GEN. SULTAN'S HQS., BURMA - Linkup of India and China by the Ledo-Burma Road land route came closer to realization this week as (1) First Chinese Army troops of Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan's Northern Combat Area Command advanced eastward past Namhkam and (2) the Chinese Expeditionary Forces captured Wanting, last of the original objectives of the Salween Campaign.
in a press conference Monday night, Sultan announced that the road trace was now open except for a few small pockets of Japs, plus a few snipers.
Referring to the convoy waiting to roll into China, General Dan said, "This convoy represents a magnificent achievement. It represents the bitter fighting of the Chinese troops, both in Burma and across the Salween, and of the American troops who built the Ledo Road. It represents the complete co-ordination of ground and air forces."
Meanwhile, in Central Burma, units of the British 14th Army were reported to have slashed almost to the edge of Mandalay, with patrols reporting the main Jap forces have withdrawn to the east side of the Irrawaddy River on the same bank as Mandalay. Other 14th Army forces captured the Chindwin town of Monywa after a tough scrap.
In Northeast Burma, Sultan's 38th Division troops were striking at Muse at week's end as the western prong of the squeeze play on the Jap remnants barring the way for the India-China convoy. The eastern prong was Wanting, which the Nip garrison began to evacuate after midnight Friday following a 24-hour battle costing the enemy an estimated 2,000 casualties and the Chinese 3,300.
Chinese Expeditionary Troops accompanied by American liaison officers under Col. John Stodter, are mopping up Jap rear pockets of resistance. With Chinese First Army forces approaching Wanting from Burma, there appeared very little hope for Jap escape.
Elsewhere, Sultan's 50th Chinese Division is engaged in patrol activity south of Tonkwa, and the British 36th Division under his command, moving down the right flank of the front, is encountering stern opposition north of Twinnge, 50 air miles south of Tigyiang, occupied four weeks ago.
In the Arakan, the British made their third amphibious assault on Burma's west coast. Troops of the 15th Indian Corps landed on the Jap-occupied island of Ramree, receiving complete air cover for the invasion, after previous sea and air bombardment. The assault moves the British 60 miles from Akyab and poses a threat to Southern Burma. Complete occupation of Ramree will give the British a base for operations against the strong coastal base of Taungup, 20 miles away.
On the Myebon Peninsula, the British captured a hill feature, made advances north of Kantha.
In the Kaladan Valley, African troops advanced in the hills east of Teinnyo.
In Chungking, Maj. Gen. Robert McClure, Chief of Staff, China Theater, declared that American raids along the China coast had definitely upset the Japs, although they had not nullified the loss of U.S. bases in South China.
Late communiqués tell of twin Jap offensives aimed to widen the protective ring around Hong Kong and to close the Chinese-held gap in the Canton-Hankow Railway. Initial Jap successes were reported.
China-based B-29's of Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay's 20th Bomber Command again hit Formosa, obtaining good results.
G.I.'S RESCUE FOUR INJURED MEN
BURMA - As the L-1 mercy ship, flying three American Infantrymen back from the front for hospitalization, neared 10th Air Force Headquarters for a landing, 33-year-old S/Sgt. Wells N. Latta suddenly was confronted by mechanical trouble.
He was called upon to use all his experience in flying the 10th Air Force liaison squadron aircraft, for the area was congested by hundreds of American and Chinese troops. carefully, he nursed the L-1 toward the airstrip.
But all his skill was defeated by a tree. Crash, he hit high among its branches (see picture). The plane wedged itself in a fork, hung there precariously.
Four enlisted men - Sgt. George Curry, Pvts. George Sarakos, Ken Williams and Irving Karp - sped to the aid of the trapped men. Sarakos, an infantryman, gave the pilot first aid, using the kit in his plane, and also applied a tourniquet to Latta's bleeding leg, despite the handicap of cramped quarters.
Then came the job of extricating the three passengers. Sarakos, aided by Williams and Curry, both of a QM trucking outfit, and Karp, of a 10th Air Force signal air warning company, carried them down the tree to the ground.
It was more difficult to free Latta. Using ropes and ladders from an ambulance, the rescuers, still endangered by threat of fire and thoroughly soaked with gasoline and oil, cut pieces of the plane to extricate the pilot, then eased him to the ground.
The three infantrymen in the L-1 escaped with minor cuts and a shaking up, but Latta incurred a compound fracture of the ankle and minor lacerations.
Other G.I.'s who gathered at the scene of the crash helped Sarakos, Williams, Curry and Karp move the injured to the ground from the tree.
SETS NEW MARK
1306TH ATC BASE UNIT - When a CG-4A glider recently dropped out of the sky and ploughed to a stop at a field near Calcutta, another chapter in aerial history may have been born.
Towed by a C-46 Curtiss Commando, the glider had seven hours and 45 minutes before lifted off the ground at Karachi, 1,320 miles to the west.
ATC officials declare that as far as they are able to determine the accepted record for glider flight is 1,177 miles.
Additional dramatic impact was added to the flight, details of which were released by ATC this week, by last-minute addition of 4,000 pounds of Christmas packages as cargo.
The flight demonstrated the distance a C-46 could tow a glider without the use of extra gas tanks. Gliders were used effectively in the invasions of Burma and Normandy.
Capt. Paul J. Slayden, veteran of 4,000 hours, piloted the tow plane, and co-pilot was F/O Ralph J. Coleman. The crew was completed by Engineer Lt. George H. Heideman and Radio Operator John P. Bolas. Maj. R. W. Heartwell and Lts. Soloman Schnitzer and Russell J. West logged equal flying time as pilots of the glider.
The CG-4A is a cargo glider of Waco design. It can carry 4,000 pounds with little drag effect on the towing plane. It is built to accommodate jeeps, light tanks, bulldozers, howitzers and items of similar weight and compact structure. When not hauling cargo, the glider holds 15 men.
For the record trip, the planes leveled off at 13,000 feet at flight's start, but were brought down to 10,500 by severe cold.
MEET IN MYITKYINA
MYITKYINA - This Burma town last week was aglitter with brass.
One day Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan, India-Burma Theater Commander, greeted Maj. Gen. A. C. Wedemeyer,
The next day, the two Theater commanders were joined by Adm. Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of SEAC.
Matters of Allied strategy in the Far East were considered by observers to be the problems under discussion, although the three military leaders made no statements for publication.
It was pointed out that opening of the land route to China and MacArthur's successes in the Philippines probably determined need for the discussion.
SAN FRANCISCO - How 10 American seamen died in Pacific waters under the spray of bullets from a Jap submarine while the frenzied Japs danced on the sub's deck shouting banzais and curding "Yankee sons of bitches" was told this week by the Navy.
Sixty survivors of Liberty Ship John A. Johnson, torpedoed and sunk 400 miles west of Hawaii spent two terrifying hours submerging and hiding behind wreckage until an American plane came overhead and the sub disappeared.
DFC FOR B-29 'DEAD STICK' LANDING
XXTH BOMBER COMMAND HQ., INDIA - Capt. Charles (Doc) Joyce, Winchester, mass., has been awarded the DFC for the extraordinary feat of piloting his Super-Fort, Raidin' Maiden, to a "dead stick" landing when all four engines ran out of fuel at 10,000 feet. The incident followed the longest daylight bombing mission ever flown, the nearly 4,000-mile attack on the Jap naval base at Singapore on Nov. 5.
U.S. EMBASSY FIRE
CHUNGKING - Fire this weekend destroyed the new American Embassy, a two-story American-style building completed only seven months ago.
|Two trucks roar along one of the winding sections of the supply artery to China, soon to be opened.|
MYITKYINA - The Brahmaputra Valley was in excellent form. The sun was high, the air was clear, and Ledo of Assam was as busy as usual. Still, the G.I. hotspot teemed with activity. Suddenly, traffic moving to Mile Point 0.00 had to stop. Few, very few, knew what was going on, as the first convoy to China moved out.
The press, radio and newsreel were waiting for the convoy at Myitkyina, 262 miles away. Thus,
At 1 p.m. the waiting convoy flanked the road below Mile Point 0.00 like an endless arrow. The drivers stood at attention by their vehicles, snapped to salute as the three-starred jeep of the Theater Commander drove by. General Dan's jeep stopped in front of the leading truck. There, with a broad smile on his pleasant face, Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, Commanding General of the Ledo Road project, welcomed General Dan.
"Sir," began Pick, "the Ledo Road life-line to China is open. The first convoy is ready."
"Congratulations, General Pick," replied the Old Man, "you have done a splendid job. I am confident that this is the first of many convoys to go with this road to our Chinese Allies."
"Line'm up, Mullet," called Pick to Col. Dewitt T. Mullet, the convoy commander, who thereupon gave the signal, and the fantastic caravan moved into the Naga Hills.
Yes, there was something fantastic about this American caravan. Two M.P.'s with white gloves and glaring white helmet liners, never seen in Assam before, raced ahead on motorcycles. The lead truck followed with its special fancily-painted top, which made it look like a streamlined covered wagon. The vehicles carried the flags of America and China, and a big sign on both sides. Its screaming letters called attention to the First Convoy Ledo Road. Pick's Pike - Lifeline to China. In a zipper cover over the cab, a revolving anti-aircraft gun pointed toward the sky. There followed a seemingly endless parade of brand-new 6x6 trucks, weapon carriers, jeeps, ambulances. The larger vehicles were loaded with supplies, many had hooked-on artillery pieces trailing behind. All this, from jeeps to
|Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan is greeted by Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Pick at the head of the first convoy to China at Mile Point 0.00.|
The first 30 miles of the Road recalled an American metropolis to me. One is deceived by the huge traffic, the gas stations, toiling Americans, and the multitude of Yank outfits flanking the road: Quartermaster trucking outfits, maintenance units, hospitals and warehouse areas. This animating impression, however, becomes a mirage when instead of the anticipated city, one finds himself trapped in a jungle.
The reaction of the Road was exciting. A glance at the beflagged special convoy, with M.P.'s racing from one end to the other, made it clear that a three-year-old dream has become a reality. Every onlooker responded in his own way. Some waved, some shouted, many smiled, called Ding How to the Chinese drivers, and some snapped to attention and saluted the fluttering little flags.
The Negro boys at the roadside made big eyes and did not smile. Their searching gaze swept from car to car, looking for colored men. But they have not been forgotten. These matchless drivers, in whose strong hands the deadliest curve becomes a toy, have been selected to join the enlarged convoy when it will pull out from Myitkyina. They will help to master the steep mountain passes of China, some almost 10,000 feet high.
The amazement of The Road was truly international. Indian pioneer troops who gravel The Road and dig drainage ditches cheered, so did the Chinese engineers who work on The Road. The colorful Naga Hillmen who helped to clear, with their bare hands, the former mule trail which now is the Ledo Road, and the friendly Kachins who walked the military highway barefooted in pursuit of their little affairs, just stopped, made big eyes, seemed not to know what the excitement was all about.
The picture of The Road itself, of course, lives already in all our minds, whether we have actually seen it or not. But let us pause at its highlights as the convoy passes by.
Between the 13th and 14th-mile point, we climb on hairpin curves to 4,230 feet, arrived at the famous Pangsau Pass: the Burma border. A little less than two years ago, the first American lead bulldozer crossed this lofty border into Burma. That evening a formal retreat with flags and bugles was held by the officers and enlisted men of the Engineering units attached at the point.
It's so drippy to enthuse about scenic views, but a gaze from this border pass reveals the most impressive picture you can see in Burma. The convoy stops for a short while in the pass, on the edge of a tremendous abyss. In the far distance, you can see isolated peaks of the Himalayas climbing in stair steps into the sky. beneath the white peaks,
|A Negro G.I. - one of the many whose heroic, unheralded efforts made The Road possible.|
After sunset, the mountain air became crisp and cold. Like an endless cog-wheel, the convoy negotiated peak after peak, climbed and descended, mastered curves whose boldness made anything we had seen of curves in the movies little and trivial. Flaming buckets of oil on the roadside lit up the dangerous parts of the highway, made the cliffs glow. These were the very buckets General Pick inaugurated when inadequate illumination made a round-the-clock working schedule impossible. Sometime, we seemed to see village lights flicker in the dark. But there were no villages. It was again the trailing half of the convoy.
Many of the drivers had never been so far on The Road. They could scarcely believe that riding a supply convoy through this often-cursed, once Godforsaken landscape could be so exhilarating. Others, however, have seen this miracle in its making. And they remembered. They remembered the time when the highway was a mere mule trail. They remembered the Ledo Road Engineers who slept in the water-logged tents in a steaming jungle. But the highway had not only to be built, it had to be wrenched inch by inch from the Jap. And we thought of the departed General Stilwell who made it possible. He was with us all along the journey. His conquest of The Road began right here, a few miles beyond Pangsau Pass, for only 42 miles of road construction was achieved over friendly terrain. From here on, all the way to Mong Yu, where the Ledo Road meets the Burma Road, the Engineers were subjected to Jap ambushes, land mines, bombing, strafing and sniping. But Stilwell knew how to tackle the Jap, he cut into his rear, and threw road blocks across his retreat. On the heels of the fighters, often alongside, came General Pick's trail blazers, Engineer recce-parties hacking a trace with axes across jungle.
The convoy passed landmark after landmark. Later, we had supper on The Road's highest point: The 5,000-foot high Gap. The Jap advanced to the Gap with all the elephants he could get hold of in Burma. But he chose to withdraw to his supply base at Shingbwiyang, when his native porters and elephant contractors deserted him under cover of night. We were racing now down the same steep path of his retreat. It was an exciting descent of several thousand feet over a stretch of only 15 miles.
At Shingbwiyang, in the Hukawng Valley, the convoy had its first overnight bivouac, and the drivers used, for the first time, their jungle hammocks. Next morning, colored boys served hot coffee in a 24-hour transit mess.
|Trucks of the convoy pass Hellgate and start up the grade to Pangsau Pass. There are seven and one half miles of steep grades and sharp curves to the summit of incredibly beautiful Pangsau Pass, which is the India-Burma border.|
From Shingbwiyang, the country was more or less flat, the highway wide, the evergreen trees in the forest very tall and very large. But again this pretty forest has the bad habit to turn into a hell of a swamp during the monsoon. The many rivers which cross the Ledo Road were formidable barriers to Pick's Engineers at monsoon time. In addition to 10 major rivers, over 150 streams had to be bridged before truck traffic could reach the Burma Road. Every three miles, our convoy passed over one of these bridges as if they had been there since the time of peace.
The convoy passed over the sites of many jungle battles, now service stations of The Road. You may remember the names: Tingkawk Sakan, Jambu Bum Pass, Shadazup and Warazup. Burned-out tanks still lay on the roadside and in the riverbeds.
At Warazup, in the Mogaung Valley, we bivouacked for the second time. Next morning, heavy fog blanketed the valley, and The Road. Heavy dust caked on the lamps and windshields. At mid-morning, the sun came out and with it many little liaison planes from which Signal Corps cameramen photographed the cavalcade. These little Cub planes, by the way, did a great job during the campaigns of the Ledo Road. They evacuated the casualties and helped direct artillery fire.
At General Pick's triangle, some 10 miles from Myitkyina, where the Ledo Road turns to Bhamo, the convoy's path was blocked by correspondents from the two interested Theaters. The G.I. and Chinese drivers smiles into the cameras and everybody was happy. Perhaps happiest of all was the magic master of the Ledo Road: General Pick. His face beamed all over. A Chinese guard of honor waited for him with fixed bayonet. With his famous pilgrim stick, the General walked to a little hill in the center of the road junction and pointed towards China. We rolled into Myitkyina, moved into a special bivouac area in the center of the town. The drivers washed up, dined and went to see Hedy Lamarr.
ATABRINE COMPLAINTS REFUTED
Lightning has struck. The day of reckoning has arrived, and, if we are to believe some of our letters, the Roundup has been battling on the side of evil.
Accusation one: We have supported a policy that turns the lily-white skin of former city-dwellers and the brick-red complexion of farm boys to a yellow color.
Accusation two: We have advocated sterility.
Through you, our untamed readers, the Roundup is a daily mecca for complaints, thanks to the transmitting courtesy of the Army Postal System. The above are two charges that have been hurled at us, following our editorial on atabrine in the Dec. 28 issue.
In that issue, we told of the benefits of atabrine, and how, if taken under proper medical supervision, it would cure malignant malaria and suppress the recurrent or benign type. We said nothing about the results of taking the drug.
As for the aftermath, we asked the Theater Surgeon, Col. Robert P. Williams, about the letters from the brambles and their accusations against atabrine.
The Theater Surgeon says the sterility charge has been cropping up in all forms of compulsory medicine since vaccination first started. It is no more true of atabrine than it is of aspirin, cough drops or candy. He cites one example where Allied troops were stationed near one of the world's worst malaria areas in the Pacific:
"When the married men of this command returned to their home base, Army officials kept track of their families. The family birth chart maintained its normal rate. And every one of these men had been on atabrine for months. This is only one example of many that the Army has checked."
As for the charge that atabrine makes the skin turn yellow, the answer of the Theater Surgeon is this:
"It reacts differently with different individuals. In some cases, it does turn the skin yellow. But the skin returns to its normal color after the individual has stopped taking the drug. Atabrine has a dye content and when it is expelled through the sweat glands, it tints the skin during and for a short time after excretion. But atabrine definitely has no bad after-effects and does not affect the heart, kidneys or any other part of the body."
It might be pointed out that medical history shows that, although atabrine does not contribute to sterility, the lack of it does. For anyone who is in an exposed zone and does not take malaria precautions and contracts the disease leaves himself open to loss of virility by repeated attacks of the fever.
Played Grim Jungle Chess
Jap trickery and an act of American heroism in the Burma jungle was vividly described this week in New Delhi when Capt. John C. Mattina was presented a Silver Star by Brig. Gen. John A. Warden, Acting Commander, SOS, I-B Theater.
During the fighting for Myitkyina, five members of an Engineer unit went out to rescue a soldier garbed in an American uniform, apparently badly wounded, unable to move and pinned down by Jap machine gun and sniper fire.
They were ambushed, for the "wounded" G.I. was a disguised Jap. Only three of the Engineers managed to return. One man was killed, the other wounded and paralyzed from the waist down.
Mattina, a West Pointer (class of 1942), was in command of a mortar section of the Engineer outfit which relieved Merrill's Marauders. He noted the wounded G.I., Pvt. Robert E. Mier, pinned down 500 yards from the American lines. He also saw four Yanks returning from a mission who, he judged, would pass near Mier's position.
It looked like a long shot but Mattina reasoned that if someone went out with a stretcher, 19-year-old Mier might be saved. He crawled toward the wounded man, dragging a stretcher, and forded a shoulder-deep stream in a rice paddy before he reached him. With Jap bullets whizzing overhead, he called to the four Americans for help. Together, taking advantage of the scant cover afforded, they carried and dragged Mier to safety.
Mattina admitted this week, with a grin, he was "lucky." To him, the most satisfying thing in the grim game of jungle chess was the look of gratitude on Mier's face when he saw the rescue party.
AKYAB VISUALIZED AS BASE FOR 29'S
WASHINGTON - (UP) - A high USAAF officer who said the Japs had under-estimated the American air potential since the beginning of the war, predicted this week that the British capture of Akyab would pave the way for Super-Fort attacks on vital enemy ports.
He said Akyab would certainly be of value as a B-29 base, since it can easily be supplied by water. He added that extensive operations would certainly be carried out against the main Japanese supply route affecting all of Burma, Thailand, and French Indo-China.
He stated that such ports as Haiphong, Bangkok, Singapore and Rangoon could be opened to milk run bombing if that proved desirable.
'Jap Used Car Lot'
ADVANCE ASC BASE, BURMA - Judging from the speed the Japs were making to hightail it from this sector before the drive of Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan's Allied forces, it was certain an abundance of equipment would be left behind.
T/Sgt. Jimmie Six sensed that there was "booty" in a rocky ridge not far off. So he and a detachment of
The cave, flanked by a small stream and jungle growth, was invisible from the air. In it, the men found spare truck parts and new tires, stacked by the dozens. More spare parts and tires were discovered near the Japs' living quarters, which were built into the sides of the river banks. There were woven sleeping mats on the ground and, outside the remains of cooking facilities, grills fashioned after American design.
INTO ACTION QUICKLY
The spare parts and tires were harvested like gold nuggets. Earlier in their scouting, they had uncovered trucks of the one and one-half ton type, similar to Ford and Chevrolet in construction, camouflaged except for the parts the Japs had removed before they turned and fled from the hail of American lead, to which they were most allergic.
Now the missing parts to the jig-saw had been supplied.
Tense moments followed. Six, suspicious of vehicles left behind in such usable condition when it would have been simple to set them afire, made a meticulous inspection before permitting handling of the vehicles. A booby trap was attached to the magneto of one truck, so that on the first attempt to turn over the engine, the detachment would have been dispersed - by bits. Other trucks had magnetic mines attached to them; some had hand grenades, wrapped in wax paper to counteract rain, set to explode at the vehicle's first movement.
No roads were open at the time, so unloading and removal of supplies from cargo planes was all done by hand, with whatever Burmese help obtainable. It wasn't long before the Jap trucks were being backed up to the aircraft. Where the men lacked the proper size bolts and nuts, they welded. And they discovered that the trucks were adaptable to G.I. parts.
It was hard work, yet these Burma Peacocks enjoyed themselves. Their hobby turned out to be the rebuilding of new trucks. Capt. Mickey Parnell, detachment commander, stripped to the waist like the G.I.'s during the heat of the day and helped the "Jap Used Car Lot" grow. They put more than 35 vehicles in operating condition; then turned their attention to a few staff cars, including a Plymouth, painted a haunting green with dabs of darker shades for camouflage, which had been a temporary luxury for some Jap commander.
Until the ASC men salvaged and put their Jap trucks into operation, transportation was desperately scarce. Jeeps could be flown in without much trouble, but the larger vehicles were cut apart in Assam and welded together upon arrival. It was an arduous task, consuming valuable space for supplies coming by air. The "Jap Used Car Lot" was therefore most welcome.
The Sergeant Hits The Jack Pot
RAMGARH - Paydays may come and paydays may go, but there is one that S/Sgt. John A. Gillespie, late of Merrill's Marauders and before that of Atlanta, Ga., will long remember.
On that happy day, Gillespie, an Army non-com with more than 10 years service, extended a calloused paw to collect from Acting Finance Agent Lt. Martin A. Morris, not a staff sergeant's monthly pittance of $115.20, but the completely out-of-this-world emolument of Rs. 4,698 or the equivalent of $1,396 in hard American iron men. Even so, Uncle still owes him Rs. 363, As. 8 ($110) in combat pay, which he hasn't bothered to put in for yet.
How did it happen? Thereby hangs a tale.
Gillespie arrived in the Far East in October, 1943, with the Marauders and spent quiet few weeks at the staging area before things got interesting. He collected his November pay in a military manner at the jumping-off place. Then things got a little too complicated for regular paydays.
Early in December, the Marauders started their now-historic trek into the North Burma jungles, which eventually carried them more than 750 miles to the Jap stronghold of Myitkyina. Though every effort was made to pay the Marauders on regular schedule if they wanted it, Gillespie's just happened to be out on some mission or other every time the eagle screamed.
In June, many of the original Marauders were evacuated, but Gillespie remained until the city's fall. Then he was evacuated by air only to land in a hospital, shot through with dysentery and malaria. Upon his release, he was transferred to this Chinese-American training center too late to be paid in December. But Uncle Sam and Army Finance never forget, so when January rolled around, every penny of base pay owing to him for the past 13 months was ready and waiting.
If there are great financial minds in the Theater who think they could make helpful suggestions for the spending of the new riches, it's too late. Within 30 minutes after receiving the money, Gillespie had socked most of it away in U.S. War Bonds.
PIONEER II'S ROUGH TRIP
20TH BOMBER COMMAND BASE, WESTERN CHINA - As the British say, the crew of the Super-Fort Pioneer II has "jolly well had it."
During a recent mission over Mukden, Manchuria, the bomber, piloted by 23-year-old Capt. Paul K. Carlton was: Ripped by bullets and cannon shells from Jap fighters; Hit by a heavy caliber anti-aircraft shell which exploded, severing a gas line, gushing precious fuel into the bomb bays and badly weakening wing supports; Almost struck by a falling B-29 and narrowly missed by a careening Jap Zero.
It barely managed to reach an emergency field in China, hours later, after trailing leaking gasoline, which lacked only a spark to blow up the plane.
On the black ink side of the ledger, Pioneer II dropped its bombs on the target, a Mukden aircraft plant, and destroyed a Jap fighter.
Over Mukden, Carlton's formation from the Billy Mitchell Group met fierce fighter opposition. Two B-29's were lost to enemy action against 15 Jap fighters shot down, seven probably destroyed, 11 damaged.
The bombing run was a nightmare. Pioneer II was first hit five minutes away from the target when four Jap fighters criss0crossed through the leading element of the formation.
A 20-mm. cannon shell tore through the bomber's left wing, leaving a gaping hole. Lt. Paul P. Urek, the bombardier, opened fire from his "greenhouse" gunsight at an old-type fixed landing gear fighter which passes in front of him. He saw the enemy plane explode, flutter away in pieces.
Just then the Super-Fort riding on Carlton's right wing collided with a Jap fighter. The stricken bomber rolled out of control towards Pioneer II. Lt. Robert T. Weaver, the co-pilot, saw in a flash what was happening and grabbed the controls in time to swerve his plane out of the falling bomber's path.
Urek's cry of "bombs away!" was smothered by an explosion which jolted and stunned the crew. Pioneer II wobbled crazily, momentarily out of control, as Carlton's flak helmet fell down over his face. He wrestled the plane into formation again.
An ack-ack shell had burst inside, slicing gas lines, ripping instrument wires and damaging the main wing supports.
Then a Tojo swept in from the left, guns blinking. A bullet punctured the pressurized cabin, putting a jagged hole in the fuselage just above the head of the navigator, Lt. John H. Roth. This depressurized the plane and forced the crew to don oxygen masks.
An intercom call from the gunners' compartment informed the pilot that "gas is leaking into the rear bomb bay!"
Smoke was pouring from the plane's torn underbelly, Roth and the engineer, F/O Herbert A. Mueller sloshed into the gas-filled bomb bay with fire extinguishers, squirted them at the smoking area. Had there been flames, the plane would have exploded.
One engine went dry, sputtered and stopped. Gasoline continued to pour from the plane, leaving a five-mile trail of vaporous smoke. Instruments were out. There was no telling when other engines would run out of fuel.
The fuel supply held, although hundreds of gallons were lost before Pioneer II reached the emergency field. A few days later, Pioneer II limped in here with a light crew aboard.
IN CHINA CPL. FRANCIS H. TAYLOR
With Chinese Customer
14TH AIR FORCE FIGHTER WING HQ., CHINA - When Cpl. Francis H. Taylor says "Wait until I get my hands on that guy," he isn't browned off at anyone - he's just putting his heart into his work.
Taylor claims to be the only professional masseur in all China, and certainly he is the only one yet unearthed in Randall's Raiders, the 14th Air Force Fighter Wing in West China to which he belongs. His further claim of being closer to Brig. Gen. Russell E. Randall, commander of The Raiders, than even the highest staff officer also is indisputable, since "Doc" is the general's orderly, chiropractor and masseur.
His blasé discourses about his granary back in Arizona "where I made my first fortune" and his experience among Hollywood's film lovelies brought him nothing but jibes - until the Jinx Falkenburg-Pat O'Brien troupe came to this Asiatic outpost. Doc promptly hit the G.I. limelight by turning his skilled hands to the job easing the travel-kinked muscles of Jinx, Betty Yeaton and Ruth Carroll. The jibes abruptly turned to groans of envy.
The G.I. masseur claims to have smoothed out the sore spots on such film notables as Kay Francis, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow and Thelma Todd. "I nearly got Garbo, too," he explains, "but she didn't keep the appointment."
Explaining what he calls "my phenomenal success," Taylor asserts that "I have what you call 'the feminine touch.' That means I'm especially good with women, who always are nervous and have to be calmed and soothed before you can find their aches and pains and correct them... In this job, I have to be a combination masseur, chiropractor and psychiatrist."
Classified as an administration clerk in the Army, because "there just isn't any classification for a masseur," Taylor has often supplemented his monthly payroll with remunerations for his work on the aching backs of appreciative G.I.'s and officers.
HO-HUM AT THE HO-HKO
CONTEST BETWEEN BANSHEES, JAPS
BURMA - A three-month contest between American dive-bombers and Japanese engineers over a small but vital bridge in North Burma was still going on this week, with the verdict yet unsettled.
Early in November, a squadron of the Burma Banshees (80th Fighter Group) was assigned to bust the Ho-Hko bridge, a concrete structure on the Mandalay road just west of Lashio, an artery much used by the Japs.
On the first mission, the Banshee P-47's only damaged the approaches, but the next day Lt. George T. Boothe blew a large hole in the center of the span with a direct hit.
A week later the Japs were seen to be methodically repairing the bridge, so the 'Bolts hit it again. This time Maj. Allan P. Rankin knocked out the east end of the bridge at the abutment, which left the rest hanging into the river. On hearing this report, 10th Air Force, EAC, crossed the bridge off the target list.
JAPS BUSY WORKING
Photos taken near the end of the month, however, showed that the Japs, working busily at night, had stretched a new top across the old framework and were using the bridge. So the fly-boys went back on it and knocked most of the new work into the stream. The telling hits this time were credited to Capt. Lewis T. Chapman.
The Japs weren't nearly ready to quit yet. About 10 days later a by-pass bridge was discovered spanning the stream. Four Banshee planes blew this apart and were further able to beat up the main structure with their extra bombs. Capt. Robert L. McCarty, who had led the flight, thought it was "out" for good this time.
But in a few days another by-pass was up, with fresh tracks showing that the wily Nip was using the frail span heavily during the night. The flights went out, and the second one - led by Rankin again - dropped the by-pass, piers and all. The other bombs socked the main bridge - which, believe it or not, was again under repair.
At Christmas time both bridges were definitely "out." But not for long. At the first of the year, the 80th glimpsed a brand new, Ho-Hko by-pass, this time nicely hidden under trees farther up the stream. This time Capt. Thomas E. Rogers took out the fighters and that was taps for the new span.
To end this rather repetitious narrative, four more planes worked over the concrete span a week later, and at press time word was received that the Nip "hairy ears" boys had it "in" again.
And so it goes. In, out - up, down - see saw. The Nip engineers may be eager - but don't bet against the 'Bolts.
DOUBLE-TAKE BY QM
JOKE, CORNY, FOR THE MIND, DULL
RAMGARH - The Quartermaster Corps is not all shelves, warehouses and tons of paperwork as proved by two classic examples, turned up recently in this Chinese-American training center.
Example No. 1 was a package which arrived with the following provocative inscription stenciled on the top: FEET, IRON FOR LEGS, WOODEN. T/5 Herbert Abrams took a cursory look, then a double-take. How could a package so small, he reasoned, contain FEET, IRON for LEGS, WOODEN and, furthermore, he mused, what the hell do we want them for when we have no LEGS, WOODEN in stock?
Abrams had just about dismissed the episode from mind when a coolie deposited at his feet . . as you've no doubt guessed . . a second box bearing the inscription: LEGS, WOODEN.
This powerful combination was more than his curiosity could stand. He had to know the truth. Fellow QM Corpsman S/Sgt. Snuffy Quintin, supplied a bit of real Yankee ingenuity in short order. "Open the packages - there may be some mistake in nomenclature," he suggested.
Open them they did, and it was some minutes before the two G.I.'s recovered sufficiently to appreciate the humor of discovering the LEGS, WOODEN and the FEET, IRON were merely for TABLES, FLAT.
The other example may have its macabre side, but here it is, passed on to the reader (sans comment) in the hope that some will appreciate its subtlety:
There arrived in Ramgarh the other day a number of coffins. No one even bothered to look at the stenciling on them, for there was no doubt what they were. Later, after storage, someone noticed that several bore this inscription:
PANS, ROASTING. (They were officer-type coffins.)
135 Jap Planes Bagged By 14th In China's Skies
14TH AIR FORCE HQ., CHINA - More than 135 enemy planes were destroyed in a two-day attack on Shanghai airdrome and surrounding areas as the 14th Air Force carried out a week of the most devastating assaults of the war.
Taking advantage of seven days' "operational weather," Maj. Gen. C. L. Chennault's airmen swept over practically every Jap installation in China, Indo-China and Burma. In addition to the Shanghai raids, three Jap bombers were destroyed at Tsinan, six more planes at Swatow, two at Canton, 10 at Nanking and 35 at Wuchang, plus many probables.
It was also a hard week on enemy railroads, as P-51's and other fighters destroyed an estimated 100 locomotives and numerous cars along the Hankow-Peiping tracks and in the Tatung area. At least 10 other locomotives were destroyed in Indo-China, along with 100 cars.
In raids on Jap shipping on the Yangtze and off Hong Kong Harbor, two freighters were sunk and several other vessels damaged. Two other freighters were sunk off Hainan and several damaged in the Amoy area.
Strong support was also given Chinese ground troops in Burma, with B-25's and fighters making frequent raids on bridges, railroads, supply dumps and troop concentrations. Several railroad bridges were reported either knocked out or severely damaged.
From all operations, 16 of our planes were lost.
IT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN TO A G.I.
BURMA - Two cows, a jug of wine and Pierson, in the words of a modern American Omar Khayham, could aptly describe this slice of G.I. life in the I-B Theater.
The story begins in the tent of Pfc. Perry Pierson, of a 10th Air Force Combat Cargo Group in Assam. Pierson is just opening a long awaited package from home.
He unwraps it and a beatific expression crosses his face when he seas a fruit cake, sent from Shangri-La, from which emanates a strong aroma of rare old wine.
Reverently putting the cake on his bunk, Pierson goes outside and spreads the news. Friends spring up like baksheesh wallahs on pay day. Entranced by his new-found popularity, Pierson invites his fellow dog-faces to share his fortune.
But, alas, for the best-laid plans of Pierson and his pals. For inside the tent are two very contented cows. Gone is the aroma of rare old wine, in its place is the odor of unadulterated Indian cow.
Smeared over the phizzes of the bovines are cherries, raisins and cake. Smeared over the faces of the disappointed dog-faces are looks of dismay and woe.
As for the cows, what happens to them shouldn't happen to a cow.
To Provide Frozen Beef For Forward Areas
The Quartermaster Corps has made an All-American effort, and Yank troops in the forward areas of the India-Burma Theater are now eating beef weekly.
It is American beef. It is shipped in American vessels. It is stored in American-built refrigeration warehouses. It is sent up the line in American refrigeration cars built by the Military R.R. Service on a railroad operated by American personnel. It is transshipped on American trucks driven by G.I. drivers and then flown by American pilots in American planes. And at its final destination, it is handled by American cooks for American stomachs.
While Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell was in the Theater, he ordered the QM Corps to make provision for frozen meat for the troops in the forward areas. Following this edict, a survey was made by Capt. B. G. Patterson, now stationed in Calcutta. At the direction of Maj. Gen. W. E. R. Covell, Commanding General of SOS, plans were then drawn up under the supervision of Col. Ralph Richards, Chief Quartermaster of SOS, for Theater-wide cold storage plants to house the meat. All plants were in operation by Dec. 1, 1944.
The first step was construction of a cold storage plant in Calcutta to receive in-coming shipments. Refrigerated railroad wagons were then built to facilitate the shipment of the meat over the communication line up to Assam. Ice plants for icing and re-icing refrigeration cars enroute were constructed along the line. Improvised refrigerated trucks for the distribution of beef from the plants to the troops were also provided.
Equipment in these storage plants was installed by Refrigeration unit men from the QM Corps in co-operation and agreement with the Engineer Corps. At Ledo, a crew, directed by 1st Sgt. Alwyn Grob and T/Sgt. Willis Jeter, installed the equipment.
Recently-activated QM units under Lt. Col. Allen Johannesen are now operating the plants along the line and take care of the icing of the railroad cars.
This is probably the only time in American history that frozen beef has been sent more than half-way around the world for consumption.
10th Sets New Record For Day's Operations
The 10th Air Force of Maj. Gen. Howard Davidson took the spotlight in EAC air operations over Burma this week, flying 1,100 sorties in one day to set a new record for its three-year tenure in the Far East.
Up in full strength, the 10th flew all its sorties in daylight. B-25's, P-38's P-47's, combat and troop cargo and liaison planes dropped bombs, supplies and leaflets over the heads of the harassed Jap. Eight enemy troop concentrations were struck deep in Burma.
As the Allied troops continued their advances on Mandalay, in North Burma, and in the Arakan, the Allied planes of Eastern Air Command enjoyed complete control of the air. RAF Liberators have been pounding Mandalay and Sagaing, with RAF Mosquitos also joining in the devastation. A mile from Sagaing, USAAF B-24's attacked troops and supplies near the Ava Bridge, with Air Commando P-47's joining the assault.
P-47's swept over the Meiktila airfields as RAF Thunderbolts patrolled the same area, with fires in Sagaing and Mandalay clearly visible. The entire operation was an outstanding example of the close co-operation of the Allied Air Forces in the Southeast Asia Command.
For the next two days, P-38's, P-47's and Mosquitos flew many sorties against the Mandalay area. It was the first bombing mission of the Seventh over this sector in 14 months.
In the Arakan, EAC gave a spectacular show as the British successfully conducted an amphibious invasion of the island of Ramree. The troops who invaded the Mylebon Peninsula also received close air support. IAF Hurribombers did good work on this front and on the Chindwin-Shwebo front.
The Irrawaddy has been a happy hunting ground for Allied planes. A total of 153 river craft were hit. Nowhere in Burma can the Jap find any respite from air attack.
READY IN CHINA
WASHINGTON - A formidable Chinese underground force is ready to spring into action if the Allies land on the China coast, declared Dr. Chen Chin-mai, counselor of the Chinese Embassy, formerly associated with the underground.
Chen said its full strength is a military secret but that in one sector alone - east of the Canton-Hong Kong Railway - 400,000 guerillas are poised to strike.
Countless isolated pockets of Chinese troops and 75 percent of China's civilians have been in touch with the Central Government and the Chinese Army, Chen said. Thousands of Chinese who, before the war, worked on railroads, power plants, telephone systems and other public facilities will blow up and disrupt facilities vital to the Japs.
NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW -
INDIAN FAKIR LEARNS A LESSON FROM G.I.
ASC BASE, INDIA - Anything can happen at a rest camp.
At Rest Camp No. 10, ASC restees, T/Sgt. James Rich, S/Sgt. Angelo Amantia, Cpl. Melville Ost and Pvt. Charles Hubert, were approached by an ancient Indian fakir, colorfully dressed and carrying a burlap sack on his shoulder.
The fakir told the G.I.'s he had good news if only the sahibs allow him to read one of their palms. Amantia plunked out a rupee and the wonderful tale began.
After giving the sergeant a wonderful snow job, the fakir requested an additional rupee for more information. After completing each sentence, he demanded yet another rupee.
By this time, a large crowd had gathered and was watching not one, but two demonstrations. Hubert, who also knew a few tricks, was, by a quick pass of the hand, conveying the rupees from the sack where they were deposited by the fakir into his own G.I. pocket.
After collecting something like eight rupees, the turbanned prophet announced the Indian equivalent of, "And that my American friends, is what is known as Indian magic."
The Yanks salaamed the Mystic One. Hubert flashed the wandering rupees, pointed to the fakir's empty sack and replied, "And this, my nimble-tongued friend, is what is know as American magic."
The fakir was last seen engrossed in deep conversation with himself.
While on patrol duty, Loman lived among various hill tribes, and he likes to tell of their customs and such. Once he stayed with the Shui Pai Yi, an unusual band of natives who religiously took two baths a day, in contrast to the Dry Pai Yi who never bathe. And then there were the Hen Pai Yi who went in for tattooing in a big way, their bodies resembling one large checkerboard. He also ran into a few head-hunters, who, while not exactly friendly, were not interested in decapitating the white man.
Loman has also acquired great respect for the Chinese soldier, "Some of the wounded brought in," he reports, "were as full of holes as a screen door, but they kept smiling and saying 'Ding hao!' A tougher bunch I never saw."