China Burma India Theater of World War II
Overview
 
China Burma India Theater (CBI) (later IBT, or India-Burma theater) was the name used by the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 for its forces operating in conjunction with British and Chinese Allied air and land forces in China, Burma, and India during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Well-known US units in this theater
Theater (warfare)
In warfare, a theater, is defined as an area or place within which important military events occur or are progressing. The entirety of the air, land, and sea area that is or that may potentially become involved in war operations....

 included the Flying Tigers
Flying Tigers
The 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, famously nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army , Navy , and Marine Corps , recruited under presidential sanction and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The ground crew and headquarters...

, transport and bomber units flying the Hump
The Hump
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in...

, the 1st Air Commando Group
1st Air Commando Group
The 1st Air Commando Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Army Service Forces, based at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It was inactivated on 3 November 1945....

, the engineers who built Ledo Road
Ledo Road
The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. It was renamed the Stilwell Road in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek...

, and the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), otherwise known as Merrill's Marauders
Merrill's Marauders
Merrill’s Marauders or Unit Galahad, officially named the 5307th Composite Unit , was a United States Army long range penetration special operations unit in the South-East Asian Theater of World War II which fought in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, or CBI...

.
In 1941 the U.S.
Encyclopedia
China Burma India Theater (CBI) (later IBT, or India-Burma theater) was the name used by the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 for its forces operating in conjunction with British and Chinese Allied air and land forces in China, Burma, and India during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Well-known US units in this theater
Theater (warfare)
In warfare, a theater, is defined as an area or place within which important military events occur or are progressing. The entirety of the air, land, and sea area that is or that may potentially become involved in war operations....

 included the Flying Tigers
Flying Tigers
The 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, famously nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army , Navy , and Marine Corps , recruited under presidential sanction and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The ground crew and headquarters...

, transport and bomber units flying the Hump
The Hump
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in...

, the 1st Air Commando Group
1st Air Commando Group
The 1st Air Commando Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Army Service Forces, based at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It was inactivated on 3 November 1945....

, the engineers who built Ledo Road
Ledo Road
The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. It was renamed the Stilwell Road in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek...

, and the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), otherwise known as Merrill's Marauders
Merrill's Marauders
Merrill’s Marauders or Unit Galahad, officially named the 5307th Composite Unit , was a United States Army long range penetration special operations unit in the South-East Asian Theater of World War II which fought in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, or CBI...

.

U.S. Strategy for China

In 1941 the U.S. made a series of decisions to support China in its war with Japan. Lend Lease funds began to flow because President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 announced the defense of China to be vital to the defense of the United States. Over the summer, as Japan moved south into French Indo-China, the U.S., Britain and the Netherlands slapped an oil embargo on Japan, cutting off 90% of its supplies. Japan did cut off overland supplies to China through Burma. China could be supplied only by flying over the Himalaya mountains ("The Hump") from India, or capturing territory in Burma and building a new road--the Ledo Road
Ledo Road
The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. It was renamed the Stilwell Road in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek...

.

Burma

Japan was overextended. Its naval base could not defend its conquests, and its industrial base could not beef up the navy. To cut off China from Allied aid, it went into Burma, captured Rangoon on March 8, 1942, cutting the Burma Road lifeline to China. Moving north the Japanese took Tounggoo, Burma, then captured Lashio in upper Burma on April 29. The British, primarily concerned with India, looked to Burma as the main theater of action against Japan and wanted Chinese troops to fight there. The United States conjured up visions of millions of Chinese soldiers who would hold the Japanese then throw them back, while providing close-in airbases for a systematic firebombing of Japanese cities. The overland supply route from India to China had to go through Burma. Chiang realized it was all fantasy. On the other hand there were vast sums of American dollars available if he collaborated. He did so and managed to feed his starving soldiers, but they were so poorly equipped and led that offensive operations against the Japanese in China were impossible. However, Chiang did release two Chinese armies for action in Burma under Stilwell. They were smashed by the Japanese and Stilwell, on foot, barely escaped to India; the recovery of Burma and construction of the Ledo Road to supply China via Burma became an obsession for Stilwell.

U.S. and Allied Land forces

US forces in the CBI were grouped together for administrative purposes under the command of General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell
Joseph Stilwell
General Joseph Warren Stilwell was a United States Army four-star General known for service in the China Burma India Theater. His caustic personality was reflected in the nickname "Vinegar Joe"...

. However, unlike other combat theaters, for example the European Theater of Operations
European Theater of Operations
The European Theater of Operations, United States Army was a United States Army formation which directed U.S. Army operations in parts of Europe from 1942 to 1945. It referred to Army Ground Forces, United States Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces operations north of Italy and the...

, the CBI was never a "theater of operations" and did not have an overall operational command structure. Initially U.S. land units were split between those who came under the operational command of the India Command under General Sir Archibald Wavell, as the Commander-in-Chief in India, and those in China, which (technically at least) were commanded by Generalissimo
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

 Chiang Kai Shek, as the Supreme Allied Commander in China. However, Stilwell often broke the chain of command and communicated directly with the US Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 on operational matters. This continued after the formation of the South East Asia Command
South East Asia Command
South East Asia Command was the body set up to be in overall charge of Allied operations in the South-East Asian Theatre during World War II.-Background:...

 (SEAC) and the appointment of Admiral Lord Mountbatten
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 as Supreme Allied Commander.

When joint allied command was agreed upon, it was decided that the senior position should be held by a member of the British military because the British dominated Allied operations on the South-East Asian Theatre
South-East Asian theatre of World War II
The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma , Ceylon, India, Thailand, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore. Conflict in the theatre began when the Empire of Japan invaded Thailand and Malaya from bases located in Indochina on December 8,...

 by weight of numbers (in much the same way as the US did in the Pacific Theater of Operations
Pacific Theater of Operations
The Pacific Theater of Operations was the World War II area of military activity in the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering it, a geographic scope that reflected the operational and administrative command structures of the American forces during that period...

). Admiral Lord Mountbatten
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 was appointed as the Supreme Allied Commander of South-East Asia forces in October 1943.

Gen. Stilwell, who also had operational command of the Northern Combat Area Command
Northern Combat Area Command
The Northern Combat Area Command or NCAC was a mainly Sino-American formation that held the northern end of the Allied front in Burma during World War II. For much of its existence it was commanded by the acerbic General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, and controlled by his staff...

 (NCAC), a US-Chinese formation, was to report in theory to Gen. George Giffard
George Giffard
General Sir George Giffard GCB DSO was a British military officer, who had a distinguished career in command of African troops in World War I, rising to command an Army Group in South East Asia in World War II.-Early career:...

 — commander of Eleventh Army Group
British 11th Army Group
The 11th Army Group was the main British Army force in Southeast Asia during the Second World War. Although a nominally British formation, it also included large numbers of troops and formations from the British Indian Army and from British African colonies, and also Nationalist Chinese and United...

 — so that NCAC and the British Fourteenth Army
British Fourteenth Army
The British Fourteenth Army was a multinational force comprising units from Commonwealth countries during World War II. Many of its units were from the Indian Army as well as British units and there were also significant contributions from West and East African divisions within the British Army.It...

, under the command of General William Slim, could be co-ordinated. However, in practice, Gen. Stillwell never agreed to this arrangement. Stilwell was able to do this because of his multiple positions within complex command structures, including especially his simultaneous positions of Deputy Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, and Chief of Staff to Chinese leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

. As SEAC's deputy leader, Stilwell was Giffard's superior, but as operational commander of NCAC, Giffard was Stilwell's superior. As the two men did not get on, this inevitably lead to conflict and confusion.
Eventually at a SEAC meeting to sort out the chain of command for NCAC, Stilwell astonished everyone by saying "I am prepared to come under General Slim's operational control until I get to Kamaing
Kamaing
Kamaing is a town in the Kachin State of the northernmost part of the Union of Myanmar.-External links:*...

". Although far from ideal,
this compromise was accepted.

Although Gen. Stilwell was the control and co-ordinating point for all command activity in the theater, his assumption of personal direction of the advance of the Chinese Ledo forces into north Burma in late 1943 meant that he was often out of touch with both his own headquarters and with the over-all situation.

Not until late 1944, after Stilwell was recalled to Washington, was the chain of command clarified. His overall role, and the CBI command, was then split among three people: Lt Gen. Raymond Wheeler
Raymond Albert Wheeler
Raymond Albert Wheeler was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1911....

 became Deputy Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia; Major-General Albert Wedemeyer
Albert Coady Wedemeyer
General Albert Coady Wedemeyer was a United States Army commander who served primarily in Asia during World War II. His most notable command was the China theater in the South-East Asia Theater. During the Cold War, Wedemeyer was a chief supporter of the Berlin Airlift.-Early Life and military...

 became Chief of Staff to Chiang, and commander of US Forces, China Theater (USFCT). Lt Gen. Daniel Sultan
Daniel Isom Sultan
General Daniel Isom Sultan, was an American General during World War II. He fought in the China-Burma-India theater at the last half of the war....

 was promoted, from deputy commander of CBI to commander of US Forces, India-Burma Theater (USFIBT) and commander of the NCAC. The 11th Army Group was redesignated Allied Land Forces South East Asia (ALFSEA), and NCAC was decisively placed under this formation. However, by the time the last phase of the Burma Campaign
Burma Campaign
The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was fought primarily between British Commonwealth, Chinese and United States forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan, Thailand, and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn primarily from...

 began in earnest, NCAC had become irrelevant, and it was dissolved in early 1945.

U.S. Army and Allied Air Forces

After consultation among the Allied governments, Air Command South-East Asia was formed in November 1943 to control all allied air forces in the theater, with Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Peirse
Richard Peirse
Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Edmund Charles Peirse KCB DSO AFC , was a senior Royal Air Force commander.-RAF career:...

 as Commander-in-chief. Under Peirse's deputy, USAAF
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 Major General George E. Stratemeyer
George E. Stratemeyer
Lieutenant General George Edward Stratemeyer was World War II chief of Air Staff and United States Air Force Far East Air Forces commander during the first year of the Korean War.-Early career:...

, Eastern Air Command (EAC) was organized in 1943 to control Allied air operations in Burma, with headquarters in Calcutta. Unlike the strained relations and confusion encountered in coordinating Allied ground force commands, air force operations in the CBI proceeded relatively smoothly. Relations improved even further after new U.S. military aid began arriving, together with capable USAAF officers such as Brigadier General William D. Old of CGI Troop Carrier Command, and Col. Philip Cochran
Philip Cochran
Philip Gerald Cochran was an officer in the United States Army Air Corps. Cochran developed many tactical air combat, air transport, and air assault techniques during the war, particularly in Burma during operations as co-commander of the 1st Air Commando Group...

 and Col John R. Alison
John R. Alison
- External links :* The All-American Airman, Walter J. Boyne, March 2000*John R. Alison Papers, 1945–1957*John R. Alison Collection, including extended video interview available online.*" John R. Alison Enshrinee Biography...

 of the 1st Air Commando Group. Within Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin
Jack Baldwin (RAF officer)
Air Marshal Sir John Eustice Arthur Baldwin, KBE, CB, DSO, DL, RAF was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.-Early life:...

 commanded the Third Tactical Air Force, originally formed to provide close air support to the Fourteenth Army. Baldwin was later succeeded by Air Marshal Sir Alec Coryton
Alec Coryton
Air Chief Marshal Sir William Alec Coryton KCB, KBE, MVO, DFC, RAF , commonly known as Alec Coryton, was a senior RAF commander in World War II.-Life:...

. U.S. Brigadier-General Howard C. Davidson and later Air Commodore F. J. W. Mellersh commanded the Strategic Air Force. In the new command, various units of the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Tenth Army Air Force worked side-by-side. In the autumn of 1943 SEAAC had 48 R.A.F. and 17 U.S.A.A.F. squadrons; by the following May, the figures had risen to 64 and 28, respectively.

At Eastern Air Command, Gen. Stratemeyer had a status comparable to that of Stilwell. Coordinating the efforts of the various allied air components while maintaining relations with diverse command structures proved a daunting task. Part of Stratemeyer's command, the Tenth Air Force
Tenth Air Force
The Tenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Reserve Command . It is headquartered at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas....

, had been integrated with the RAF Third Tactical Air Force
RAF Third Tactical Air Force
The RAF Third Tactical Air Force , which was formed in South Asia in December 1943, was one of three tactical air forces formed by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. It was made up of squadrons and personnel from the RAF and the air forces of the British Commonwealth...

 in India in December 1943 and was tasked with a number of roles in support of a variety of allied forces. Another component, the USAAF Fourteenth Air Force
Fourteenth Air Force
The Fourteenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Space Command . It is headquartered at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California....

 in China, was actually under the jurisdiction of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek as theater commander. Although the China-Buma-India operations of the USAAF's Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its mission was to meet the urgent demand for the speedy reinforcement of the United States' military bases worldwide during World War II, using an air supply system to supplement surface transport...

 received its assignments of tonnage from Stratemeyer as Stilwell's deputy, organizational control of the ATC remained in Washington, D.C.

In the spring of 1944, with the arrival of command
XX Bomber Command
The XX Bomber Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Far East Air Forces, based on Okinawa. It was inactivated on July 16, 1945.- History:...

 B-29's in the theater, another factor would be added to air force operations. XX Bomber Command
XX Bomber Command
The XX Bomber Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Far East Air Forces, based on Okinawa. It was inactivated on July 16, 1945.- History:...

 of the Twentieth Air Force
Twentieth Air Force
The Twentieth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.20 AF's primary mission is Intercontinental Ballistic Missile operations...

 was tasked with the strategic bombing of Japan under Operation Matterhorn
Operation Matterhorn
Operation Matterhorn was a military operations plan of the United States Army Air Forces in World War II for the strategic bombing of Japanese forces by B-29 Superfortresses based in India and China. Targets included Japan itself, and Japanese bases in China and South East Asia...

, and reported directly to the JCS
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 in Washington, D.C. However, XX Bomber Command remained totally dependent on Eastern Air Command for supplies, bases, ground staff, and infrastructure support.

After a period of reshuffling, Eastern Air Command's air operations began to show results. In August 1944, Admiral Mountbatten noted in a press conference that EAC fighter missions had practically swept the Japanese air force from Burmese skies. Between the formation of SEAAC in November 1943, and the middle of August 1944, American and British forces operating in Burma destroyed or damaged more than 700 Japanese aircraft with a further 100 aircraft probably destroyed. This achievement considerably reduced dangers to Air Transport Command cargo planes flying in support of the Hump
The Hump
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in...

 airlift operation. By May 1944, EAC resupply missions in support of the Allied ground offensive had carried 70,000 tons of supplies and transported a total of 93,000 men, including 25,500 casualties evacuated from the battle areas. These figures did not include tonnage flown in the Hump airlift missions to China.

USAAF Order Of Battle

Tenth Air Force
Tenth Air Force
The Tenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Reserve Command . It is headquartered at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas....

  • 1st Air Commando Group
    1st Air Commando Group
    The 1st Air Commando Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Army Service Forces, based at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It was inactivated on 3 November 1945....

    (1944–1945)
    Burma, India (B-25, P-51, P-47, C-47)
  • 1st Combat Cargo Group (1944–1945)
    Burma, India, China (C-47, C-46).
  • 2nd Air Commando Group (1944–1945)
    Burma, India (P-51, C-47)
  • 3d Combat Cargo Group (1944–1945)
    Burma, India (C-47).
  • 4th Combat Cargo Group
    4th Combat Cargo Group
    The 4th Combat Cargo Group was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization that served in Tenth Air Force as part of the China Burma India Theater of World War II.-Overview:...

    (1944–1945)
    Burma, India (C-47, C-46).
  • 7th Bombardment Group
    7th Bomb Wing
    The 7th Bomb Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command Twelfth Air Force. It is stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, where it is also the host unit....

    (1942–1945)
    India (B-17, B-24).
  • 12th Bombardment Group
    12th Flying Training Wing
    The 12th Flying Training Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Education and Training Command Nineteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas...

    (1944–1945)
    India (B-25).
  • 33d Fighter Group
    33d Fighter Wing
    The 33d Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Education and Training Command's Nineteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida where it is a tenant unit....

    (1944–1945)
    India (P-38, P-47)
  • 80th Fighter Group
    80th Flying Training Wing
    The 80th Flying Training Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force based out of Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.-Mission:...

    (1943–1945)
    India, Burma (P-38, P-40, P-47)


Transferred in 1944 to Fourteenth Air Force:
  • 311th Fighter Group
    311th Human Systems Wing
    The 311th Air Base Group was a group of the United States Air Force based out of the now-closed Brooks City-Base in San Antonio, Texas.Its mission was to enhance and sustain human performance for dominant air and space power.-History:...

    (1943–1944)
    India, Burma (A-36, P-51)
  • 341st Bombardment Group (1943–1944)
    India, Burma (B-25)
  • 443d Troop Carrier Group
    443d Troop Carrier Group
    The 443d Airlift Wing is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with Air Mobility Command, being stationed at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma...

    (1944–1945)
    India (C-47/C-53)
  • 426th Night Fighter Squadron (1944)
    India (P-61)
  • 427th Night Fighter Squadron (1944)
    India (P-61)


Fourteenth Air Force
Fourteenth Air Force
The Fourteenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Space Command . It is headquartered at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California....

  • 68th Composite Wing
    • 23d Fighter Group
      23d Fighter Group
      The 23d Fighter Group is a United States Air Force unit. It is assigned to the 23d Wing and stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia....

       (1942–1945) (P-40, P-51)
      Formerly American Volunteer Group
      American Volunteer Group
      The American Volunteer Groups were volunteer air units organized by the United States government to aid the Nationalist government of China against Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War...

       (AVG) "Flying Tigers".
  • 69th Composite Wing
    • 51st Fighter Group
      51st Fighter Wing
      The 51st Fighter Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force and the host unit at Osan Air Base, South Korea.The 51st Fighter Wing is under Pacific Air Forces' Seventh Air Force...

      : 1942-1945 (P-40, P-38, P-51).
    • 341st Bombardment Group 1944-1945 (B-25).
  • 312th Fighter Wing
    • 33rd Fighter Group
      33d Fighter Wing
      The 33d Fighter Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Education and Training Command's Nineteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida where it is a tenant unit....

      : 1944 (P-38, P-47).
    • 81st Fighter Group
      81st Training Wing
      The 81st Training Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force and the host wing at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. The 81st Training Wing has the Air Force’s largest Technical Training Group and trains more than 40,000 students annually...

      : 1944-1945 (P-40, P-47).
    • 311th Fighter Group
      311th Human Systems Wing
      The 311th Air Base Group was a group of the United States Air Force based out of the now-closed Brooks City-Base in San Antonio, Texas.Its mission was to enhance and sustain human performance for dominant air and space power.-History:...

      : 1944-1945 (A-36, P-51).

  • Chinese-American Composite Wing (Provisional) (1943–1945)
    • 3rd Fighter Group (Provisional) (P-40, P-51)
    • 5th Fighter Group (Provisional) (P-40, P-51)
    • 1st Bombardment Group (Medium, Provisional) (B-25)

  • Other assigned units:
    • 402d Fighter Group
      402d Maintenance Wing
      The 402d Maintenance Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force based out of Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.-Mission:Provide depot maintenance, engineering support, and software development to major weapon systems .-Subordinate Organizations:402d Aircraft...

      :
      May - July 1943. Assigned but never equipped.
    • 476th Fighter Group:
      May - July 1943. Assigned but never equipped.
    • 308th Bombardment Group:(B-24)
      March 1943 - February 1945
  • From Tenth Air Force in 1944-1945:
    • 341st Bombardment Group: (B-25)
      January 1944 - November 1945
    • 443d Troop Carrier Group
      443d Troop Carrier Group
      The 443d Airlift Wing is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with Air Mobility Command, being stationed at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma...

      : (C-47/C-54)
      Aug - November 1945
    • 426th Night Fighter Squadron: P-61)
      1944 - 1945
    • 427th Night Fighter Squadron: (P-61)
      1944 - 1945


Twentieth Air Force
Twentieth Air Force
The Twentieth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Global Strike Command . It is headquartered at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.20 AF's primary mission is Intercontinental Ballistic Missile operations...


(Attached To CBI 1944-1945)
  • XX Bomber Command
    XX Bomber Command
    The XX Bomber Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Far East Air Forces, based on Okinawa. It was inactivated on July 16, 1945.- History:...

    (1944–45)
    (Kraragpur, India)
    • 1st Photo Squadron (Detachment C)
    • 58th Bombardment Wing
      (Chakulia, Kharagpur, Hijli AB, India) (B-29)
      • 40th Bombardment Group
        40th Air Expeditionary Wing
        The United States Air Force's 40th Air Expeditionary Wing was an Air expeditionary unit located at Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean, from 2001 to c. 2006....

      • 444th Bombardment Group
        444th Bombardment Group
        The 444th Air Expeditionary Wing was a United States Air Force provisional unit possibly allocated to Air Materiel Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom...

      • 462d Bombardment Group
        462d Bombardment Group
        The 462d Strategic Aerospace Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was to Strategic Air Command, based at Larson Air Force Base, Washington....

      • 468th Bombardment Group
        468th Bombardment Group
        The 468th Bombardment Group was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It was inactivated on 31 March 1946. The unit served primarily in the Pacific Ocean theater and China Burma India Theater of World War II as part of Twentieth Air Force. The 468th Bomb Group's aircraft...


Twentieth Air Force XX Bomber Command (XX BC) combat elements moved in the summer of 1944 from the United States to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 where they engaged in very-long-range Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombardment operations against Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Formosa
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

 and Burma. While in India, XX BC was supported logistically by Tenth Air Force
Tenth Air Force
The Tenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Reserve Command . It is headquartered at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas....

 and the India-China Division
The Hump
The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces based in...

 of the Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its mission was to meet the urgent demand for the speedy reinforcement of the United States' military bases worldwide during World War II, using an air supply system to supplement surface transport...

. B-29 groups moved to West Field, Tinian
Tinian
Tinian is one of the three principal islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.-Geography:Tinian is about 5 miles southwest of its sister island, Saipan, from which it is separated by the Saipan Channel. It has a land area of 39 sq.mi....

, in early 1945.

Timeline

  • Early 1942 Stilwell was promoted to lieutenant general and tasked with establishing the CBI.
  • February 25, 1942 Stilwell arrived in India by which time Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

     and Burma had both been invaded by the Japanese Army.
  • March 10, 1942 Stilwell is named Chief of Staff of Allied armies in the Chinese theatre of operations.
  • March 19, 1942 Stilwell’s command in China is extended to include the Chinese 5th and 6th Armies operating in Burma after Chiang Kai-Shek gave his permission.
  • March 20, 1942 Chinese troops under Stilwell engage Japanese forces along the Sittang River in Burma.
  • April 9, 1942 Claire Chennault inducted into U.S. Army as a colonel, bringing the AVG Flying Tigers
    Flying Tigers
    The 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, famously nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army , Navy , and Marine Corps , recruited under presidential sanction and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The ground crew and headquarters...

     squadrons under Stilwell's nominal authority.
  • April 16, 1942 7,000 British soldiers, and 500 prisoners and civilians were encircled by the Japanese 33rd Division at Yenangyaung.
  • April 19, 1942 The 113th Regiment of the Chinese Expeditionary Force's New 38th Division led by General Sun Li-jen
    Sun Li-jen
    Sun Li-jen was a Kuomintang General, best known for his leadership in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. His achievements earned him the laudatory nickname "Rommel of the East". His New 1st Army was reputed as the "1st [Best] Army under heaven" and credited with defeating...

     attacked and defeated the encircling Japanese troops rescuing the encircled British troops and civilians. This is historically called Battle of Yenangyaung
    Battle of Yenangyaung
    The Battle of Yenangyaung was fought in Burma, now Myanmar, during the Burma Campaign in World War II. The battle of Yenaungyaung was fought in the vicinity of Yenangyaung and its oil fields.-Background:...

    .
  • May 2, 1942 The commander of Allied forces in Burma, General Harold Alexander, ordered a general retreat to India. Instead of flying out, Stilwell remained with his troops and began a long retreat (he called it a "walk out") to India.
  • May 24, 1942 Stilwell arrived in Delhi. Most of his Chinese troops had deserted.
  • New Delhi and Ramgarh became the main training centre for Chinese troops in India. Chiang Kai-Shek gave Stilwell command of what was left of the 22nd and 38th Divisions of the Chinese Army.
  • December 1, 1942 British General Sir Archibald Wavell, as Allied Supreme Commander South East Asia, agreed with Stilwell to make the Ledo Road
    Ledo Road
    The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. It was renamed the Stilwell Road in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek...

     an American operation.
  • August 1943 US creates a jungle commando
    Commando
    In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and...

     unit, similar to the Chindits
    Chindits
    The Chindits were a British India "Special Force" that served in Burma and India in 1943 and 1944 during the Burma Campaign in World War II. They were formed into long range penetration groups trained to operate deep behind Japanese lines...

    , to be commanded by Major General Frank Merrill
    Frank Merrill
    Frank Dow Merrill is best remembered for his command of Merrill's Marauders, officially the 5307th Composite Unit , in the Burma Campaign of World War II. Merrill's Marauders came under General Joseph Stilwell's Northern Combat Area Command...

    ; it is informally called "Merrill's Marauders".
  • Exhaustion and disease led to the early evacuation of many Chinese and American troops before the coming assault on Myitkyina.
  • December 21 Stilwell assumed direct control of operations to capture Myitkyina
    Myitkyina
    Myitkyina is the capital city of Kachin State in Myanmar , located from Yangon, and from Mandalay. In Burmese it means "near the big river", and in fact "Myitkyina" lies on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River, just below from Myit-son of its two headstreams...

    , having built up forces for an offensive in Northern Burma.
  • February 24, 1944 Merrill's Marauders
    Merrill's Marauders
    Merrill’s Marauders or Unit Galahad, officially named the 5307th Composite Unit , was a United States Army long range penetration special operations unit in the South-East Asian Theater of World War II which fought in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, or CBI...

    , attacked the Japanese 18th Division in Burma. This action enabled Stilwell to gain control of the Hakawing Valley.
  • May 17, 1944 British general Slim in command of the Burma Campaign
    Burma Campaign
    The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was fought primarily between British Commonwealth, Chinese and United States forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan, Thailand, and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn primarily from...

     handed control of the Chindits to Stilwell.
  • May 17, 1944 Chinese troops, with the help of Merrill's Mauraders, captured Myitkina airfield.
  • August 3, 1944 Myitkina fell to the Allies. The Mauraders had advanced 750 miles and fought in five major engagements and 32 skirmishes with the Japanese Army. They lost 700 men, only 1,300 Marauders reached their objective and of these, 679 had to be hospitalized. This included General Merrill who had suffered a second-heart attack before going down with malaria.
  • Some time before August 27, 1944, Mountbatten
    Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
    Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

     supreme allied commander (SEAC) ordered General Stilwell to evacuate all the wounded Chindits.
  • During 1944 the Japanese in Operation Ichi-Go overran US air bases in eastern China. Chiang Kai-Shek blamed Stilwell for the Japanese success, and pressed the US high command to recall him.
  • October 1944 Roosevelt recalled Stilwell, whose role was split (as was the CBI):
    • Lieutenant General Raymond Wheeler
      Raymond Albert Wheeler
      Raymond Albert Wheeler was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1911....

       became Deputy Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia.
    • Major General Albert Wedemeyer
      Albert Coady Wedemeyer
      General Albert Coady Wedemeyer was a United States Army commander who served primarily in Asia during World War II. His most notable command was the China theater in the South-East Asia Theater. During the Cold War, Wedemeyer was a chief supporter of the Berlin Airlift.-Early Life and military...

       became Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek and commander of the U.S. Forces, China Theater (USFCT).
    • Lieutenant General Daniel Sultan
      Daniel Isom Sultan
      General Daniel Isom Sultan, was an American General during World War II. He fought in the China-Burma-India theater at the last half of the war....

       was promoted from deputy commander to became commander of US Forces India-Burma Theater (USFIBT) and commander of the Northern Combat Area Command
      Northern Combat Area Command
      The Northern Combat Area Command or NCAC was a mainly Sino-American formation that held the northern end of the Allied front in Burma during World War II. For much of its existence it was commanded by the acerbic General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, and controlled by his staff...

  • January 12, 1945, the first convoy over the Ledo Road
    Ledo Road
    The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. It was renamed the Stilwell Road in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek...

     of 113 vehicles led by General Pick
    Lewis A. Pick
    Lewis Andrew Pick was born in Brookneal, Virginia, and graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1914. He received his Regular Army commission in the United States Army Corps of Engineers on July 1, 1920....

     from Ledo reached Kunming
    Kunming
    ' is the capital and largest city of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. It was known as Yunnan-Fou until the 1920s. A prefecture-level city, it is the political, economic, communications and cultural centre of Yunnan, and is the seat of the provincial government...

    , China on February 4, 1945. Over the next seven months 35,000 tons of supplies in 5,000 vehicles were carried along it.

See also

  • Burma Campaign
    Burma Campaign
    The Burma Campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was fought primarily between British Commonwealth, Chinese and United States forces against the forces of the Empire of Japan, Thailand, and the Indian National Army. British Commonwealth land forces were drawn primarily from...

  • Philip Cochran
    Philip Cochran
    Philip Gerald Cochran was an officer in the United States Army Air Corps. Cochran developed many tactical air combat, air transport, and air assault techniques during the war, particularly in Burma during operations as co-commander of the 1st Air Commando Group...

  • The Dixie Mission
    Dixie Mission
    The United States Army Observation Group, commonly known as the Dixie Mission, was the first U.S. effort to establish official relations with the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army, then headquartered in the mountainous city of Yan'an...

  • U.S. campaigns in WWII - China Burma India Theater
  • OSS Detachment 101
    OSS Detachment 101
    Detachment 101 of the Office of Strategic Services operated in the China Burma India Theater of World War II. On January 17, 1946, it was awarded a Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation by Dwight Eisenhower, who wrote, "The courage and fighting spirit displayed by its officers and men in...

  • Charles N. Hunter
    Charles N. Hunter
    Charles N. Hunter was the author of the book Galahad a first person account of the Burma Campaign in World War II. Galahad was the code-name for the U.S. Army's 5307th Composite Unit , better known as Merrill's Marauders. "Colonel Charles N...


Further reading

  • Bidwell, Shelford. The Chindit War: Stilwell, Wingate, and the Campaign in Burma, 1944. (1979)
  • Hogan, David W. India-Burma (1999) brief official US Army history; 24pp online edition
  • Kraus, Theresa L. China Offensive , (1999) brief official US Army history; 24pp online edition
  • Latimer, Jon . Burma: The Forgotten War, London: John Murray, 2004.* Morley James, ed. The Fateful Choice: Japan's Advance into Southeast Asia, 1939-1941. (1980).
  • Lee, Lloyd, ed. World War II in Asia and the Pacific and the War's aftermath, with General Themes: A Handbook of Literature and Research. (1998) online edition
  • Lewin Ronald. The Chief: Field Marshal Lord Wavell, Commander-in-Chief and Viceroy, 1939-1947. (1980).
  • MacGarrigle, George L. Central Burma (1999) brief official US Army history; 23pp online edition
  • Newell, Clayton R. Burma, 1942 (1999) brief official US Army history; 24pp online edition
  • Romanus, Charles F. and Riley Sunderland. Stilwell's Mission to China (1953), official U.S. Army history online edition; Stilwell's Command Problems (1956) online edition; Time Runs Out in CBI (1958) online edition. Official U.S. Army history
  • Sherry, Mark D. China Defensive, (1999) brief official US Army history; 24pp online edition
  • Tuchman, Barbara. Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45, (1972), 624pp; Pulitzer prize (The British edition is titled Against the Wind: Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-45,) excerpt and text search
  • Webster, Donovan. The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II. (2003) 370 pp.
  • Yu, Maochun. The Dragon's War: Allied Operations and the Fate of China, 1937-1947 (2006). 242 pp.


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