April-May 1944

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Liao Yueh-shang, Cmdr of the 22nd Chinese Div. discuss plans.

Gen. Stilwell & Gen. Liao Yueh-shang, Cmdr of the 22nd Chinese Div. discuss plans.

During the first week of April, Gen. Stilwell’s New China Army was preparing to attack Gen. Tanaka’s men, but Stilwell’s own supply base was being threatened.  Urgent pleas were sent to Chiang Kai-shek to send his Nationalist Army to eastern Burma for assistance – but Chiang failed to respond.

FDR was notified of this lack of support and the president sent a cable to Chiang:  “If they [Nationalist Army] are not to be used in the common cause, our most strenuous efforts to fly in equipment and furnish instructional personnel have not been justified.”

map of Burma

map of Burma

This meant that Chiang’s Lend Lease was threatened and 10 days later, 72,000 Chinese troops marched to Burma.  Japan considered this action a break in their “silent” truce and the Imperial Staff ordered the launch of the ‘Ichi-Go’ operation.

Merrill’s Marauders had incured 50% casualty losses, Merrill himself suffered a heart attack and now air bases were threatened.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff approved Stilwell’s Operation End Run.  Merrill signed himself out of the hospital and rallied his 1,400 survivors, 2 Chinese regiments and a band of OSS – trained guerrillas to begin a trek through the jungle and over the 6,000′ Kumon Range to reach Myitkyina.  To add insult to injury (and disease), the monsoon season started early.

“The die is cast and it’s sink or swim,” Stilwell said.

At the beginning of 1944 Army Air Force units in CBI had about 1,500 airplanes, of which approximately 900 were in commission.  During the critical months of March, April, and May 1944, when the Allied forces gained air superiority in Burma, American aircraft strength in India, Burma, and China ranged between 1,700 and 2,500. In 1945 the number of aircraft varied as indicated by the following table:

31 Jan. 31 Mar. 30 Apr. 30 June 31 July 31 Aug.
Fighters 1,238 1,254 1,236 1,316 1,410 1,356
Bombers (M) 387 387 386 389 431 419
Bombers (H) 158 184 189 182 156 133
Reconnaissance 160 209 204 206 171 167
Transports 1,213 1,301 1,325 1,436 1,444 1,475
Training and Liason 536 540 538 513 487 485
Gliders 367 310 211 121 79 57
TOTAL 4,059 4,187 4,089 4,163 4,178 4,092

As these figures and those in table above emphasize, fighter and transport aircraft played the most important roles in CBI.  Among fighters, the old P-40 gave way to P-38’s, P-47’s, and especially to P-51’s.

Tawi-Tawi location

Tawi-Tawi location

The Japanese Imperial Staff finalized the A-Go plan.  And the newly organized Japanese First Mobile Fleet under VAdm. Ozawa, that was anchored at Singapore, headed for Tawi Tawi [Portal to the Philippines] under Toyoda’s orders.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – from: ‘CBI Round Up’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Paul Bogin – Dayton, OH; US Army, Korea, Sgt., Bronze Star

Reuben Cooke – Regina, CAN; WWII, RC Army, Red Deer Army Corps/Regina RiflestributesArmy (566x640)

Francis Barnbrook Erikson – Fort Plain, NY; US Army Nursing Corps, WWII, ETO

Estelle Hullihan – W.Palm Bch, FL & NYC; Civilian, Radio Free Europe

Herbert Jenkins – Whangarei, NZ; NZ Expeditionary Force # 243124, WWII, 2nd Division Cavalry

Earl J. Keating – New Orleans LA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 126th/32nd Infantry Division, Pvt., KIA (Buna-Gona)

John H. Klopp – New Orleans, LA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 126th/32nd Infantry Division, Pvt. KIA (Buna-Gona)

Frank Papernic – Lynbrook, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 711 Ordnance/11th Airborne Division

Thomas Tucker – Huntsville, AL; US Army, Lt.Colonel (Ret.)

Fergus Warren – Victor Harbor, AUS; RA Air Force # 071854, WWII

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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 August 29, 2016, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. I come reading here because t let me think at my grandfather who tells me of the first en second war.but why people forgot it.So much men and woman died for their land and freedom.Never again war! but we has learn nothing.It goes on and on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You do speak the truth, Mary Lou. Humans just can’t seem to find a way to get along. And that is the saddest part of it, we lose our young men and women due to the arguments of the so-called “adults”.

      Like

  2. I always learn from your posts and I thank you for that! I admit to not knowing much about General Merrill and the Marauders so I will have to start finding out more about history. Interesting. I like that you write in a way that helps me understand more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All my life I never considered myself capable of teaching. but somehow here on this site – I enjoy knowing I actually do help some people understand the other world that existed back then. Thank you for that, Christy!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Being a World War II history buff, I like the things you post!
    Thank you for sending “jaggh53163” to my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying the site and that you heard from Judy. If I’m not mistaken, her grandfather was a die-hard Packard man! I like looking at the vintage designs myself!!

      Like

  4. With my basic knowledge of the Second World War years, the foes of China and Japan had many confrontations, I don’t seem to hear much on the military relationship between both country’s these days.
    Merrill’s Marauders, I believe has been published in many books and a movie I think, quite a story there.
    Great post gp.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. GP – Thank you for alerting me to your humorous home front meals post. I’ve added a link to my blog so my readers can also enjoy it. Thanks again.

    Like

  6. I usually stay away from War articles thus I am a pasifist. What I taken to yours, fact is you are willing to add.the errors, the truths, the knowledge left unused and the devastation Intel not reviewed can bring.

    Even still, history of the White House and War room and Edgar Hoover, is laden with They knew and ignored. I will never understand why?

    Thank you very good

    Like

  7. Great post, fascinating reading as always
    Kisses

    Like

  8. Very nice did you draw cartoons? I can’t say much on war I am an old hippie.
    I can tell you this I have Always cried for the young men and women serving.
    Divine Blessings

    Liked by 2 people

  9. When reading these posts, I also think back to the WWII stories told by my dad. I got a few new ones during my latest visit ‘back home’.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I assume that FDR was Franklin Roosevelt. You did mention it was the president. But some readers may not easily get it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and I’m afraid we here, do take his initials for granted. After running for office for 4 terms (totally against a century and a half unwritten amendment set by George Washington), it was thought by many that he felt he was King of the USA. After his death, it DID become an official amendment to our constitution. Thank you for clarifying that, Ompong. I’ll try to more clear in the future.

      Like

  11. It’s amazing to me how many planes were involved back in WWII. Merrill had to be dedicated to get off their hospital bed and get back out in the war zone. Did he do it because he felt guilty for losing so many in his company? Still very brave.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No one can really know what went through the mind of the general, but as a career military man, I can only presume it was duty that made him get up and out of that hospital bed.

      Like

  12. Fascinating reading as always. I enjoyed poring over those stats of aircraft numbers. Significant is the reduction in training/liaison aircraft, and the sharp decline in number of gliders. Presumably most of the latter stock were sent on missions (one-way, of course) and not replaced because there were only plans for limited further reinforcements..

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’ve always found it very difficult to work out Chiang Kai Chek’s motivation. I think always strange things must have been going on with both the Japanese and with Mao.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Japanese hated the idea of communism and would in no way side with him. Chiang was just money-hungry; he certainly enjoyed the good life rather extensively.

      Like

  14. Stillwell was a fascinating person. My favorite account of Stilwell in China is Barbara Tuchman’s book. Thanks as always, GP. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  15. You are right about “When a true soldier decided he’ll fight – he sure does”. Just incredible. Was looking at that chart showing the fighters, bombers, etc…. and the big increase. Excellent Post, Everett!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I know very little about the Burma campaign, in spite of all the history classes I’ve been in. It seems like a very different kind of war, compared with what we ordinarily associate with WWII.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What those men did/went through never ceases to amaze me.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I watched an interesting docu on History about this theater of the war….fascinating all the in-fighting that went on….great post….chuq

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Finding the courage to keep going, after so many years of battle. It’s remarkable. But, I guess they were all well aware of what was at stake.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Some excellent leadership in the presence of Merrill and ‘Vinegar Joe’ Stilwell. Their tenacity must have inspired the men. (Despite Stilwell’s nickname…)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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