November 1943 (3) – CBI

Sam Spector, radio operator, with Kachin Company C.

Sam Spector, radio operator, with Kachin Company C.

During the Chinese train-up and the British reconstitution of forces, bill tribes in northern Burma who refused to be subjugated — predominantly the Kachins, but also the Karens, the Chins, the Kukis and the Nagas — had been fighting a guerrilla war against the Japanese occupation forces. Other Burmese tribes, the Burmese and the Shans, welcomed the Japanese and openly collaborated with the Japanese secret police (Kempei) against the minority hill tribes. The Allies supported the guerrillas from Fort Hertz, the only remaining Allied base in Burma that had an airfield. The three regiments of guerrillas — the Karen Rifles, the Kachin Rifles, and the Kachin Levies — were natural jungle fighting units, but they lacked the tactical training and the modern equipment that were needed to effectively battle Japan’s mechanized infantry and armor.

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Sun at Sun's HQ. Col. Edward McNally, liason officer, seated at left.

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Sun at Sun’s HQ. Col. Edward McNally, liason officer, seated at left.

The successes of the V-Force Kachin Rangers and the Kachin Levies, as well as Stilwell’s failure to garner support from the Chinese and from the British army for a conventional offensive against Burma, led Stilwell to expand his guerrilla operations. He directed OSS Detachment 101 to establish its headquarters m Assam, in northeastern India. Detatchment 101’s assignment was to plan and conduct operations against the roads and the railroad into Myitkyina, in order to deny the Japanese the use of the Myitkyina airfield. Det 101 would coordinate its operations directly with the British. Det. 101’s Lieutenant Colonel Carl Eifler was given a free hand in directing sabotage and guerrilla operations. All Stilwell wanted to hear was “booms from the Burmese jungle.” By November 1943, at his base in the Naga Hills of northern Assam, Eifler was preparing the first group of Allied agents for Burma.
Japanese CBI Command - L to R in front row: Generals Yanagida (33rd Div); Tanaka (18th Div); Mutaguchi (15th Army); Matsuyama (56th Div) & Sato (31st Div)

Japanese CBI Command – L to R in front row: Generals Yanagida (33rd Div); Tanaka (18th Div); Mutaguchi (15th Army); Matsuyama (56th Div) & Sato (31st Div)

By the end of 1943, Det. 101 had established six Kachin operating bases behind the lines in northern Burma: three east of the Irrawaddy River and three west of it. Each base commander recruited and trained small Kachin elements for his personal protection, for internal defense, and for conducting limited operations–principally sabotage and small ambushes. The guerrilla forces were uniformed and equipped with air-supplied M-2 .30-cal. carbines, submachine guns (.45-cal. Thompson and 9 mm Marlin), .30-cal. light machine guns, ammunition and demolitions. Japanese arms and equipment in northern Burma were a decade behind the times, and the superior firepower of the guerrilla units was key to their success. Each Kachin camp had an intelligence officer, usually an American officer, whose principal duties were to interrogate captured enemy soldiers or agents, debrief guerrilla patrols, and direct operations of the better-educated Kachins (those schooled by Christian missionaries), who acted as low-level intelligence agents reporting information by runners or via bamboo-container message drops.
Detachment 101 insignia

Detachment 101 insignia

Det 101 recruited potential agents from the Kachin and Karen guerrillas. The candidates slipped through Japanese lines to reach the airfield at Fort Hertz, from which they were flown to Assam for three to five months of intensive intelligence and communications training. The Kachins proved to be particularly adept at continuous-wave radio communications–most were able to send and receive 25-45 words per minute. While most returned to their former bases, a few parachuted into new areas to organize independent operations and to collect and report weather data to the 10th AF Weather Service. This data was critical to air resupply and daily “over the Hump” C-46 and C-47 transport missions to China.

Resouces from: The Kachin Net; Star & Stripes; US Army history records

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Military Humor – 

6a0105369e6edf970b0162fbd893eb970d-800wi

Watch your a*s at all times!

Watch your ass at all times!

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Vincent Celuzza – Fitchburg, MA, US Army, WWII, ETO,Surgical tech.

Luis Flores – Brownsville, TX; US Army, WWII, PTOimages

William Gattis – Tupelo, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Foster Hines – Minerva, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 408th/11th Airborne

Richard Knox – Royal Oak, MI; US Army, Korea

Victor Orchard – Northcote, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Lawrence Parker – Middleton, DE; USMC, WWII Occupation, PTO, USS Atlanta

Leonard Reinhart – Wausau, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Capt. (Ret.), pilot

William Tackach – Passaic, NJ; US Air Force, air traffic controller

Vernon Whitaker – Ada, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 11, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. The CBI Theatre is rarely recalled these days and yet it did play a significant role during the war, interesting to see that the tribes had different allegiance, depending on where you were I think, the Mountain tribes certainly had more advantages, and used their skills admirably after being trained.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. And yet, when people talk about the Vietnam War, they sound as though Nam problems and Allied involvement just arose. They neglect to inform people that it was called Indochina back in the day and WAS part of WWII. Those sort of problems don’t just spring up out of nowhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d almost forgotten that Al Jaffee served his country before joining ‘the usual gang of idiots’ at MAD Magazine – the cartoon above reminded me!
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hello gp cox its dennis the vizsla dog hay uh oh!!! the permanent rekord!!! it follows yoo evryware ludlow!!! ok bye

    Like


  4. Noapte bună, prieteni dragi,
    Să visați doar ingerași,
    Ce se plimbă pe un nor
    Să vă spuna somn ușor!
    Să vă sufle peste gene
    Împreună cu Moș Ene
    Să vă legene ușor,
    Noapte bună tuturor!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When Peg’s dad crashed in Burma flying over the Hump during WWII, it was Naga country he landed in. –Curt

    Like

  6. I seemed to have missed this somewhere…what does CBI stand for?

    Like

  7. This is a bit off subject, but I wanted all your readers that are interested in the Pacific Theater to know about a book released this year called “War at The End of the World: Douglas MacArthur and the Forgotten Fight for New Guinea, 1942-1945: I have not read my copy yet, but when i do I will publish a full review on my blog.

    http://www.amazon.com/War-End-World-MacArthur-Forgotten/dp/0451418301/ref=pd_sim_14_5?ie=UTF8&dpID=51bO1dKbo%2BL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR107%2C160_&refRID=197SD0N06STE7SHKGMFZ

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem, Steven. I took down the information myself. This particular post is about the CBI, but you know how long the fight for New Guinea lasted and we are still covering it here – so not really off topic – just good info!! Thanks.

      Like

  8. My Dad was always very taken with that eccentric figure “Vinegar Joe” Stillwell. In England, this conflict in Burma was always known as the “Forgotten Army”. Hopefully, they had a higher profile in the USA !

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I take it they went on with ‘success’ for the remainder of the war? They must have been high on the Japanese ‘hit list’.

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  10. Very interesting article, Everett! Still smiling with the humor and watching your (donkey) instead of the other word:)

    Like

  11. What fascinating ops. How to successfully coordinate such forces is amazing to me.

    Like

  12. I wonder what happened to those Kachin (and other irregular) units after the war? I presume that they returned to their previous ‘normal’ life. I must read up on that.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

  13. Thanks for including the special insignia. An interesting read–as always.

    Like

  14. Fantastic read! My grandfather was a “Hump Pilot”. I, too, enjoy reading stories about this time during the war. I appreciate you sharing this. Thank you!

    Like

  15. We tend to forget the incredible contribution that guerilla forces and intelligence plays in campaigns. My hat goes off to those – often not recognized brave fighting forces. Thanks for posting this series GP, it was fascinating.

    Like

    • Very true, Rich. Each country had one type of guerrilla or underground forces in action to help defend their own country. (not so much in today’s cultures) I am as guilty as the others in not doing more to honor them.

      Like

  16. My father served in CBI with the 191st Pontoon Engineers, so I enjoy reading any related articles.
    Thanks for posting

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve tried to increase my information on the CBI since my last whip through the war. Taking things a bit slower this time. I’m glad you are interested, Bart.

      Like

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