Victory in Burma Frees Troops for China
The situation in Northern Combat Area Command about 30 January was that the 112th and 113th Regiments, Chinese 38th Division, which had made the final link with China, were now at the junction of the Ledo and Burma Roads around Mong Yu with orders to fight down the Burma Road to Lashio. The Japanese 56th Division, using both the Burma Road and bypass trails in the hills to the east, was successfully making its way past the Chinese 114th and MARS Task Force, which NCAC had placed in the path of the 56th with very restricting orders. At this time, the 5332d's headquarters was at Man Wing, in the southwest end of the Shweli valley.
The Chinese 30th Division, which had fought in the Namhkam area of the Shweli valley, had been ordered to move to the Hosi-Namhpakka area north of the MARS Force.1 The leading regiment of the 30th Division, the 89th, left the Namhkam area 25 January and met Japanese resistance almost at once. The Japanese held their hill and ridge-top positions for almost two days, then broke contact on 26 January. Next day the Chinese were in the area around Man Ning village, three miles west of the 124th's positions. Given the roughness of the terrain and the heavy woods which so restricted visibility, the Japanese facing the 30th Division probably did not find it difficult to move east through the gap between the 124th's lines and those of the Chinese 114th Regiment. From the vicinity of Man Ning, the Chinese moved around to the north of the 124th's position and finally established themselves on a prominent hill about one and one half miles north of Hpa-pen village, which in turn was a mile northeast of the cavalry position.2
MARS's Last Fight
In moving past the entrenched Chinese and Americans, the Japanese were executing one of the most delicate operations in war, a movement along the
front of an enemy's lines. Very probably the Japanese watched their opponents with care and sought to guard against a thrust that would catch them in flank. The events of early February suggest that the point at which some at least of the Japanese were leaving the Burma Road to bypass MARS Task Force along the trails to the east was somewhere near Hpa-pen. Just north of Hpa-pen, the Chinese 114th Regiment had sought to cross the Burma Road, and the Japanese had fought back vigorously. The high ground around Hpa-pen stood between the 124th and the Burma Road to the northeast; American interest in the Hpa-pen area might draw a very strong reaction from the Japanese.
Such was the conformation of the ground between the 124th and the Burma Road that observation and lines of fire in the quadrant from north to east were masked by the high ground on which Hpa-pen stood. This area was about a mile and a quarter northeast of the 124th's foxholes. Occupation of the square mile of high ground around Hpa-pen, which was a part of the large hill mass lying west of the road, and of a smaller hill about a mile due east of the cavalry's lines would make it easier for the 124th to obstruct Japanese traffic along the Burma Road.
Seizure of the Hpa-pen area was originally conceived as a Sino-American effort. By this time the Chinese 88th Regiment, 30th Division, was in the area, and so it was contemplated that the 88th and the 2d Squadron would attack together, on 31 January. The Chinese on 30 January said they wanted to postpone the attack until 2 February, and the delay was agreed on. On the 31st the Chinese stated that they would prefer to wait until the 3d.3 Apparently this decision was not taken as final, for Colonel Osborne, the 124th's commander, spent the night of the 1st at the 88th Regiment command post, trying to arrange a co-ordinated attack.
To gain surprise and facilitate co-operation with the Chinese, the 2d Squadron was moved to an assembly area at Mong Noi, a mile and a half west of Hpa-pen, and by a most circuitous route. Since the Japanese had excellent observation, a ruse was attempted. On 1 February parties of men were sent rather openly into the forward perimeter, with orders to fall back under cover by ones and twos. The Japanese probably could see the perimeter being reinforced, but the 124th hoped that no Japanese would recognize the steady movement of individuals to the rear.
On 2 February the 2d Squadron was on the line of departure, about one mile west of the Japanese positions. There was a preparation from 0600 to 0620 by every weapon that could reach the Japanese positions, then the 2d Battalion moved out, with Troops E and F abreast and D in support. In fifty minutes Troop F had moved out of the little wooded draw that offered
a natural avenue of approach and was coming up on the high ground.4 Troop E, to its left, encountered more difficult terrain and reached the top at 0800.
As Troop F moved up the rough trail in an open column, the commander, 1st Lt. Jack L. Knight, was well to the front, and when two Japanese suddenly appeared at the crest, Knight killed them both. So began a display of stern valor and martial skill. Crossing the hill to the reverse slope, Knight found a cluster of Japanese emplacements. Calling up his men, he attacked one after another of the emplacements with grenades. When the Japanese, who seem to have been surprised, steadied and began inflicting heavy casualties on Troop F, Knight kept his attack organized and under control. Though half-blinded by grenade fragments, bleeding heavily, and having seen his brother, Curtis, shot while running to his aid, Knight still fought, still commanded his men, and died as his stubborn will was dragging his shattered body toward one more Japanese emplacement.5
The pillbox whose crew had killed Lieutenant Knight had been under fire from a rocket launcher manned by Pfc. Anthony Whitaker. Whitaker put three rounds on the emplacement, all of which failed to explode. Throwing aside his launcher, Whitaker took rifle and grenades and rushed on the pillbox. His effort succeeded, and may have been the turning point.6
Initially, Troop E, in the middle of the high ground and left of Troop F, did not have so difficult a time as F. Advancing with a will, E found itself rather forward of F's positions, and at one time was out of contact. Japanese counterattacks were met several times. Firing was heavy during the morning of the 2d, and as the hours passed the ammunition supply caused serious concern.7
With the action so heavy on F's front, and with E meeting strong counterattacks as soon as it was on its objective, Osborne elected to send in his reserve, Troop G, in midmorning. G was to take position on the north, on E's left. Where F had met Japanese intrenchments just beyond its objective, Capt. William A. Wood of G found Japanese fortifications barring his path. With a machine gun, and then with grenades, Wood kept his attack moving. When the way was opened, Wood reorganized his force. Finding his forward observer dead, he took over the radio. Wood arranged
to have a shell burst put where he could see it, then proceeded to adjust fire on the remaining Japanese positions, describing the relation of the burst to his targets as best he could. These concentrations were most effective, and the troop took its objective with little further opposition.8
Smoke from burning brush and from the phosphorous drifted across the lines. Japanese, possibly running from the fire, came against E's and F's positions in what looked very like a counterattack in the bad visibility. With the problem of getting supplies up through the difficult terrain, the general confusion of battle, and the poor light, there were moments when the situation seemed in the balance. But emergency expedients, like sending supplies forward by returning evacuation teams, helped, and by early afternoon the situation appeared to be, and was, under control. The day's fighting cost the 2d Squadron twenty-two dead.9
The Chinese contribution to this hard-fought action was a minor one. The Chinese regiments were not pledged to attack on 2 February, and did not. The 30th Division may have agreed to contribute a company, and that afternoon a Chinese company took its place in the perimeter for a day. About one mile to the south of this action, the 3d Squadron had less difficulty. Troop L with a platoon of K attached carried its objective in about an hour's time, with a cost of one dead and fifteen wounded. Pvt. Solomon O. Cureton and Pfc. Bertie W. Beacon, Jr., played a conspicuous part in the action by their singlehanded attacks on enemy bunkers.10
Clearing Loi-kang Ridge
Next day, 3 February, found the 475th in its last regimental fight. Holding its positions on Loi-kang ridge had strained the 2d Battalion. As noted before, its casualties had been the heaviest, while lack of sleep and nervous tension were wearing on the men. Since arriving on the ridge, the battalion had not been directed to remove the Japanese from the south end. Around 31 January Easterbrook concluded that the time had come to take aggressive action to improve the 2d's position. At a conference with the 2d's commander, Colonel Thrailkill, on 1 February, Easterbrook learned that the 2d did not want to be relieved, and supported the plan of the 475th's headquarters for an operation against the south end of Loi-kang ridge. Willey accepted Thrailkill's plea to finish the job, and countermanded the relief order.
It was Thrailkill's last day of command. That night, a Japanese shell hit an observation post, killing him and three enlisted men. S. Sgt. Milton Kornfeld had his leg so badly mangled that the battalion surgeon, Capt. Joseph P. Worley, on the scene quickly, had to amputate at once, and without anesthetics.11
The plan of attack assumed that the Japanese in the garrison on Loi-kang's southern knoll would long have had their attention fixed on the 2d Battalion to the north, and so might well be open to attack from another direction. The 1st Battalion, on the other side of the little valley that held the supply installations, and blocking the trails to west and south, was in excellent position to come at the Japanese from an unexpected angle. The decision therefore was for the 2d to make a holding attack from the north while the 1st Battalion swung around the high ground south of the valley and attacked Loi-kang from the south.
At midnight, 2 February, Companies B and C were on the line of departure, just west of little Nam Maw River, which had carved out the valley. Their route would be a trail that went round the south end of the valley--to a village, Man Sak, which was half a mile south of and below Loi-kang--then went north and on up the ridge to Loi-kang. At 0400 the two companies led out, with Colonel Johnson, the battalion commander, in the lead. The men moved as quietly as possible. At 0545 the 612th Field Artillery, 4.2-inch and 81-mm. mortars, and heavy machine guns began a fifteen-minute preparation on Loi-kang. P-47 fighters of the Tenth Air Force aided. When the fire was lifted, the 2d Battalion, now under Major Lattin, attacked the Japanese with two platoons, their objective a small knoll. They met intense fire from two Japanese machine gun emplacements, and were stopped within forty yards of the enemy. Pfc. Clifton L. Henderson, a BAR man, volunteered to clear away this barrier. Silencing one gun with a grenade, he crawled around to the rear door and, under heavy fire from the supporting machine gun, shot the crew as they tried to run out. He then occupied the emplacement and put such heavy fire on the other gun as to silence it too. His platoon "took the objective without further loss of life."12
Meanwhile the 1st Battalion troops were advancing steadily in column of companies, C in the lead, bypassing Man Sak to avoid alerting any Japanese who might be there. At 0530 they were past Man Sak and on a small peak just south of Loi-kang. Very soon after, apparently before the preparation, they surprised a party of Japanese, who retreated to a small ravine and were there killed. The advance continued for about 1,000 yards more, to the
southern outskirts of the burned-out huts that had been Loi-kang village. Here they were surprised by a well-hidden Japanese strongpoint and were pinned down. At this point T. Sgt. David M. Akui and S. Sgt. Sylvester G. Garrison joined in a two-man assault on the Japanese, using submachine guns. This action drew away the Japanese fire, and Company C could pull back to reorganize.
Beyond the village, and about 500 yards from Lattin's men, Company C found the keystone of the Japanese position. This was a fortified knoll, organized for all-around defense and well covered by brush and trees. The only approach from the south was over a narrow ridge. The time was now about 1600, and it seemed late in the day for an attempt at this last barrier. So Company C pulled back, and the 1st Battalion proceeded to organize itself for the night.
A preparation would be needed for the morning's attack; this raised the anxious question of just how far apart the two battalions were. The map's contour lines had been found to be unreliable, and aerial photographs were misleading because of the thick cover. By sending up a flare, the 2d Battalion marked its forward positions in the dark. This revealed enough room for artillery fire, and a fifteen-minute concentration was placed on the Japanese to keep them quiet as the 1st Battalion settled down for the night.
Next morning there was another preparation and at 0800 Company B made the final assault. During the night most of the Japanese had withdrawn and there was little resistance, but enough to make it 1000 before the two battalions established contact. The cost of the operation to the 1st Battalion was two killed and fifteen wounded, only four seriously. Because the Japanese had been well dug in and had fought stubbornly, the 475th and General Willey believed that the success and low casualty rate for the operation reflected great credit on the battalion commander, Colonel Johnson.13
From Combat to Administration
After 4 February contacts between the Japanese and the MARS Task Force were patrol actions and artillery exchanges. One of them, on 4 February when a platoon of the 124th was ambushed, was a bitter encounter, but most were brushes with stragglers and the tag ends of the Japanese rear guards, growing fewer as the days passed.
In the action of the 4th, a platoon of Troop I, accompanied but not led by the troop commander, 1st Lt. Hobart T. Kavel, had been sent to establish ground contact between the 1st and 3d Squadrons. The patrol moved
into a patch of low ground which, unknown to the 124th, lay in the field of fire of some well-hidden Japanese emplacements. Heavy fire from four machine guns took the troopers by surprise. Lieutenant Kavel was wounded almost at once. The patrol leader, 2d Lt. Burr L. Hughes, was ordered by him to attack. As Hughes did so, a rifle bullet in the leg toppled him to the ground. Meanwhile, men were falling all about. At this critical point, Hughes told Pfc. George A. Owen to take command, while Hughes by shouting the messages kept a link open between Owen and the radio man to the rear. Every shout brought a burst of Japanese fire. These hasty, desperate arrangements worked. Owen controlled the platoon, while the radio summoned Troop K. One squad leader, Cpl. Pierce W. Moore, despite heavy wounds, led his squad in knocking out two emplacements, greatly helping the patrol's later withdrawal. The arrival of two squads from Troop K enabled the survivors to be withdrawn. The action cost six dead, twenty-seven wounded. Among the dead was Kavel.14
After this painful episode, contacts with the Japanese grew steadily fewer, though deadly enough. The 124th Cavalry on 6 February reported fourteen Japanese killed by booby traps and in patrol clashes. Next day the men drove off some Japanese with mortar fire. On 9 February the 124th reported no further contact with the Japanese. Then the long arm of the S-3 and his training schedule reached out and on 10 February the troopers began to build a firing range.15
The 475th was harassed by Japanese 150-mm. fire until aerial observation on 8 February revealed some suspicious-looking tracks in the area east of the Burma Road. An air strike was hastily whistled up. When the bombers had finished their mission, secondary explosions were seen and no more 150-mm. shells were received. The Japanese medium artillery had been most effective, for the first time in the fall 1944 campaign, and inflicted considerable punishment on the 475th's command and artillery installations. There followed a few days of cleaning up the neighborhood, and then on 10 February the 475th went into more comfortable positions behind a screen of outposts.16 The Japanese were now well down the Burma Road to the south, and the Chinese had reached the MARS area in strength.
When the troops began to clean up, get some sleep, and write some letters and the commanders began to get caught up on administrative details, it was
SILVER RUPEES FOR BATTLE DAMAGE. Capt. Terence Carroll, Civil Affairs Officer, NCAC forces, pays Burmese headmen for livestock killed in recent action between Americans and Japanese.
possible to note the casualty figures. These totaled 115 killed in action and 938 wounded. One man was missing.17
Medical procedures were greatly affected by the tropical hill country in which the campaign was fought. In evacuating wounded, much use was made of Burmese litter bearers hired through the civil affairs officer of the brigade. Carrying wounded uphill and down over rough trails was a tremendous job. If the combat troops had had to do it the drain on personnel strength would have been marked. The three portable surgical hospitals, 42d, 44th, and 49th, dispatched the litter squads. Men were carried from
hospital to landing strip where the L-5's of the 5th Liaison Squadron picked them up and flew them back. Intestinal disease was attacked by chlorinating and filtering water, boiling it twenty minutes, then rechlorinating. The Burmese were not allowed in kitchen areas. To avoid scrub typhus the medical officers tried to keep troops out of abandoned native huts, but with indifferent success. One problem was the so-called "march fracture," a breaking of the arch from carrying heavy packs over steep trails. The cumulative effect of these different problems was serious. From 15 November to 15 February the 475th evacuated 929 men. Of these, about 750 were evacuated from causes not arising in battle, a serious drain on the regiment's strength.18
In anticipation of the troops' arrival along the Burma Road, a big supply drop was laid on well in advance, with rations packed and ready. The arrangement worked well for the 475th's supplies but when the 124th came into line the circling transports encountered ground fire which made them reluctant to drop in the area. The shortfall in deliveries in turn made the supply situation critical for a few days. It seems to have been solved by the progress of the battle. The Japanese were gradually pushed off terrain features from which they could menace the transports.19
Relations with the Burmese were the province of a British officer, Capt. Terrance Carroll. The MARS Task Force could have been greatly handicapped by Burmese hostility; conversely, as litter bearers, guides, informants, laborers, and food peddlers the Burmese could have been most useful. The policy was adopted of paying one silver rupee a day in the forward area for labor, and also of recompensing the Burmese for nonbattle damage to homes and gardens. Thus, after Tonkwa, the local inhabitants were recompensed for damage by the 475th in silver rupees of prewar coinage, currency of impressive weight and fineness. Sharply contrasting with Japanese invasion paper money, the silver rupees were a potent argument for co-operation; the bamboo telegraph did the rest. The Burmese of the Kachin, Shan, and Palaung tribes worked cheerfully and well, were steady under shellfire, and gave an excellent impression of the peoples of Burma. Captain Carroll's services were regarded as "very valuable."20
The British 36th Division Wins Its Hardest Fight
While the Chinese 38th and 30th Divisions plus MARS Task Force were pushing the Japanese away from the land route to China, the British Fourteenth Army from the west plus two of NCAC's other divisions, the British
36th and the Chinese 50th from the north, were steadily, and in places even rapidly, advancing toward central Burma. (See Map 10)
Of the two NCAC divisions, only the British 36th under General Festing met heavy opposition, from the veteran Japanese 18th Division as the latter sought to guard the Japanese northern flank. After taking Katha and Indaw in December, the 36th Division had been relieved of primary responsibility for the Railway Corridor, as part of the general eastward shift of the NCAC forces. Accordingly, General Festing's force was split into two columns. The 29th Brigade continued down the Irrawaddy to a point from which it might swerve to the east and attack the next divisional objective, Mongmit, from the west. The remaining two brigades, 26th Indian Infantry and British 72d, were to cross the Shweli at Myitson and appear at Mongmit from the north. The Chinese 50th Division was sent south and east to the Si-u-Tonkwa area, replacing the Chinese 22d Division and MARS Task Force. From this area, the 50th's three regiments, moving in as many columns, came in line along the Shweli River from Molo to Mong Hkak about mid-January 1945. Save for the destruction of a Japanese rifle company south of Tonkwa the 50th had had only light contact with the retreating Japanese, but since by moving southeast from its present position it could cut the Burma Road southwest of Lashio it was in a position to attempt the interception of the retreating Japanese 56th Division. For the immediate present, the hard work fell to the British 36th Division.21
On 16 December the 36th Division made contact with the advance elements of the 19th Indian Division, which had marched overland from India across Burma. This meant a solid link had been established between NCAC and the British forces; the two fronts were now joined. When the brigades reached the Shweli River, a patrol sent across the night of 31 January found Japanese bunkers unoccupied. Next day, an attempt to cross in force met strong Japanese small arms fire, later stiffened with mortar and 75-mm. shells, after the first wave of about 130 men was across. A sandbar in the Shweli, on which assault boats grounded and were then shot up by the Japanese, made reinforcement most difficult. By morning of 2 February it was necessary to withdraw the survivors.
Unwilling to repeat their previous tactics, the British chose to deceive the enemy. A small island near the crossing point had been a Japanese strongpoint and most troublesome during the previous attack, so ostensible preparations were made to cross via the island. A rough trail was cut in the jungle and supply dumps accumulated. Meanwhile, the division made ready to send a brigade across the Shweli downstream and attack from the west. On 8 February the 26th Brigade made its crossing. Its leading elements
were seen in the assembly area, which the Japanese shelled, but they did not react quickly enough to keep the brigade from taking Myitson on 10 February.
Over the next few days the 26th Brigade improved its positions, against opposition that grew daily heavier. Perhaps the 18th Division was committing its troops piecemeal as they moved up north from the Mongmit area, for the result of the Japanese efforts was a steadily increasing scale of fire on the bridgehead and stronger resistance to attempts at expanding it. Small arms and artillery fire made supply and evacuation most hazardous, while Japanese attacks alternated with the 26th Brigade's efforts. Japanese attempts at infiltration on 13 February were successful. Enemy soldiers first cut the wires and supply route to brigade headquarters within the perimeter, then were driven off. Next day they were back again and were not cleared away till late afternoon. For many hours brigade headquarters was cut off from the troops manning the perimeter, during a time when Japanese attacks were rising in intensity. Finally, the headquarters had to withdraw, covered by two rifle companies.
The major Japanese effort was made on 17 February, a furious thrust preceded by an estimated 2,000 rounds of shellfire and marked by Japanese use of flame throwers. The heaviest weight fell on two Indian battalions, 2d Battalion, 8th Punjab, and 1st Battalion, 19th Hyderabad. The Indians stood their ground with fortitude and valor and when day fell every position was intact. This was the supreme effort of the Japanese at Myitson; next day over 350 Japanese dead were counted. Illustrative of the difficulty faced in supplying the bridgehead, food, water, and ammunition came in by airdrop.
Not until four days later could the 36th Division bring supplies across the Shweli by daylight, suggesting the stubbornness with which the Japanese had clung to their positions around the 26th's perimeter, and the slowness with which their grip was pried loose. Meanwhile, unknown to the bridgehead's grim defenders, the Japanese command in Burma found it had to respond to the initiative now securely in British hands. The Japanese feared that the much-battered divisions of the Japanese 15th Army needed help to meet the British forces now closing in on Mandalay, and so on 25 February 33d Army was ordered to send the 18th Division (less one regimental combat team) to Mandalay to reinforce 15th Army. The 18th at once began to disengage and fell back on Mongmit. After the war the Japanese claimed to have estimated that the 36th Division would attack toward Maymyo or Hsipaw, and so not be a potential factor in the Mandalay area.22
While the British 36th Division had been fighting at Myitson the Chinese
50th Division to its east had been moving unopposed on a southeast course as part of Sultan's eastward wheel. In its path were the great nonferrous Bawdwin mines and the town of Namtu. While the mines were of substantial economic value, of more immediate concern was a fair road that led directly south from Namtu to Hsipaw, on the Burma Road below Lashio. The Japanese did not attempt a serious stand above the Myitnge River, but at a point nine miles below the town they fought with determination. In late February the 149th Regiment opened a bridgehead, but Japanese from the 113th Regiment made nine separate counterattacks before conceding its establishment. Perhaps decisive in ending Japanese resistance around Namtu was the arrival in the area of the First Chinese Separate Regiment. This powerful force, organized and equipped to the U.S. Army scale, was now attached to the 50th. By early March the 50th Division was ready to drive south to Hsipaw.23
From Myitson, the 36th Division went on to Mongmit, and thence on toward Mogok, famous for its ruby mines. It met little opposition as it continued south and east, until it was within five miles of Mogok. The 36th was now in the area the 56th Division was holding to screen the Japanese flank, and fighting flared again. The fight was brief, and as March drew to a close the 36th Division stood on the Burma Road at Kyaukme. On 1 April General Festing and the 36th returned to Fourteenth Army command.24
Offensive of British Fourteenth Army
12 December 1944-3 May 1945
The Burma Campaign Moves Toward a Climax
While the 36th Division and the rest of NCAC had been wheeling ponderously eastward to clear the Burma Road, the British Fourteenth Army under General Slim was attempting a series of complex and difficult maneuvers with the aim of destroying the major part of the Japanese Army in Burma. For this attempt, Slim would have five divisions, an East African brigade, and a tank brigade, grouped as 4 and 33 Corps. Between this force and Mandalay were not the Japanese alone but a major mountain chain, the Chindwin River, and then the sheer distance of 400 miles from the railhead in India to the projected battleground in Burma. The transport aircraft would be of the greatest aid in bridging that long gap--but the number of available transports was always a matter for concern. The Chindwin River flowed down to the vicinity of Mandalay, and was navigable--but ever since 1942 the river craft had been a prime target for the RAF and AAF and were now very scarce. Plainly, brilliance would be required in logistics as well as in tactics and strategy. To ease his task, Slim had complete and unchallenged air superiority.
At the end of the long march into Burma there waited the Japanese 15th
Army, under Lt. Gen. Shihachi Katamura, and a new Japanese commander for Burma, General Hoyotaro Kimura. The Japanese had available in the Mandalay area four understrength divisions, the 15th, 31st, 33d, and 53d, a regiment of nationalist Indians of the Indian National Army, and the prospect of reinforcement by the 2d and 49th Divisions, under control of Burma Area Army, and the 18th Division of 33d Army.
Kimura's orders, dating back to October, called for a battle along the Irrawaddy River. Operations out of a bridgehead over the Irrawaddy west of Mandalay would be used to harry and impede the British and Indian forces as they approached the great river; then, as they were astride it, vigorous counterattacks would be launched against them. One division, the 15th, would be north of Mandalay, and three to the south. As of the date these orders were issued the Japanese had still not completed their withdrawal into central Burma. The withdrawal was made successfully, in that not until December was Fourteenth Army aware that the Japanese planned to make their stand along the Irrawaddy rather than, as had been assumed, on the outer rim of the central Burmese plain. In December the Japanese somewhat redefined their plans and put the 53d Division in mobile reserve in the vital Meiktila communications and airfield center south of Mandalay.
When Slim's staff had clear evidence that it would not be possible to trap and destroy the Japanese in the central plain west of the Irrawaddy, that commander at once altered his plans accordingly. He now determined to take advantage of the road net to move the 4 Corps around from the left to the right flank of 33 Corps, with the vital exception of the 19th Indian Division, left in place with the hope that the Japanese would think 4 Corps still in its sector. The 19th Indian Division was given the further task of crossing the Irrawaddy above Mandalay to draw Japanese reserves northward--an intention which fit well into Kimura's announced policies. Another crossing of the Irrawaddy was to be made by 33 Corps near Mandalay as a further distraction. Then 33 Corps and 4 Corps would make their major efforts almost simultaneously, that of 4 Corps being the master stroke. Near Pakukku, 4 Corps was to establish a bridgehead, then from it launch a strong armored task force on the road and rail centers south of Mandalay. (Map 12) For the first time in the Burma fighting, the Japanese were to be confronted with the concentrated weight of the modern armor-air-artillery team. Previously, fighting had been in close jungle country, where armor, though on occasion dramatically effective, as at Walawbum in the Hukawng Valley in March 1944, was handicapped.25 The area around Meiktila, dry, barren, rolling, with a cover of cactus and scraggly palms, was far better suited to armor, and Slim proposed to offer Kimura and Katamura new problems to solve.
New air bases, closer to central and south Burma than those in Assam, were regarded as essential to support Slim's projected offensive, and 15 Corps was directed to take the Akyab airfields. Four divisions were provided. Much battered the preceding spring, the Japanese in the Arakan now had but the 54th Division plus the equivalent of a regimental combat team. The new offensive in the Arakan crossed the line of departure on 12 December. The Japanese had previously decided that their regimental combat team in the Akyab area should withdraw to central Burma if circumstances warranted it. Because the British advance was both powerful and swift, the Japanese on 26 December decided that the situation in central Burma required the immediate withdrawal of their force in the Akyab area and the town fell without a fight on 4 January. SEAC was beginning to pluck the fruits of its 1944 victories.
Meanwhile, the 82d West African Division had been moving southward east of the coastal ridge. Fifteen Corps decided on a shore-to-shore amphibious assault southeast and inland from Akyab to cut off the Japanese facing the Africans. The chosen site was Myebon, thirty-five miles to east-southeast. The initial landing on 12 January went smoothly, but heavy fighting developed soon after, in the mangrove swamps and tidal inlets, as the 25th Indian Division moved up the little Myebon peninsula toward the Japanese flanks and rear. Myebon once secure, the next targets were Ramree Island, as an airfield site, and Kangaw, about ten miles northeast of Myebon, and so a grave threat to the Japanese 54th Division as it faced the Africans coming down from the north.
The first landings on Ramree Island were made 21 January by an Indian brigade, and in the ensuing fighting the Japanese garrison on 9 February was finally forced to "a withdrawal which went badly." In the Arakan fighting the Japanese were forced to maneuver across a network of tidal inlets that often went many miles inland. Time and again motor gunboats of the Royal Navy caught Japanese rafts and native fishing craft in the streams. There would be a burst of machine gun and 20- and 40-mm. fire, and a Japanese platoon or section would be shattered.
Kangaw, upstream from Myebon, was assaulted 22 January. The Japanese had the better part of two regiments north of Kangaw, and one regiment down the coast at Taungup, with strong garrisons at coastal points. The Japanese therefore reacted energetically to this landing behind them. In his report, Mountbatten compares the resultant fighting to that of Kohima in 1944, thus rating it as heavy as any in Burma. Beginning 17 February, the Japanese withdrew to the east and south along the coastal ridge, and into inland hill masses.
The Arakan coast slants southeast, the coastal inlets go relatively far inland, and so geography made it easy to keep herding the Japanese into the mountains to the east, toward the African troops coming down from the
north. Therefore, 15 Corps decided to send a force ashore at Ru-ywa. From Ru-ywa the troops were to move on air supply to the An area, where they were to meet the 82d West African Division moving down from the north. It was hoped that the 54th Division could be caught between them. The landing at Ru-ywa was made on 17 February. The West Africans came down punctually from the north and hopes were high; then higher authority directed suspension of the operation.
To date, 15 Corps had been allotted 130 tons a day of air supply. This was now reduced to 30 tons a day, because all available resources had to be devoted to the central Burma offensive. Reluctantly, 15 Corps suspended major operations, and began to withdraw its units to where their support would be less difficult. Fighting continued, but with occupation of Akyab and Ramree the goals of the campaign had been reached.26
Slim Wins the Decisive Battle
While 15 Corps had been taking the Arakan fields from which the transports could move deep into central Burma from Mandalay, 4 and 33 Corps had been drawing closer to that city. Almost together, on 7 and 8 January, the 19th Indian and British 2d Divisions arrived at Shwebo on the Burma Railways line, fifty miles north of Mandalay and twenty miles from the Irrawaddy. Covering its south flank with one brigade, the 19th swung east and crossed the Irrawaddy with two brigades on 14 January. The Japanese thought this was the moment for which they had been waiting and sent the 15th and 53d Divisions to attack the 19th. They were sure this was 4 Corps, and still thought so after the war. The disparity in force was not what might be imagined, for the Japanese divisions had but 4,500 men each, and the 53d had been weakened by detachments which were, however, ordered to rejoin. From 20 January to 20 February the battle around the 19th Indian Division's bridgehead went on, costing the 15th Division about 30 percent casualties, embroiling Kimura's reserves north of Mandalay, and depleting his very small store of medium artillery. The fight was hot and heavy, with the Indian troops withstanding every Japanese effort.
While the Indian troops were distracting the Japanese for precious weeks, 4 Corps was completing its shift and preparing to swing out around the right end of Slim's team. The engineers and mechanics, no less than the pilots and aircrews, made the advance possible, for in places along the trails through central Burma the dust was three feet deep, a tremendous burden on maintenance and road-building personnel. But 33 Corps and 4 Corps pressed on with vigor, despite the often desperate resistance of Japanese outposts, and
by 12 February, the 20th Indian Division, 33 Corps, was ready to cross the Irrawaddy at its great bend west of Mandalay. The 20th was in position to offer an obvious threat to Mandalay and Slim hoped it would further distract the Japanese while the 4 Corps was readying itself for the eastward thrust to cut below the main Japanese concentration at Mandalay. On the night of 12 February the division made its initial crossing, on the boundary between the Japanese 31st and 33d Divisions.
That same night 4 Corps crossed over. Further deception was involved here, for an East African brigade had moved south along the Irrawaddy's west bank as if to menace the great oil fields at Yenangyaung. The ruse worked, for 33d Indian Infantry Brigade, 7th Indian Division, crossed the Irrawaddy south of Pakokku against some perfunctory machine gun fire. The Japanese, using a regiment of the 49th Division under 28th Army command, later reacted vigorously against the East Africans, even driving them back up the river, but the 33d Indian Infantry Brigade, soon joined by the 89th, was not seriously attacked. The 33 Corps was applying such heavy pressure that the Japanese troops originally destined for Pakokku could not be moved there.27
The Japanese failure to appreciate the menace created by the 33d's bridgehead permitted two mechanized brigades (63d, 48th) of the 17th Indian Division and the 255th Indian Tank Brigade to be concentrated in it, after the aircraft necessary to maintain these units had been obtained.28 On 21 February the 17th Indian Division and the armor burst out of the bridgehead and rushed on Meiktila, moving on a wide front to minimize terrain problems.
An airfield about twenty-five miles from Meiktila was captured early 26 February and the third brigade of the 17th, organized on an airtransportable basis, prepared to emplane and begin the flight from the rear, several hundred miles away. Its fly-in was complete 2 March. As these reinforcements were hurrying forward, the task force was deploying around Meiktila. So far it had been more than a match for the tag ends and service troops that had been in its way, though they had resisted with the accustomed sacrificial valor of the Japanese. Meanwhile, 15th Army failed to appreciate the threat and was several days reacting.
Meiktila was garrisoned by a collection of service troops later estimated at 3,500, well able to find cover and concealment in the town. Moreover, the approaches to the town from the west were channeled between small lakes. Despite these obstacles, the Indian infantry and armor had the town secure by 4 March, after but three days' fighting. A comparison between the siege of Myitkyina and the battle of Meiktila displays the advantages of veteran troops under skilled commanders, with adequate artillery, armor, and
air support, as against the heterogeneous force from three nations and several divisions, with little artillery and no armor, that finally took Myitkyina.29
After taking Meiktila, the victors fanned out over the communications network of which that town was the hub. In so doing, one armored task force met the first evidence of Japanese disorganization. The 168th Regiment, 49th Division, which had fought in the Shweli and Salween area under 33d Army, was marching along in administrative fashion. Taken by surprise, the 168th was cut to pieces on the road before it could deploy. Even after this episode, the Japanese were slow to react, and for some days treated the loss of Meiktila as relatively minor.
While the 17th Indian Division and 255th Tank Brigade were drawing up around Meiktila, the troops Slim had put across the Irrawaddy north of Mandalay began to reap the rewards of their increasing advantages in strength, organization, training, and equipment over the battered Japanese who faced them. On 20 February the 19th Indian Division broke out of its bridgehead and began moving south. Bypassing strongpoints that could not be quickly reduced, it exploited its breakthrough and arrived on the outskirts of Mandalay with two brigades on 9 March. The third brigade moved east to take Maymyo, the prewar summer capital of Burma in the hills, of more importance as a key point on the line of communications to the Japanese 56th Division.
Kimura now faced two crises, at Meiktila and Mandalay. He had already detached the 18th Division from 33d Army and sent it toward Mandalay. He now found Mandalay threatened, Meiktila gone, and the British across the Irrawaddy on a wide front. He decided Mandalay was the crucial point and did not turn his full attention to Meiktila until mid-March. Actually, the decisive battle was that fought out around Meiktila in late March. To wage it, Kimura summoned Headquarters, 33d Army, from the Northern Combat Area Command front, and attached to it the 18th Division (less one regiment), the 49th Division (less one regiment) from the delta area of south Burma, the remnants of the 53d Division, and a regiment of the 33d. The 15th Army was left with the 15th, 33d, and 31st Divisions, and the 4th Regiment of the 2d from the NCAC front. The other two regiments of the 2d Division were en route to Indochina because of orders from the highest Japanese headquarters in southeast Asia, Joint Expeditionary Forces, Southern Regions, so the decisive battle was fought without them.30
In the region of Mandalay, Slim had the 19th and 20th Indian Divisions and the British 2d, which proved enough, but for the situation around Meiktila he felt that he needed more troops. These were provided by a
brigade of the 5th Indian Division, landed on Meiktila airfield under Japanese shell fire. The other two brigades moved from Assam to the battle area by truck, arriving there in mid-March.
The fight around Meiktila was bitter. The Japanese did their very best to cut the line of communications from Meiktila west to the bridgehead, and succeeded, cutting off the services of supply elements of the 17th Indian Division, which had to stay under cover of the 7th Indian Division in the bridgehead area. At Meiktila the veteran 18th Division reached the main airstrip in a night attack and dug in at its fringe. The Japanese were pushed back, but attacked again and succeeded in overrunning the whole field. Airdropping was now necessary to supply the 17th and the armor. But the Indian and British troops never faltered, and counterattacked ceaselessly. To the north, three of Slim's divisions were tearing apart the Mandalay garrison, and to the west, 7th Indian Division was assaulting to open communications to Meiktila.
The battle for Meiktila was decided the night of 28 March when the Japanese conceded defeat in the decisive struggle for central Burma. Visiting the 33d Army headquarters, the chief of staff of Burma Area Army, General Tanaka, who had been Stilwell's opponent in north Burma, on his own authority ordered the 33d Army to pass to a holding role so that the 15th Army might withdraw from the Mandalay area. Next day the 17th Indian Division was able to report the airstrip cleared, before the changed orders issued midnight 29 March could reach the Japanese at the front, and on 30 March the 161st Indian Infantry Brigade from the west broke the Japanese block on the line of communication to Meiktila.
The victory in central Burma was Slim's, though there was still hard fighting ahead along the Irrawaddy. Henceforth, though Japanese regiments and some divisions could keep a fair amount of cohesion, the Japanese command in Burma slowly began to disintegrate on the retreat south and west. Army headquarters troops found themselves fighting as infantry. Confusion and disorganization began to spread through the Japanese rear areas as Slim's armored columns, moving ever faster, knifed through them. Thereafter, whether or not SEAC would take Rangoon depended primarily on the logistical support that could be allotted.31
Reinforcements for China Theater
The logistical support available for Slim's campaigns and the extent to which the Chinese Army in India and MARS Task Force would contribute
ALLIED LEADERS PLAN OPERATIONS in China and Burma early in 1945. General Wedemeyer stands behind (from left to right) General Sultan, Admiral Mountbatten, and Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan.
further to victory in Burma were problems difficult to assess. The United States had long insisted on a Burma campaign to support China. Now when that campaign was at its height and British forces were fully involved at the end of a tenuous line of communications of which air transport was an integral part, events in China made the Chinese Government, Wedemeyer, and the Joint Chiefs anxious to move Chinese and American resources from Burma to China as quickly as possible. Though procedures had been established to deal with requests for such transfers,32 these procedures did not provide guarantees against an outcome possibly injurious to SEAC's current campaign in Burma. So the British Chiefs of Staff sought assurances and on 31 January asked that no further transfer of resources from India-Burma-China that was unacceptable to SEAC be made without CCS approval.33
To this the Joint Chiefs gave an assent so highly qualified as to disturb Mountbatten, for they agreed only that the CCS should "discuss" transfer, whereas the British had wanted the CCS to control. The JCS based their stand on the ground that: "The primary military object of the United States in the China and India-Burma Theaters is the continuance of aid to China on a scale that will permit the fullest utilization of the area and resources of China for operations against the Japanese. United States resources are deployed in India-Burma to provide direct or indirect support for China." Mountbatten was concerned that his resources in transport aircraft might be lost to him.34
Mountbatten's fears were apparently shared by the British Chiefs of Staff, for they suggested to the CCS that there should be no withdrawal of U.S. resources from Burma to support China without prior discussion by the CCS, lest approved operations in Burma be thereby endangered. The merits of this contention were recognized by the Combined Chiefs, who found themselves reluctant to deprive Mountbatten of forces upon which he had counted without first examining the issues. They therefore agreed that if the British Chiefs of Staff objected to any transfer of U.S. forces from SEAC the matter would be referred to the CCS.35
Meanwhile, in China, Wedemeyer was reaching conclusions that would bring forth just the contingency Mountbatten feared. Looking beyond the present China situation toward a day when the Allies could seize the initiative in China, he told the Generalissimo on 5 January that the center of strategic gravity should shift east into China rather than south to Rangoon. The Generalissimo agreed. Wedemeyer announced that studies would be made. A week later he was prepared to recommend that the entire Chinese Army in India should return to China. He was not suggesting hasty action and pointed out that the United States had urged Britain to take action in Burma, that moral obligations to the British were involved. Wedemeyer in January-February 1945 hoped to begin concentration for the offensive toward Canton-Hong Kong on 1 May. This meant the Chinese would have to leave Burma in time to arrive in east China by 1 May. He also looked forward to intensified air activity; the Tenth Air Force was the nearest source of reinforcements.36
Meeting with Mountbatten and Sultan at Myitkyina around 16 February, Wedemeyer told Mountbatten of his desire to bring all the Chinese troops
back to China. Mountbatten, anxious to complete the Burma campaign and with the fight for Mandalay still under way, not unnaturally opposed the suggestion. Sultan, however, was reported to have agreed that after Lashio was taken it would be possible to move the Chinese Army in India back to the homeland and to rely upon two or three Y-Force divisions to protect the Burma Road and pipeline.37
For his part, Mountbatten may have decided that the Combined Chiefs would keep the Chinese divisions in Burma long enough to permit a successful conclusion of the campaign, for he directed his planners and commanders in chief to consider the aggressive exploitation of Slim's successes around Mandalay. Assuming they would be able to use the Chinese Army in India, the SEAC staffs began to weigh the possibility of taking Rangoon by 1 June. If they decided this was possible, they had to determine whether it would be better to take it by overland attack from the north after capture of Mandalay, or by amphibious assault, thus reviving Operation DRACULA.
Mountbatten further directed that an attack be made on the Isthmus of Kra of the Malay Peninsula by June and as soon as possible after Rangoon was taken and its port back in operation. On 23 February Mountbatten and his senior commanders and staff took what appeared the determining decisions--to seize Rangoon by overland assault, and use the amphibious resources thus freed for an attack on the Isthmus of Kra, by 1 June if possible.38
That same day, 23 February, brought the message that Mountbatten must have anticipated with concern, a radio from Sultan warning that China Theater was about to ask that all U.S. and Chinese forces in north Burma--MARS Task Force and three Chinese divisionsóbe sent to China. Shortly after, Wedemeyer stated that he needed MARS Task Force immediately, and requested one regiment by 10 March and the other by 1 April.39
Lashio and the Reinforcement Problem
This request focused new attention on the drive for Lashio, because it had been agreed that Lashio's capture, which would place a wide belt of liberated territory south of the ground line of communications across north Burma, would mark the end of Phase II of CAPITAL. After the Japanese broke contact with MARS Task Force it had been pulled back into reserve and Sultan ordered the Chinese New First Army to move southwest down the Burma Road and take Lashio. The Chinese 50th Division was directed to move
south from Namtu, take Hsipaw, and establish itself across the Burma Road. The hope was that the 50th would be the anvil for the hammer of the New First Army. (See Map 11.)
Between the Chinese positions in the Hosi-Namhpakka area and Lashio the two principal towns are Kutkai and Hsenwi. Kutkai fell without a fight, the Chinese finding there prepared positions abandoned by the Japanese. Four miles north of Hsenwi came that rarity in Burma, a fight between armored units. These were Chinese tanks of the First Provisional Tank Group, now back in the fight since the campaign was moving out of the jungles, and a Japanese armored column. The heavier Chinese armor won the day, and Hsenwi was taken 19 February.
Around Lashio itself the Kachin Rangers of OSS Detachment 101 had been most active, harassing the Japanese and directing the Tenth Air Force on to profitable targets. With their growing strength and increasing Japanese weakness they were becoming strong enough to try open warfare. On 26 February four Kachin companies held a hilltop overlooking the road between Hsenwi and Lashio against an estimated 500 Japanese. Not till the following day did the Rangers withdraw, feeling that they had inflicted heavy casualties at light cost.
By this time, the 56th Division, now in independent command of this sector, was concerned only with delaying action and placed no strong obstacles before the Chinese 38th Division. Old Lashio, the prewar settlement, and the suburb of New Lashio, which had been born of Burma Road traffic before 1942, were occupied by the Chinese over 6 and 7 March. The question of the next mission for the Chinese Army in India now became acute.40
Mountbatten feared that if more Chinese troops were withdrawn from Burma it might not be possible to take Rangoon before the monsoon rains began. Capture of Rangoon's harbor facilities was essential if Slim's troops were to be supported in Burma. Otherwise the monsoon, whose rains would turn the roads east of Imphal into quagmires, would find Slim's six divisions and two tank brigades dependent on an airlift at almost the maximum range of the transports. This was an unpleasant prospect, so Mountbatten went to Chungking on 8 March for two days of conference with the Generalissimo.41
When the conference of 9 March concluded, the Generalissimo, according to the American minutes, said that he would recapitulate. In so doing, he remarked that the details of withdrawal would be settled later and that no final decisions would be made before General Wedemeyer was able to take part in them. Then he stated that unless there was a simultaneous amphibious attack on Rangoon, operations would stop at Lashio and Mandalay and
the Allies would assume the defensive. The Chinese would stop at Lashio, but details of their operations between Lashio and Mandalay would be settled later between the staffs. And he took note of Mountbatten's statement that the Chinese would not be asked to go south of Mandalay.42
That the Generalissimo should include in his recapitulation points to which SEAC was unalterably opposed, such as stopping operations at Mandalay, suggests that the conference did not clarify matters. The exchange of radios which soon followed showed that in fact there had been no more than an exchange of views.
It soon became apparent that Mountbatten did not want to use the Chinese south of Mandalay, but he did not believe that their actual withdrawal would be on any date set by the conferences but rather would be determined by the course of the battle. The Chinese, on the other hand, did not want their troops to take on further obligations once they had entered the Lashio-Hsipaw area.
The misunderstanding became quite apparent in mid-March when General Sultan, under whose command the Chinese were, received conflicting orders. In mid-March it was apparent that the 38th and 30th Divisions coming down the Burma Road were about to link with the Chinese 50th Division moving southeast, that Hsipaw would soon be taken. Therefore, SEAC ordered Sultan to move his forces southwestward toward Mandalay, while the Generalissimo directed that the Chinese divisions stay in the Lashio area.
As a compromise and to avoid having the Chinese wait idly around Lashio, Sultan suggested that a smaller task force be directed to proceed south. But the Generalissimo and his American advisers stood firm, lest the shift of troops to China be delayed. This in turn caused the British to believe that if the Chinese were not going to advance they should be withdrawn forthwith and end the burden on the line of communications. Behind this attitude lay the fact that as of 20 March the fight for Mandalay was obviously a British victory. However, the trend toward a speedy departure of the Chinese did not lead to rigidity on either side; later in March it was agreed the Chinese would advance westward from Hsipaw along the Lashio-Mandalay rail line to take the town of Kyaukme. Kyaukme taken, SEAC requested a further advance, but here the Generalissimo had, it developed, made his final concession.
While these high-level discussions had been taking place, the New First Army from Lashio and the 50th Division from Namtu had been steadily advancing. By 13 March the 50th was moving on Hsipaw. Curiously, the Japanese yielded Hsipaw without a fight, then counterattacked bitterly on 17, 18, 19, and 20 March. The Chinese held, then, sending one regiment south
MEN OF THE 988TH SIGNAL BATTALION, attached to the Chinese 50th Division, send a message on 22 March from the occupied town of Hsipaw.
and dispatching another one northward up the Burma Road to assist the Chinese 38th Division driving south, from a point sixty miles away. The 38th on occasion met fierce resistance coming down the road, but the Japanese had no intention of being caught between the 38th and the 50th when they could so easily sideslip away to the south. On 24 March, seven miles east of Hsipaw, the two divisions met, and the whole of the Burma Road from Hsipaw to Kunming was in Chinese hands.43
Sultan believed that this was the final move, and so he recommended that the Chinese be moved back to the Myitkyina area, save only those troops needed to guard the Lashio-Hsipaw area. At Myitkyina they would be easier to supply until the time came to move them to China. The Chinese were moved back accordingly and plans made to have them in China by 1 July, the move beginning on 1 June.44
The MARS Task Force was first to move to China. In the discussions on the employment of the Chinese in Burma, Sultan had observed that MARS made far heavier demands on air supply than would an equivalent number of Chinese troops. For that reason he doubted whether he could afford to use them to pursue the Japanese. Therefore, on 11 March, Mountbatten ordered that one MARS regiment be released at once for China service, and the rest of the force on 1 April. The move began 14 March and was completed 14 May.45
Therefore, as a result of the victories in Burma, Wedemeyer's position in China was soon to be bolstered by powerful reinforcements. Two good divisions had been moved to China; three more were to come. The MARS Task Force would provide a very welcome source of experienced U.S. personnel.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (6) * Next Chapter (8)
1. See p. 127, above.
2. History of IBT, I, 47-48.
3. History of 5332d, Ch. VI, p. 8.
4. (1) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 190, is the only account to mention the attempt to achieve surprise. (2) History of IBT, I, 53.
5. (1) Troop F was originally the National Guard troop of Mineral Wells, Texas. Knight, who entered service from Weatherford, Texas, received the Congressional Medal of Honor. His brother recovered from his wound. (2) NCAC History, III, 322-23. (3) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 191-93.
6. Whitaker received the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. (1) GO 81, par. I, Hq USF IBT, 26 Apr 45. (2) History of 5332d, Ch. VI, p. 9. (3) History of IBT, I, 54.
7. (1) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 194-95. (2) History of 5332d, Ch. VI, p. 10.
8. (1) NCAC History, III, 318. (2) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 193. (3) GO 81 par. VII, Hq USF IBT, 26 Apr 45, awarded Wood the Bronze Star.
9. Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 194.
10. (1) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, (2) History of 5332d, Ch. VI, pp. 9-10. (3) Affidavits in Daily Jnl, 124th Cav.
11. (1) Easterbrook Notebook, 31 Jan-2 Feb 45. (2) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 174. (3) Willey comments on draft MS.
12. (1) Henderson's heroism was recognized by the award of the Distinguished Service Cross. GO 72, par. IV, Hq USF IBT, 9 Apr 45. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 3 Feb 45.
13. (1) Easterbrook Situation Map. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 2-4 Feb 45. (3) History of 5332d, Ch. V, p. 20. (4) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 198-200. (5) Akui was a Hawaiian. (6) Colonel Johnson was awarded the Silver Star.
14. For their display of leadership under harrowing conditions, Owen and Moore won the Distinguished Service Cross. (1) GO 72, pars. I and IV, Hq USF IBT, 9 Apr 45. (2) GO 99, par. I, Hq USF IBT, 22 May 45. (3) Well known among veterans of the North Burma Campaign, the aggressive and colorful Kavel won his first decorations with the GALAHAD Force (Merrill's Marauders). Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 150. (4) Affidavits in Daily Jnl, 124th Cav.
15. Daily Jnl, 124th Cav.
16. (1) Easterbrook Notebook. (2) Willey comments on draft MS.
17. (1) History of 5332d, Med Sec, Chart E. (2) "Lt. Irving Kofer was wounded and apparently carried away by the Japs. When the platoon took the site they found Kofer's binoculars with lenses smashed and his maps with charred edges, as though he tried to burn them. . . . I do not believe his body was ever found, and I think he was the 124th's only 'missing in action.'" Comments on draft manuscript by Edward R. Bishop, formerly a lieutenant in the 124th Cavalry who commanded a regimental intelligence and reconnaissance platoon of the MARS Task Force.
18. (1) History of 5332d, Med Sec. (2) Easterbrook Notebook. (3) NCAC History, III, 312.
19. History of 5332d, G-4 and QM Secs.
20. History of 5332d, Civil Affairs and G-4 Secs.
21. IBT Combat History, p. 71.
22. (1) 36th Div War Diary. (2) Foster, Ch. IV. (3) Japanese Study 148, p. 51.
23. History of IBT, II, 323-24.
24. History of IBT, II, 320.
25. See Stilwell's Command Problems, Ch. IV.
26. (1) ALFSEA Record, Ch. VII. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 343-77. (3) Japanese Study 132, pp. 18-34. (4) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS.
27. (1) Japanese Study 132, p. 16. (2) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS.
28. The complicated question of transport aircraft resources will be discussed in Chapter X, below.
29. (1) For a description of the siege of Myitkyina, see Stilwell's Command Problems, Ch. VI (2) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS.
30. (1) SEATIC Bull 247, pp. 46-47. (2) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS.
31. (1) 36th Div Diary. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B., Secs. 5, 6. (3) ALFSEA Record, Chs. VIII, IX. (4) Japanese Study 148, Ch. V. (5) Japanese Study 134, pp. 99-107. (6) Brigadier M. R. Roberts, Golden Arrow (Aldershot, England: Gale and Polden, 1952), Chs. XIX, XX.
32. See above, p. 145.
33. CCS 747/7, 31 Jan 45, sub: Allocation of Resources Between IB and CT.
34. (1) CCS 452/37, 1 Feb 45, sub: Opns in SEAC. This paper was approved by the CCS and reported to the President and Prime Minister. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 397.
35. Min, Mtg of CCS, 1 Feb 45. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers. Dept State Pub 6199, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta. 1945 (Washington, 1955).
36. (1) Min, Mtg 27, Wedemeyer With Generalissimo, 5 Jan 45; Mtg 28, 13 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (2) Rad CFB 32476, Wedemeyer to MacArthur and Nimitz, info Marshall, 5 Feb 45. Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File.
37. Min, Mtg 30, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 19 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes.
38. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 398-408.
39. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 446.
40. History of IBT, II, 316-18.
41. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, Par. 448.
42. Min, American Mtg Held in Generalissimo's Presidential Residence in the Country, 1015, 9 Mar 45. OCMH.
43. History of IBT, II, 324-25.
44. History of IBT, II, 327-32.
45. (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 452. (2) NCAC History, III, 324.