OSS Unit 101 – American/Kachin Rangers

OSS Unit 101

After the withdrawal of the two Chinese divisions back to China, from Burma, ordered by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, this left a large void in the area in which they operated. The British were unable to fill the area with troops vacated by the Chinese and thus the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Detachment 101 was tasked the mission with its “Kachin Rangers,” numbering 10,800 indigenous soldiers at the time, at full strength, comprising four (4) battalions.

During most of the unit’s existence, it funded and coordinated various resistance groups made up of the Kachin people of northern Burma. The best known resistance force was known as the Kachin Rangers and was under the command of Carl F. Eifler, though often the term Kachin Rangers has been used to describe all Kachin Forces raised during the war by the Americans in Northern Burma.

Carl F. Eifler, (second from the left)

In July 1942, twenty OSS men moved in and set up headquarters at Nazira in the northeastern Indian province of Assam.  No operations of any significance occurred until the end of 1942. Starting in 1943, small groups or individuals were parachuted behind Japanese lines to remote Kachin villages, followed by a parachute supply drop. The Americans then began to create independent guerrilla groups of the Kachin people, calling in weapons and equipment drops. In December 1943 Stilwell issued a directive that Detachment 101 increase its strength to 3,000 guerrillas. They were recruited from within Burma, many of them “fierce Kachins”.

Once established, the groups undertook a variety of unconventional missions. They ambushed Japanese patrols, rescued downed American pilots, and cleared small landing strips in the jungle. They also screened the advances of larger Allied forces, including Merrill’s Marauders.

Unit 101, American/Kachin Rangers

The first United States unit to form an intelligence screen and organize and employ a large guerrilla army deep in enemy territory.

They pioneered the unique art of unconventional warfare, later incorporated as fundamental combat skills for our Army Special Forces (Green Berets). They have been credited with the highest “kill/loss ratio” for any infantry-type unit in American military history.

Capt. Charles Coussoule of the OSS American/Kachin Rangers was known to his men as “Col. Greek”. On his way home!

The Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation award to Department 101 says in part:  The courage and fighting spirit displayed by its officers and men in offensive action against overwhelming enemy strength reflect the highest tradition of the armed forces of the United States,” signed Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Staff, January 17, 1946. He was of the opinion that Detachment 101 performed in an outstanding manner, one of the most difficult and hazardous assignments that any military unit had ever been called upon to perform.

SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS

 

Total Det. 101 personnel
Officers
Enlisted men
250
750
Highest guerrilla strength 10,800
Espionage agents with radios 162
U.S. personnel killed, all causes 27
Native personnel killed 338
Espionage agents 40
Japanese killed 5,400
Additional Japanese estimated killed or wounded 10,000
Japanese captured 78
Bridges demolished 57
Trains derailed 9
Vehicles destroyed – captured 272
Supplies destroyed – captured – tons 15,000
Allied men rescued 425
Intelligence furnished to Northern Combat Command (NCAC) 85%

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –

  1. NATIONAL COAST GUARD DAY. National Coast Guard Day on August 4 celebrates and honors the courageous work of the service members of Coast Guard. The United States Coast Guard is one of the five US Armed Forces. It is a maritime, military and multi-missioned service. It operates under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime.

    2. This month of August is dedicated to paying our respects to all the brave men and women wounded or killed in combat. The official Purple Heart Day is observed on the 7th day of August each year, commemorating the historic day in 1782 that General George Washington, Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army, commissioned the first Purple Heart Medal, originally called the Badge of Military Merit

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Military Humor – 

WWII newspaper

Reaction to V-J Day

 

Marines’ introduction to Chinese peddlers.
(By Sgt. Roland G. James USMCR.)

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Farewell Salutes – 

Jimmie Calder – Pensacola, FL; US Navy, WWII, / US Army, Korea & Vietnam, MSgt. (Ret 22 y.)

Howard Davis – Bono, AR; US Army, WWII, PTO

Don Erwin – IN; US Army, WWII, SSgt.

Ivan Graves – Rose City, MI; US Navy, WWII, USS Cleveland

Florence Huntzicker – Chicago, IL; Civilian, US Army Regional Office, WWII

Chris Kraft Jr. – Phoebus, VA; NASA Houston Control Director for Moon landings

William Krysak – Forsyth, GA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Edward McCaffrey – Bronx, NY; USMC, WWII, PTO

Shirley (Miller) Niedzwiecki – AUS, Women’s RA Air Force, WWII

Patrick Simpson – Eugene, OR; US Army, Vietnam, 1st Calvary Div., Silver Star, (Ret. 26 y.)

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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 5, 2019, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 104 Comments.

  1. The Burmese soldier has always been known as a great warrior, one can only imagine coming up against a force of Kachins, got to respect all warriors who fight behind enemy lines.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I was just thinking, would loved to have shared your posts with my old Dad. Would loved to have heard his take on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I used to ask my dad to allow me to get his letters and stories published, but he always said, “Who in the world would be interested in what I said so long ago?” If he only knew!!!! I’ll bet reading this would bring many a story to your own father’s mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shared with my high school friend whose father served in the CBI… and screening for Merrill’s Marauders!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. SEATO was non-existent at this time. Right?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I can’t help but think that operating behind enemy lines must be one of the most difficult military tasks there are. How could you ever relax? –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thanks for the continuing education. Who knew out troops did these things?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The details of the Kachin Rangers’ involvement in the war was fascinating enough, but I got side-tracked reading about the Kachins culture and such after reading Rose’s comment. They’re still around, and apparently their food is really, really good. One of the great things about your posts is that they not only record some of the historical facts that have been lost over time, they also introduce some really interesting cultures to us.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Weer een knap stukje geschiedenis waar ik helemaalniets van af wist.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. That’s an impressive record they have. Recognition is well deserved!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you for continuing to educate me and everyone else with these great stories

    Liked by 3 people

  11. This “extra” history is fascinating, GP. And here all this time, I thought the war ended in 1945.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Awesome. I had no idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Another interesting – and new to me – piece of history. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. The stats are impressive especially the number of allied personnel rescued (425) Thank you, GP.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Very VERY impressive … brave, smart and resourceful!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Thank you for keeping the stories alive and remembering all these people, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. That was fascinating. So glad of your posts which shine a light on corners of the war which tend to escape the major histories. Hope the improvement in your health continues.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thanks for the history, GP

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I’ve heard about this unit vaguely, mostly mentioned in fiction. I thank you for making it real and filling in the details of this glorious mission, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Interesting stuff. I remember reading about the kachins so I pulled “Weller’s War” out of my bookshelf. Do you know those guerillas refused to be called Kachins? Because in Burmese the word means “sour-bitter.” They prefer to be known as Jingpaws, which in Tibetan means “cannibals.” The katchins are immigrants from Tibet. I don’t know which is worse. hahaha.
    And here is another thing I read from Weller’s War: “The Kachins are animists. They believe that human affairs are in the hands of nats. A nat is a small, vicious spirit who lives in rivers and trees, and not invisibly either. A Kachin cannot merely imagine a nat; he can actually see him. When he sees him, he shoots him. The thousands of Japanese who have fallen to the Rangers have mostly been rubbed out by threes or fours. The number of nats, seated in bushes or flying through the air thumbing their noses, who have been picked off by the Katchins is simply countless.”

    Liked by 2 people

  21. That was interesting, another bit of history I was completely unaware of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are so many parts of this side of the war that merely got lost in the records. I think more people, who feel more akin to Europe, believed we should understand the ETO rather than the PTO or CBI. Even the APO (Alaska and Aleutians) went pretty much untaught in schools.

      Like

  22. I learned so much. Thank you, GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Great post! I’ve read a great deal about Burma, the OSS, and even Merrill’s Raiders. Good stuff. GP!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. So much we never normally hear about. Well done GP and I hope you are recovering from your ailment(s)!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Dang, GP. Wonderful post. I learn so much from reading your blog. Wonder if I could get my Master in History as a faithful reader? (Just Kidding.) Go Coast Guard. They need another heavy-duty icebreaker. Just read a column where the current one is 10 years past its life span and the only icebreaker of it’s the type that the Coast Guard has. It breaks down repeatedly on it’s way to its annual dry dock period. Legislators, are you listening?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, wish I was accredited and could give you your Masters!! People tend to overlook the Coast Guard, yet they are certainly there whenever someone needs them, plus they do so much we never hear about!!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Have you heard? The descendants of the last German emperor want castles and castles back in Germany. It now seems pretty certain that East Prussia is lost. Lets honor Poland! Lol (OMG, the last five years, i had not really made myself very popular, with our German revanchists.) Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Good to read a tribute to the brave Kachin fighters.
    (I hope you have recovered now, GP?)
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Thank you for remembering Purple Heart Day. Two of Mom’s brothers were KIA and I have their Purple Hearts. Their younger brother’s P-40 exploded in training, in Texas, no medal. I’ve been asked to do a guest blog on Purple Heart day, not about the medal but includes a returned V-Mail letter with MIA on it.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. OSS gets lost in the tales of the SOE and SAS…..great post to inform on the history that many have forgotten chuq

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Pierre Lagacé

    Take care GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. A tip of the hat to you, GP, for your hat tip to the “Coasties”, our least known and most under-appreciated branch of service! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Warfare strategies are fascinating. No area is left untended. Imagine the preparation for going into such a foreign place, culturally, geographically and forming alliances. I hope you are feeling better.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Amazing piece of forgotten WW2 History! Solid Gold! Thanks GP.👍😀

    Liked by 3 people

  1. Pingback: OSS Unit 101 – American/Kachin Rangers — Pacific Paratrooper – Truth Troubles

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