was told that Stilwell had to bear personally the Generalissimo's anger at the presence of Chinese troops in India. Reminding Dill of the original agreement to provide bases in India for Stilwell's operations, Marshall asked him to consider the consequences of an obstructive attitude by the Government of India. Marshall also told Roosevelt of the problem, saying he hoped to handle the matter through Dill but wanted the President to know of it. Dill's answers made it quite clear that the objections of the Government of India caused the difficulty.73

That body, possessed of great powers, had developed a policy of its own which did not always accord with the wishes of the War Cabinet. Dill told his American colleague that the British Chiefs of Staff favored the increase but the local authorities objected. The Government of India thought that the Generalissimo had been entirely too close to Indian nationalist opinion. Moreover, they disliked the contrast between a Chinese Army well equipped by lend-lease supplies and the Indian forces that they were then able to raise. Furthermore, the Government of India feared that if domestic troubles came to a head, the Chinese might side with the Congress Party.74 Soon after, Stilwell was able to radio the good news that there was no further objection to an increase in the Ramgarh force, that the administrative problems had vanished: "Remarkable change. They must have gotten the word from London."75

Operation of Ramgarh Training Center

A venture in three-power co-operation, Ramgarh Training Center was formally activated on 26 August 1942. Indian authorities were responsible for providing the Chinese troops with rupees (for pay and local purchases), certain items of ordnance, medical stores and equipment, rations, gas and oil, transportation, and accommodations. Any items in the above categories which the


Indian authorities could not furnish, chiefly heavy ordnance equipment, including vehicles, were bought and charged against British lend-lease to China. The frustrated Chinese lend-lease cargo was a primary source for this latter item. The SOS placed requisitions on the Indian authorities on behalf of the Chinese forces, received supplies, and with them took care of supply and administration for the post, including medical care for the Chinese. The Chinese were responsible for unit administration and discipline and for supplying the men to be trained and equipped. Replacements and fillers provided the next major problem, as once again it appeared that the Generalissimo's formal engagement was not binding on his subordinates.76

In September replacements were not forthcoming to bring the 22d and 38th Divisions up to strength to meet the current Ramgarh plan, let alone the greater one that Stilwell was earnestly expounding. Colonel Aldrich, then commanding the Kunming Area Command, had to put the very heaviest pressure on Gen. Ma Tseng Liu, representative of the Ministry of War, to get the flow of troops from China to India via the airline under way. Stilwell's chief of staff, General Hearn, sent some rather strong letters to General Ho Ying-chin, for Stilwell insisted that after the trouble he had had in getting the Government of India's concurrence, the project must not be allowed to die of Chinese indifference. The actual passage of Chinese troops began on 20 October. Some 4,000 flew to India that month, but Stilwell was not satisfied and ordered his Chungking headquarters to remonstrate with Ho once again. This latter effort brought results. The Chinese soon passed the desired 400-a-day figure, and theater headquarters had to limit daily shipment to 650 because Assam transportation facilities were congested.77

Water supply was the chief barrier to the expansion of Ramgarh to hold 23,000 more Chinese troops. A camp site near by seemed promising, but it was very close to the Argada and Sirka coal mines. Coal was vital to the war effort; so when the mine operators argued that the Chinese would frighten away the unsophisticated jungle folk who dug the coal, their plea carried the day. The Chinese were then quartered on the south side of the Damodar River. When in 1943 the question arose again, the same objections were raised. This time they were ignored, and the presence of the Chinese had no discernible effect on the miners. Generally, the discipline of the Chinese Army in India was excellent.78

There were three headquarters at Ramgarh: the training center, the post, and Chih Hui Pu. Activated on 4 October, the last was headquarters for the Chinese Army in India, charged with administration and discipline of the


RAMGARH TRAINING CENTER, 1942. Chinese troops are taught to use the U.S. Enfield rifle, above. Below, inspecting the troops. Left to right Maj. Gen. Sun Li-jen, Lt. Gen. Lo Cho-ying, and General Stilwell.


Chinese soldiers. Its combat role was as yet undecided. Stilwell commanded, General Lo was vice-commander, and Brig. Gen. Haydon L. Boatner was chief of staff. The question of who was actually the superior officer, Lo or Stilwell, arose in September, as it had a few months before in Burma, and in a brief passage at arms Stilwell broke the news to Lo that Lt. Gen. J. W. Stilwell commanded.79 Stilwell also announced that Lo would not be given any lump sums from which to pay his troops, the customary procedure which permitted large amounts to stay in the commander's pockets.

This announcement was a preliminary skirmish, and battle was joined in October after the activation of Chih Hui Pu. Lo again demanded 450,000 rupees; and when told that 270,000 rupees, the amount actually required to pay the 22d and 38th Divisions, was at hand, he refused to have anything to do with it. His attitude plainly revealed his belief that the Americans were whimsically and arbitrarily blocking a legitimate transaction. Lo had also insisted on diverting replacements for the 22d and 38th into the Chih Hui Pu or Army troops, which he thought of as his. As a result Chih Hui Pu was soon 4,000 men overstrength while the 22d and 38th Divisions were short at this time five to six thousand men each. For Lo to have used replacements to fill the divisions of two generals who were strangers to him and concurrently lose all hope of ever claiming the pay of the 4,000 men would have been completely alien to the accepted Chinese practice. But such customs as these had reduced the Chinese Army to near impotence; Stilwell did not propose to connive at them, and Lo was sent back to China.80

The senior officer of the SOS was post commander and functioned in a manner similar to the commanding general of a service command in the United States, with no authority over training. One of the earliest problems faced by Col. William A. Fuller and his successor, Brig. Gen. William H. Holcombe, was the medical treatment and reconditioning of Chinese soldiers. To accomplish this task, they had the services of the Seagrave medical unit, of Maj. Gordon Seagrave, of a British Red Cross Unit, and, after 21 August, of the 98th Station Hospital. According to the SOS history:

The Chinese were in bad condition. Malnutrition, malaria, dysentery, and Naga sores (large, ulcer-like sores on the limbs) soon brought the Ramgarh hospital population to 1,300, but the Chinese had remarkable recuperative powers when fed plenty of rice and given good medical care. They were soon ready for [sanitary] training which they needed as badly as they needed medical care. They cared nothing about cleanliness or sanitation. . . . They


were careless about allowing water to remain in containers, with the result that mosquitoes were breeding everywhere . . . [but] by October 1942 there was a "high degree of sanitation at Ramgarh."81

In the early days at Ramgarh the rather curious supply system, under which the SOS placed requisitions on Indian authority for the Chinese, often creaked and groaned and sometimes failed to produce. This was not peculiar to Ramgarh for the same thing often happened at other U.S. installations in India as the nations concerned learned to work together. Ramgarh Training Center was commanded by Brig Gen. (then Col.) Frederick McCabe, who was responsible directly to Stilwell. Theoretically, the center was free of Chinese influence, but, as McCabe wrote to Colonel Ferris, "You know how that works with the Chinese with their ability to circumvent whenever they don't wanna." Though the Chih Hui Pu chief of staff, General Boatner, had no formal authority over the training center, McCabe found him a great aid in keeping the Chinese content and busy.82

The center originally had infantry and artillery sections, reflecting the plan to train such units. Believing they would enter combat in winter 1942-43, the center tried to train them as rapidly as possible. With the adoption of the plan for a Chinese army corps, the center changed accordingly. From 15 September on it had a headquarters and headquarters detachment, plus infantry and artillery sections. A special units section, added 25 November 1942, gave all specialist training needed in the infantry division. The basic concept of the center was Stilwell's belief that the Chinese soldier could learn his trade and, once taught, be as good as any. Therefore, divisions of such men under a leadership willing to attack should be equal to the reconquest of Burma. Under a program based on the U.S. Mobilization Training Programs, the Chinese were taught to use rifles, light and heavy machine guns, 60-mm. and 81-mm. mortars, rocket launchers, hand grenades, and 37-mm. antitank guns under any conditions. An eight-day course in jungle warfare was given after the soldiers had mastered use of their weapons. The artillery section for six weeks taught the use of pack artillery, 105-mm. and 155-mm. howitzers, and assault guns, with emphasis on jungle operations.83

So that Chinese units would be able to give emergency medical care in combat, Chinese medical personnel were trained at Ramgarh. A number of courses were offered, including one of six months intended to train intelligent junior officers to perform a variety of medical services. Chinese line officers got courses in field sanitation to prevent the diseases that had taken such a toll in 1942. Short courses in dentistry and veterinary service were offered, to provide men who could perform certain basic tasks in the field. Field hospitals for the


STAFF DISCUSSION AT RAMGARH TRAINING CENTER, 1942. Left to right, General Yang, Maj. Gen. Franklin C. Sibert, General Stilwell, General Sun, and Maj. Gen. Liao Yao-shiang.

Chinese divisions were equipped and trained at Ramgarh and at Ledo. Ultimately, individual training in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine was given at Ramgarh to men from five Chinese divisions.84

In providing basic training to individual officers and men, American personnel at the center found that the basic principles of pedagogy applied to Chinese as well as to Americans but that great ingenuity was needed to overcome the language barrier, the concept of face, and the indifference of the Chinese to time. Under the belt-line instruction system, a different instructor taught each phase of a subject. By constant practice the American instructor, with his interpreter, became adept at conveying his meaning to the peasant lads who clustered around the strange products of Detroit and Pittsburgh.

The interpreters were indispensable. Usually members of the student class, they were often highly intelligent but ignorant of military matters and so had to be previously instructed in military phraseology and concepts. Careful supervision


was needed to see that they did not embroider the instruction with their own ideas. It took perhaps three times as long to teach a subject through interpreters as to teach where no language barriers were present.

The concept of face made it hard to train field grade officers with their juniors, commissioned officers with noncommissioned officers, and all holders of rank with enlisted men. Overcoming the preconceived notions implanted by seven years of passive defense was also hard. Chinese with long experience of war as they had known it did not take kindly to the suggestions of men who had never been under fire. Because the Chinese had been weak in artillery, they had fewer preconceived notions in that field and so artillery instruction went ahead faster than infantry.

The time problem was vexing, because in conformity with American cultural patterns classes had to attend instruction at fixed times. This notion was strange to the Chinese, who thought one hour quite as good as another. Consequently, the best efforts of liaison officers were needed to keep the flow of students on schedule.85

When Chinese officers and enlisted men of the 22d and 38th Divisions completed approximately six weeks of basic training and indoctrination, the Chinese units were reassembled and began to conduct their own training. This training was guided by directives issued by the training center. The Chinese applied these themselves while American liaison personnel kept the center apprised of the Chinese progress. The training center supplied facilities, training aids, ammunition, and instructors as required. Since the responsibility for meeting the standards set by the directives and by the commanding generals of the 22d and 38th Divisions lay with the Chinese themselves, they set the hours of training, which were long, and the pace, which was steady. The Americans aided and guided; the British and Indians provided food, clothing, pay, shelter, and the bulk of the needed supplies. The basic principle was to help the Chinese to help themselves.86


As it became apparent in the summer of 1942 that the crisis in Sino-American relations precipitated by General Brereton's transfer from India to Egypt would be amicably adjusted, Stilwell gave his expanding forces the organization of a theater of operations. The tremendous geographic expanse involved, the unreliable nature of communications and transport, and the circumstance that the two major portions of Stilwell's theater were under two different Supreme Commanders, Chiang and Wavell, forced a considerable degree of decentralization. Stilwell's principal headquarters, and the one in


which he spent most or his time, was at Chungking. This headquarters had a Branch Office at New Delhi.

The two major headquarters under Stilwell's theater headquarters were the SOS under General Wheeler, and the Tenth Air Force under General Bissell. Reflecting the logistic difficulties of operations in China, most of the SOS and Air Force installations and strength were in India. In India, the SOS spent the summer of 1942 in establishing itself, storing Chinese lend-lease, and supporting the Tenth Air Force and the nascent Chinese Army in India. The Tenth Air Force was deploying itself toward Burma. In China, General Chennault was trying to shape an air task force from the remnants of the American Volunteer Group plus a few untried replacements.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (5) * Next Chapter (7)


1. (1) CM-IN 7262, Stilwell to Marshall, 25 May 42. (2) Memo, Hearn for Maj Gen J. C. Bruce, British Mil Mission to China, 19 Jun 42. Item 151, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (3) Interv with Col Ferris, 1 Dec 48.

2. (1) CM-IN 0570, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Jul 42. (2) CM-OUT 5537, AGWAR to Stilwell, 22 Jun 42.

3. (1) SO 25, India Hq, Stilwell Mission, 16 Jul 42. This special order indicates that it was issued pursuant to a 25 June 1942 radio from Stilwell in Chungking. (2) CM-IN and CM-OUT messages in the Staff Communications Office, Department of the Army, for the period after 16 July 1942 refer to Stilwell, his headquarters, and his command as being a "Theater of Operations."

4. Ltr of Instructions, Stilwell to Sibert, Wheeler, and Naiden, 6 Jul 42. Corresp Folder (May-Nov 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. The abbreviation AAF conflicted with Army Air Forces, so it became the accepted practice to use U.S. Army Forces, China, Burma and India.

5. (1) Memo, MacMorland for Stilwell, 9 Jul 42, sub: Liquidation of Kunming Office. AG 500, Hq USAF CBI, KCRC. (2) GO 5, Hq USAF CBI, 18 Jul 42.

6. (1) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 135-41. (2) CM-IN 0789, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Aug 42.

7. (1) Rad 1133, Marshall to Stilwell, 4 Aug 42. Item 27, Bk I, JWS Personal File. (2) GO 1, Hq Ramgarh Training Center, 26 Aug 42. (3) MS, History Ramgarh Training Center, 30 Jun 42-15 May 45. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

8. (1) CM-IN 10959, Stilwell to Marshall, 23 Sep 42. (2) Memo with Incl, Sibert for Stilwell, 19 Oct 42, sub: Bimonthly Stf Rpts. Corresp Folder (Mar-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC.

9. Ltr, Boatner to authors, 4 Apr 50; Ltr, Hearn to authors, 16 Feb 50; Ltr, Ferris to Sunderland, 21 Feb 50. HIS 330.14 CBI 1950.

10. (1) Ibid. (2) Interv cited n. 1 (3).

11. Memo cited n. 8(2); Memo with Incl, Ferris for Stilwell, 18 Dec 42. Corresp Folder (Mar- Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC.

12. Ibid.

13. Ibid.

14. Memo, Stilwell for his Comd, 19 Nov 42. Corresp Folder (Mar-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC.

15. History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. XIII, Administration.

16. History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. XIII, G-1 Section.

17. History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. XIII, G-2 Section.

18. (1) Ltr, Ferris to Sunderland, cited n. 9. (2) History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. XIII, Administration.

19. History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. XIII, G-3 Section.

20. History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. XIII, G-4 Section.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid.

23. (1) Notes, Conf, Br Office with CGs, SOS and Tenth Air Force, 3 Oct 42. Corresp Folder (Mar-Nov 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) CM-OUT 8582, Marshall to Stilwell, 25 Sep 42.

24. (1) Memo, Sibert for Stilwell, 5 Oct 42, sub: Sp T/O Theater Hq. Item 289, Corresp Folder (1941-42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. "A presumption [sic] was made in this study that a Headquarters would be maintained in both Chungking and New Delhi; also that the theater commander would become the field commander. This would necessitate an adequate mobile Headquarters which would in turn include a very mobile small command group." (2) GO 4, Forward Echelon, Hq USAF CBI, 21 Jan 43.

25. (1) Rad 921, Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Jun 42; Rad 892, Stilwell to Marshall, 30 Jun 42; Rad 976, AGWAR to Stilwell, 8 Jul 42; Rad 942, Stilwell to Marshall, 14 Jul 42; Rad 1020, Arnold to Stilwell, 17 Jul 42; Rad 967, Stilwell to Arnold, 20 Jul 42; Rad 1133, Marshall to Stilwell, 4 Aug 42. Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (2) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, pp. 508-13. (3) MS, History of the Tenth Air Force Headquarters for the Calendar Year, 1942, and from 1 January to 31 May 1943. USAF Hist Div. (4) SO 41, Br Office, Hq USAF CBI, 18 Aug 42.

26. Ltr with Incl, Air Marshal Douglas C. S. Evill to Arnold, 3 Jul 42; Ltr, Arnold to Evill, 14 Jul 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466.

27. (1) On 18 August the War Department again proposed to place the above planes in the Tenth Air Force. Moreover, Stilwell was promised 1,700 men a month to bring the Tenth to full strength by January 1943. Ltr, Streett to Stilwell, 18 Aug 42, sub: Status of Units of Tenth Air Force. Item 271, Misc Corresp Folder (Jul 42-Nov 43), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (2) On 12 October 1942 the President assured the Generalissimo that the Tenth Air Force would contain the above strength. Item 54, OPD Exec 10.

28. (1) CM-OUT 6392, Marshall to Stilwell, 22 Jul 42. (2) CM-IN 8729, Stilwell to Marshall, 25 Jul 42. (3) The China Air War Plan, discussed in Chapter V, above, concerned the Tenth's role in China Theater where Stilwell was under the Generalissimo. Stilwell's plan in CM-IN 8729 was also concerned with India and Burma.

29. (1) CM-IN 1403, Stilwell to AGWAR, 4 Jul 42. (2) By merging the Trans-India and Assam-Burma-China Ferry Commands on 15 July, the India-China Ferry Command under General Naiden was activated. Ltr Order, signed Naiden, Hq Tenth USAF CBI, 9 Jul 42. AG 320.2. (3) Ltr, Bissell to Chennault, 25 Sep 42, sub: CATF. Item 268, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (4) Rad 401, Naiden to Chennault, 7 Jul 42. AG (Tenth AF 322. (5) Ltr, Naiden to CO, Trans-India Ferry Comd, and CO, Assam-Burma-China Ferry Comd, 9 Jul 42. Item 221, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC. (6) Time, July 20, August 3, 18, 24, 1942. (7) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, p. 495. (8) History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. VI, Air Service Command.

30. History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. VI, Air Service Command.

31. Ltr, Bissell to Stilwell, 3 Sep 42. Item 249, Misc Corresp Folder (May-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC.

32. CM-IN 9114, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Jun 42.

33. (1) Ltr, Arnold to Bissell, 12 Sep 42. Incl to Item 206, Bk 3, JWS Personal File. (2) Craven and Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces, I, pp. 510-12. (3) Hist Sec (India), India at War, 1939-1943, pp. 107-08. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (4) Brief History of the AAF in India and Burma, 1941-43. File 825.01, USAF Hist Div. (5) RAF Narrative, The Campaigns in the Far East, III, India Command, September 1939 to November 1943, p. 82. USAF Hist Div.

34. See Ch. VII, pp. 250ff., Ch. VIII, pp. 266-92, Ch. IX, pp. 313-27, below.

35. History of Services of Supply, China, India, Burma Theater, 28 February 1942-24 October 1944, p. 1. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (Hereafter, SOS in CBI.)

36. MS, History of SOS, USAF CBI, 42-43. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

37. (1) Memo, John P. Davies, Jr., Second Secy of U.S. Embassy, atchd to Stf of CG, USAF CBI, for Stilwell, 14 May 42, with Incl, "Foreign Soldiers in India," by M. K. Gandhi, Harijan, April 26, 1942. History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. X. (2) CM-OUT 1740, Marshall to Stilwell, 6 Aug 42.

38. (1) SOS in CBI, pp. 3-4, 425. (2) SOS in CBI, App. 16, Medical Section, p. 16.

39. SOS in CBI, pp. 3-4, 123, 131.

40. MS 428, Army Service Forces Activities in the Supply of China, Burma, and India, 1942-1943, p. 20. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

41. SOS in CBI, p. 48.

42. SOS in CBI, pp. 48-52.

43. History of CBI, Sec. II, Ch. X, p. 1.

44. MS, History and Development of the Assam LOC, pp. 1-3, Movement and Transportation Div, Hq SACSEA. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

45. Strength Rpts, USAF CBI, Feb-May 42, OPD Green Book (Asiatic Sec). Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

46. Rpt on Activities of Quartermaster Serv, Col Harvey Edward, Theater Quartermaster, 15 Aug 42. Misc Corresp Folder (Mar-Dec 42), CT 23, Dr 2, KCRC.

47. GO 6, Hq SOS USAF CBI, 27 May 42.

48. (1) Rpt cited n. 46. (2) SOS in CBI, App. 12, pp. 5-21.

49. SOS in CBI, App. 2, Base Section No. 1, Sec. I, pp. 1, 2, 5, 8-13, 21.

50. SOS in CBI, App. 3, Base Section No. 2, Sec. I, pp. 1-3, 5, 6, 8-13, Table 4.

51. Ibid.

52. SOS in CBI, App. 3, Secs. II, IIIA.

53. (1) Document, p. 117, cited n. 33(3). (2) CM-IN 5162, Stilwell to Marshall, 13 Aug 42.

54. GO cited n. 47.

55. The airfreight reception and discharge depots were conveniently located near the chain of Tenth Air Force fields across India and China. SOS operated these installations, which were not depots in the general sense. Airfreight priority shipments were received, checked, and routed to the ultimate consignee within forty-eight hours. In this respect, the airfreight depots were merely clearing stations. Circular 12, Hq SOS USAF CBI, 3 Jul 42, and Memo 35, Hq SOS USAF CBI, 11 Jul 42.

56. GO cited n. 47.

57. (1) Ltr Order, Wheeler to Kohloss, 26 Nov 42. Hq Y-Force Operations Staff Files, KCRC. (2) Colonel Kohloss ordered his engineer, Maj. Louis Y. Dawson, to work with the Chinese in rehabilitating the Burma Road from Kunming to Pao-shan. The estimated cost for restoring and widening the highway amounted to CN (Chinese Nationalist currency) $117,424,400. Rpts 1, 2, Dawson to Kohloss, 26 Jan 43, sub: Yunnan-Burma Highway. AG (Y-FOS) 611, KCRC.

58. (1) SOS in CBI, p. 132. (2) Rpt cited n. 46.

59. SOS in CBI, pp. 124-25.

60. SOS in CBI, pp. 123-28.

61. Ibid.

62. SOS in CBI, pp. 128-30.

63. (1) SOS in CBI, pp. 132-34. (2) MS, pp. 159-61, cited n. 40.

64. SOS in CBI, pp. 160-63.

65. SOS in CBI, pp. 137-40.

66. Ibid.

67. (1) SOS in CBI, pp. 142-47. (2) GO 27, Hq SOS USAF CBI, 1 Sep 42. (3) Cf. Mohandas K. Gandhi in Harijan, 26 April 1942: "We know what American aid means. It amounts in the end to American influence, if not American rule added to British."

68. SOS in CBI, pp. 148-51, 157-59.

69. Unless otherwise indicated, material in this section is drawn from SOS in CBI, App. 11, China Lend-Lease Section.

70. (1) CM-IN 0535, Gruber to Stilwell, 2 May 42. (2) CM-IN 0174, Gruber to Stilwell, 2 May 42. (3) CM-IN 7479, Chungking to AGWAR, 28 Apr 42. (4) CM-OUT 5677, Marshall to Stilwell, 29 Apr. 42. (5) CM-IN 5665, Stilwell to Stimson, 17 Jun 42. (6) CM-IN 0570, Stilwell to Marshall, 2 Jul 42. (7) Ltr, Ferris to COS, GHQ (India), 2 Aug 42. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (8) History, pp. 1-2, cited n. 7(3). (9) The Stilwell Papers, p. 117.

71. (1) MS, Ramgarh Training Center, p. 4. Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) Ltr, McCabe to Sibert, 2 Jul 42, sub: Reception of Chinese Troops at Ramgarh. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

72. CM-IN 10253, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Sep 42.

73. (1) Ibid. (2) Memo with Incl, Marshall for President, 10 Oct 42, sub: China-India-Stilwell. WDCSA (China), A45-466. (3) Rad, AMMDEL to AMMISCA, 29 Sep 42. Item 43, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (4) Rad, Stilwell to Sibert, 30 Sep 42. Item 45, Bk 1, JWS Personal File. (5) Ltr, Sibert to GHQ (India), 1 Oct 42. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (6) The Stilwell Papers, pp. 162-64. (7) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 6 Oct 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466. (8) CM-IN 4048, Stilwell to Marshall, 10 Oct 42.

74. Ltrs, Dill to Marshall, 13, 19 Oct 42. WDCSA (China), A45-466.

75. (1) CM-IN 11578, Stilwell to Marshall, 27 Oct 42. (2) The Stilwell Papers, p. 164.

76. MS, pp. 7-8, cited n. 71(1).

77. (1) History of CBI, Sec. III, Ch. VI, Chinese Fillers Fly the Hump, pp. 1-4. (2) Memo, Boatner for Brig Gen William E. Bergin, CofS, Rear Echelon, Chih Hui Pu, 11 Jun 43, sub: Random Notes on Evolution and Organization of Chinese Army in India. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

78. SOS in CBI, pp. 490-92.

79. (1) The Stilwell Papers, p. 149. (2) Chih Hui Pu Diary, 4 Oct 42. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

80. (1) Diary, 16, 20 Oct, 18 Nov 42, cited n. 79(2). (2) Memo cited n. 77(2). (3) For a time at least, Lo had the support of the Chinese War Ministry, which asked that Lo be given 100,000 rupees a month "to meet general office expenses and special disbursements of that headquarters" and 350,000 rupees a month to pay his two divisions plus army troops. Ltr 7511, Ho Ying-chin to Stilwell, 6 Nov 42. SNF-13g. It will be remembered that the expenses at Ramgarh were being borne by reciprocal aid.

81. SOS in CBI, App. 16, Medical Section, p. 14.

82. (1) Ltr, McCabe to Ferris, 10 Nov 42. Folder, Chinese Army (Ramgarh), Gen Ref Br, OCMH. (2) SOS in CBI, p. 486.

83. MS, pp. 7-10, 29-46, cited n. 71(1).

84. U.S. Army Medical Service in Combat in India and Burma, 1942-1945, MS by 1st Lt James H. Stone, Medical Historian, India-Burma Theater, Vol. I, pp. 72-75, 78-80, 83. Gen Ref Br, OCMH.

85. MS, pp. 5, 11, 29, 83-86, cited n. 71(1).

86. Interv with Lt Col William B. Powell, Former Opns Off, Ramgarh Training Center, 28 Nov 50.

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