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
Military transport aircraft
Military transport aircraft are typically fixed and rotary wing cargo aircraft which are used to deliver troops, weapons and other military equipment by a variety of methods to any area of military operations around the surface of the planet, usually outside of the commercial flight routes in...

 from 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...

 to 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...

 to resupply the Chinese war effort
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 of 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....

 and the units of the United States Army Air Forces
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....

 based in China. Creating an airlift presented the USAAF a considerable challenge in 1942: it had no units trained or equipped for moving cargo, and no airfields existed in India for basing the large number of transports that would be required. Flying over the Himalayas was extremely dangerous and made more difficult by a lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids, and a dearth of information about the weather.

The task was initially given to the U.S. 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 then to 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...

 (ATC). Because the USAAF had no previous airlift experience upon which to base planning, it assigned commanders to build and direct the operation who had been key figures in the founding of the ATC. In addition, another commander had extensive executive experience with civilian air carriers.

The successive organizations responsible for carrying out the mission (originally referred to as the "India-China Ferry") were: the Assam-Burma-China CommandAlso called the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command. The "command" was ad hoc and an unofficial designation. (April–July 1942) and the India-China Ferry Command (July–December 1942) of the Tenth Air Force; and the Air Transport Command's India-China Wing (December 1942-June 1944), and India-China Division (July 1944-November 1945).

The airlift began in April 1942, after the Japanese blocked the Burma Road
Burma Road
The Burma Road is a road linking Burma with the southwest of China. Its terminals are Kunming, Yunnan, and Lashio, Burma. When it was built, Burma was a British colony.The road is long and runs through rough mountain country...

, and continued on a daily basis from May 1942 to August 1945, when the effort began to scale down. Final operations were flown in November 1945. The Hump airlift delivered approximately 650,000 tons of materiel
Materiel is a term used in English to refer to the equipment and supplies in military and commercial supply chain management....

 to China during its 42-month history. For its efforts and sacrifices, the India-China Wing of the ATC was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on January 29, 1944, at the personal direction of 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...

, the first such award made to a non-combat organization.

Background: the China supply dilemma

The Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 and Japanese operations in 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...

 closed all sea and rail access routes for supplying China with materiel except through Turkestan
Turkestan, spelled also as Turkistan, literally means "Land of the Turks".The term Turkestan is of Persian origin and has never been in use to denote a single nation. It was first used by Persian geographers to describe the place of Turkish peoples...

 in the Soviet Union. That access ended following the signing of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1941, and the Burma Road
Burma Road
The Burma Road is a road linking Burma with the southwest of China. Its terminals are Kunming, Yunnan, and Lashio, Burma. When it was built, Burma was a British colony.The road is long and runs through rough mountain country...

 became the only land route.

The rapid success of Japanese military operations in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 threatened this lifeline and prompted discussion of an air cargo service route from 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...

 as early as January 1942. On February 25, President Roosevelt wrote General George C. Marshall that "it is of the utmost urgency that the pathway to China be kept open", and committed ten C-53 Skytrooper transports for lend-lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 delivery to the Chinese National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) to build its capability to 25 aircraft. When the Tenth Air Force opened its headquarters in New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

 in March 1942, it was assigned the responsibility of developing an "India-China Ferry" using both U.S. and Chinese aircraft. Although never given command authority over aircraft or personnel, the officer responsible for the India-China Ferry was Tenth Air Force chief of staff Brig. Gen. Earl L. Naiden, who held that responsibility until mid-August."India-China Ferry" was an unofficial descriptive of the system used in official correspondence, and not an organized command. On July 16, 1942, the "India-China Ferry Command" became an official command by order of the Tenth Air Force.

From its onset, the air route was predicated on creating two branches: a trans-India route from India's western ports to Calcutta, where cargo would be transshipped by rail to Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

; and a route from bases in Assam to southern China. The original scheme envisioned the Allies holding northern Burma and using 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...

 as an offloading terminal to send supplies by barge downriver to Bhamo
Bhamo is a city of Kachin State in northernmost part of Myanmar, located 186 km south from the capital city of Myitkyina. It is on the Ayeyarwady River. It lies within 65 km of the border with Yunnan Province, China. The population consists of Chinese and Shan, with Kachin peoples in...

 and transfer to the Burma Road. However, on May 8, 1942, the Japanese seized Myitkyina and this, coupled with the loss of Rangoon, effectively cut Allied access to the Burma Road. To maintain the uninterrupted supply to China, U.S. and other allied leaders agreed to organize a continual aerial resupply effort, or "air bridge
Airbridge (logistics)
An airbridge is the route and means of delivering material from one place to another by an airlift.An airbridge is the means by which an airhead is kept supplied by overflying enemy held territory...

", directly between Assam and 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...


Haynes, 1942

Tenth Air Force was hampered by a constant diversion of men and aircraft to Egypt, where Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 was threatening to seize the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. Its Air Service Command was still en route by ship from the United States, forcing it to acquire aircraft and personnel for the India-China Ferry from any available source. Pan American World Airways
Pan American World Airways
Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991...

 in Africa provided ten DC-3s and flight crews to outfit the new operation. The airlift's command structure was divided, with part of the authority given to Gen. Joseph Stillwell, part remaining with Washington D.C., and all of the responsibility resting with Tenth Air Force (specifically Naiden), which had also been ordered by AAF Commanding General Henry H. Arnold
Henry H. Arnold
Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold was an American general officer holding the grades of General of the Army and later General of the Air Force. Arnold was an aviation pioneer, Chief of the Air Corps , Commanding General of the U.S...

 to "co-operate" with the British in defending India.

On April 23, 1942, a prospective bombardment group commander, Colonel Caleb V. Haynes
Caleb V. Haynes
Caleb Vance Haynes was a United States Air Force major general. The grandson of a famous Siamese Twin, he was used by the Air Force as an organizer, able to create air units from scratch...

, was assigned to command the Assam-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...

 branch of the India-China Ferry, dubbed the Assam-Burma-China Command.Often seen colloquially as the ABC Ferrying Command. Col. Robert L. Scott, a pursuit pilot
Fighter pilot
A fighter pilot is a military aviator trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft . Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare and dogfighting...

 awaiting an assignment in China, was assigned as his operations officer and a month later as executive officer. The first mission "over the hump" took place on April 8, 1942. Flying from the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 airfield at Dinjan
Dinjan is a small township in Dibrugarh district of Assam, India.It is located in the tea growing area of Assam. The closest town to it is Tinsukhia...

, Lt. Col.
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

 William D. Old used a pair of the borrowed DC-3s to ferry 8000 gallons (30,283.3 l) of aviation fuel
Aviation fuel
Aviation fuel is a specialized type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircraft. It is generally of a higher quality than fuels used in less critical applications, such as heating or road transport, and often contains additives to reduce the risk of icing or explosion due to high temperatures,...

 intended to resupply the Doolittle Raid
Doolittle Raid
The Doolittle Raid, on 18 April 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands during World War II. By demonstrating that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, it provided a vital morale boost and opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the...

ers.The original plan had been to haul fuel over the Hump for use by the Aquila Force, an advanced heavy bomber detachment of the Tenth AF intended to bomb Japan from eastern China. Haynes had been the detachment commander and Scott a volunteer member before the plan was cancelled in favor of the B-25 raid. Haynes was a fortuitous choice as the first commander, as he had just completed an assignment as a key subordinate of Brig. Gen.
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 Robert Olds
Robert Olds
Robert Olds was a general officer in the United States Army Air Forces, theorist of strategic air power, and proponent of an independent United States Air Force. Olds is best known today as the father of Brig. Gen...

. Olds and his staff had founded the new Air Corps Ferrying Command, which was then in the process of becoming the Air Transport Command.

The collapse of Allied resistance in northern Burma in May 1942 meant further diversion of the already minuscule air effort. The Assam-Burma-China Command resupplied Stillwell's retreating army and evacuated its wounded, while establishing a regular air service to China using ten borrowed DC-3s, four USAAF C-47 Skytrain
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

s, and 13 CNAC C-53s and C-39s. Only two-thirds of the aircraft were serviceable at any time. Dinjan itself was within range of Japanese fighters now based at Myitkyina, forcing all-night maintenance operations and pre-dawn takeoffs of the defenseless supply planes. The threat of interception also forced the Assam-Burma-China Command to fly a difficult 500-mile (800 km) route to China over the Eastern Himalayan Uplift, which came to be known as the "high hump", or more simply, "The Hump".While the region and the operation were universally known as "the hump," crews flying the airlift also called the mountainous barrier the "Rockpile" (. cites Ltr., Smith to George, 12 Dec. 1943; msg. 595A, Baker to George, 22 Aug. 1944; Hist. India-China Div., ATC, 1944, I, 3–4, 14–16; 1945, p. 542)

The official Army Air Forces history of the airlift stated:
The Brahmaputra valley
Brahmaputra River
The Brahmaputra , also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia. It is the only Indian river that is attributed the masculine gender and thus referred to as a in Indo-Aryan languages and languages with Indo-Aryan influence...

 floor lies 90 feet (27 m) above sea level at Chabua. From this level the mountain wall surrounding the valley rises quickly to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and higher. Flying eastward out of the valley, the pilot first topped the Patkai Range, then passed over the upper Chindwin River
Chindwin River
The Chindwin River is a river in Burma , and the largest tributary of the country's chief river the Ayeyarwady . It flows entirely within Burma and is known as Ning-thi to the Manipuris.-Source:...

 valley, bounded on the east by a 14,000-foot (4,300 m) ridge, the Kumon Mountains. He then crossed a series of 14,000–16,000-foot (4,300–4,900m) ridges separated by the valleys of the West Irrawaddy, East Irrawaddy, Salween, and Mekong Rivers. The main "Hump", which gave its name to the whole awesome mountainous mass and to the air route which crossed it, was the Santsung Range, often 15,000 feet (4,600 m) high, between the Salween and Mekong Rivers. East of the Mekong the terrain became decidedly less rugged, and the elevations more moderate as one approached the Kunming airfield, itself 6,200 feet (1,900 m) above sea level.

Innumerable problems with the Indian railway system meant that aircraft assigned to the Trans-India Command often carried their cargo all the way to China, while much cargo took as long to reach Assam from Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 as the two-month journey by ship from the United States. India's highway and river systems were so undeveloped as to be unable to support the mission, leaving air as the only practicable way to supply China in anything resembling a timely fashion.

The operation procured most of its officers, men, and equipment from the USAAF, augmented by British, Indian Army, and Commonwealth forces, Burmese labor gangs, and an air transport section of CNAC. On May 17, 1942, the 1st Ferrying Group of the Air Transport Command, consisting of the 3rd, 6th, and 13th Ferrying Squadrons, reached its base at the New Malir Cantonment
Jinnah International Airport
Jinnah International Airport is Pakistan's largest international and domestic airport. It is located in Karachi, Pakistan, and its passenger terminal is also commonly known as the جناح ٹرمینل Jinnah Terminal...

 near Karachi, and was assigned to the operational control of the Tenth Air Force over the objections of ATC, which feared that its planes and crews would be steered into combat units. (This did in fact happen to some extent.) For the remainder of 1942, its 62 C-47sThe group began with 75 transports but thirteen were diverted to the Middle East en route to India. Of the 62 that reached India, 15 were destroyed by the end of 1942. became the backbone of the airlift, flying for both branches of the operation until August 1, 1942, when it relocated to Assam.

The first two months of the airlift produced only 700 tons of cargo delivered by the USAAF and 112 by CNAC,The totals include 420 tons of gasoline (including the 30000 gallons (113,562.4 l) of fuel and 2 tons of oil allotted for the Doolittle force), 208 passengers, a million rounds of ammunition, 4.5 tons of Bren guns, 8 tons of bombs, 1.5 tons of radio equipment, a 1.5-ton jeep, two small aircraft, 46 tons of aircraft spare parts, 7 tons of medical supplies, 38 tons of food, 15 tons of "other" and "special" equipment, and two tons of cigarettes".(. Appendix 2. (PDF page 183)) and tonnage actually fell for both June and July, mostly as a result of the full onset of the summer monsoon."Net tons" excludes the weight of fuel transported to China to enable the return of the transports to India.

Tate, 1942

On June 17, 1942, Haynes continued on to China to take up an assignment as bomber commander of Brig. Gen. Claire L. Chennault
Claire Lee Chennault
Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault , was an American military aviator. A contentious officer, he was a fierce advocate of "pursuit" or fight-interceptor aircraft during the 1930s when the U.S. Army Air Corps was focused primarily on high-altitude bombardment...

's China Air Task Force. Scott was left in command for several days before he too was ordered to China to command the first U.S. fighter group in the CATF. On June 22 Col. Robert F. Tate (who like Haynes was a bombardment officer) was named to replace Haynes, but he was also in charge of the Trans-India Command in Karachi and remained in that capacity. Lt. Col. Julian M. Joplin, acting at the direction of Naiden, for all practical purposes commanded Hump operations until August 18. Tate took actual command on August 25, when Naiden was forced to return to the United States,Weaver states the return was for a "stomach disorder". However other sources indicate the abrasive Naiden may have been insurbordinate to a British general officer, and one alleges that Stillwell had him relieved for "financial impropriety". Whatever the case, Naiden was reduced back to colonel on November 6 and held two training commands before his death in 1944. although like Naiden he delegated direction of airlift operations to Joplin. Effective July 16, 1942, the two commands of the India-China Ferry merged into the India-China Ferry Command.
Tate was immediately handicapped because the best pilots and 12 aircraft of the Assam-Burma-China Command went west to Egypt with Brereton on June 26. Despite the use of the 1st Ferrying Group, tonnage delivered to China grew very slowly. Three bases constructed by the British on tea plantations
Assam tea
Assam is a black tea named after the region of its production, Assam, in India. Assam tea is manufactured specifically from the plant Camellia sinensis var. assamica . This tea, most of which is grown at or near sea level, is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong, bright color...

 at Chabua
Chabua is a town and a town area committee in Dibrugarh district in the state of Assam, India.-Geography:Chabua is located at . It has an average elevation of 106 metres .-Demographics:...

,All-weather base, headquarters of 1st Ferrying Group, with 3rd Ferrying Squadron based there. Mohanbari,Base of the 6th Ferrying Squadron until the end of the dry monsoon. and SookeratingBase of the 13th Ferrying Squadron until the end of the dry monsoon. became operational in August 1942 (although the latter two were not yet capable of all-weather operations), and construction of a fourth began at Jorhat
Jorhat is a city of Assam in India. Jorhat was established as a new capital in the closing years of the 18th century by the declining Tunkhungia Ahom Dynasty. Jorhat, as the name signifies, was just a couple of markets . Two parallel markets namely, Chowkihat and Macharhat, lay on the eastern...

. CNAC continued to fly from Dinjan, with its lend-lease C-53s and their crews contracted to the USAAF to assure that they would carry only essential cargo and not commercial activity. The airlift lost its first aircraft to accident on September 23, presumed to be from icing, after which losses of transports increased sharply.

A long-anticipated air attack by the Japanese on the four Assam airfields took place late in the afternoon of October 25. Little had been done to create an antiaircraft defense, and requests for an early warning system had gone unheeded. 100 bombers and fighters, bombing from 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and strafing from 100 feet (30 m), achieved complete surprise. The only defense provided came from three P-40s aloft on patrol, and six others which took off and gave pursuit. Dinjan and Chabua were severely damaged by bombing, and nine transports were destroyed or written off by low-level strafing. The next day Sookerating was strafed by 30 fighters, again without warning, but damage was confined to a single storage building containing food and medical supplies. A third raid struck Chabua on October 28 but missed the field entirely. Although the India Air Task Force, commanded by now-Brig. Gen.
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

 Haynes, subjected the captured airfield at Myitkyina to a summer-long series of bombings, the Japanese overcame the attempt to neutralize them by equipping their fighters with external fuel tanks and mounting the raids from Lashio
Lashio is the largest town in northern Shan State, Myanmar, about northeast of Mandalay. It is situated on a low mountain spur overlooking the valley of the Nam Yao river. The population grew from around 5000 in 1960 to 88,590 in 1983. It is currently estimated at around 130,000.Lashio is the...


Haynes responded by moving a P-40 squadron of the 51st Fighter Group
51st Operations Group
The 51st Operations Group is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 51st Fighter Wing, stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea....

 from Karachi to Sookerating, while the China Air Task Force launched a series of attacks against Lashio. The Japanese raids were not repeated in 1942. In June 1943, following small, sporadic raids during the dry season, the entire fighter strength of the Tenth Air Force, amounting to only approximately 100 P-40s, was organized as the Assam American Air Base Command (later the 5320th Air Defense Wing), specifically to protect the Assam airfields.

Alexander, 1942–43

The operation was evaluated by the USAAF in October 1942 and as a result, the attitudes of Tenth Air Force's commanders were characterized as "defeatist". When the Air Transport Command offered to take over the task, Marshall accepted, and ATC activated the India-China Wing, ATC (ICW-ATC) on December 1, 1942, commanded by Col. (later Brig. Gen.) Edward H. Alexander. Like Haynes, Alexander had been a founding member of ATC. The 1st Ferrying Group returned to ATC and was redesignated the 1st Transport Group. Its 76 C-47s were augmented in January 1943 by the addition of three C-87 transports (converted B-24 Liberator
B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and a small number of early models were sold under the name LB-30, for Land Bomber...

 bombers), which increased to 11 in March and 25 in July.

On March 31, 1943, the 308th Bombardment Group
308th Armament Systems Wing
The United States Air Force's 308th Armament Systems Wing is a non-flying wing based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.-Overview:The wing was activated in 2004 to design, develop, field and maintain a family of air-to-ground munitions that enhance warfighter strike capabilities.The mission of the...

 reached its base at Kunming and began two months of "reverse" Hump operations, flying round trip to India to acquire the gasoline, bombs, parts and other materiel it needed to stockpile before flying combat missions. Using kits developed by the South India Air Service Command Depot, it converted its B-24 Liberator
B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and a small number of early models were sold under the name LB-30, for Land Bomber...

s into fuel transports to accomplish the task.

Gen. Arnold observed first-hand the hazards of "flying the Hump" when the combat crew flying Argonaut, the B-17 that transported his party, became lost as they flew to Kunming following the Casablanca Conference.En route to Kunming, Arnold stopped at New Delhi to confer with Stillwell. He arrived at Dinjan on February 4, intending to remain overnight, but when he found that Stillwell and Field Marshal Sir John Dill
John Dill
Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill, GCB, CMG, DSO was a British commander in World War I and World War II. From May 1940 to December 1941 he was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, and subsequently in Washington, as Chief of the British Joint Staff...

 had flown on, impulsively decided to fly the Hump at night. Tenth Air Force commanding general Clayton Bissell
Clayton Bissell
Major General Clayton Lawrence Bissell was born in Kane, Pennsylvania, in 1896. He graduated from Valparaiso University, Indiana, in 1917 with a degree of doctor of laws. In his role as Gen...

 and his personal pilot accompanied Arnold and assured him they knew the route, part of which was over Japanese-occupied territory. After an early evening takeoff, Arnold's navigator experienced altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

 in the unpressurized bomber. Navigation beacons failed to work, the radio operator could not raise Kunming by radio, and the B-17 unknowingly encountered a 100-knot tail wind, 50 knots more than had been forecast. Bissell's pilot proved useless. Argonaut had actually flown well past Kunming, and as fuel began to seem critical, the radio operator finally made contact with Kunming station and used its signal as a direction finder
Radio direction finder
A radio direction finder is a device for finding the direction to a radio source. Due to low frequency propagation characteristic to travel very long distances and "over the horizon", it makes a particularly good navigation system for ships, small boats, and aircraft that might be some distance...

. Argonaut landed shortly before two in the morning, four hours overdue.
From his experiences, Arnold later wrote:
A C-87 Liberator transport must consume three and a half tons of 100-octane
Octane rating
Octane rating or octane number is a standard measure of the anti-knock properties of a motor or aviation fuel. The higher the octane number, the more compression the fuel can withstand before detonating...

 gasoline flying the Hump over the Himalaya Mountains between India and Kunming (to get) four tons through to the 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....

. Before a bombardment group can go on a single mission in its B-24 Liberators, it must fly the Hump four times to build up its supplies.

On April 21, 1943, the first of thirty C-46 Commando
C-46 Commando
The Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando was a transport aircraft originally derived from a commercial high-altitude airliner design. It was instead used as a military transport during World War II by the United States Army Air Forces as well as the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps under the designation R5C...

s (an untried cargo transport whose performance was superior to the C-47's in cargo capacity and ceiling) arrived in India. In May the 22nd Ferrying GroupThe "Ferrying" designation for the group and its 77th, 78th, and 88th Ferrying Squadrons was changed to "Transport" on July 1. began C-46 operations from Jorhat. In June, despite the fact that the British—and later the American Services of Supply
Services of Supply
The Services Of Supply or "SOS" branch of the Army of the USA was created on 28 February 1942 by Executive Order Number 9082 "Reorganizing the Army and the War Department" and War Department Circular No. 59, dated 2 March 1942. Services of Supply became one of the three autonomous components of the...

—failed to complete construction of all-weather runways at Mohanbari and Sookerating, the activation of the 28th,Based at Tezpur; 96th, 97th, 98th Transport Squadrons. 29th,Based at Sookerating; 99th, 100th, 301st Transport Squadrons. and 30thBased at Mohanbari; 302nd, 303rd, 304th Transport Squadrons. Transport Groups proceeded, an attempt to expand the C-46's role to meet projected levels of tonnage. The use of "groups" and component "squadrons" to identify ATC units continued until December 1, 1943, when these were disbanded and ATC flying units were identified by the station numbers of their bases.

A severe shortage of flight crews led to plea from Alexander for additional personnel. "Project 7" was set up by ATC at the end of June to fly nearly 2,000 men, 50 transports, and 120 tons of materiel from Florida to India. Despite this, July's tonnage was less than half of the its goal. The airfields were nowhere near completion, nearly all of the new pilots had been single-engine instructor pilots, specialized maintenance personnel and equipment had been sent by ship, and the complexities of the new C-46 (see Transport shortcomings below) had become evident. Scorching heat and torrential rains of the summer monsoon completed the undermining of the ambitious goals. Airfield construction problems were not overcome for several months.

Hoag and Hardin, 1943–44

At his meeting with Arnold, Chiang warned that the price of China's cooperation with Stillwell to reconquer Burma was a 500-plane air force and delivery by the airlift of 10,000 tons a month. In May 1943, at the Trident Conference
Washington Conference (1943)
The Third Washington Conference was held in Washington, D.C. was a World War II strategic meeting from May 12 to May 27, 1943, between the heads of government of the United Kingdom and the United States. The delegations were headed by Winston Churchill and Franklin D...

, President Roosevelt ordered ATC to deliver 5,000 tons a month to China by July; 7,500 tons by August; and 10,000 tons by September 1943. Frustration at the failure of the ICW-ATC to meet these goals led Arnold to send another inspection team to India in September 1943, led by ATC commander Maj. Gen. Harold L. George
Harold L. George
Harold Lee George was an American aviation pioneer who helped shape and promote the concept of daylight precision bombing...

. Accompanying George was Col. Thomas O. Hardin, an aggressive former airline executive who had already been overseas a year as head of ATC's Central African Sector. On September 16, George immediately re-assigned Hardin to command the new Eastern Sector of the ICW-ATC, to invigorate Hump operations. Gen. Alexander was replaced in command of the ICW-ATC by Brig. Gen. Earl S. Hoag on October 15. In addition to the changes in command, George instituted the "Fireball", a weekly C-87 express flight by the 26th Transport Group
Special Air Mission
The United States Air Force Special Air Mission is the safe, comfortable, and reliable air transportation for the President, Vice President, Cabinet, members of Congress, and other high-ranking American and foreign dignitaries....

 carrying spare parts for the transports from the Air Service Command Depot at Fairfield, Ohio
Fairborn, Ohio
Fairborn is a city in Greene County, Ohio, United States, near Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The population was 32,352 at the 2010 census...

, to the ATC service depot at Agra
Agra a.k.a. Akbarabad is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, west of state capital, Lucknow and south from national capital New Delhi. With a population of 1,686,976 , it is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and the 19th most...

, India.

Japanese fighters based in central Burma began to challenge the transport route near Sumprabum
Sumprabum is a town in the Kachin State of the northernmost part of the Burma .-External links:*...

 at the end of the summer monsoon. On October 13, 1943, a large number of fighters evaded U.S. fighter patrols and shot down a C-46, a C-87, and a CNAC transport while damaging three others. Similar interceptions on October 20, 23, and 27 shot down five more C-46s. Japanese pilots referred to the shooting down of vulnerable transport aircraft as tsuji-giri
Tsujigiri is a Japanese term for a practice when a samurai, after receiving a new katana sword or developing a new fighting style or weapon, tests its effectiveness by attacking a human opponent, usually a random defenseless passer-by, in many cases during nighttime...

 ("cutting down a casually-met stranger") or akago no te wo hineru ("twisting a baby's arm"). Tenth Air Force immediately began attacks on Japanese airfields (Myitkyina was attacked 14 times before the end of the year) and ICW moved its route to Kunming even farther north. Only two more C-46s were shot down during the remainder of 1943.

On December 13, 1943, 20 Japanese bombers and 23 fighter escorts attacked the Assam airfields. Despite an increase in fighter patrols and creation of an early warning system, the defenders had only thirteen minutes warning. U.S. interceptors were unable to climb to the 18000 feet (5,486.4 m) altitude of the bombers in time to prevent the bombing, but only slight damage resulted. The raiding force was pursued and attacked, then ran head-on into fighter patrols returning from northern Burma. Serious losses to the raiders apparently convinced the Japanese not to repeat the attacks.

Hardin altered operations by introducing night missions and refusing to cancel scheduled flights because of adverse weather or threat of interception. Although losses to accidents and enemy action increased, and replacements for the high number of C-46s lost ceased entirely for two months, tonnage delivered rose sharply, surpassing its objective in December when over 12,500 tons arrived in Kunming. By the end of 1943, Hardin had 142 aircraft in operation: 93 C-46, 24 C-87, and 25 C-47.

As a result of these efforts, President Roosevelt directed that the Presidential Unit Citation be awarded to the India-China Wing. Hardin was given a month's leave in the United States, promoted to brigadier general
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

, and as the representative of the wing received the award from General Arnold on January 29, 1944, the first ever awarded to a non-combat unit. Hardin returned to the India China Wing in February 1944, just as the first of a trickle of four-engined C-54 Skymaster
C-54 Skymaster
The Douglas C-54 Skymaster was a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces and British forces in World War II and the Korean War. Besides transport of cargo, it also carried presidents, British heads of government, and military staff...

 transports arrived in theater (see Operations on the low hump and in China below).

On March 21, 1944, Hardin advanced to command of the ICW-ATC when Hoag was transferred to head ATC's European Wing.The transfer was not entirely routine. The fearful losses suffered by the ICW in the first seven weeks of 1944 prompted Arnold to send C. R. Smith
C. R. Smith
Cyrus Rowlett Smith , known throughout his life as C. R. Smith, was the CEO of American Airlines from 1934 to 1968 and from 1973 to 1974. He was also United States Secretary of Commerce for a brief period under President Lyndon B...

 on an emergency inspection trip to India, where Smith met with Hoag. He was appalled to find that the ICW commander was headquartered a thousand miles to the west of his bases, had never flown the Hump himself, and received all his information from written reports. Smith did fly the Hump, and it was he who recommended Hardin take over the wing.
A month later, to move closer to its growing number of airbases, ICW-ATC changed its headquarters from New Delhi to Rishra
Rishra is an Tier Two Industrial Town and has a municipality in Hooghly district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a part of the area covered by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority.-Geography:...

, north of Calcutta. There, on the site of a former jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 mill known as "Hastings Mills", Lt. Gen. 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:...

 established the headquarters of the Army Air Forces India-Burma Theater in an 8.5 acres (34,398.3 m²) building. Under Hardin, tonnages increased but so did expectations and frustrations; morale and safety concerns continued to plague the operation. In the first 54 days of 1944, 47 transports were lost. One transport was being lost for every 218 flights (an accident rate of 1.968 planes lost per thousand hours). One life was being lost for every 162 trips flown, or 340 tons delivered.

In June 1944, at the behest of future ICD-ATC commander William Tunner
William H. Tunner
William Henry Tunner was a general officer in the United States Air Force and its predecessor, the United States Army Air Forces...

, Col. Andrew B. Cannon was assigned to command the Assam Wing in anticipation of a massive increase in C-54s. Like Haynes, Alexander, and Tunner, he had been an early selectee of Gen. Robert Olds in the Air Corps Ferrying Command, where he was a base commander.

On July 1, 1944, ATC reorganized its nine wings worldwide into air divisions, and sectors into wings. The ICW-ATC became the India China Division, ATC (ICD-ATC), with Hardin remaining as division commander. The Eastern Sector, carrying out the Hump operation, was redesignated the Assam Wing, while the Western Sector support organization became the India Wing. ICW-ATC also had an operational training unit (OTU) at Gaya
Gaya, India
Gaya is the second largest city of Bihar, India, and it is also the headquarters of Gaya District.Gaya is 100 kilometers south of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Situated on the banks of Falgu River , it is a place sanctified by both the Hindu and the Buddhist religions...

 and service depots at Panagarh
Panagarh is a small town in India, located in Kanksa police station of Durgapur subdivision in Bardhaman District of West Bengal. Both the Indian Army and Air Force have their establishment here. An airport is also located here which is extensively used by Indian Air Force.-Geography:Panagarh is...

, Agra, and Bangalore
Bengaluru , formerly called Bengaluru is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is nicknamed the Garden City and was once called a pensioner's paradise. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and...


On August 1, 1944, it discontinued the use of station numbers as unit designations and formed numbered AAF Base Units
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....

. In conformance with USAAF policy service-wide, AAF base units collectively identified all organizations, including flying units, at any particular non-combat base. To illustrate the various organizational changes affecting the Hump airlift between 1942 and 1944, the 1st Ferrying Group at Chabua became the 1st Transport Group on December 1, 1942; then Station No. 6 (APO 629 New York) on December 1, 1943; and finally the 1333rd Base Unit on August 1, 1944. The Headquarters Squadron, Eastern Sector, India-China Wing, established at Chabua on September 16, 1943, was redesignated the Headquarters Squadron, Assam Wing on July 1, 1944; and the 1325th Base Unit (HQ Assam Wing) on August 1, 1944.

Tunner, 1944–45

Brig. Gen. William H. Tunner
William H. Tunner
William Henry Tunner was a general officer in the United States Air Force and its predecessor, the United States Army Air Forces...

 next commanded the India-China Division. Tapped in the spring of 1944 to succeed Hardin, he selected his key staff and made a theater inspection trip in June that included piloting a C-46 over the Hump. He took command on September 4, 1944, with orders not just to increase the tonnage delivered, but also to reduce the numbers of lives and aircraft lost in accidents, and to improve morale in the India-China Division. Tunner and his staff, using a "big business" approach, completely turned around the operation, improved morale, and cut the aircraft loss ratio in half while doubling the amount of cargo delivered.

Tunner made extensive use of 47,000 local laborers and utilized at least one elephant
Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct...

 to lift 55-gallon fuel drums into the aircraft.Essentially a publicity stunt, Tunner had an elephant and mahout
A mahout is a person who drives an elephant. The word mahout comes from the Hindi words mahaut and mahavat. Usually, a mahout starts as a boy in the 'family business' when he is assigned an elephant early in its life and they would be attached to each other throughout the elephant's life.The most...

 recruited at Misamari, with the animal named, appropriately enough, "Miss Amari". Photographs also appeared of an elephant named "Elmer" lifting a drum, but their veracity and that of the practice as being standard is not documented.
A daily direct flight called the "Trojan," flown by select C-54 crews, carried a minimum of five tons of highest priority materiel or passengers between Calcutta and Kunming, then brought back critically wounded patients or aircraft engines needing overhaul. Each base was assigned both daily and monthly tonnage quotas to move over the Hump based on the type of aircraft it operated and its distance from the "Chinaside" airfields, as the crews referred to their destinations. Tunner immediately reinstituted military standards of dress, decorum (including inspections and parades), and behavior that had become slack in the previous year, for which he earned the nickname "Willie the Whip."

In Tunner's first month of command, although the ICD delivered 22,314 tons to China, it still incurred an accident rate of .682 per thousand hours of flight. By January 1945, Tunner's division had 249 aircraft and 17,000 personnel. It delivered more than 44,000 tons of cargo and passengers to China that month at an aircraft availability rate of 75%, but also incurred 23 fatal crashes with 36 crewmen killed. On January 6, a particularly fierce winter storm blew across the Himalayas from west to east, increasing the time of westbound trips by one hour, and caused 14 CNAC and ATC transports to be lost or written off, with 42 crewmen missing, the highest one-day loss of the operation. The accident toll increased in the two months that followed, with 69 planes lost and 95 crewmen killed.

To combat losses due to mechanical failure, in February 1945 Tunner introduced a maintenance program termed Production Line Maintenance. PLM consisted of having each aircraft due for 50- or 200-hour maintenance towed through five to seven maintenance stations, depending on whether or not an engine change was required. Each station had a fresh maintenance crew trained for a specific service task, including engine run up, inspections, cleaning, technical repair, and servicing, a process that took nearly a full 24-hour day per aircraft to complete. Each base specialized in only one type of aircraft to simplify the process. Despite initial resistance, PLM was successfully implemented throughout the division.PLM later became standard practice throughout the AAF.

Tunner also adopted two measures to reduce losses due to inexperience and crew fatigue. To accomplish the first, he appointed Lt. Col. Robert D. "Red" Forman as division training officer to oversee both stringent training and a flying safety program led by Capt. Arthur Norden. After March 15, 1945, the program intensified when Major John J. Murdock, Jr., took over the position of division flying safety officer. Tunner also altered the personnel rotation policy of the ICD-ATC, which he saw as a major contributor to crew fatigue. Before Tunner took command, pilot tours were set at 650 flight hours over the hump, which many pilots abused by flying daily to rotate back to the United States in as few as four months. As a result the division flight surgeon reported that half of all crewmen suffered from operational fatigue. Effective March 1, 1945, Tunner increased the number of flight hours required to 750, and dictated that all personnel had to be in theater twelve months to be eligible for rotation, which discouraged over-scheduling.

Under Tunner, the India-China Division expanded to four wings in December 1944. The expansion was necessary to control the multiplicity of AAF Base Units created as more airfields were opened.ICD was in charge of 60 AAF base units at some point between December 1943 and December 1945. In addition to the Assam and India Wings, ICD-ATC added the Bengal Wing, headquartered at Chabua, to control C-54 operations, and the China Wing at Kunming. Tunner shifted his veteran commanders to provide leadership to the new wings. Cannon switched to the Bengal Wing, while Col. Richard F. Bromiley moved from the India Wing to the China Wing. Col. George D. "Lonnie" Campbell, Jr. succeeded to command of the Assam Wing.

In July 1945, the last full month of operations, 662 aircraft of the Hump airlift delivered 71,042 tons, the airlift's maximum monthly tonnage. Of the aircraft, 332 were ICD-ATC transports, but 261 were from AAF units whose combat mission had ended and were temporarily assigned to the airlift.The 7th and 308th Bomb Groups and 443rd Troop Carrier Group operated from India, while the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Combat Cargo Groups were based at Myitkyina. These groups carried more than 20,000 tons in July and 11,000 tons in August. . An average of 332 flights to China was scheduled daily. The India China Division ATC had 34,000 USAAF personnel assigned, and including indigenous civilians of all nationalities employed in India, Burma, and China, 84,000 persons overall. It boasted an aircraft availability rate of more than 85%. ICD suffered 23 major accidents in July, with 37 crewmen killed, but the Hump accident rate declined to .358 aircraft per thousand hours of flight.

On August 1, 1945, to celebrate "Air Force Day",Histories (including ) refer to "Army Air Forces Day", but contemporary documents including the Hump Express consistently call it "Air Force Day". ICD-ATC laid on its largest mission of the airlift. Tunner wrote that ICD flew 1,118 round-trip sorties, averaging two per aircraft, and one C-54 logged three round trips in 22¼ hours of operations. 5,327 tons were delivered in one day without fatality, and with no major accidents.However one accident did occur when a C-46 made a wheels-up landing. Whether or not Tunner considered this a major accident is unknown. C-87s and C-109s carried 15% of the tonnage without mishap. Before the month ended, nearly 50,000 more tons were delivered. Eight major accidents resulted in only 11 deaths, at a rate of one death for every 2,925 trips (1/18 of what it had been in January 1944). The major accident rate of only 0.18 aircraft lost per 1000 hours was one-third of what it had been when Tunner took command, and one-eighth of that of January 1944.

He considered ICD-ATC's safety record to be his greatest achievement. In his memoir Over the Hump, Tunner wrote:

"If the high accident rate of 1943 and early 1944 had continued, along with the great increase in tonnage delivered and hours flown, America would have lost not 20 planes that month but 292, with a loss of life that would have shocked the world."

Tunner commanded the division until November 10, 1945. The deputy commander of ICD-ATC and prior commander of the Assam Wing, Brig. Gen. Charles W. Lawrence, briefly commanded the division before it was disbanded on November 15, 1945.

Operations on the low hump and in China

The first diversion of India-China Wing resources to operations in the region other than the Hump airlift began in February 1944. The Japanese attack in Arakan
Rakhine State
Rakhine State is a Burmese state. Situated on the western coast, it is bordered by Chin State in the north, Magway Region, Bago Region and Ayeyarwady Region in the east, the Bay of Bengal to the west, and the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh to the northwest. It is located approximately between...

, followed by the threat to Imphal
Imphal is the capital of the Indian state of Manipur.In the heart of the town and surrounded by a moat, are ruins of the old Palace of Kangla. Kangla Fort used to be the home of the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force and on November 2004 it was handed over to state of Manipur by Prime minister Dr....

 in March, resulted in assistance to the British that Hardin estimated reduced hump deliveries by 2,500 tons. The crisis occasioned by the Japanese attack on Imphal led Admiral Louis 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...

, the commander-in-chief of the Allied 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:...

, to request 38 C-47 aircraft to reinforce Imphal. Supposedly, not even Mountbatten could divert planes from the Hump,ICW-ATC's chain of command did not go through the theater commander but directly to Washington D.C. but he was backed up by two of the principal American commanders in the theater (Major General Daniel I. 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....

, the deputy commander of the CBI Theater
China Burma India Theater of World War II
China Burma India Theater was the name used by the United States Army for its forces operating in conjunction with British and Chinese Allied air and land forces in China, Burma, and India during World War II...

 and 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:...

 of the Eastern Air Command (EAC), Air Commander for Mountbatten and air advisor to Stillwell).Stratemeyer had been ordered to the CBI more or less as an ambassador at large to handle just such problems. After the request was approved, ICW-ATC provided 25 C-46s as the equivalent of 38 C-47s.Taylor writes that the British originally wanted 63 C-47s. After review by Gen. William D. Old and Air Marshal 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:...

, the recommended figure was 38, which was agreed to by Lt. Gen. William J. Slim
William Slim, 1st Viscount Slim
Field Marshal William Joseph "Bill"'Slim, 1st Viscount Slim, KG, GCB, GCMG, GCVO, GBE, DSO, MC, KStJ was a British military commander and the 13th Governor-General of Australia....

. The EAC chief of staff, USAAF Brig. Gen. Charles B. Stone
Charles B. Stone III
Lieutenant General Charles Bertody Stone III was an officer in the US Air Force.Stone was born in Fort McPherson, Georgia.-Early career:...

, then concluded 30 was sufficient. Mountbatten changed it back to 38 for the formal request to the U.S. 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...

They were attached to the EAC Troop Carrier Command (commanded by Brig. Gen. William Old, who had flown the first Hump mission in 1942) to support the British and were used to fly the personnel and light equipment of the 5th Indian Division to Imphal and Dimapur
Dimapur in Nagaland is bounded by Kohima district on the south and east, Karbi Anglong district of Assam on the West, the Karbi Anglong and stretch of Golaghat District of Assam, in the west and the north...

, where it arrived in time to thwart the Japanese offensive.

The next month, to reinforce Stillwell's planned offensive into Burma, the ICW-ATC flew 18,000 Chinese troops west across the Hump to Sookerating, which resulted in a net reduction of another 1,500 tons.

However, the capture in May 1944 of Myitkyina airfield by American and Chinese troops of Stillwell's command deprived the Japanese of their principal fighter airfield threatening Allied aircraft flying the Hump. The field immediately became an emergency landing strip for Allied aircraft even though fighting continued in the nearby town until August 1944. Its capture also opened regular use of a second, more direct airlift route, designated Route Baker but unofficially dubbed the "Low Hump", by Douglas C-54 Skymaster
C-54 Skymaster
The Douglas C-54 Skymaster was a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces and British forces in World War II and the Korean War. Besides transport of cargo, it also carried presidents, British heads of government, and military staff...

 four-engined transports, which had ceiling limitations that precluded flying Route Able (the High Hump).

In October 1944, after Gen. Tunner took command of the India-China Division of Air Transport Command, increased numbers of C-54s, sometimes escorted by Allied fighters based at Myitkyina, greatly increased tonnage levels flown to China from India. The C-54, which could at ten tons carry five times the cargo load of the C-47 and twice that of the C-46, replaced both twin-engined transports as the primary lifter of the operation. The expansion of bases resulted in the formation of eastbound Routes Easy, Fox, Love, Nan, and Oboe, and of westbound Route King.

China operations

From June 1944 to January 1945, the India China Division was tasked with supporting 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...

, the B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

 strategic bombing campaign against Japan from bases
Qionglai Air Base
Qionglai Air Base is a People's Liberation Army Air Force located west of the city of Chengdu, the capital of the province of Sichuan in Southwestern China...

 around Chengdu
Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

 in central China. B-29s stripped of guns and other equipment and fitted with four bomb bay tanks hauled their own fuel, but ATC aircraft also moved nearly 30,000 tons to Chengdu before 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:...

 abandoned its China bases and returned to India. During the last three months of bombing operations from China, ICD supplied all of XX Bomber Command's materiel except bombs, which B-29s toted over the mountains in "reverse hump" missions. Lt.Col. Robert S. McNamara created a statistical control section to create adjustable schedules that tracked the variables of gross and net loads, aircraft availability, and loading/unloading time requirements.

50 C-47s were permanently based Chinaside after October 1944 to assist the lift and remained for internal missions. Most of the remaining C-47s were eventually sent to bases in Burma and continued Hump missions over the lower routes. They proved their continuing usefulness by playing prominent roles in various support missions within China in 1944 and 1945.

Arnold originally envisioned Matterhorn operations being supplied by hundreds of C-109s (see Transport shortcomings below) and by its own "air transport service". To accomplish the latter, three special mission C-46 squadrons were created in early 1944 under the code name "Moby Dick" to carry out fuel operations for XX Bomber Command. Designated the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Transport Squadrons (Mobile), each was a self-contained unit of twenty C-46s, flight crews, maintenance and engineering specialists, and a full complement of station operation personnel. They arrived in the CBI in June 1944, with the 1st and 2nd ATS assigned to the ICD-ATC base at Kalaikunda, India, and the 3rd ATS sent to Kunming. When ATC reorganized on August 1, the MATS squadrons maintained a separate identity from the newly-created AAF Base Units, but each flew hundreds of Hump missions, primarily delivering aviation fuel. Because Hump operations were of extraordinary length from Kalaikunda—requiring an intermediate stop at Jorhat—the squadrons were made part of ICD-ATC when XX Bomber Command began to reduce its operations in November 1944. On October 30, the 2nd ATS was moved to Dergaon, Bengal, and later to Luliang, China, where it was disbanded in June 1945 and became Squadron B, 1343rd AAF Base Unit.

Operation Grubworm

Between December 5, 1944, and January 5, 1945, C-46s and crews were attached to the Tenth Air Force to augment "Operation Grubworm".The operation was planned as "Operation Glow Worm", but changed when Tenth Air Force Col. S.D. Grubbs was placed in charge. This was the relocation of the 14th and 22nd Chinese Divisions, located in reserve on the Stillwell 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...

 near Myitkyina, to bases around Kunming. Chiang and China Theater commander Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer proposed to the Combined Chiefs of Staff
Combined Chiefs of Staff
The Combined Chiefs of Staff was the supreme military command for the western Allies during World War II. It was a body constituted from the British Chiefs of Staff Committee and the American Joint Chiefs of Staff....

, over the objections of Mountbatten, to relocate the divisions to counter a Japanese offensive to capture the Kunming airfields. The operation was approved with the proviso that it not strain Tenth Air Force's extensive air transport system supplying Allied ground operations in Burma. IDC-ATC provided the C-46s of the mobile air transport squadrons and all of its China Wing C-47s to provide the necessary augmentation.The China Wing C-47s were assigned to haul newly trained Chinese troops from North China to Yunnan Province .

The 2nd ATS moved in entirety from its base at Dergaon to Luliang Field, China, completing the deployment by December 13. The 1st ATS operated from Ledo, and ICD's 1348th AAF Base Unit at Myitkyina South airfield coordinated the entire operation and provided the staging base for refueling all transports. The C-46s moved the 14th Division from five airfields in Burma, including a field at Nansin whose construction was completed December 4. Takeoffs there were subject to artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 and sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

 fire. The 1348th Base Unit scheduled operations 24 hours a day and in bad weather, although the operation was suspended between December 16 and 22 when the situation in China seemed improved. Of the six pick-up fields, only Myitkyina South was capable of night operations, and troop carrier C-47s were used to shuttle troops there during the day for ICD-ATC aircraft to fly over the Hump at night.

The mobile air transport squadrons were familiar with the Burma airfields and so were selected to fly the operation. Showing unusual flexibility in planning, the 1348th Base Unit quartered incoming troops near airfields, supplied them, monitored the availability of aircraft and crews, divided the troops into planeloads, and kept Chinese units and their materiel intact. Briefings and fuelings were conducted at Myitkyina South, the planes flew to their pickup fields and loaded, and then flew back to Myitkyina South for a final refueling before flying on to China. The 1348th Base Unit control tower performed all air traffic control
Air traffic control
Air traffic control is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other...

 of aircraft to and from China.

Grubworm lifted 25,009 Chinese troops, 396 Americans, 1,596 draft animals, 42 jeeps and 144 pieces of artillery in 24 days of flying. ICD-ATC crews provided 597 of the 1328 sorties of the operation. Although three C-47s were lost during the operation, ICD-ATC had no losses.2nd ATS did have a C-46 go missing on a regular Hump mission on December 16. When the Japanese offensive shifted to seize the Fourteenth Air Force bases at Suichwan
Suichuan County
Suichuan County is a county of Jiangxi province, People's Republic of China. It is under the jurisdiction of the prefecture-level city of Ji'an.-Economy:Suichan County is one of the largest producers of kumquats in China....

 and Kanchow
Ganzhou is a prefecture-level city in southern Jiangxi province, People's Republic of China. Its administrative seat is at Zhanggong .-History:...

, the 2nd ATS evacuated the bases in a single day on January 22.

Between March and May 1945, the ICD-ATC carried the first American combat troops into China when it redeployed the brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

-sized MARS Task Force
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...

 from Burma. In April, 50 C-47s and 30 C-46s of the ICDThe C-47s were those internally based in China. conducted "Operation Rooster", transporting both divisions of the Chinese 6th Army from Kunming, where they had been delivered by "Grubworm", to Chihkiang
Zhijiang Dong Autonomous County
Zhijiang Dong Autonomous County is a county of Hunan, China. It is under the administration of Huaihua city.-References:*...

 in the western Hsiang valley to reinforce the defense of the 14th AF base there. ICD-ATC flew 1,648 sorties, delivering 25,136 troops; 2,178 horses; and 1,565 tons of materiel; for a total of 5,523 tons. 369 tons of aviation gasoline was also carried to Chihkiang for 14th AF use.

Building a capability

The task facing the Tenth Air Force of creating an airlift was daunting at minimum, emphasizing all that the Army Air Forces lacked in April 1942: no units tasked for moving cargo, no experience in organized airlift by the AAF or its predecessor Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

, and no airfields for basing units. In addition, flying in the region was made more difficult by a lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids, and a dearth of weather data.

In 1942 Chiang Kai-shek insisted that at least 7,500 tons per month were needed to keep his field divisions in operation, but this figure proved unattainable for the first fifteen months of the Hump airlift. The 7,500 total was first exceeded in August 1943, by which time objectives had been increased to 10,000 tons a month. Ultimately monthly requirements surpassed 50,000 tons.

Slowly, however, an airlift of unprecedented scale began to take shape. Construction of four new bases was begun in 1942, and by 1944 the operation flew from six all-weather airfields in Assam. During July 1945, the air corridor from India began at the thirteen airfields strung out along Northeast Indian Railways
Northeast Indian Railways during World War II
The efficient running of the Northeast Indian Railways during World War II became critical to the success of the Allied war effort in the South-East Asian Theatre....

 section of the Brahmaputra valley, with eight in Assam, four in the Bengal valley
Meghna River
The Meghna River is an important river in Bangladesh, one of the three that forms the Ganges Delta, the largest on earth fanning out to the Bay of Bengal. Being a part of the Surma-Meghna River System, Meghna is formed inside Bangladesh by the joining of different rivers originaing from the hilly...

, and one near Calcutta.The thirteen Hump bases were the C-54/C-46 base at Chabua
Chabua is a town and a town area committee in Dibrugarh district in the state of Assam, India.-Geography:Chabua is located at . It has an average elevation of 106 metres .-Demographics:...

 (1333rd Base Unit); the C-46 bases Tezpur
Tezpur is a city and the administrative headquarters and municipal board of Sonitpur district in the state of Assam in northeastern India. Tezpur is an ancient city on the banks of the river Brahmaputra and is the largest of the north bank towns with a population exceeding 100,000...

 (1327th BU), Misamari (1328th BU), Moran (1331st BU), Mohanbari (1332nd BU), and Sookerating (1337th BU); and the C-87/C-109 bases Jorhat
Jorhat is a city of Assam in India. Jorhat was established as a new capital in the closing years of the 18th century by the declining Tunkhungia Ahom Dynasty. Jorhat, as the name signifies, was just a couple of markets . Two parallel markets namely, Chowkihat and Macharhat, lay on the eastern...

 (1330th BU), Shamshernagar (1347th BU), and Kalaikunda (1355th BU) in India; and the C-54 bases Tezgaon
Tejgaon Thana
Tejgaon is a Thana of Dhaka District in the Division of Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is a large area in the centre of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. This is an important area of Dhaka city as prime minister's office is located here. It is bounded by Mohakhali to the north, Old Airport Road to the east...

 (1346th BU), Kurmitola (1345th BU), Lalmanirhat (1326th BU) in Bangladesh, and Barrackpore
Barrackpore or Barrackpur is headquarters of Barrackpore subdivision in North 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The town was a military and administrative center under British rule, and was the scene of several acts of rebellion against Britain during the 19th century...

 (1304th BU) near Kolkata in India.
and terminated at six Chinaside airfields around Kunming.Yunnanyi (1338th BU), Kunming (1340th BU), Yangkai (1341st BU), Chanyi (1342nd BU), Luliang (1343rd BU), and Loping (1359th BU). As many as ten airfields near Kunming and Chengdu served as China terminals when the B-29 XX Bomber Command was in operation.

Through July 1944 the flight corridor for The Hump was fifty miles wide with a highly restrictive vertical clearance. As bases expanded and the Low Hump route came into use, the corridor widened to 200 miles (321.9 km) and 25 charted routes, with a vertical clearance of 10,000—25,000 MSL in the south, permitting highly congested but controlled operations at all hours.

Transport shortcomings

A critical problem proved to be finding a cargo aircraft capable of carrying heavy payloads at the high altitudes required, and four types were eventually used in the airlift: C-47 and variants, C-46, C-87/C-109, and C-54.

Initially, the Hump was flown with the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and its related variants, the C-39
Douglas DC-2
The Douglas DC-2 was a 14-seat, twin-engine airliner produced by the American company Douglas Aircraft Corporation starting in 1934. It competed with the Boeing 247...

, C-53, and civilian DC-3 (converted to carry cargo). However, the performance specifications of the Douglas transports were not suited to high-altitude operation with heavy payloads, and could not normally reach an altitude sufficient to clear the mountainous terrain, forcing the planes to attempt a highly dangerous route through the maze-like Himalayan passes.

The introduction in January 1943 of the Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express
C-87 Liberator Express
|-References:NotesBibliography* Andrade, John. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Hinckley, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9....

, a design modification of the B-24D
B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and a small number of early models were sold under the name LB-30, for Land Bomber...

 heavy bomber, boosted tonnage figures. Its high-altitude capability enabled it to surmount the lower mountains (15,000–16000 feet MSL) without resorting to the passes, but the type had a high accident rate and was unsuited to the airfields then in use. Despite the C-87's four engines, the aircraft climbed poorly with heavy loads, as did its bomber counterparts, and often crashed on takeoff if an engine was lost. Because of its slim Davis wing
Davis wing
The Davis wing is an aircraft wing planform that was used for some time on a variety of World War II aircraft, most notably a number of designs from Consolidated Aircraft, including the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Use of the Davis wing ended almost immediately after the end of the war, yet it...

, it also had a tendency to spin out of control when encountering even mild icing conditions over the mountains. One Hump pilot called the C-87 "an evil, bastard contraption...(that) could not carry enough ice to chill a highball."

Another transport variant, the C-109, was a B-24 converted to haul fuel. All combat equipment was removed and eight flexible bag fuel tanks were installed inside the fuselage to carry 2,900 U.S. gallons of high-octane aviation gasoline. Most of the 218 C-109 conversions were sent to the CBI beginning in mid-1944. Like the C-87, they were not popular with their crews, since they were very difficult to land when fully loaded, especially at airfields such as Kunming's above 6000 feet (1,828.8 m) in elevation, and often demonstrated unstable flight characteristics with full tanks. A crash landing of a loaded C-109 inevitably resulted in an explosion and crew fatalities, earning it the nickname "C-One-Oh-Boom".

The Curtiss C-46 Commando
C-46 Commando
The Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando was a transport aircraft originally derived from a commercial high-altitude airliner design. It was instead used as a military transport during World War II by the United States Army Air Forces as well as the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps under the designation R5C...

 began to fly Hump missions in May 1943. The C-46 was a large twin-engine aircraft capable of flying faster and higher than any previous twin-engine cargo aircraft, and was capable of carrying heavier loads than either the C-47 or the C-87. With the C-46, aircraft loads increased significantly the Hump reached 12,594 tons in December, 1943. Loads continued to increase throughout 1944 and 1945, reaching an all-time maximum tonnage in July, 1945. Performance of the Commando was enhanced when camouflage paint, standard on all USAAF aircraft until February 1944, was removed to reduce weight and provide five extra knots of speed. While becoming the workhorse of the Hump airlift, its frequent mechanical failures (in particular, a tendency to engine failure) resulted in such unflattering sobriquets as "Dumbo
Dumbo is a 1941 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released on October 23, 1941, by RKO Radio Pictures.The fourth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, Dumbo is based upon the storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl for the prototype of a...

" and "Plumber
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times, and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum." A person engaged in fixing metaphorical "leaks" may also be...

's Nightmare". When it first arrived in theater, the C-46 also required such extensive training of inexperienced crews, a transition school had to be established that drained the airlift of ten aircraft and crews. Worse, spare parts were in such scarce supply until the fall of 1943 that 26 of the first 68 C-46s sent were out of commission.

Flight hazards

Flying over the Hump proved to be an extremely hazardous undertaking for Allied flight crews. The air route wound its way into the high mountains and deep gorges between north Burma and west China
Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas
The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yunnan province, China.It lies within the drainage basins of the upper reaches of the Yangtze , Mekong and Salween rivers, in the Yunnanese section of the Hengduan Mountains.-Overview:-Geography:The protected...

, where violent turbulence, 125 to 200 mi/h winds, icing, and instrument weather conditions were a regular occurrence. From the beginning, a lack of experienced personnel and resources hampered the mission. In the first months of the operation, inexperienced supply officers often ordered planes loaded until they were "about full," heedless of gross weight limitations or center of gravity
Center of gravity
In physics, a center of gravity of a material body is a point that may be used for a summary description of gravitational interactions. In a uniform gravitational field, the center of mass serves as the center of gravity...

 placement. Lack of suitable navigational equipment, radio beacons, and inadequate numbers of trained personnel (there were never enough navigators for all the groups) continually affected airlift operations. While the airlift initially took advantage of reserve pilots who were experienced civilian airline transport pilots, most were just out of flight school or were single-engine rated with relatively little instrument time. In December 1942, one-third of the 102 technical sergeant
Technical Sergeant
Technical Sergeant is the name of one current and two former enlisted ranks in the United States military.-United States Air Force:Technical Sergeant, or Tech Sergeant, is the sixth enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, just above Staff Sergeant and below Master Sergeant. A technical sergeant is...

 (non-commissioned officer
Non-commissioned officer
A non-commissioned officer , called a sub-officer in some countries, is a military officer who has not been given a commission...

) pilot training graduates of the Lubbock Field
Reese Air Force Base
Reese Air Force Base was a base of the United States Air Force located 6 mi west of Lubbock, Texas, about 225 mi WNW of Fort Worth...

 Class 42-I were immediately sent to India to fly the Hump. Chinese pilots, while used to a variety of aircraft, also had little instrument flying experience, and most were unfamiliar with the large American transport aircraft used in the airlift.

Still, American and Chinese pilots often flew daily on round-trip flights, and around the clock. Some exhausted crews flew as many as three roundtrips every day, particularly during the Hardin rotation policy. Mechanics serviced planes in the open, using tarps to cover the engines during the frequent downpours, and suffered burns to exposed flesh from sun-heated bare metal. There were not enough mechanics or spare parts to go around during the first two years of operations; maintenance and engine overhauls were often deferred. Many overloaded planes crashed on takeoff after losing an engine or otherwise encountering mechanical trouble. Author and ATC pilot Ernest K. Gann
Ernest K. Gann
Ernest Kellogg Gann was an American aviator, author, filmmaker, sailor, fisherman and conservationist.-Early life:...

 recalled flying into Chabua and witnessing four separate air crashes in one day: two C-47s and two C-87s. Due to the isolation of the area, as well as the lower priority of the CBI theater, parts and supplies to keep planes flying were in short supply before the onset of the "Fireball", and flight crews were often sent into the Himalayan foothills to cannibalize aircraft parts from the numerous crash sites. At times, monthly aircraft losses totalled 50% of all aircraft then in service along the route. A byproduct of the numerous air crashes was a local boom in native wares made from aluminium crash debris.

In addition to losses from weather and mechanical failure, the unarmed and unescorted transport aircraft flying the Hump were occasionally attacked by Japanese fighters. While piloting a C-46 on one such mission, Lt. Wally A. Gayda returned fire in desperation against a fighter by pushing a Browning automatic rifle out the cockpit window and firing a full magazine, killing the Japanese pilot. Some C-87 pilots installed of a pair of forward-firing .50 caliber machine guns fuselage-mounted in front of the cargo doors of their aircraft, but there is no documented instance of their being used.

Search and rescue

The high number of losses resulted in the formation at Jorhat in July 1943 of one of the first search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 organizations, nicknamed "Blackie's Gang." A former test pilot
Test pilot
A test pilot is an aviator who flies new and modified aircraft in specific maneuvers, known as flight test techniques or FTTs, allowing the results to be measured and the design to be evaluated....

 and a Hump veteran, Capt. John L. "Blackie" Porter was given the assignment using C-47s borrowed from airlift units and crewed by a dozen former barnstormer
Barnstorming was a popular form of entertainment in the 1920s in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes, either individually or in groups called a flying circus. Barnstorming was the first major form of civil aviation in the history of flight...

s and enlisted personnel armed with submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

s and hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

s. "Blackie's Gang" accounted for virtually every crewman recovered in 1943, including CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 correspondent Eric Sevareid
Eric Sevareid
Arnold Eric Sevareid was a CBS news journalist from 1939 to 1977. He was one of a group of elite war correspondents—dubbed "Murrow's Boys"—because they were hired by pioneering CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow....

 and 19 others forced to parachute on August 2. The unit moved to Chabua on October 25 and was given official status, equipped with two C-47s and several L-5 Sentinel
L-5 Sentinel
The Stinson L-5 Sentinel was a World War II era liaison aircraft used by all branches of the U.S. military and by the British Royal Air Force. Along with the Stinson L-1 Vigilant, the L-5 was the only other American liaison aircraft of WWII that was purpose-built for military use and had no...

 liaison planes for rescue pickups. Porter recruited volunteer medic
Medic is a general term for a person involved in medicine, especially emergency or first-response medicine, such as an emergency medical technician, paramedic, or a military member trained in battlefield medicine. Also the term is used toward a Nurse in pre-hospital care and/or emergency...

s to parachute into crash sites to aid injured crewmen. In late November he added two B-25 Mitchell
B-25 Mitchell
The North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as many other air forces after the war ended, and saw service across four decades.The B-25 was named...

s that had been consigned to a salvage field to his small fleet. Porter was killed in action
Killed in action
Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

 on December 10, 1943, when his B-25 was set on fire by Japanese Zero fighters during a search mission and crashed at the Indian border trying to return to base.

When Tunner took command of ICD-ATC, he was dissatisfied with the existing search-and-rescue set-up, deeming it "a cowboy operation." He appointed the operations officer at Mohanbari, former Hump pilot Major Donald C. Pricer, to establish "a thoroughgoing and efficient search and rescue organization". Pricer's 90 men of the 1352nd AAF Base Unit (Search and Rescue) at Mohanbari used four B-25s, a C-47, and an L-5, painted yellow overall with blue wing bands for easy identification, to conduct the search missions. Pricer also charted all known crash sites to eliminate checking previous wrecks, and on occasion called upon a Sikorsky YR-4 helicopter
Sikorsky R-4
The Sikorsky R-4 was a two-place helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky with a single, three-bladed main rotor and powered by a radial engine. The R-4 was the world's first large-scale mass-produced helicopter and the first helicopter to enter service with the United States Army Air Forces, Navy, and...

 based at Myitkyina to assist in rescue missions.

The Hump Express, in its last edition on November 15, 1945, reported:
The unit has been responsible for all search and rescue work from Bhamo, in Burma, north as far as allied planes regularly fly. Roughly, its jurisdiction extended from Tezpur, India to Yunnanyi, China. Before organized search and rescue, crews had been lost for weeks, sometimes months. Stretches up to 90 days were not unknown in a country where jungle thickets and dizzy mountain trails made each hour a nightmare to the lost crews fighting their way out. But today, ICD's unique outfit probably would have made the story a trifle less stark. Aerial supply drops of maps and pertinent homing information would have made the walk-out perhaps less circuitous, while certainly the hardships would have been alleviated by air-dropped medical supplies, food and clothing. S & R members have parachuted to lost aircrews to furnish medical aid and walkout assistance. As a direct result of the unit's work, the percentage of saved personnel steadily mounted and with it the confidence and assurance of ICD flight crews.

Statistical summary of operations

ATC operations accounted for 685,304 gross tons of cargo carried eastbound during hostilities, including 392,362 tons of gasoline and oil, with nearly 60% of that total delivered in 1945. ATC aircraft made 156,977 trips eastbound between December 1, 1943, and August 31, 1945, losing 373 aircraft. Though supplemented by the opening of 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...

 network in January 1945 and by the recapture of Rangoon, the airlift's total tonnage of 650,000 net tons dwarfed that of the Ledo Road (147,000 tons). In addition to cargo, 33,400 persons were transported, in one or both directions.

CNAC pilots made a key contribution to Hump flight operations. During 1942 to 1945 the Chinese received 100 transport aircraft from the United States: 77 C-47s and 23 C-46s. Of the eventual 776,532 gross tons and approximately 650,000 net tons transported over the Hump, CNAC pilots accounted for 75,000 tons (about 12%). The Hump airlift continued beyond the end of the war. The final missions of the ICD-ATC, made after most of its attached organizations had departed, were the transporting of 47,000 U.S. personnel west over The Hump from China to Karachi for return to the United States.

The maximum aircraft strength of the India-China Division, ATC (July 31, 1945) was 640 aircraft: 230 C-46s, 167 C-47s, 132 C-54s, 67 C-87/C-109s, 33 B-25s, 10 L-5s, and 1 B-24.

Gen. Tunner's final report stated that the airlift "expended" 594 aircraft."Expended" includes a large number of transports written off ("Class 26 accident") as too expensive or too damaged to warrant repair. At least 468 American and 41 CNAC aircraft were known lost from all causes, with 1,314 air crewmen and passengers killed. In addition, 81 more aircraft were never accounted for, with their 345 personnel listed as missing. Another 1,200 personnel had been rescued or walked back to base on their own.

The final summary of logged flight time in the airlift totalled 1.5 million hours. The Hump ferrying operation was the largest and most extended strategic air bridge (in volume of cargo airlifted) in aviation history until exceeded in 1949 by the Berlin airlift, an operation also commanded by Gen. Tunner. Tunner, writing in Over the Hump, described the significance of the Hump Airlift:

"Once the airlift got underway, every drop of fuel, every weapon, and every round of ammunition, and 100 percent of such diverse supplies as carbon paper
Carbon paper
Carbon paper is paper coated on one side with a layer of a loosely bound dry ink or pigmented coating, usually bound with wax. It is used for making one or more copies simultaneous with the creation of an original document...

 and C rations, every such item used by American forces in China was flown in by airlift. Never in the history of transportation had any community been supplied such a large proportion of its needs by air, even in the heart of civilization over friendly terrain...After the Hump, those of us who had developed an expertise in air transportation knew that we could fly anything anywhere anytime."

Notable Hump airlift participants

  • Col. Robert L. Scott, Jr.
    Robert Lee Scott, Jr.
    Robert Lee Scott Jr. was a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force. Scott is best known for his autobiography God is My Co-Pilot about his exploits in World War II with the Flying Tigers and the United States Army Air Forces in China and Burma...

    , pilot and commanding officer
  • Col. Merian C. Cooper
    Merian C. Cooper
    Merian Caldwell Cooper was an American aviator, United States Air Force and Polish Air Force officer, adventurer, screenwriter, and film director and producer. His most famous film was the 1933 movie King Kong.-Early life:...

     (movie producer), liaison officer
  • Lt. Col. Robert S. McNamara (corporate executive), scheduling analyst for "Reverse Hump" operations
  • Capt. Ernest K. Gann
    Ernest K. Gann
    Ernest Kellogg Gann was an American aviator, author, filmmaker, sailor, fisherman and conservationist.-Early life:...

     (author), C-46 pilot
  • Capt. Larry Clinton
    Larry Clinton
    Larry Clinton was a trumpeter who became a prominent American bandleader.-Biography:Clinton was born in Brooklyn, New York. He became a versatile musician, capable of playing trumpet, trombone, and clarinet...

     (band leader), flight instructor 1343rd Base Unit
  • 2d Lt. Theodore F. Stevens
    Ted Stevens
    Theodore Fulton "Ted" Stevens, Sr. was a United States Senator from Alaska, serving from December 24, 1968, until January 3, 2009, and thus the longest-serving Republican senator in history...

     (U.S. senator), C-47/C-46 pilot
  • 2d Lt. George Olesen
    George Olesen
    George Olesen is best known for his work as a penciller on popular comic strip The Phantom. He worked with the character for around 40 years, although he did not get any official credit for it until penciler Sy Barry retired and Keith Williams took over as the new inker...

     (cartoonist), B-24 pilot 7th Bomb Group
  • Lt. Bruce Sundlun
    Bruce Sundlun
    Bruce Sundlun was an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as 71st Governor of Rhode Island from 1991 to 1995. He was Rhode Island's second Jewish governor, and the only Jewish governor in the United States during his two terms...

     (Rhode Island governor), C-54 pilot
  • Flt/Off. Gene Autry
    Gene Autry
    Orvon Grover Autry , better known as Gene Autry, was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s...

     (television and movie star), C-109 pilot
  • T/Sgt. Tony Martin (entertainer)
    Tony Martin (entertainer)
    Tony Martin is an American actor and singer.-Career:Tony Martin was born on Christmas Day, 1913 as Alvin Morris in San Francisco, California to Jewish immigrant parents. He received a saxophone as a gift from his grandmother at the age of ten. In his grammar school glee club, he became an...

    , Special Services performer
  • S/Sgt. Leonard Pennario
    Leonard Pennario
    Leonard Pennario was an American classical pianist and composer.He was born in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Los Angeles, attending Los Angeles High School remaining in L.A. for his entire career. He first came to notice when he performed Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto at age 12, with the...

     (concert pianist), recruited to Martin's troupe
  • Captain Frank Kingdon-Ward
    Frank Kingdon-Ward
    Francis Kingdon-Ward, born Francis Kingdon Ward was an English botanist, explorer, plant collector and author. He published most of his books as Frank Kingdon-Ward and this hyphenated form of his name stuck, becoming the surname of his wives and two daughters...

     (botanist), British soldier recruited to locate crash sites

See also

  • Fort Hertz
    Fort Hertz
    Fort Hertz was a remote British Military outpost in northeastern Burma in the district of Putao in what is now the Kachin State near the present town of Putao. It was named after William Axel Hertz...

     covered an airstrip in Northern Burma which served as an emergency landing ground for planes flying the Hump.
  • South-East Asian Theatre of World War II
    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,...

External links

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