Beginning the Fall Campaign in North Burma
When the monsoon rains lifted in the fall of 1944 and the ground began to dry, action in Burma started to rise to another peak of intensity. The great British victory at Imphal, on the Indo-Burmese border, in the preceding spring and summer, had fatally weakened the Japanese 15th Army, while the Chinese and American successes in north Burma had left the Japanese 33d Army strength only to delay. For the staffs, the questions were how far and in what direction to exploit success; for the soldiers, how to overcome the stubborn delaying action of a sorely wounded but still determined enemy.
The Situation at the Front
By September 1944 the Allies had breached the natural defenses of Burma at several points. (Map 5) A state whose area is as large as that of Germany, Burma is essentially a group of river valleys sheltered between two major spurs of the Himalaya Mountains. On the Indo- Burmese border are the Arakan Yoma, the Chin Hills, and the Naga Hills, which curve in a great arc from the Bay of Bengal to the border of Tibet. Some of their peaks are as high as 10,000 feet, and their lower slopes are covered with tropical forest. The Sino-Burmese border runs through another complex of mountain ranges, which, unlike that on the west, is of great width. These mountains also come down to the sea, so that Burma is most readily reached by sea or air.
Burma may be regarded as the land that three great rivers flowing from north to south have carved from the mountains. The westernmost of these three is the Chindwin River. Running parallel to the mountains of the Indo-Burmese border, it offers another barrier to troop movement in either direction. The country through which it flows for most of its length is sparsely settled brush and forest. Then, at Shwegyin, it emerges from the
TANK FARM AT MYITKYINA. Gasoline delivered by pipeline was stored in these tanks until needed.
valley, alters its course slightly to the east, and enters the great valley of central Burma which the Irrawaddy River has cut. The Irrawaddy in central Burma inclines southwestward, then it meets the Chindwin, and the now even mightier Irrawaddy flows on for many more miles to enter the Bay of Bengal. The great port and prewar capital of Burma, Rangoon, is slightly to the east of the Irrawaddy delta. Once restored, Rangoon's port facilities would make it an excellent staging area for an amphibious attack on Malaya. In the eastern portion of Burma the Salween River flows from north to south and enters the Andamen Sea at Moulmein.
Since the principal topographic features of Burma lie along north-south lines, the problem that faced the Allies after the Japanese took Burma in April 1942 was to cut across the grain of the country from west and east until they had placed themselves in one of the major valleys, then exploit their successful crossing of the mountain barriers by a campaign down the valley into the vital airfields, oil resources, railways, highways, and seaports of central and south Burma. The greatest of the Burmese valleys is that through which the Irrawaddy flows. Myitkyina is the most important point on the northern stretches of that river.
Before the war Myitkyina was a thriving frontier town, with rail connections to Rangoon and a fair-weather road to China. Since August 1944 it had been in Allied hands, and was being rapidly converted into a great supply
center. A gasoline pipeline began deliveries to Myitkyina on 2 October. The local airstrips were being rehabilitated and expanded, and air cargo was flowing in steadily. The Ledo Road was being extended past Myitkyina and was being joined to it by a cutoff.
South from Myitkyina, both the Burma Railways and the Irrawaddy River led to central Burma and the famous old city of Mandalay. The railway builders had laid the tracks between two long, narrow, 3,000- to 4,000-foot hill masses which lie along a north-south line within the major valley, hence the name by which this avenue of approach was known at the time, "the Railway Corridor." An Allied force driving down from Myitkyina would inevitably strike the flank of any Japanese force trying to stop an attack coming from the east across the grain of the country.
In the Arakan section of Burma, along the Bay of Bengal, the British 15 Corps, with the 25th and 26th Indian Divisions, and the 81st West African Division, had been forced by the monsoon rains to confine itself in August to patrolling. It was astride the coastal range, and was in position to move down the coast. Such an advance would open up staging areas and airfields near the most vital areas of south and central Burma--the oil fields of Yenangyaung and the seaport of Rangoon.1 In February 1944 the British and Indian forces in the Arakan had signally defeated the Japanese 55th Division; opportunity to exploit this success would come when the rivers went back to their channels and the ground began to harden.
The Japanese forces in the Arakan were the 28th Army, with the 54th and 55th Divisions. This force had to defend the coast almost to Rangoon.
On the central front, opposite Imphal, where fighting heavy by any scale had taken place between the British 4 and 33 Corps and the Japanese 15th Army, the 11th East African and 5th Indian Divisions were pursuing the survivors of the Japanese 15th and 31st Divisions, and the still formidable though sorely battered Japanese 33d Division. On 5 July Lt. Gen. William J. Slim, commanding the British Fourteenth Army, having determined to exploit the victory at Imphal, had ordered 4 and 33 Corps to destroy the Japanese 15th Army west of the Chindwin. This order meant keeping unremitting pressure on the Japanese through the monsoon rains. Its execution yielded major results. Their defeat at Imphal, plus Slim's relentless monsoon pursuit, cost the Japanese 171 guns, 2,058 vehicles, and 85,000 men. If the Japanese were to fight again in Burma, they had to rebuild their forces and so the 33d Division was putting up a stubborn rear guard action. The 53d Division was moving down from north Burma to reinforce the 15th Army.
The terrain between Imphal in India and the Chindwin River in Burma, behind which the Japanese were now seeking shelter, is exceedingly difficult.
The Japanese dug themselves into the mountains, with their machine guns and mortars commanding the muddy mountain tracks. The monsoon rains poured down impartially on friend and foe. Under these circumstances, the steady advance of the two divisions was a very considerable achievement and denied the Japanese the time they so badly needed. On 30 August an Indian patrol stood on the banks of the Chindwin.2
In north Burma, a powerful Allied concentration faced the Japanese 33d Army. The Northern Combat Area Command, though American, had, by common and informal consent of Chinese and Americans, come to the open exercise of the command it had hitherto exercised through the legal fiction of a headquarters with a Chinese name and Chinese authority, Chih Hui Pu.3 Its combat elements included two Chinese armies totaling five divisions, the British 36th Division of two brigades, which had arrived at Myitkyina airstrip in mid-July, and an American brigade headquarters to which attachment of one Chinese and two American regiments was contemplated.4 This force was deep in north Burma and firmly gripped the upper valley of the Irrawaddy River, whose lower length is Burma proper. Having relieved the "Chindits" (the airborne formation which had operated behind Japanese lines), the British 36th Division was advancing southward down the line of the Burma Railways, on a course that would, if the Japanese could not halt it, inevitably bring it to Mandalay. To the east lay China, now within striking distance.
The Japanese 33d Army currently included the 18th, 2d, and 56th Divisions, plus one regiment of the 49th. The 18th Division was greatly reduced in strength as a result of the 1944 battles in the Hukawng and Mogaung valleys and was scheduled for reorganization and re-equipment.5
In the air the Allies had superiority, unchallenged and crushing. The Allied air arm for Burma, Eastern Air Command, in October 1944 had in operational condition 125 AAF fighters and 267 RAF fighters, 48 AAF heavy bombers and 38 RAF heavy bombers, 72 AAF medium bombers, 198 AAF transports, and 35 RAF transports. The transports were most important for they gave the Allied ground forces a mobility and an independence of lines of communications on the ground the Japanese could not dream of approaching.
Against this force the Japanese had their 5th Air Division. Once masters of the Burma skies, the 5th's pilots faced the expected Allied attack with about 12 bombers, 60 fighters, and 10 reconnaissance aircraft. With this handful
the 5th Air Division was ordered to defend not only Burma but Thailand and Indochina.6
With the disparity in force in Burma, in great measure the result of the British and Indian victory at Imphal, Allied success was now certain. The question of defining the victory remained to be solved. Given the circumstances that Germany though defeated was still fighting desperately, that the American forces in the Pacific were capable of making a gigantic amphibious assault anywhere in the western Pacific from the Kurils to the southern tip of the Philippines regardless of what might happen in China, what plans for Southeast Asia Command would best combine the profitable and the practical?
Planning the First Directive
When plans for a fall campaign became a current topic in June 1944, the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) seemed to feel that the most which could be hoped for was that SEAC should be prepared to exploit any successes gained; they did not direct the occupation of any geographical objective in Burma. In June 1944, when the Japanese were a grave threat to India, the CCS thought the main object of all operations in Burma was to send the maximum quantity of supplies over the Hump. The only indication of an offensive spirit in the CCS at that time with regard to ground operations in Burma was discussion of an airborne operation against Rangoon--but the CCS did not think the operation could be staged in time to help Pacific operations.7
Then came the retreat of the Japanese from their abortive attack on India, a retreat that began on 15 July. As they fell back, they left behind the unmistakable evidence of disaster in abandoned equipment and unburied dead, proof that the plan of General Slim and General Sir George Giffard to meet and break the Japanese 15th Army on the Imphal plain had succeeded. So the question soon became that of drafting plans to exploit this success, plus those gained by Stilwell in north Burma.8
The SEAC planners drafted two plans, X and Y, to exploit the victories and to carry out the CCS directive of 4 June 1944. Plan X called for the NCAC forces in north Burma to move from the Mogaung-Myitkyina area to Katha and Bhamo. At the same time 4 and 33 Corps would drive in force toward the Chindwin, and an airborne operation would be undertaken in the
Wuntho area. The goal of Plan X was to occupy north Burma to the line Kalewa-Lashio. Plan Y called for 4 and 33 Corps to cross the Chindwin so as to use British superiority in armor in the central Burma plain, and later to exploit as far as Mandalay. Airborne troops would take Kalewa, and there would be a later descent at the entrance to the Mandalay plain. This operation against central Burma would be complemented by a southward advance of the NCAC and the Y-Force. At the suggestion of the British Chiefs and General Marshall, the Staff added Plan Z, a combined sea and air assault on Rangoon.9
The question then arose of how these several plans fitted into the current CCS directive to SEAC, which called on that command "to develop, maintain, broaden, and protect the air link to China, in order to provide the maximum and timely stock of petrol and stores to China in support of Pacific operations . . . to be prepared to exploit the development of overland communications to China. . . ."10 General Wedemeyer, who was then SEAC's deputy chief of staff and had not yet gone to China, reported to the War Department that the SEAC planners were splitting along national lines. He believed that the British members of the planning staff interpreted the directive to the effect that there were to be no actual operations to open a line of communications to China, just preparations. Wedemeyer reported further that the British planners were squarely behind Plan Z for an attack on Rangoon, in Wedemeyer's opinion for diplomatic reasons, while the American planners favored Plan Y for an overland offensive aimed at Mandalay and clearing north Burma.11
In reply to Wedemeyer, the War Department stated that the phrases in the SEAC directive had been chosen with a view to securing an early agreement on the paper. In the War Department's opinion, the directive called on SEAC to use all its resources for an early and maximum flow of supplies to China, and to continue vigorous operations to open a land link to China.12
To co-ordinate and clarify the views of the British and American Chiefs of Staff on future operations in southeast Asia, Mountbatten and Wedemeyer visited London and Washington respectively in early August 1944. Their reports to other interested officers and agencies suggest that in August there was considerable agreement among SEAC's military superiors. On 17 August Mountbatten told Stilwell that the British Chiefs of Staff wanted Phases I and II of Plan Y, the attack on Mandalay, executed as soon as possible,
SECOND QUEBEC CONFERENCE. Seated, from left: General George C. Marshall, Admiral William D. Leahy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Field Marshal Sir John Dill. Standing: Maj. Gen. L. C. Hollis, General Sir Hastings Ismay, Admiral Ernest J. King, Air Marshal Sir Charles Portal, General Henry H. Arnold, Admiral Sir A. B. Cunningham.
with Plan Z against Rangoon to be executed mid-March 1945 using resources from Europe. Stilwell agreed, providing forces at hand were committed to Plan Y and not held for later use against Rangoon.13 A day later Wedemeyer advised Mountbatten that the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) wanted Plan Y executed as soon as possible in the fall. If the European situation permitted, an attack on Rangoon would be acceptable providing the basic objectives of Y were kept in mind. The JCS had made it very clear they would not agree to operations against Rangoon if these militated against Phases I and II of Plan Y.14
Then came the second Quebec Conference between President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, which began 12 September. As discussions opened, it became apparent that the British Chiefs of Staff had changed their views since the exchanges of mid-September, when there seemed agreement on executing Phases I and II of Plan Y, or CAPITAL as it then became. Some of Churchill's comments had suggested that it was unwise to become involved in Burma operations, and were reflected in the views now offered by the British Chiefs of Staff and SEAC.15 Remarking that it was undesirable for jungle fighting in Burma to go on indefinitely, Churchill observed it was for that reason the British Chiefs of Staff now suggested the Rangoon attack (or DRACULA), to be preceded by Phase I of CAPITAL, the taking of Kalewa and Kalemyo plus a limited advance in north Burma, as much as was needed of Phase II, which was an overland and airborne assault on the Ye-u-Shwebo area, and an advance by NCAC to the line Mongmit-Mogok-Lashio.16 Mandalay was thus excluded as an objective, but opening a line of communications to China, though not prescribed, was within the scope of proposed operations.
In supporting these proposals, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir Alan Brooke, said that the British desired to liquidate the Burma commitment as early as possible; it was proving a heavy one, both in casualties and in men needed to operate the long lines of communications. To liquidate this commitment, operations against Rangoon had been examined. If successful, they would end the Burma commitment, secure the air route to China (with possibly at a later date a land route), and get staging areas for further operations in Southeast Asia. Some earlier comments by Churchill forecast the nature of the further operations to which General Brooke referred. "He had always advocated an advance across the Bay of Bengal and operations to recover Singapore, the loss of which had been a grievous and shameful blow to British prestige which must be avenged. It would not be good enough for Singapore to be returned to us at the peace table. We should recover it in battle."17
These expressions now fell on sympathetic ears among the Americans. Once the line of communications across Burma to China had been re-established and secured, the Joint Chiefs and the President in September 1944 had no further interest in Burma operations per se. The British were in effect suggesting that the major Japanese concentration in central Burma be bypassed by an amphibious operation and this was a technique which the Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders had used with great effect in
the Pacific. As Roosevelt remarked on 13 September, "American experience has been that the 'end-run' method paid a handsome dividend. Rabaul was an example of this by-passing technique which had been employed with considerable success at small cost of life."18
In accepting the proposals of the British Chiefs of Staff, Generals Marshall and Arnold, the latter commanding the U.S. Army Air Forces, joined to ask that the proposed directive be amended to make clear that opening an overland line of communications to China was among the prescribed missions of SEAC. They explained that supplies being flown to China over the Hump were accumulating at the Chinese airfields because there was no transport to move them.19 Trucks were urgently needed and could be put into China only by driving them over the new Ledo Road. The amendment was accepted, and the OCTAGON directive was drawn up accordingly. Mountbatten was ordered to seize Rangoon by an amphibious assault before the 1945 monsoon, target date 15 March, and to engage in such operations within Burma as were necessary to secure the Hump air route and open overland communications to China. If it should be impossible to attack Rangoon before the rains began, then Mountbatten was to exploit current operations into Burma as far as possible, without impairing chances of attacking Rangoon from the sea after the monsoon's close.20 The importance given Rangoon reflected its strategic location and logistical importance. Once it was in Allied hands, Burma Area Army would lose its only effective line of communications and be forced to evacuate Burma.
Events Cancel the Attack on Rangoon
Both before and during the Quebec Conference of 1944, at which SEAC was ordered to concentrate on taking Rangoon before the 1945 rains, the comments of various senior officers identified forces at work which might compel an alteration in the plans. For one thing, the commanders in the field were advancing aggressively and were well into the early stages of CAPITAL, the attack toward Mandalay. Once acquired, momentum is hard to stop. On 1 September 1944 General Giffard was quoted, on the connection between current and future operations, to the effect that CAPITAL should be regarded as an extension of the present operations, drafted by commanders who were already in the field and carrying out the current pursuit of the beaten Japanese.21 A fortnight later Mountbatten told the CCS that in steadily
exploiting the victory at Imphal SEAC's forces had carried out Phase I of CAPITAL "to an extent that would make it unreasonable to cancel Phase II." So Mountbatten told the CCS that, if he could not be given all the resources SEAC had originally stipulated as necessary to take Rangoon in March 1945 by assault from sea and air, he would be happy to investigate the possibility of conducting the same operation in March with a smaller force.22
Mountbatten's comments pointed to the second factor, the extent to which his superiors would reinforce SEAC to permit an attack on Rangoon together with major operations on land. In the past SEAC's operations had suffered from the higher priority given European offensives. At Quebec, on 16 September 1944, Marshall had promised to examine the possibility of sending two U.S. divisions to Burma. These would have been in addition to a very considerable British reinforcement, possibly as many as seven divisions from Europe and the Mediterranean, and would have changed the scale of operations in Southeast Asia.23
But as the European summer faded into fall, the German Army overcame the shock of the summer reverses in France and stiffened noticeably as British, French, and American divisions approached the German border. Supply problems sharply limited the effort the Allies could exert there. Inside the Reich, the National Socialist regime of Adolf Hitler survived an attempt at a military Putsch. Germany was not going to collapse in early fall 1944, and no divisions could be spared from Europe in time for Mountbatten to count on them for operations in March 1945. On 2 October 1944 the British Chiefs of Staff and the War Cabinet concluded that the assault on Rangoon could not be carried out in March 1945. The British Chiefs of Staff estimated the operation would require sending 253,000 men to India--three divisions and an armored brigade from the European Theater of Operations, two Indian divisions from the Mediterranean. They did not feel justified in withdrawing these forces when there was still hard fighting ahead for the forces of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Instead of an attack on Rangoon, the British Chiefs suggested that Mountbatten be ordered to move aggressively into central and north Burma (CAPITAL) without prejudice to plans to carry out DRACULA after the rainy season.24
The Joint Chiefs did not believe that because troops could not be spared from Europe this meant Eisenhower was being given troops originally intended for Burma, and they told the President they would never have agreed
to any diversion from the main effort. The transfer of divisions from Europe, in their opinion, would not be agreeable unless victory there was assured.25 But the suggestions of the British Chiefs of Staff--that SEAC press vigorously into Burma from the west and north and prepare to attack Rangoon about November 1945--were fully satisfactory and conformed to the alternative provisions of the OCTAGON directive. The final orders were phrased accordingly.26
CAPITAL, whose continuation was now the assigned task of SEAC, fell into three phases:
Phase 1--the seizure of Kalewa and Kalemyo by a land advance combined with an airborne operation, while the forces of N.C.A.C. advanced via the Katha-Bhamo area towards Kunchaung, Sikaw and Namhkam.
Phase 2--an overland and airborne assault against the Ye-U-Shwebo area, while the forces of N.C.A.C., make a complementary advance to a line Mogok-Mongmit-Lashio (possibly using airborne forces to assist in the capture of the last-named place).
Phase 3--the securing of Burma down to a line Mandalay-Pakokku, while the forces of N.C.A.C. advanced to a line Maymyo-Lashio.27
Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia
The final orders, to continue with CAPITAL, went to a new agency in the Southeast Asia Command structure. This was Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia, under Lt. Gen. Sir Oliver Leese, who had commanded the British Eighth Army in Italy. In May 1944 Mountbatten had concluded that he needed a commander in chief for the Allied ground forces in Southeast Asia. General Giffard, commanding Eleventh Army Group, would have been the logical choice, but Stilwell was not willing to serve under Giffard. Mountbatten put the issue to the CCS, pointing out he found it difficult to deal directly with a variety of subordinate army headquarters. The question was raised again during the period of planning for the split of the U.S. China, Burma and India Theater of Operations into the China and India-Burma Theaters. Stilwell then expressed his opposition. He believed that no new channel of command was needed, that creation of an Allied land forces headquarters would emphasize American commitments in SEAC, and that the Generalissimo would resent having his troops under control of another foreign headquarters. A few days later Stilwell modified his views to a considerable degree by stating that he was willing to accept an all-British staff in the proposed headquarters for he feared his theater could not supply qualified officers. The British point of view, as expressed by Giffard, was that the headquarters should be an integrated one.
With the ending of the monsoon and the decision to continue with operations into Burma, the creation of the new headquarters became an urgent matter; Wedemeyer reported to Marshall that the British were contemplating setting up such a headquarters without awaiting U.S. or Chinese approval.28 A week after Wedemeyer wrote, Mountbatten recommended to the CCS that Headquarters, Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia (ALFSEA) should be activated to control all British land forces, NCAC, the Chinese Army in India, and Chinese forces operating within SEAC. He conceded that the Generalissimo would have to approve where the Chinese were concerned, and that U.S. ground and service troops not under NCAC would not be under the new command.
Informal approval of the new arrangement was given by Marshall on 30 October 1944. He explained to Mountbatten that a formal written agreement on ALFSEA's creation would require the Generalissimo's approval, but he himself saw no reason why there could not be an oral agreement for operational command by Leese. He feared an appeal direct to the Generalissimo would complicate an already intricate situation.29
Mountbatten thought the Chinese aspect would offer no difficulty because he recalled that at Chungking in October 1943 and again in India in November 1943 the Generalissimo had said that all Chinese troops within SEAC's boundaries were under Mountbatten's command. These statements were taken by Mountbatten for use as the basis for delegating authority over Chinese troops to the new headquarters. On 6 November 1944 General Wedemeyer, who had by then become U.S. chief of staff to the Generalissimo, obtained the latter's oral agreement to the new arrangement. On 12 November 1944 the new headquarters, essentially Headquarters, Eleventh Army Group, plus some American officers, was activated and General Leese took command.30
Creation of the new headquarters brought discussion of the relationship between India-Burma Theater and SEAC. Transfer of the U.S. contingent among the SEAC Joint Planners to the Commanders-in-Chief Planners of SEAC, at a substantial saving in personnel, was quickly agreed to. The question of the control of U.S. resources in SEAC, a question raised by Mountbatten when the theaters were split, was much more complex. The new Allied land forces commander and the current Allied air forces commander controlled the operations of NCAC and the U.S. Air Forces units within SEAC, respectively. Ultimate control rested with the CCS through the British Chiefs of Staff in London. However, the right to move air or
other resources from India-Burma Theater to China subject to the needs of the fighting in Burma had always been reserved by the Joint Chiefs. Behind the JCS's reserving this right lay the assumption that all U.S. resources in India and Burma were in the final analysis there to support China. Since India-Burma and China were now two separate U.S. theaters of operations, Mountbatten suggested that the CCS rather than the JCS should decide when resources could be moved from one to another. He had good reason to be anxious lest events in China result in a heavy draft on American resources from Burma. But the JCS would not agree to his suggestion, and reserved to themselves the disposition of U.S. forces in China, Burma, and India.31
That the commanders in the field had continued their operations through the monsoon rains, the OCTAGON Conference, and the exchanges between the staffs meant that the situation in the field changed steadily from day to day. Three days after ALFSEA opened for business on 12 November, the 11th East African Division entered Kalemyo in Burma, substantially completing the British part of Phase I of CAPITAL.
NCAC Prepares To Resume Operations
The operational tasks in north Burma which fell to Northern Combat Area Command under CAPITAL had of course been assigned to it well before ALFSEA began operations; NCAC had its operations under way at a correspondingly earlier date. The general missions given NCAC were as follows:
Conduct offensive operations to expel or destroy the enemy east of boundary with Fourteenth Army [major British formation opposite central Burma] and north of the general line Lashio-Mongmit-Thabeikkyin by mid-February 1945.
Protect the air supply route and overland communication with China.
Secure Assam and Upper Burma north and east of the boundary with 11th Army Group.32
The specific tasks given to NCAC, with the desired dates for their completion, were as follows:
Phase I--(October to mid-December) destroy and expel the enemy north of the general line to include key points: Indaw (railroad)-Kunchaung-Sikaw-Namhkam.
Phase II--(mid-December 1944 to mid-February 1945) destroy and expel the enemy north of the general line to include key points: Thabeikkyin-Mogok-Mongmit-Lashio, and be prepared to exploit in anticipation of Phases III and IV.33
From Myitkyina the Irrawaddy takes a course which though serpentine is generally southward until it reaches Bhamo; then it bends sharply westward
and does not turn south again until the vicinity of Katha, which is about fifty-five air miles west of Bhamo. Its course is about equidistant between the hills that form the eastern boundary of the Railway Corridor mentioned earlier and the escarpment that in this area is the western edge of the Yunnan plateau. North of Bhamo, the Irrawaddy has cut a passage through a cluster of hills, some of which just top the 3,000-foot mark. The line NCAC sought to reach by 15 December ran from Indaw on the railway, through Katha, then south and east to the road junctions of Kunchaung and Sikaw, which are in the valley, and then plunged into the mountains to Namhkam, in the valley which the Shweli River has chiseled through them. Thirty miles northeast of Namhkam, the Burma Road enters the Shweli valley at Wanting. Completion of Phase II would involve a general southward advance of about fifty miles, some of it across the most rugged of mountain terrain.
Current plans called for brigading the 1st Chinese Separate Infantry Regiment, which had been trained at Ramgarh in long-range penetration tactics, with two American regiments, the 475th Infantry and the 124th Cavalry. The combined unit would be the equivalent of a division, but would have the designation 5332d Brigade (Provisional). The project had its origins in Stilwell's long-cherished dream of having an American division to command. In April 1944, when CBI Theater headquarters knew that a considerable body of American replacements was coming to CBI, Stilwell ordered Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, then commanding the only U.S. infantry in CBI, a provisional regiment, to prepare to reorganize his command as a light division with one Chinese and two American regiments. Meanwhile, the War Department knew that Stilwell wanted another long-range penetration group, and suggested it might be possible to form a mixed Sino-American unit in India, with 30 to 40 percent Americans in key positions and the rest of the spaces filled with Chinese volunteers. Stilwell liked the idea, for he thought that Chinese and American soldiers got on well together. By 22 June the Asiatic Section of the Operations Division, War Department General Staff, was considering sending a light brigade to CBI with a view toward giving Stilwell what it could to open a land line of communications to China.34
To carry out the project, the 5332d Brigade (Provisional), known later as MARS Task Force, was activated 26 July 1944. Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Arms assumed command the same day.35 The activating order provided for most of the brigade's subordinate units to be attached to it as they arrived in India or were activated--as of 26 July the brigade was still very much in the preparatory
stage. Thus, the 475th Infantry Regiment (Long Range Penetration Regiment, Special), Lt. Col. William L. Osborne, was not activated until 5 August 1944. It included many survivors of the original American experiment in long-range penetration tactics--GALAHAD, or "Merrill's Marauders."36 Its companion regiment, the 124th Cavalry (Texas National Guard), Col. Milo H. Matteson, arrived in India on 30 August 1944. It did not reach the brigade's training area until 27 October. Also attached were the 612th Field Artillery Battalion (Pack), Maj. John W. Read, and six quartermaster pack troops.37
Direct air support for NCAC was provided by the Tenth Air Force with 9 bombardment squadrons, 7 fighter squadrons, 4 combat cargo squadrons, and 3 troop carrier squadrons. Tenth Air Force in turn was a part of Eastern Air Command, the operations of whose other components elsewhere in Burma indirectly but powerfully affected the campaign in the northern part of that vast area. The teammates of Tenth Air Force were the Strategic Air Force, which sought to destroy the Japanese transport net in Burma; 3d Tactical Air Force, which supported British operations in central and southern Burma; 293 Wing, RAF, which protected the vital industrial area centering on Calcutta; and the Photographic Reconnaissance Force.38
The impact of the Allied air arm on the Japanese by the time the fall 1944 campaign opened is suggested by some excerpts from captured Japanese diaries:
During the day enemy aircraft come over in formations of three and six. As we have no aircraft we cannot do anything except take shelter. [A superior private on the Myitkyina-Bhamo front, 24 September 1944.]
At 1825 hours enemy aircraft heavily bombed and machine-gunned positions on the opposite bank. I wish we had even one aircraft, that would be something! My earnest desire is that the people on the home front would speed up production and send us even one as soon as possible. [The same soldier, 13 October.]
At times you are driven to hide food from your best friend instead of sharing it with him. . . .
We feel the noose tightening slowly, relentlessly around our necks. . . .
Enemy aircraft are over continuously in all weathers. We can do nothing but look at them. If we only had air power!
In the opening phases of the North Burma Campaign, October-November 1944, the major objective of the Tenth Air Force was to stop Japanese reinforcement of the front. This meant pounding the railroads, primarily the bridges. The Burma Railways then had 302 bridges of more than forty feet in length which were the principal targets. Specializing in such attacks, the 490th Bombardment Squadron (M) won the nickname "Bridge-Busters." The 490th claimed its hundredth bridge neutralized on 8 November. In allocating its efforts, the Tenth in December 1944, when the campaign was moving to its peak, spent 50 percent in attacks on Japanese lines of communication, 25 percent in close support of the ground forces, and 25 percent against Japanese troop concentrations and supply points.
In the close support of the infantry, air-ground liaison was far ahead of that practiced in Europe. For example, when in summer 1944 the invasion of southern France was being planned, Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott sought to arrange for the presence of forward air control parties with the combat infantry. He did not succeed, and it was months before the practice became common in Europe.39 Though artillery played a most valuable part in the North Burma Campaign, it could not always accompany troops penetrating behind the Japanese lines, and close air support was the only possible substitute. By May 1944 the Air Forces in Burma had worked out the technique of forward air control. This was exercised by a party of one or two officers plus six to eight enlisted men. They approved targets selected by the Army, called up air strikes by radio, and if necessary guided the aircraft to the target. On occasion, liaison aircraft would observe the strike. In some cases, aircraft were on target thirty minutes after the request was made. This was the system controlling close air support during the fall 1944 campaign.
In addition to providing air cover and assuming all responsibility in the fields of transport and supply, the U.S. Army also provided the greater part by far of medical aid for the Chinese in north Burma. Three field hospitals, 1 mountain medical battalion, 8 portable surgical hospitals, 2 medical collecting companies, 1 clearing company, 2 veterinary evacuation hospitals, 3 separate veterinary companies, 1 malaria survey unit, and 7 malaria control units were part of NCAC. These evacuated to the general hospitals of the SOS in India, principally the 20th General Hospital at Ledo. A major part of the burden of medical aid fell on the portable surgical hospitals, for "they could march with a column, perform the emergency surgery on casualties, and evacuate them by air."
Evacuation of the wounded by air was greatly appreciated by the soldier and was carried to a point that made it a distinguishing feature of the North
Burma Campaign. Writing immediately after the war, the Historical Section, India-Burma Theater, noted that "without known exception every wounded soldier, Chinese or American, evacuated out of the forward area, was transported by aircraft during part of his journey." For the wounded, the worst part of the trip was the short journey on a stretcher to the improvised airstrip where the liaison aircraft, refitted as an ambulance, awaited them.
The Chinese, who could provide only the simplest medical care from their own resources, were responsible for transporting their own wounded within their own sectors. NCAC assumed responsibility for further evacuation when the Chinese patient was delivered to an American medical unit, which was usually the portable surgical hospital that accompanied each Chinese division. Then the patient was carried to a liaison plane landing strip--if he could not readily be driven to a field hospital--and from there was flown to the nearest transport strip. Detachments of the 151st Medical Battalion met him there and supervised his journey to hospital.40
Burma is not a healthful place even for its inhabitants, while for the combat soldier, who is daily exposed to contaminated water, polluted soil, and disease-bearing insects, it has long been deadly. In 1942 many medical authorities had feared disease might bring disaster to armies invading Burma and had appraised the danger in most gloomy terms. By fall 1944, after the campaigns of the previous years, the dimensions of the problem were known and remedial measures were at hand. Malaria and dysentery were the two great menaces. Malaria was the greater by far. By then commanders and medical officers had learned that routine measures of mess, water, and camp sanitation could control dysentery and that the problem was more a command than a medical problem. Notably, the Chinese, who always ate their food hot and boiled water faithfully, suffered far less from intestinal disorders than did the Americans.41
Malaria was much slower in yielding to preventive measures. In the autumn of 1943, when the fighting resumed in north Burma, malaria was attacked by the assignment of two malaria control detachments, who were to destroy the mosquitoes, and by measures of individual prevention, such as the use of repellent. But measures of environmental control were of little use when the Allied forces began to advance rapidly, for every forward step was also a step into Japanese-held terrain that medical personnel could hardly invade. The decision to use atebrin was not made until April 1944, then only because the monsoon rains were approaching, and it was limited to troops
least able to carry out measures of environmental control. NCAC slowly extended use of atebrin from combat troops to service troops south of Ledo. Late in 1944 NCAC finally decided to make its use general in north Burma. The stubborn opposition had been based on the belief that use of atebrin might lead to laxity in other control measures, but overcrowding in the hospitals made this consideration yield. A similar lag in the use of the powerful insecticide DDT may be noted; it was not available in quantity until late in 1944 and not used extensively until 1945.
Four malaria control detachments were on hand when fighting began in fall 1944. They fought the mosquito peril by "DDT residual spraying as soon as fighting had stopped; DDT spraying of occupied tents, latrines, mess halls, and other buildings; DDT perimeter spraying around the camp areas, including natural resting places within the perimeter; DDT spraying of front line installations and fortifications when combat units were static; minor larviciding and ditching around headquarters areas; and transportation and issue of anti-malaria supplies."
By early February the success of atebrin therapy and widespread use of DDT was apparent. The CBI Theater malaria rate, which was the rate of admission to hospital, had been approximately 95 per 1,000 per year in January 1943, and 75 per 1,000 per year in January 1944. The India-Burma rate in January 1945 remained at 75. But where the previous years' rates had never dropped below the 50 per 1,000 mark, the India-Burma rate was below 20 per 1,000 by the end of March 1945. In the past, May had been the month that malaria began to take the worst toll, moving rapidly up to 300 per 1,000, but in 1945 the rate stayed under 20 per 1,000. The new techniques were a success.
In mid-August 1944 the training area which had been set up about ten miles north of Myitkyina on the west bank of the Irrawaddy began receiving members of the 475th Infantry Regiment. The area was designated Camp Robert W. Landis in honor of the first member of GALAHAD to be killed in action. Unit after unit started moving into Camp Landis as the 5332d began to put on flesh and assume the likeness of a pair of regimental combat teams. Another battalion of pack artillery, the 613th under Lt. Col. James F. Donovan, the 18th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital, the 44th Portable Surgical Hospital, the 1st Chinese Separate Infantry Regiment, Col. Lin Kuan-hsiang, arrived during the fall.42
Units were scheduled to arrive in a way that permitted the 475th Regimental Combat Team to train in September and October, the 124th, in October and December. Training stressed the weapons and tactics used by long-range penetration units operating over wooded, hilly terrain. Physical
BIVOUAC AREA OF THE 475TH INFANTRY at Camp Landis. Irrawaddy River in the background.
conditioning was emphasized. Maintenance of health during jungle operations, a factor whose difficulty and value had received local demonstration during the GALAHAD operations, was also covered.43
After General Arms had seen the 5332d through its organization and training phase he was so unfortunate as to be injured in a motor accident, and was succeeded on 31 October 1944 by Brig. Gen. John P. Willey. Willey had served on the NCAC staff during the North Burma Campaign, and been chief of staff of the Myitkyina Task Force from 1 June to 4 August 1944. His peacetime experience had been in armor and cavalry.44
The Chinese divisions also received rigorous training, which began immediately after the fall of Myitkyina on 3 August 1944. Thus, when the 22d Division departed its camp sites for Kamaing in the week of 7-14 October it had completed nine weeks of training. The 50th Division trained in
the Mogaung area. As for the 38th Division, its units began training as soon as they arrived at Myitkyina and continued until they departed for combat.45
As last-minute preparations were made for opening of the postmonsoon offensive, the 38th Division and two regiments of the 30th Division were training in the Myitkyina area. The 89th Regiment, 30th Division, was ten miles south of Myitkyina on the Myitkyina-Bhamo road. The 14th Division was around Namkwi on the Burma Railways line five miles northwest of Myitkyina. The 50th Division had its headquarters at Mogaung, and its 150th Regiment was there. The 149th was patrolling and training four miles southwest of Mogaung, while the 148th was in the Kamaing area, the scene of some of the bitterest fighting a few months before. The 22d Division had its headquarters at Kamaing.46
Given the smooth working of the Indian base described in Chapter I, the principal logistical problem as combat reopened in north Burma was that of delivering the supplies to the troops. The method characteristic of north Burma was airdropping.47 By flying over the battlefield, transport aircraft could defeat all Japanese attempts at victory by encirclement and could make units at the front independent of ground lines of communications, thus greatly increasing their mobility. Units carried three days' rations and were continually resupplied by air. The mission of storing, packing, and loading airborne supplies was given to the Air Supply Service of Advance Section No. 3 of the SOS at Ledo. A "British Wing" worked with Advance Section No. 3 to meet the problems of supplying the British 36th Division in the Railway Corridor. Packing, sorting, loading, and ejecting supplies from the aircraft were performed by units called air cargo resupply squadrons, which were attached to the Air Supply Service.
Troops in the forward areas requested supplies be dropped on designated target areas, forty-eight hours in advance, when possible, but sometimes on an immediate basis to meet emergencies. G-4 of NCAC's Forward Echelon screened the requests, then forwarded them to the Air Control Section, which in turn sent them to the Air Supply Service. The service allocated orders among the several squadrons, according to the orders already assigned and the numbers of transport aircraft available. To permit better liaison between the 36th Division and NCAC, a British officer, Lt. Col. George Demetriadi, served as a member of the staff.
Each squadron had a complete supply depot. As squadrons received orders they made up planeloads from prepacked supplies. Those rare items not habitually stocked were brought up from rear depots to the Air Supply Service. Air Supply Service controlled the mechanics by changing each request for air supply into an airdrop order which was followed through to completion or cancellation.
Because of the extremely heterogeneous nature of the Allied forces in north Burma--Chinese, British, American, Hindu, Moslem, Burmese, and so on--a corresponding variety in rations had to be delivered, posing some interesting problems in administration and in aircraft loading. The Chinese received rice, corn beef or pork link sausage, peanuts, spinach or peas, and the so-called Stilwell ration of crackers, one fruit bar, sugar, peanuts, salt, and a vitamin pill. This ration was eaten at noon when no hot lunch was served. The individual Chinese carried his own rice and at mealtime contributed his share to the cook.
The Air Supply Service combined three standardized combat rations for the MARS Task Force (5332d Brigade)--three or four days' K or C rations, D ration bars, supplemented by fruit juices, dehydrated soup, coffee, sugar, peanuts, halazone tablets, vitamins, and salt, and canned heat. This gave a much better diet than was provided by straight C or K ration. In the spring of 1944 the GALAHAD Force had found C and K rations inadequate, the resulting dietary disturbances contributed to the later fatigue and illness that so harassed GALAHAD troops. All the components of the new ration were placed in hessian cloth sacks 32 inches by 14 inches. Weighing 13 to 17 pounds, these loads fitted easily into the soldier's pack. An assembly line using mass production techniques to fill the packs kept pace with the needs of the front.
The mules, horses, and ponies that carried the heavy loads were supplied by premixed loads of cereal fodder and salt in correct proportions, twenty-five pounds to the sack. This equaled two days' rations. Bags of grain were just loosely packed in double sacks and shoved out of the aircraft. Losses were quite reasonable.
Indian-made containers, which could hold 465 pounds and cost only $3.63 as against $30 to $45 for U.S.-made equipment, were standardized in the winter of 1944-45. They proved so successful and so economical that automatic shipment of containers from the United States was canceled by the Air Service Command.48
But the air supply effort, though the spearhead of logistics in north Burma, was only part of the picture. Supplies had to be delivered to the forward airfields from which the transports flew, and the Ledo Road's building
and the whole complex of activities behind the fighting troops had to be supported. Fortunately, once the Chinese and Americans driving into Burma from Ledo were firmly in control of the Mogaung-Myitkyina area they were on the prewar Burmese road-river-rail network. The Ledo Road itself constantly fed tonnage into the forward area network. Parallel to and preceding the Ledo Road was the so-called combat road, in some places quickly bulldozed out of the brush, in others merging into an improved section of existing road or trail. The combat road stretched 139 miles from Shingbwiyang, in the upper Hukawng Valley, to Mogaung. An old oxcart road was rehabilitated from Mogaung to Myitkyina, which added 51 miles. Later, on the stretch from Mong Yu to Hsipaw, temporary bridges were built and the road maintained. Thanks to this ground line of communications, more tonnage was trucked forward of Ledo than was flown by aircraft. And, alongside and supplied by the Ledo Road were the forward airfields and supply depots, Shingbwiyang, Tingkawk Sakan, and Warazup, fair-weather fields at Taihpa Ga and Maingkwan, and ten strips for liaison aircraft.
As soon as the 48-mile Mogaung-Myitkyina section of the Burma Railways was in Allied hands it was put into operation by the 61st Transportation Corps Composite Company. By the end of October 1944 the 61st was running trains to Hopin, 70 miles from Myitkyina. "The detachment of two officers and 63 enlisted men operating five salvaged and repaired locomotives and several jeeps equipped with flanged wheels, carried 66,167 passengers and 14,485 long tons of supplies in August, September, and October 1944, most of this in support of the British 36th Division driving down the railway corridor."49
Japanese Plans and Preparations
While the Allied forces in India and Burma had been getting ready for the fall campaign--the British and Indian divisions by the steady advance of relatively fresh units and the rehabilitation of the veterans, the Chinese and Americans by training and reorganizing--and while the Allied leadership had been reaching its decision to move on Mandalay, the Japanese too had been planning and preparing. The problems the Japanese faced in September 1944 were not unlike those of Hollanders who see the sea rising higher and higher, the waves here threatening to wash right over a low spot, and the pressure there steadily gnawing a hole, while the men behind the dike wonder which holes must be plugged now, which can wait a bit, and how long before the sea washes away dike, sandbags, laborers, and all. In the Central Pacific the American flood was roaring ahead, in Burma the dike showed an ever-widening leak, in Manchuria was a supply of resources
JEEP TRAIN ON A NARROW-GAUGE LINE hauling supplies between Myitkyina and Mogaung.
depleted by the removals of 1944, and in China was one last stockpile of arms and men. So Imperial General Headquarters weighed its perils and made its decisions.
The Japanese command gave first priority to stopping the flood in the Central Pacific, and Manchuria and China yielded divisions accordingly. From Manchuria and Korea went the 1st, 8th, 10th, 12th, 19th, 23d, 24th, and 66th Infantry Divisions, and the 2d Armored Division and most of the stockpiles so painstakingly accumulated. As a replacement, five divisions were organized in Manchuria and Korea. From China went the 62d and 26th, and later the 37th and 22d, these last two to Indochina. These were replaced by four new divisions, organized locally.50
Burma, in contrast to the Central Pacific, could not expect reinforcements. The tasks of Burma Area Army were reduced accordingly. Once, the mission of Burma Area Army had been to cut land communications from India
to China. Now, in September 1944, Imperial General Headquarters instructed Southern Army that its subordinate headquarters in Burma was to put a lower priority on that mission than on holding southern Burma, lest the Allies move on from southern Burma to attack Thailand and Malaya.51
In making detailed plans, Southern Army and Burma Area Army weighed a number of factors. First was the state of the Japanese forces in Burma, which in the summer of 1944 were reduced to 100,000 combat troops and 60,000 in the rear area. The Japanese system kept about 4,000 replacements a month flowing into Burma until September 1944. These plus the 53d and 49th Divisions permitted rebuilding Burma Area Army to about 160,000 as of December 1944, which was a drop of 92,000 from the strength in March.52 Another factor to be considered in addition to the forces available was the desirability of protecting the oil fields of Yenangyaung and the rice of lower Burma. Then, too, the Japanese had established a puppet government in Burma, whose collapse would be a blow to Japanese prestige. Last of all, the Japanese had fears, well founded as it developed, of the political situation in Thailand.53
Trying to strike a balance between their resources and their missions, the Japanese staff in Burma decided Burma Area Army had to hold the line Lashio-Mandalay-Yenangyaung. Three operations were shaped to carry out the missions of holding south Burma and blocking the Allied attempts to open communications with China. Plans to keep China blockaded received the code name DAN. Plans to meet the anticipated attack of the British Fourteenth Army along the Irrawaddy in front of Mandalay were named BAN, and were for the decisive operation. Defense of the coasts was called KAN.
The 33d Army in north Burma was responsible for the DAN operation, the 15th in central Burma for BAN, and the 28th along the Arakan coast and Irrawaddy Delta, KAN. The 15th Army was allotted 3 divisions, the 28th Army had 2, plus an independent mixed brigade, and the 33d Army, 2 more. Three were under Burma Area Army control.
Reorganizing their divisions for the decisive battles, the Japanese cut their authorized strength to 13,000, reduced artillery batteries to three guns each, disbanded the infantry headquarters of the division, reorganized reconnaissance troops as combat infantry, combed out service elements, and requisitioned oxcarts to replace the motor transport lost in the spring. To keep supplies coming forward, trains moved only at night and during the day hid on camouflaged sidings. The Burmese themselves moved rice between
North Burma Operations
15 October-31 December 1944
Mandalay and Rangoon by some 20,000 oxcarts, which delivered about twenty tons a day. Small craft moved supplies on the rivers.54
The 33d Army, NCAC's immediate antagonist, decided that it would try to check and delay the Allied advance as far to the north as possible, strike a sharp blow at the Chinese divisions from Yunnan, but make its final stand on the line Lashio-Bawdwin-Mong Yang. It was influenced by the belief that to reopen satisfactory ground communications the Allies would have to come as far south as Lashio, that a line opened farther north would be so rough that little could be delivered to China. Inevitably, therefore, 33d Army and NCAC would differ in their appraisal of events in north Burma. The principal aim of 33d Army's operations, faithfully reflecting the directives of higher headquarters, was to cover the flank of 15th Army while the latter fought the decisive battle for Burma. If the 15th could make its stand without interference from the American-trained Chinese divisions, then the 33d could feel it had done its part. Certainly, a Japanese victory at Mandalay would go far to restore the situation in the north.
To fight its delaying action, screen the flank of the 15th, and keep the Allies north of Lashio--whose possession by the Allies the Japanese thought to be essential to breaking the blockade of China--the 33d had the 18th and 56th Divisions, plus the use of a regiment each of the 2d and 49th Divisions, at Bhamo and Lashio respectively. The link between 33d Army and the 15th Army was provided by the 53d Division, which with its two regiments was under control of the 15th.
Reopening the Fight
The plan that General Sultan adopted for NCAC to carry out Phase I of CAPITAL called for a three-pronged attack south from Myitkyina into the Japanese holdings in north Burma. (Map 6) On the west, the British 36th Division, followed by the Chinese 50th Division, was to move south down the Railway Corridor to secure the Katha-Indaw area. In the center, the Chinese 22d Division was ordered to move south, then east, to an area roughly halfway between the Railway Corridor to the west and the Myitkyina-Bhamo road to the east, to seize the airstrip northeast of Katha, where the 3d Indian Division had landed behind the Japanese lines in March 1944, and secure a bridgehead over the Irrawaddy at Shwegu (the Irrawaddy here flows from east to west). On the east, the Chinese 38th Division was ordered to secure the area Bhamo-Mansi. Successfully completed, these operations would place the three divisions in line across north Burma from Katha through Shwegu to Bhamo.55
The British 36th Division, Maj. Gen. Francis W. Festing, was already deep in north Burma when D Day, 15 October, arrived, for General Stilwell had used it to exploit the weaknesses in the Japanese position caused by the Allied successes at Mogaung and Myitkyina and the work of 3d Indian Division (the Chindits) in cutting the Japanese lines of communications.56
While the 36th was preparing for the move to north Burma it was visited by the Fourteenth Army commander, General Slim. Addressing the commissioned and noncommissioned officers, General Slim said the 36th had been picked to serve in north Burma for two reasons: first, the high regard that Slim held for the division and General Festing, and secondly, the need for success in carrying out the task assigned to British troops in north Burma. The setback of 1942 had in General Slim's opinion lowered British prestige. Further, he considered that General Stilwell had little good to say about most British or Indian organizations. Therefore Slim had chosen the 36th to play Britain's part, and had the fullest faith that his confidence would be justified.57
As the 72d Brigade, 36th Division, moved into the Mogaung area, it replaced the 3d Indian Division, whose weary survivors were now being evacuated. The first Japanese position was met ten miles south of Mogaung, at Hill 60, which the exhausted Chindits had been unable to take. There was a brisk fight, in the course of which an attempted envelopment missed its mark and had to be retrieved under cover of smoke. Hill 60 was taken and the 72d resumed its southward advance after an enemy who now seemed bent on no more than delaying action. Taungni, the first objective, was occupied 9 August. Perhaps anticipating his next orders, Festing continued the advance.58
On the 13th new orders came, to go as far south as possible. Aware that the last brigade of his division was now moving up to join him and that his organic division artillery was about to begin arriving, Festing gave free rein to his aggressive disposition and took Pinbaw as his next objective. Its capture would place him twenty-six miles below Mogaung. Air support was arranged by conference with Brig. Gen. Russell E. Randall of the Tenth Air Force, and the administrative build-up of a line of communications down the railway from Mogaung began. Then further orders came from Stilwell, that Pinbaw was to be the limit of the 36th's advance for the time being.
Pinbaw required three days' fighting, beginning 25 August 1944, before a
MAJ. GEN. FRANCIS W. FESTING AND GENERAL SULTAN crossing the Shweli River during the latter's inspection of forward areas of the 36th Division in central Burma.
rain-swollen stream was crossed and two outlying fortified villages cleared. On the 27th the only opposition came from rear-guard machine gunners, and that afternoon a patrol reported Pinbaw unoccupied. The village itself was no prize; the 36th's senior medical officer, Geoffrey Foster, later described it as "only a collection of wooden houses on stilts, situated in a sea of mud, slime, filth, and smells." But Pinbaw as a military objective represented a very considerable and rapid advance south under severe difficulties of terrain and weather, against a skillfully delaying enemy. Stilwell recognized the achievement and radioed Festing: "In getting your objective so promptly, congratulations to you and your men. Smart work. We are proud of you."59 The 36th Division was now on the line of departure for the fall offensive, deep in Burma.
Ordered to wait for D Day in the Pinbaw area, Festing took the normal
precaution of patrolling, but patrolling as he defined it meant excursions in strength. Not until Festing was operating about four miles south of Namma around 24 September were Japanese encountered in a strength that this forceful reconnaissance could not master.60
During this period in which Festing was establishing himself well ahead of the line of departure and was leaning against the forward Japanese outposts, word came, on 12 September, that he was to be transferred back to London.61 The NCAC staff quickly notified Stilwell, and the proposed transfer was canceled by Stilwell's personal intervention, the men of the 36th Division believed.62 Plainly, the 36th and General Festing had won out.
From 24 September to 15 October, D Day, the 36th held its positions around Namma. A great deal of work was done on the railway in repairing bombed-out bridges and relaying track; on the eve of D Day, trains could run from the Loilaw ferry, just below Mogaung, to within six miles of the front.63
As the 36th prepared to attack again, NCAC believed it faced some 5,500 Japanese. These were thought to come from all three regiments of the 53d Division, and from the 34th and 24th Independent Mixed Brigades.64 After the war, officers of the 53d Division stated that following the premonsoon fighting the division was rebuilt with 2,400 replacements. It had never had but two regiments, the 128th and 119th, in north Burma. These two units, with two batteries of artillery, an engineer unit, and two attached independent infantry battalions, a total of just over 4,000 Japanese, faced the 36th in the Railway Corridor. It was identifications from the two attached battalions that suggested to NCAC the presence of two independent mixed brigades.65
The British moved out on 15 October. At first, contact was light, but by the time they reached Mawlu on 31 October Japanese posts were stronger and closer together and their artillery and mortar fire was progressively heavier. However, at Mawlu the 36th was eighty miles south of Mogaung and very near the great bend of the Irrawaddy which was the goal for 15 December.66 The Japanese stiffened at Mawlu, and the 1st Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, met artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire that took thirteen casualties. By evening the town was occupied. Road conditions were very bad, for the ground was still wet, and vehicles had trouble moving.
After occupying Mawlu the division paused until 9 November. There were brushes with Japanese, snipings, patrol actions, but no heavy fighting. Festing used the lull to bring up the 72d Brigade, and so make his advance one of brigades in line, with the 72d on the east, the 29th on the west. The 72d would make the main effort.
Moving down a dry-weather road parallel to the railway tracks, elements of the 72d Brigade on 10 November met stubborn resistance a few miles northwest of a railway station called Pinwe. It came from a cluster of bunkers, which together with heavy artillery fire and the identification of Japanese from a number of units all pointed to one conclusion for the 36th--it had met the Japanese main line of resistance in this area centering on Pinwe.67
The Pinwe area was well adapted to defense. Farther north the 36th had fought its way over rice fields, but here the bush made an impenetrable screen on either side of the jungle tracks. Flanking movements were so difficult that they were judged to be impossible. Frontal attacks after artillery and air preparations became the order of the day.68
The Japanese fought stubbornly at Pinwe. At night their infiltration parties harassed the British rear areas and sought to destroy their artillery. On one occasion, they thrust so deftly into the British positions as to cut off two companies of infantry, which had to be withdrawn at night. The fighting resolved itself into British attempts at prying the Japanese out of their strongpoints, while maintaining a close guard against Japanese raiding parties. In these days the 72d Infantry Brigade, which had been trying to force its way over the stream covering the principal Japanese positions, took heavy casualties and had to be relieved by the 29th Infantry Brigade. On 25 November the British did put a company across the stream, but found they could not reinforce or supply it. That was the last major offensive effort; on 29 November the Japanese were found to be evacuating their positions, and the British entered Pinwe on 30 November.69
The Japanese lines at Pinwe were held by the 119th Regiment, 53d Division. Pinwe was the hardest fighting the 53d had encountered, and the 119th received a diploma of merit for its work there. On 25 November the 53d Division had received orders to fall back until it crossed to the east bank of the Irrawaddy, so that it might take part in the anticipated decisive action in central Burma, and had begun its withdrawal accordingly.70
A pause followed on the Pinwe action, and when the advance resumed there was no opposition. The towns of Indaw and Katha were entered by
BRITISH CASUALTIES being treated by medics of the 60th Portable Surgical Unit (American) during the 36th Division drive on Pinwe, Burma. November 1944.
patrols on 10 December. Katha was a river port on the Irrawaddy, a railway terminus, and a town of some size. Its occupation marked the successful completion of Phase I of CAPITAL by the 36th Division, four days ahead of schedule. The only fight of consequence had been at Pinwe, and that had been the only delay the Japanese had imposed. On 14 December the 36th Division elements in Katha were met by an American patrol of the 475th Regimental Combat Team, which meant that Sultan's drive in the center was likewise close behind the retreating Japanese.71
The Attack in the Center
Sultan's orders to the NCAC forces in the center called for them to advance rapidly to the old airstrip twenty miles southeast of Hopin and then swing east to seize a bridgehead over the Irrawaddy in the Shwegu area. Only one
PACK ARTILLERY TROOPS of the Chinese 22d Division waiting to be ferried across the Irrawaddy River. General Sultan is in the background (right) wearing a campaign hat, November 1944.
division, the Chinese 22d, was used, leaving the Chinese 14th Division in reserve, because the Japanese were believed to have only a light covering force between the Railway Corridor and the Myitkyina-Bhamo road. The estimate was a good one, for the Japanese did have their strongest concentrations on either flank of the Allied advance. In the center there were only two battalions, guarding a ferry across the Shweli River at Myitson. This was well to the south, and many weeks of marching, as of 15 October, lay between the Allied forces and Myitson. The Japanese 33d Army was well aware that it had guarded the Railway Corridor and the Lashio area at the expense of the center, and narrowly watched Allied progress there.72 From positions in the Kamaing area, far behind the outposts held by the 36th Division in the Railway Corridor, the 22d began its march on 15 October. It was to move southeast toward Mogaung, but bypassing the town to save ten miles, then toward Pinbaw, then Hopin. As the march got under way
it appeared that the long rest after combat had left troops and animals in poor condition. The troops were traveling as light as possible, but fatigue was evident when after three days the division reached Hopin. Predawn departures were ordered to keep to a minimum the time spent marching under the full sun, and a day of rest was spent at Hopin.
At Hopin the division turned east, to take a route that would sorely test the marching powers of its troops, for the chosen trail led over the ridge that marked the eastern boundary of the Railway Corridor, down into a plain formed by a tributary of the Irrawaddy, where the old Chindit airstrip BROADWAY was located, and up again over a hill mass overlooking the Irrawaddy valley. On 26 October the division reached the airstrip, twenty-seven miles southeast of Hopin.
General Liao Yueh-shang, commanding the New Sixth Army, of which the 22d Division was part, flew in to BROADWAY, and gave the division detailed orders for the final move to the Irrawaddy. The division was formed into two columns. On the west, the 64th Regiment was directed to take Shwegugale, which lay on the south bank downstream from Shwegu. The 65th and 66th were to move off as one column, then to split into combat teams just north of the Irrawaddy and cross on a broad front. Kachin irregulars and patrols reported there were no Japanese ahead, and after a three-day rest the division resumed its advance.
On 3 November the division occupied the north bank of the Irrawaddy without opposition. The troops rested while commanders studied maps and waited for rubber boats and outboard motors to be airdropped. Three days later the 64th Regiment crossed the Irrawaddy and took Shwegugale against light opposition. Next day the 65th Regiment took Shwegu, and the division had its first objectives.
So far the 22d had been tested by mountain marches, with no opposition worthy the name. The orders now received at Shwegu meant that combat lay ahead, for they directed two regiments, the 65th and 66th, to occupy a point from Man Tha, on the principal road south from the Japanese stronghold of Bhamo, to the largest Japanese concentration in the center of the north Burma combat zone, the Shweli ferry site of Myitson. The 64th was ordered to stay and garrison the Shwegu area.73
Man Tha was occupied without incident 14 November, and a roadblock set up to intercept any Japanese who might attempt to move south from Bhamo. There was no sign of a Japanese reaction, and the two regiments were ordered to move still farther south, straight down the Bhamo-Myitson road to a village called Si-u, which is about thirty miles south of Man Tha and separated from the Shweli valley by a narrow range of 3,000-foot hills.74
In its operations in the Si-u area, the 22d Division would be supported by American combat troops. The 475th Infantry, now commanded by Col. Ernest F. Easterbrook, sent the first march serial south from Camp Landis on 15 November.75 The first serial was the 2d Battalion plus the 31st Quartermaster Pack Troop, under Lt. Col. Benjamin F. Thrailkill. The 3d Battalion left a day later, then the 612th Field Artillery Battalion, and finally the 1st Battalion, each at a day's interval. By 27 November all the serials had closed in the assembly area, on the Myitkyina-Bhamo road about twenty miles northeast of Bhamo. There the 475th reorganized as battalion combat teams; after a rest they moved down the Myitkyina-Bhamo road until they arrived at Momauk, where the road swings west to Bhamo. Bhamo was then under siege by the Chinese 38th Division; the combat teams bypassed it, then marched west. In the area south of Shwegu they began moving south again, toward Si-u and the Shweli River.76
In mid-November 1944 the main strength of the Japanese 18th Division, Lt. Gen. Eitaro Naka, was moved west from around Namhkam to the area around Mongmit, a road center southeast of Myitson. Its mission was to prevent the Allies from separating the 15th and 33d Armies.77 A projected move of the 2d Division to the Mandalay area was delayed. These orders meant that GALAHAD's and the 22d's old adversaries, the 55th and 56th Regiments of the 18th Division, would be barring further Allied progress south. Rebuilt to a strength of 18,000, the 18th Division was again an effective fighting machine.78
Once in the Si-u area, the 22d Division sent outposts in various directions to secure the area. One of these, the 3d Battalion, 66th, went about five and one-half miles southwest of Si-u to the village of Tonkwa. In organizing the area, the Chinese put their command post at Mo-hlaing, about 2,500 yards northeast. Meanwhile, on the Japanese side of the Shweli, General Naka seems to have decided on a policy of aggressive defense. A strong Japanese task force, with elements of both the 55th and 56th and artillery support, was sent north across the Shweli about 6 December, aimed at Tonkwa.79
On that same day of 6 December the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 475th Regiment received orders to relieve the 22d Division in the region of Mo-hlaing, about a mile north of Tonkwa. General Wedemeyer's plans to strengthen the Chinese Central Government were beginning to affect the
course of operations in Burma, for on 5 December the new Sixth Army received orders to prepare the 22d Division to be airlifted to China.80 The 475th would have to replace it. If General Naka chose to stage a local attack he would find the central portion of the NCAC offensive in a difficult position.
Naka's task force made its presence felt on 8 December with an attack on Tonkwa. The outnumbered Chinese battalion fell back to the north, and next day the Japanese were attempting to move into Mo-hlaing itself. There with the Chinese they met the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of the 2d Battalion, 475th Infantry, which was a day's march ahead of the battalion, and once again Americans and Japanese were fighting in Burma.
Fighting Around Tonkwa
The Japanese approaching Mo-hlaing early in the morning of 9 December as though they thought it unoccupied. They seemed to have no more than five platoons and when contact was made immediately attacked. Moving toward the northeast on either side of the Tonkwa-Mo-hlaing road the Japanese succeeded in breaking into the Chinese perimeter. An American counterattack restored the situation. As the fighting went on that morning, sometimes hand to hand, Americans and Chinese shared the same foxholes and fought shoulder to shoulder in the most literal sense.81
About three miles to the northeast of Mo-hlaing, marching down the Si-u road, were the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 475th, less Company E of the 2d Battalion, which was acting as the advance guard. The 1st Battalion was securing the Shwegu area. Colonel Thrailkill of the 2d Battalion ordered the I and R Platoon to fall back on E Company. The rest of the 2d Battalion was sent swinging round to the southwest to Tonkwa itself. Thus, at the end of 10 December, the 475th had its two battalions in line facing west, the northernmost or 3d Battalion near Mo-hlaing, the southernmost or 2d Battalion opposite Tonkwa. The Chinese 66th Regiment, under orders now to move to China, asked to be relieved in the Tonkwa area and the 475th agreed, moving forward accordingly.82 The Americans had no orders to go farther into Japanese-held territory, for the decision to move the Chinese 22d Division from Burma to China halted the center portion of the NCAC offensive. Whether a battle would develop rested with the Japanese.
Over 11 and 12 December Japanese patrols checked American positions and sporadic Japanese artillery and mortar fire harassed the soldiers in their
FIELD CONFERENCE AT SIKAW, BURMA, 12 December 1944. From left, Col. M. Fisher, Liaison Officer, 22d Division; Maj. R. Leonard, S-3, 475th Infantry; Col. Ernest F. Easterbrook, Commanding Officer, 475th Infantry; General Willey; and Col, Joseph W. Stilwell, jr., G-2, Northern Area Combat Command.
foxholes. American patrols in their turn found what seemed likely Japanese assembly areas, and American artillery shelled them. On the 12th the Chinese withdrew. The night was quiet, but tension was in the air for the Japanese seemed to be "all around."83
The Japanese activity had apparently been preparation for attack, and on the morning of the 13th men checked their weapons with care and looked to the arranging of their ammunition in convenient spots. The American positions had the advantage of excellent fields of fire across open paddy fields. Looking toward the south and the west, the men of the 475th could see the dark green mass of leaves, trunks, and brush making the jungle that hid the Japanese assembly areas and, farther back, the Japanese gun positions. Following a ten-minute preparation, the Japanese attacked one American flank at 0600 and the other at 0610. The 475th's fire power met the Japanese as
CHRISTMAS DAY AT TONKWA. In the background, Marsmen attend religious services while their comrades in the foreground, manning a 75-mm. M1A1 pack howitzer, maintain alert vigil against possible enemy attack.
soon as they were clearly defined targets, and stopped the attacks within an hour. At one point a Japanese force of about a platoon tried to cover the open space by a concerted rush only to be cut down with thirty or forty casualties. There were no further Japanese attacks that day. The following morning, the 14th, the Japanese repeated their tactics of the 13th, and that effort too was beaten off, at the cost of several men killed. The 475th's entry into combat had the result on the men noted by observers in many previous wars, for they now spent hours digging themselves in more deeply and improving their positions.84
Contrary to what had been the usual Japanese tactics when on the offensive, Naka's men did not repeat their efforts, which suggests his mission had changed. What now followed was patrol activity as both sides sparred in the open space between their respective perimeters. At only one point was there continual close contact, where a body of Japanese were holding a
pocket close to E Company of the 2d Battalion. Patrolling meant a series of sharp little clashes as parties from the two sides met by accident, it meant ambushes carefully laid in wooded draws near the American lines, and it meant sniping as one man stalked another.85 The situation of patrolling and intermittent Japanese shelling and machine gun fire continued in the area of the 2d Battalion until 15 December.
The 3d Battalion to the north near Mo-hlaing was subject only to artillery fire. That the Japanese at one point were actually within small arms range of the 2d Battalion while apparently not capable of doing more than shelling the 3d with their infantry guns suggested that the 3d might be able to take in reverse the Japanese pocket that pressed on the 2d Battalion.
Sent into action against the Japanese the morning of 15 December, L Company (reinforced) of the 3d Battalion came down from the Mo-hlaing area to the north. Forming an arc around the Japanese who had occupied a wooded area, adjacent to E Company's position near Tonkwa, L Company began closing in. A paddy field lay to the west of the woods, and the Japanese sought to withdraw across it, in the process drawing fire from both the encircling and holding elements of L Company. By midafternoon the area seemed free of Japanese. Two Americans were killed, and nineteen Japanese.
After these small operations there followed a period of a week in which Japanese and American patrols skirmished about the 475th's perimeter defenses, and Japanese sporadically shelled the American positions. The 475th was ordered simply to hold the area and thus cover the 22d's flight to China from a nearby airstrip, while the Japanese had not seized their opportunity to exploit their initial successes. As Christmas 1944 drew nearer signs of Japanese grew fewer and fewer. The command post of the 475th was moved into Tonkwa itself, patrols reported no contact, and by Christmas it was apparent that the Japanese had gone.86 In these actions, the 475th lost 1 officer and 14 enlisted men, and estimated that it had killed about 190 Japanese at Tonkwa and about 30 near Shwegu.87
After the war, Japanese senior officers said that communication intercepts had given them clear indication of the withdrawal of Chinese divisions from Burma. Having broken the Chinese codes they felt they "knew practically everything about their opponents." From this information they concluded that no large-scale offensive south of Lashio was planned by NCAC. This fitted well into Japanese plans to fight a decisive battle near Mandalay. One may therefore conclude the Japanese were content to accept the status quo near Tonkwa and to concentrate on what they regarded as more vital areas.88
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (2) * Next Chapter (4)
1. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 239-41.
2. (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 251-53. (2) Japanese Study 133, p. 16. (3) Japanese Study 91 states one battalion was reduced to sixty men with three machine guns.
3. See Stilwell's Command Problems and Stilwell's Mission to China.
4. History of IBT, I, 38-39.
5. (1) History of IBT, I, 7. (2) Japanese Study 91. (3) Stilwell's Command Problems has a brief résumé of the Chindit operation.
6. (1) See Stilwell's Command Problems, Chapter III, for detailed information. (2) Despatch on Air Operations in Eastern Air Command (SEA) Covering the Period 15 December 1943 to 1 June 1945, prepared for Gen Stratemeyer, pp. 132, 133. OCMH. (Hereafter, EAC Despatch.) (3) Japanese Study 95.
7. (1) CM-OUT 53610, 20 Jun 44. Case 404, OPD 381 Security. (2) CCS 166th Mtg Item 3, 15 Jun 44.
8. (1) Japanese Studies 91 and 133. (2) Operational Record of Eleventh Army Group and A.L.F.S.E.A., Nov 43-Aug 45, pp. 34-35. OCMH. (Hereafter, ALFSEA Record.)
9. (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par 221. (2) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Col Lawrence J. Lincoln, 13 Jul 44. Case 438, OPD 381 Security. (3) Rpt, SAC (44) 3 (0), SAC's Visit to London, 5-21 Aug 44. SEAC War Diary.
10. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 185.
11. (1) Ltr cited n. 9(2). (2) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 9 Jul 44. Folder 57, OPD Exec 10.
12. CM-OUT 71617, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 27 Jul 44.
13. CM-IN 16319, Stilwell to Marshall, 17 Aug 44.
14. CM-OUT 83031, Wedemeyer to Mountbatten, via Eisenhower, 18 Aug 44.
15. See Stilwell's Mission to China, pp. 329, 358-59, and Stilwell's Command Problems.
16. The phases of CAPITAL are described in Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 250.
17. (1) CCS 174th Mtg, Item 4, Quebec, 14 Sep 44. (2) First Plenary Mtg, the Citadel, Quebec, 13 Sep 44.
18. First Plenary Mtg, the Citadel, 13 Sep 44.
19. CCS 174th Mtg, Item 4, Quebec, 14 Sep 44.
20. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 260.
21. SAC (44) 5th Mtg (0), Preparation of Plans for Operation CAPITAL, 1 Sep 44. SEAC War Diary.
22. Rad SEACOS 227, Mountbatten to CCS, 13 Sep 44. SEAC War Diary.
23. (1) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 22 Sep 44; Ltr, Dill to Marshall, 4 Oct 44. Folders 57, 66, OPD Exec 10. (2) The U.S. divisions might have been destined for China. See Stilwell's Command Problems.
24. (1) Ltr, Dill to McNarney, 5 Oct 44. Folder 66, OPD Exec 10. (2) CM-OUT 42323, 6 Oct 44. Case 516, OPD 381 Security.
25. Memo, JCS for President, 14 Oct 44. Folder 69, OPD Exec 10.
26. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 262.
27. Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 250.
28. Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 8 Oct 44. Item 1306, Msg Bk 23, OPD Exec 9.
29. Ltr, Marshall to Mountbatten, no date. Item 1359. Msg Bk 24, OPD Exec 9.
30. (1) History of IBT, Vol. I, pp. 62-66. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 268. (3) ALFSEA Record, p. 45.
31. (1) History of IBT, Vol. I, pp. 67-69. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 329. (3) JIC 201/M, 15 Jul 44, sub: Political Effect of Present Japanese Opns in China.
32. History of IBT, Vol. I, p. 84.
34. (1) Rad CRA 1763, Sultan to Stilwell, 21 Apr 44. Item 129, Bk 6A, JWS Personal File. (2) Rad SH 64, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Apr 44. Item 133, Bk 6A, JWS Personal File. (3) Memo for Record, 6-22/2170. Case 404-2, OPD 381 Security.
35. Unit History, 5332d Brigade (Prov), Ch. I, p. 1. OCMH. (Hereafter, 5332d Unit History.)
36. The 5307th Provisional Unit (Special), code name GALAHAD, nicknamed Merrill's Marauders after General Merrill, who with Col. Charles N. Hunter took it into combat, was organized in India from volunteers obtained in the United States, the Caribbean area, and the Southwest Pacific. It fought at Walawbum, Inkangahtawng, Nhpum Ga, and Myitkyina from March to August 1944. Disease and fatigue incurred as a result of its envelopments of the Japanese flanks and deep penetrations behind enemy lines so weakened the unit as to render it ineffective as a regiment by 1 July 1944. Some of its survivors were then organized into a battalion and others provided stiffening for two battalions of replacements, the so-called "New GALAHAD." So organized, they fought with distinction at Myitkyina. The 5307th was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. See Stilwell's Command Problems.
37. Organizational details are from the 5332d Unit History, Chapter I.
38. Save as noted below, material on direct air support of NCAC is drawn from History of IBT, Vol. I, pp. 95-100.
39. Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, Command Missions (New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1954), p. 398.
40. History of IBT, I, 94-95.
41. 1st Lt. James H. Stone, U.S. Army Medical Services in Combat in India and Burma, 1942-1945, Ch. 15. OCMH. Unless otherwise noted, material in this section is drawn from Lieutenant Stone's manuscript.
42. 5332d Unit History, Ch. I.
43. Capt. Edward Fisher, History of NCAC, CBI Theater and IB Theater, II, 224. OCMH. (Hereafter, NCAC History.)
44. 5332d Unit History, Ch. II.
45. NCAC G-3 Periodic Rpts, Sep and Oct 44. KCRC.
46. History of IBT, I, 6.
47. For a description of the origins, growth, and operations of air supply in CBI, see Stilwell's Command Problems, pp. 95ff.
48. (1) SOS in IBT, Ch. IV. (2) Dupuy Comments.
49. History of IBT, I, 91-93.
50. Japanese Study 45, pp. 157-60.
51. Japanese Study 45, p. 155.
52. (1) Japanese Study 91, chart opposite p. 171. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments on draft manuscript of this volume. (3) In January 1945 Southern Army was told it could not rely on reinforcements from Japan. Japanese Study 45, p. 182.
53. Japanese Study 90.
54. Japanese Study 133.
55. History of IBT, I, 90-91.
56. (1) Geoffrey Foster, 36th Division, The Campaign in North Burma, 1944-1945, with foreword by General Festing, pp. 7-9, 62-63. OCMH. (Hereafter, Foster.) Dr. Foster was Assistant Director of Medical Service (A.D.M.S.) for the 36th Division. (2) NCAC Operational Highlights, period 14 Oct 44-13 Jan 45. OCMH.
57. Foster, p. 8.
58. (1) Extracts from War Diary of Headquarters 36th Division, 3-12 Aug 44. OCMH. (Hereafter, 36th Division Diary.) (2) Dupuy Comments.
59. (1) Foster, page 14, quotes Stilwell's commendation. (2) 36th Division Diary, 13-27 Aug 44.
60. (1) 36th Division Diary, 7-24 Sep 44. (2) Dupuy Comments.
61. (1) 36th Division Diary, 12 Sep 44. (2) Rad CHC 4313, Cannon to Hearn, Sultan and Wessels, 13 Sep 44. Item 2815, Bk 7, JWS Personal File.
62. Foster, p. 9.
63. 36th Division Diary.
64. NCAC History, II, 180.
65. (1) SEATIC Bull 244, pp. 21-22. MID Library. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments on draft MS.
66. 36th Division Diary.
67. 36th Division Diary.
68. Foster, p. 20.
69. 36th Division Diary.
70. Bull cited n. 65(1).
71. 36th Division Diary.
72. Japanese Study 91.
73. NCAC History, II, 207-12.
74. NCAC History, II, 213.
75. On activation, the 475th was commanded by Colonel Osborne, a veteran battalion commander of the GALAHAD force who was taken ill in October from the effects of the jungle campaign the spring before and had to be evacuated. His successor was Stilwell's son-in-law. Osborne commanded the 124th Cavalry Regiment in the later phases of the campaign.
76. 475th Unit History. NCAC files, KCRC.
77. Bull cited n. 65 (1), pp. 4-5.
78. Japanese Study 91.
79. NCAC History, II, 213.
80. (1) 475th Unit History. NCAC files, KCRC. (2) NCAC History, II, 215. (3) See Ch. IV, below.
81. (1) NCAC History, App. 1, 5332d Brigade, Ch. V, pp. 3, 5. (Hereafter, History of 5332d.) (2) NCAC History, II, 213.
82. History of 5332d, Ch. V, p. 4.
83. Quotation from diary, Lt Col John H. Lattin, 12 Dec 44. Lattin was then executive officer of the 2d Battalion.
84. Lattin diary, 13, 15, 16 Dec 44.
85. John Randolph, Marsmen in Burma (Houston, Tex., 1946), pp. 96-97.
86. History of 5332d, Ch. V, pp. 7-11.
87. Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 99.
88. (1) SEATIC Bull 242, pp. 76-77. MID Library. (2) Quotation from Col Masanobu Tsuji, former Opns officer, 33d Army Staff, in Japanese Officers' Comments. OCMH.