Remembering the Forgotten Theater of World War II
A Tribute To My Dad
This site was created as a tribute to my Dad and his service in the China-Burma-India Theater of World War II. It tells the story of his three years in the U.S. Army including the 2½ years he spent in CBI. Photos Dad brought back are used to tell the story and the site contains all his CBI memorabilia, including his Army service documents. Also included is a brief history of the China-Burma-India Theater and information about General Stilwell, Merrill's Marauders, the Services Of Supply, etc.
The Ledo Road
Searching for information on the internet, I could not find a single comprehensive site that told the story of the building of the Ledo Road. In fact, many searches for "Ledo Road" resulted in "see Burma Road." I set about to build a site about the road that told the story in words and images. This site is a result of that effort and to this best of my knowledge it is the most complete site about the Ledo Road. It features over 300 images of the Ledo Road and related subjects, as well as engineer and convoy stories.
LIFE - The Ledo Road
Famous for its pictures from around the world, LIFE during the Second World War featured many photographs from different theaters. This page contains the pictorial from the August 14, 1944 issue featuring "The Ledo Road." At the time the pictures were taken and the story written, the road was not complete, not yet having reached Myitkyina.
The Ledo Road and other verses from China-Burma-India
Smith Dawless wrote what is widely recognized as the best soldier-written verse of World War II. Conversation Piece, about the building of the Ledo Road, was so closely associated with the road that it took its name and was often titled The Ledo Road. While serving in CBI, Sergeant Dawless also wrote many other verses about the experiences of a soldier in India and Burma. He published his works in The Ledo Road and other verses from China-Burma-India. All his verses are presented on this page, dedicated to Smith Dawless and his special insight into CBI.
Stilwell Road - Story of the Ledo Lifeline
This booklet was prepared by the Information and Education Division of the India-Burma Theater. It was intended to familiarize truck drivers new to the theater with the Stilwell Road. The page contains images from the original booklet as well as the complete text from it. It tells the story of the building of the Stilwell Road written by U.S. Army personnel in 1945.
YANK's Magic Carpet
A souvenir booklet specially prepared for U.S. Army personnel in China, Burma and India. Magic Carpet was the name given to the operation intended to quickly return U.S. personnel to the United States as the war ended. This page contains images from the original booklet as well as the complete text contained in it.
Nick Sanchez Walkout Diary
On July 25, 1945, S/Sgt Nick Sanchez was radio operator on a Combat Cargo flight over China. An engine fire forced the crew to bail out over China. Separated from the rest of the crew, Nick spent 17 days walking out of China back to an American base. During this time he wrote a diary in the Survival Guide he carried with him. This site contains all the pages from his walkout diary and links to the text version at the Combat Cargo site.
The Pointie Talkie was a booklet to be used as a communication device between American soldiers and the Chinese people. It used English words and Chinese characters side-by-side to allow the soldier to communicate by pointing to the Chinese phrase or word and then having the Chinese point to a reply. This page explains its use and shows sample of pages from a Pointie Talkie used in CBI.
Vinegar Joe Stilwell
Stylized image and story of General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell from a World War II historical trading card series.
Stilwell: The GIs' Favorite
This article, from the October 6, 1944 issue of YANK - The Army Weekly, contains pictures and a story about "Uncle Joe" Stilwell by YANK writer Ed Cunningham. Also featured is the cover photo of GI Sgt. Earl Rivard with "Souvenirs from Burma."
LIFE's Reports: "U.S. General Stilwell Commands Chinese on Burma Front" by Clare Boothe. This short story preceded Burma Mission by two months. Clare Boothe writes of the worsening situation in Burma in April 1942.
This story from the June 15 and 22, 1942 issues of LIFE is by Clare Boothe. Later and probably better known as Clare Boothe Luce, she was a wartime correspondent for LIFE and traveled extensively to many theaters, including CBI. The story was excerpted from her diary and tells of her experiences with General Stilwell, his staff, and other U.S. forces in Burma. One month after the articles were published, Stilwell's forces took "a hell of a beating" and he lead the famous walk out of Burma.
Stilwell's Flight from Burma
A report from This Week's Events in the August 10, 1942 issue of LIFE magazine featuring a story and pictures of General Stilwell and his party on the 140 mile, 20 day walk out of Burma.
The War In Burma
A pictorial from This Week's Events in the April 10, 1944 issue of LIFE magazine. Photographs by William Vandivert feature General Stilwell and his Chinese troops during the Hukawng Valley campaign. Three-quarters of a mile from Maingkwan in northern Burma, the horrors of war were captured in photos, along what would become the route of the Ledo Road.
YANK - China-Burma-India Edition
A five-part compilation of stories and features from China-Burma-India editions of YANK - The Army Weekly. Published weekly from June 1942 through December 1945, YANK was popular for its war stories, news from home, cartoons and its full-page pin-up girl (the reason many of these magazines did not survive intact).
Clearing the Burma Road
A story from YANK - The Army Weekly. This story on the Burma Road comes from the March 17, 1945 China-Burma-India edition. The text is exactly as it was written in the original story and images are of the original pictures.
Another page containing a story from YANK - The Army Weekly. This one contains short sidelights from a YANK writer traveling with the first convoy over the "Ledo-Burma Road." The first paragraph describes the confusion over what to call the road, as the name "Stilwell Road" had just been announced by Chiang Kai-shek.
Joe Stilwell's War
The pictorial from the April 17, 1944 issue of LIFE featuring General Stilwell's Chinese troops in action in the Hukawng and Mogaung River valleys of northern Burma during late 1943.
Elephants at War
From LIFE's Reports in the April 10, 1944 issue, a story about "Elephant Bill" and the big beasts that worked for the Allied armies in Burma.
YANK's Dave Richardson
A short story tribute to YANK correspondent Dave Richardson in the CBI Theater. Thought to be the most decorated correspondent soldier of World War II, he was known for becoming an active fighting part of the unit he was covering. Stories he wrote are featured on Clearing the Burma Road, Convoy Sidelights and Rangoon Jump pages.
Chennault Fights to Hold the China Front
A Close-Up article on General Claire Chennault and his new air forces in China from the August 10, 1942 issue of LIFE magazine. The article was written following the disbandment of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) as they adjusted to Regular Army service.
A Pocket Guide to China
The War Department prepared booklets to help familiarize U.S. soldiers with the country in which they served or might serve. They give interesting insight into the subject country as well as America during the Second World War. While most of the subjects are serious, some are unintentionally funny. They are interesting to read. This page is based on the original booklet, "A Pocket Guide to China."
A Pocket Guide to Burma
This page is based on the original booklet, "A Pocket Guide to Burma." The booklet describes Burma, her people, and how to get along while in the country.
A Pocket Guide to India
This page is based on the original booklet, "A Pocket Guide to India." The booklet describes India, her people, and how to get along while in the country. Includes interesting explanations of the caste system and religions.
Chinese Language Phrase Book
This site features the introduction, instructions, and example pages from an original "Chinese Language Phrase Book" issued December 1943 by the War Department, Washington, D.C. and intended for soldiers in the CBI Theater. Common phrases which might be used by a soldier attempting to communicate, were followed by pronunciation instructions to speak the phrase in Chinese.
BOO~OO YOW! / KUH! chee.
Illustrations from Cantonese Language Guide
This page features the comic images used to illustrate the various Language and Phrase Books issued by the War Department for use in CBI. Images on this page are from the "Cantonese Language Guide."
Interesting images and instructions from a U.S. Army Air Force Survival Guide used in the CBI Theater. This is not the complete manual, but images and text about jungle survival as related to flyers who may have bailed out or crash landed during missions over CBI.
Red Cross Guide Book to India
Based on the original booklet, "A Guide Book to Calcutta, Agra, Delhi, Karachi, and Bombay," published by the Red Cross of the China-Burma-India Command. An interesting look at major Indian cities during World War II. Includes maps and directories of points of interest.
Confusion Beyond Imagination: Ledo Road Signs
Soldiers in the CBI Theater were familiar with Confusion Beyond Imagination, an alternate definition for the initials CBI. This page explores some of that confusion displayed on signs along the Ledo Road including one at the ceremonial junction of the Ledo and Burma Roads.
"We are now in this war. We are in it all the way. Every single man, woman and child is a partner in the most tremendous undertaking of our American history." Those words spoken by President Roosevelt on December 9, 1941, were embodied in advertising during the war. Just about every magazine ad featured, or at least made reference to, the war. This site features CBI Theater-related and other interesting printed advertisements.
LIFE Goes Over the Stilwell Road
A pictorial from the March 12, 1945 issue of LIFE magazine featuring the first convoy over the Stilwell Road arriving in Kunming, China.
A pictorial from This Week's Events in the February 12, 1945 issue of LIFE magazine. Subtitled "The first truck convoy since 1942 reaches China over new road," it contains scenes of the first convoy in the Myitkyina area (only about ¼ the way to China). Correspondent's stories and pictures took two weeks or more to reach the States. The article was published one week after the first convoy reached China. The latest available pictures therefore, were of the convoy at Myitkyina, from two weeks before.
Hospital Units in CBI
A list of hospital units in the CBI Theater and story of Army nurses in CBI. Includes some personal histories of China-Burma-India Veterans Association (CBIVA) member nurses.
LIFE Photographer in Burma
Photos by LIFE photographer George Rodger from 1942 Burma. Most of the photos are of Rodger's own escape from Burma by jeep and then by foot, ahead of the advancing Japanese.
Another of the adventures of YANK correspondent Dave Richardson. This time he is with British and Ghurka paratroops on a mission behind enemy lines to clear the way for the sea-borne invasion of Rangoon.
Yanks in India
A short pictorial from a January 23, 1943 edition of Yank - The Army Weekly. "Of the men who bomb Rangoon" and "a transport's flight Over the Hump."
The Longest Pipeline in the World
A pictorial from the December 8, 1945 CBI Edition of YANK - The Army Weekly featuring "The Longest Pipeline in the World" which ran from Calcutta, India, all the way to Kunming, China. Carrying fuel for trucks on Stilwell Road and planes flying missions against Japan, it was maintained by Engineer Petroleum Distribution (EPD) Companies. Tom Foltz, a member of the 789th E.P.D., provided the magazine on which this page is based. A short story from Tom is included.
Fuel For Freedom
The story of the Assam-Burma-China section of the pipeline that ran 1,800 miles from the docks of Calcutta to the Stilwell Road and air bases in China. This page was created using the original text document. Pipeline related images from various sources have been added to illustrate the original text. Leo (Sapienza) Leonhart, son of S/Sgt. Leo H. Sapienza of the 1381st EPD, provided the material on which this page is based.
The Stilwell Pages
General Joseph W. Stilwell in the China-Burma-India Theater. Stories, pictures and links to other sites about General Stilwell. Large slide show presentation of images of General Stilwell.
Overseas Anniversary Banquet
Bud Osborn organized a Two Years Overseas Anniversary Banquet for his outfit, the 3rd Squadron, 1st Ferrying Group, Air Transport Command at Chabua, Assam, India. This page contains the story of the party as well as Bud's original artwork from the banquet program.
Burma Road Closed
A report from This Week's Events in the July 29, 1940 issue of LIFE magazine on Japan's effort to strengthen the blockade of China by closing the Burma Road. The British, attempting to appease Japan, agreed to close the road for up to three months. The French had already closed their Indo-China Road, leaving Soviet Russia the sole route for supplies to China. Also included is a survey about the war titled "What the U.S.A. Thinks"
LIFE Checks Up on the Burma Road
When President Roosevelt needed an expert to go to China and check up on Lend-Lease supplies moving over the Burma Road, Harry Hopkins called ex-taxi driver Dan Arnstein for the job. Arnstein wrote this Life's Report which appeared in the October 6, 1941 issue. This article, published just two months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, details the problems he and his party found.
Pin-Up Girls of YANK
Pin-Up Girls from the pages of YANK - The Army Weekly. While only a few actually visited China, Burma, or India, they all served in the CBI Theater. No doubt many a basha wall was brightened by at least a few of these ladies. Would anyone dispute their contribution to the war effort?
One Pilot's Journey
Bob Thompson has preserved an incredible amount of information about his service in the U.S. Army Air Force in the CBI Theater during World War II. His collection of photographs, memorabilia and stories is contained on a CD-ROM that Bob makes available for educational and historical purposes. This site provides but a glimpse of that history by bringing you Bob's stories, illustrated with images from his collection.
Under Siege at Myitkyina
The Allied capture of Myitkyina Airstrip began a 79-day siege for the town of Myitkyina. Correspondents covering the battle sought refuge under the wing of a disabled C-47. LIFE's Bernie Hoffman captured a photo of the correspondents and Tillman Durdin of the New York Times tells the story. David Quaid, Army combat photographer, looks back and comments on "Press Headquarters" at Myitkyina Airstrip.
Opening the Back Door to China
Stilwell's Campaign in Northern Burma summarized by Dave Richardson. A retrospective look at the land link to China and the impact of Merrill's Marauders, the Nisei Interpreters and the Ledo Road Engineers.
Paintings of Army Medicine
During World War II, Abbott Laboratories commissioned Howard Baer as an Artist-Correspondent to depict the work of the Army Medical Department in the China-Burma-India Theater from April to September 1944. This site contains Baer's unique paintings of Army Medicine in CBI from the Abbott Collection.
Blood Chits of the CBI Theater
The first Americans ever to use Blood Chits were the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers of the CBI Theater. Blood Chits were intended to identify downed flyers to friendly Chinese who were instructed to protect and help them. This site examines various Blood Chits used in the CBI Theater.
Ramgarh Training Center
Following the withdrawal from Burma in 1942, General Stilwell knew he would need a trained fighting force to retake it. American troops were not available. The Chinese soldiers available were under-equipped and poorly trained. He set up a Training Center in Ramgarh, India where thousands of Chinese troops were transformed by the U.S. Army into a well-equipped, well-trained fighting force. An untold story from the Forgotten Theater.
Victory Over Japan
From Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay, this pictorial moves quickly from the beginning of the war in the Pacific at Hawaii to the "inevitable triumph" over Japan. Includes images of the atomic bombings, V-J Day and various surrender ceremonies. Not forgotten is the China-Burma-India Theater.
A Masterpiece of Design
A short story from Ex-CBI Roundup about the origin of the CBI Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. A masterpiece of design generally recognized as one of the most beautiful of all the patches to come out of World War II. A link is included to a site showing many beautiful variations.
On The Ground Glass
On The Ground Glass was produced by the Photo Lab Section of the 7th Photographic Technical Squadron operating out of Bally, India from March 1944 until October 1945. Volumes 1 to 12 are shown on this site along with several Special Issues. These single photo sheets were produced in 1945 as a photo-newsletter.
The Mightiest Army: CBI Theater
Colonel Karl Detzer of the U.S Army General Staff Corps. wrote "The Mightiest Army" in 1945. It is probably one of the first historical summaries of the United States in World War II ever written, most likely in June of 1945. His book was published by the Readers Digest Association for no profit, with proceeds donated to the Army Emergency Relief Fund. Presented on this page is the chapter about the unique CBI Theater.
National World War II Memorial
The National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a magnificent tribute to the Greatest Generation. It honors all who supported the war effort from home, the 16 million who served in the Armed Forces of the United States, and the more than 400,000 who gave their lives in defense of freedom. Presented on this page are photographs of my visit to the Memorial.
A Search of Sixty Years
A story of Chinese-American friendship spanning sixty years. Wen Jiang tells of an American funeral in the heat of battle during the Salween Campaign and the search to discover the identity of the American soldier and his comrades remembered at the Tengchong Memorial Garden. Originally presented at the 2005 Annual Convention of the U.S.- China People's Friendship Association.
Americans spent three Christmases in CBI during World War II. Here are memories of how this most special time of year was celebrated in all the traditional ways, in strange lands, 12,000 miles from home. V-Mail, cards, stories and photos of Christmas in CBI.
Images of India 1945
Scenes of World War II India. Although close to the fighting front in Burma, there are no GIs and no signs of war in these photos. The pictures are those that a tourist might take while visiting Calcutta, Dibrugarh or Ledo. Jack Thomas took these pictures while serving with the 191st Signal Repair Company in Ledo. Includes Jack's story of his time in India, his collection of autographed pinups, currency and cartoon calendars from India.
Maps of the CBI Theater
Compiled here from various sources as historical reference are maps and illustrations of the China-Burma-India Theater. Map images are presented without caption or explanation.
From airfields to the Ledo Road to pipelines that eventually reached China, they did it all. Text from Public Relations Base Section and photos by the Army Signal Corps tell this short story of Engineers in the India-Burma Theater. Originally published in Ex-CBI Roundup.
Merrill's Marauders In Burma
Three thousand volunteers for a dangerous mission "somewhere," ended up in Burma as the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional). Their actions against the Japanese earned them the name "Merrill's Marauders" after their commanding officer Frank Merrill. Their mission became a six-month battle through the jungles of Burma until they just wore out. Marauder Capt. Fred O. Lyons tells the story. Originally published in the July 1991 issue of Ex-CBI Roundup with photos from the March 1991 issue and other sources.
Mars Task Force
The 5332nd Composite Brigade (Provisional) was a long-range penetration force that carried on the fight begun by Merrill's Marauders. Mars was composed of the American 475th Infantry, 124th Cavalry, 612th and 613th Field Artillery (Pack) and other supporting units along with the Chinese 1st Infantry Regiment. A short story by Ralph E. Baird, originally published in the February 1997 Ex-CBI Roundup.
The Jungle's Victory
In 1946 Dave Richardson returned to CBI as a foreign correspondent for TIME magazine. He revisited Ledo, Chabua, Myitkyina and points along the Ledo Road. What he found was a trail of ruins, ruts and creeping vines. This story of his return visit originally appeared in NEW REPUBLIC and was reprinted in the July 1951 issue of Ex-CBI Roundup.
Building the Ledo Road
To open the Ledo Road in Burma, U.S. combat engineers did more than just build. A story of the 209th Engineer Combat Battalion and their dual role as road builders and combat infantrymen along the road and during the battle for Myitkyina. Originally published in World War II magazine.
The Hoverfly in CBI
Helicopters in World War II? Yes. Helicopters in CBI? Yes again. In fact, the first recorded use of a helicopter as rescue aircraft by the U.S. Military took place in the China-Burma-India Theater. Here is the story of that early helicopter by one who was there from the start.
Jake Jesse in CBI
Jake Jesse shares a large number of pictures from India and tells the story of his time in CBI with the 11th Air Base Communications Detachment.
The 43rd Evacuation Hospital was activated June 1, 1941 and redesignated the 14th Evacuation Hospital on August 15, l942. Its medical staff came from leading medical centers. Enlisted men, mostly draftees, lived in almost every state in the U.S. Milt Eisenberg was a Master Sergeant with the 14th Evacuation Hospital stationed on mile 19 of the Ledo Road, Assam, India from 1943 to 1945. Milt tells the story of his service and the 14th Evac. Hospital.
The Stars And Stripes China Edition
Originally published during the U.S. Civil War by Union soldiers, The Stars And Stripes returned in World War I and again in World War II, and has been published regularly ever since. This page presents a compilation of five issues of the China Edition from September and October 1945. Stories and pictures of post-war China including the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the continuance of the Chinese Civil War. Original issues of The Stars And Stripes provided by CBI veteran Tom Miller.
Significant People and Events related to the CBI Theater, compiled by Lt. Col. Joseph B. Shupe, USA (Retired), 30 year veteran of the U.S. Army, including service in the CBI Theater during World War II.
330th Engineer Regiment Unit History
The history of the 330th Engineer General Service Regiment as written by members of the unit in 1945. From Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, to Canada and on to India and Burma, this detailed history tells the story of one of the primary units that built the Ledo Road. Original document provided by Ron Bleecker, son of 1st Lt. Francis A. Bleecker, Executive Officer, Company "D" 2nd Battalion, 330th Engineer Regiment.
Into The Wildest Blue Yonder
The Memoirs of CBI Veteran Jack Russell. "Since I am now 82 years old and since I am no longer active in the military, I thought it would be safe now to put together a brief tale of my activities in that greatest war (WWII). Most of these stories my children have heard in their growing up years, so I write mostly for their children who may well have difficulty swallowing much of this." A story of flying in CBI. Lots of great pictures included.
The Aerial Invasion of Burma
The Japanese were threatening airbases in India, just over the Burma border to the west. The Chinese were holding mountain positions against the Japanese in east Burma. If General Wingate could establish his men behind the Japanese in North-central Burma and cut their various supply lines, the Japs would be put in a difficult position regarding Allied attacks on three of their Burma fronts. Here is the story of the First Air Commando Group as told by General "Hap" Arnold, Commanding General, U.S. Army Air Forces, in 1944.
Lines of Communication
The dictionary includes this definition of communication: "A network of routes for sending messages and transporting troops and supplies." The Lines of Communication in the CBI Theater included modes described by logisticians in Washington as the most fascinating and complex problems in the world. Joe Shupe examines CBI Lines of Communication which consisted of rail, water, rail-water, water-rail and limited highway routes.
The Woman's Army Corps in CBI
WACs were first sent to the 8th Air Force in England. Their satisfactory performance led to many requests from other theaters. From Air Forces in the CBI came a request for several hundred WACs, while the Far East Air Force asked for more than 2,000. Monthly shipments began in April 1944 and continued until, by January 1945, almost 7,000 WACs were serving with distinction in every major theater of operations. Less than 300 served in CBI.
1st Provisional Tank Group
The joint Chinese-American 1st Provisional Tank Group was as remarkable a unit as any raised in World War II. Commanded by Colonel Rothwell Brown, they fought in Burma supporting Merrill's Marauders and the Mars Task Force. Here is their unique story, as told by the men themselves, including Sgt. Leonard Farley, member of the 1st Tank Battalion, whose son Paul provided the material on which this page is based.
Father Emil J. Kapaun - CBI Saint
A story of Father Emil J. Kapaun from his friend and fellow CBI soldier Howard Sherman. Father Kapaun ministered to soldiers along the Ledo Road. When the war was over he stayed until everybody else had gone home. He again went to war with his fellow soldiers in the Korean War. Refusing to leave wounded and dying men, he was taken prisoner. "Wherever he stood was holy ground, and the spirit within him – a spirit of reverence and abiding faith – went out to the silent listening men and gave them hope and courage and a sense of peace."
789th EPD Unit History
The 789th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Company operated the first 350 miles of the 1,800-mile pipeline to China from Budge-Budge near the port of Calcutta to Pumping Station 13 at Dhubri in Assam. This is their unit history. Also included are unit commendations, pipeline maps, a copy of the company bulletin, a PX supply list for August 1945, tips on visiting Bombay and an original pipeliner's poem. Provided by CBI Veteran Tom Foltz of the 789th EPD.
Ledo Road Insignia
In April of 1944, with the Ledo Road progressing, General Pick approved a contest to design a new insignia for the road construction project. The contest was open to all who were taking part in the construction effort. Here is the story of the winning design and the origin of the "Road to China" theme. A link is included to S. Neal Gardner's Ledo Road page which shows many beautiful variations.
Handbook of Burma and Northeastern India
A handbook prepared by the Artic, Desert & Tropic Information Center of the U.S. Army Air Force. This page features the maps, diagrams, illustrations and interesting text from the handbook. The handbook is part introduction, part survival guide. Original booklet from the library of the Derby City Basha, CBI Veterans Association.
"Here you are in China. The last place in the world you thought you would be..." A Handbook for American Troops in China published by United States Army Forces in the China-Burma-India Theater. An introduction to China, it's people and customs specifically written for U. S. Soldiers in China during World War II. The emphasis is on keeping good relations between the Chinese and American "guests." Original booklet from the library of the Derby City Basha, CBI Veterans Association.
A re-creation of Calcutta's Hindusthan Standard newspaper published on August 16, 1945. The big news of the day was, of course, THE WORLD WAR ENDS. A look at events at the end of the war from a British-Indian point of view. Pages from the original VJ Day edition of the newspaper shared by CBI Veteran Charles Mette.
Assam-Bengal-China Air Routes
Air Transport Command air routes between the many U.S. air bases in India and China. The maps give various details including distances between stations and radio frequencies along the route. Also included are the personal notes kept by Radio Operator Wendall Phillips.
The Bull Sheet
Twenty-two original issues of "The Bull Sheet," newspaper of the Ramgarh Training Center in India. A behind-the-scenes look at American men and women in CBI. No war news, but a wealth of interesting information from Ramgarh, where Americans trained and equipped the Chinese Army in India. The original issues of the newspaper were shared by CBI Veteran Chuck Louis.
The official newspaper of the India-China Division, Air Transport Command, was published by its Public Relations Office in Calcutta. Hump Express was a weekly newspaper that featured stories and photos of ICD operations in China, Burma, and India, all recreated here for the Internet. Twenty-seven original newspapers shared by CBI veterans Steven C. King and Grover P. Fike.
The Calcutta Key
An Internet adaptation of a guide to Calcutta prepared by Services of Supply, Base Section Two, Information and Education Branch, United States Army Forces in India-Burma. Intended for U.S. Army soldiers stationed in or visiting Calcutta, it gives a brief over view of the country and then provides information for soldiers on where to go, what to do, and of course what not to do. An interesting look at the Army, the world in 1945, and a part of CBI.
Roundup was the weekly newspaper of the United States Forces, published by and for the men in the China-Burma-India Theater of World War II. Originally titled CBI Roundup, it became India-Burma Theater Roundup when CBI was split into the India-Burma and China Theaters. On these pages, 163 of the original 188 Roundup newspapers have been re-created for the Internet. The history of CBI - written as it happened.
The Command Post
The newspaper of Headquarters, Base Section No. 2 in Calcutta, India. Eventually it became the newspaper of the China Theater and was called China Command Post. Shortly thereafter, a contest resulted in another new name, The China Lantern. Here are all the CBI stories, pictures and even cartoons from three original issues, recreated on the Internet. Original issue of The Command Post shared by CBI Veteran Roger Cook. Original issues of China Command Post shared by CBI Veteran Grover Fike.
The China Lantern
When the CBI Theater was split in two in October 1944, the Theater's newspaper, Roundup, stayed with the India-Burma Theater. The new China Theater of Operations had its own newspaper, The China Lantern. Here are stories and pictures from the original editions. News from the China-side of The Hump.
Flying Tigers in Burma
A pictorial from the March 30, 1942 edition of LIFE Magazine featuring the famous American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers.
The story of Stilwell's recall and the China Crisis from the November 13, 1944 issue of TIME Magazine.
B-29's first struck Japan from bases in India and China. Without the experience gained by B-29 crews in the CBI Theater, the results of the war in the Pacific might have been different. Excerpted by Joe Shupe from the article, "Prelude to Armageddon" by former Air Force Chief Historian Dr. Richard P. Hallion.
China, Burma, and India - From the Back Seat
Flight Radio Operator Douglas Devaux's memories of flying the "Valley" and the "Hump" as a soldier in the United Sates Army Air Force during World War II. Doug put together a book, intended for his children and grandchildren, so that they would know more than just the fact that he served in CBI. He shares it here for all to know the flying adventures and the day-to-day life "from the back seat," the radio operator's position, for the Air Transport Command.
My Life as a G.I. Joe in World War II
Tom Foltz, CBI Veteran of the 789th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co. (E.P.D.) wrote this memoir of his time as a "G.I. Joe" in the U.S. Army in the CBI Theater of World War II. The story takes you from Ohio, across the Pacific in a Troop Ship to India, up and down "Infinity Line" pipeline, and finally, after three years, back home to "Uncle Sugar."
The Rat-Trap of Burma
LIFE magazine stories and pictorial from the May 18, 1942 issue reporting the early days of the war in Burma. "The Japanese Sweep Through Burma" describes the invasion of 1942. "How British in Burma Escaped a Jap Trap," is a first-hand report by correspondent Jack Belden of his experience escaping the invading Japanese. Photos show aftermath of Japanese bombing of Stilwell's Maymyo headquarters and Allied withdrawal along the Burma Road.
Yanks Make a Hit in India
LIFE'S REPORTS from the January 18, 1943 issue of LIFE about American soldiers getting along in the far-flung bases of India.
China Air Task Force
The story of the China Air Task Force, which came after the American Volunteer Group and eventually became the 14th U.S. Air Force. A pictorial from the April 12, 1943 issue of LIFE.
British Raid Burma
The author of the story called them "Wingate's Mob." They are probably better know as Wingate's Burma Raiders. In addition to a story about the raiders, the pictorial features photos of air drops and evacuation of wounded by plane. From the June 28, 1943 issue of LIFE.
American Makes Planes in India
William D. Pawley formed Hindustan Aircraft, Ltd. in Mysore, India and built American planes for the British and U.S. Army air forces operating in the CBI Theater. This page features the story and pictures plus interesting advertisements from the March 22, 1943 issue of LIFE magazine.
Madame Chiang in the U.S. Capitol
LIFE's REPORTS from the March 3, 1943 issue is a story of Madame Chiang Kai-shek's visit to the U.S. Capitol, where she addressed the Senate and House. According to the introduction, "Mme. Chiang's three hours at the Washington Capitol on February 19 are inevitably a part of U.S. history. What she said and did there was up to the level of world events. Not only were Congressmen completely captivated by her but also hard-boiled reporters confessed they had never seen anything like it."
LIFE Visits an Army Hospital in Burma
A pictorial of Dr. Gordon Seagrave's famous hospital high in the hills of Burma. Pictures of the doctors and Burmese nurses saving Chinese, American and native lives close to the fighting front. From the November 1, 1943 issue of LIFE magazine.
Speech To Congress
An editorial from the March 1, 1943 issue of LIFE regarding Madame Chiang Kai-shek's call for the U.S. to join China in war and in peace.
This pictorial from the February 22, 1943 issue of LIFE is a brief look at the life of "The Missimo," Mei-ling Soong (Madame Chiang Kai-shek).
India Speaks To China
Jawaharlal Nehru hand-wrote a letter to the people of China just before being jailed by the British for speaking out about India's independence. Nehru expresses India's support for China. From the March 1, 1943 issue of LIFE.
Mass Tribute to Madame Chiang
Madison Square Garden in New York City was the setting for a huge tribute to Madame Chiang. Philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., General Hap Arnold and nine Governors spoke her praise and pressed for support of China.
Madame Chiang in Hollywood
Madame Chiang concluded her early 1943 visit to the United States with a visit to Hollywood. After speaking to 30,000 at the Hollywood Bowl, she was guest of honor later in the week at a banquet at the Ambassador Hotel, attended by many Hollywood celebrities. From the April 19, 1943 issue of LIFE.
My Favorite War Story
Veteran war correspondent Moscrip Miller was on his way back from China when he heard his favorite story of the war. Lt. Col. Edward D. McComas, an old-time Chennault ace at 26 and commanding officer of the Black Lightning Squadron, was talking with pride of "his boys." Here is the story of the the 118th Tactical Recon Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group, published in the May 29, 1945 issue of LOOK magazine and shared by Terrence Schwartz.
Tennessean Prayed, Sang, Cussed as Japs Dug Grave
Brief story from the January 14, 1946 edition of The Nashville Tennessean about pilot James M. Taylor of the 75th Fighter Squadron, 14th Air Force. Downed by engine failure on November 11, 1944, he spent 10 months as a prisoner of the Japanese. The story continues in The Diddled Dozen.
The Diddled Dozen
Lt. James M. Taylor's own account of the mission in which he was forced to bail-out when his engine failed during a dog-fight with Japanese fighters over Hengyang, China. He was captured by the Japanese and was a Prisoner of War for ten months, one of twelve POW's that called themselves "The Diddled Dozen."
In 1944 plans were finalized for basing B-29 Superfortresses in India and China for raids on the Japanese homeland. The "Super-Forts" made the first attacks on Japan since the Doolttle raid of 1942. They also supported operations in China and Burma. To keep their men informed, the XX Bomber Command published the bi-weekly newspaper Super-Fort. Recreated here are two issues of the newspaper, shared by Earl and Diana (Duty) Ingram.
Wings Over China
From the September 8, 1941 issue of LIFE comes this story by Clare Boothe. "An imaginary dialog wherein a distinguished American playwright (Boothe) looks down on the land and draws some wise conclusions." An informative look at China prior to World War II.
The 462nd Bombardment Group was activated on July 1, 1943 and was soon training on the new B-29 bomber. Early in 1944 they headed to Piardoba, India and later took part in the first raids on the Japanese homeland since the Doolittle raid of 1942. They called themselves the Hellbirds. This page contains a recreation of their newspaper, the Hellbird Herald, an above average unit newspaper from CBI. The original newspaper was brought home by B-29 Crew Chief, S/Sgt. Edwin O. Duty and shared by Earl and Diana (Duty) Ingram.
The Flight of No Return
Over four hundred and fifty planes took the Flight of No Return attempting to cross the Himalayas to China. Their wreckage, strewn across the Hump Route, formed what ominously came to be known as "The Aluminum Trail." This poem by Sunny Young pays tribute to the brave men who set out Over the Hump to China and never made it. From the book, The Aluminum Trail by Chick Marrs Quinn.
China: To The Mountains
Madame Chiang Kai-shek graced the cover of the June 30, 1941 issue of LIFE and inside, publisher Henry R. Luce writes about his trip to the mountains of China to visit the Yellow River front. Photographs by Clare Boothe Luce.
Bob Fagelson's Images of India
Calcutta, Kanchrapara and Barrackpore are some of the places shown in these photographs brought back by CBI Veteran Bob Fagelson. They include street scenes, people and some Army installations in India, photographed in 1945 and 1946.
Philip Johnson's Images of India
More photographs from World War II India. These were taken by 1st Lt. Philip C. Johnson, Armaments Officer with the India-China Division, Air Transport Command, stationed at the 1330th Army Air Force Base Unit in Jorhat.
Hastings Air Base - A Pictorial Report
Hastings Air Base, also known as "Hastings Mills," was Headquarters for the U.S. Army Air Forces in the India-Burma Theater. As operations wound down in December of 1945, this pictorial history of the base and its operations was made as a momento for those who served there.
Airborne Raiders in Burma
A pictorial of Colonel Philip Cochran's U.S. air force and the mixed force of Englishmen, Americans, West Africans and Gurkhas they landed in the jungle behind Japanese lines in Burma. There they harassed the Japanese and helped Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell's forces in their drive to reopen the land route to China. American light-plane pilots and their supply and evacuation missions are highlighted. LIFE photographs by William Vandivert. Also included is a background story on the June 12th issue, of which there were two versions due to the big news from Europe: Invasion!
One-Man Air Force - Night Ambush
Flying in pitch blackness in a fighter not equipped for night fighting (except for a flashlight to see the instruments) Major John R. Alison ambushed a flight of Japanese "Sallys" on a bombing run over Hengyang, China. From the May 1964 issue of Man's Magazine comes this story of a CBI legend written by Glenn Infield and shared by Terry Schwartz.
The Best of CBIVA Sound-off
Dave Dale was editor of the China-Burma-India Veterans Association newsletter, CBIVA Sound-off, from 1981 until the CBIVA was dissolved in 2005. In addition to news of CBIVA Bashas around the country, over the years he also published an expansive history of CBI written by Lt. Col. Joseph Shupe (USA Ret.). Those stories, as well as others from CBI veterans, have been compiled into a memorial edition of the best of CBIVA Sound-off. Presented in PDF document format in eleven sections created by David Hanneke (Dave Dale's grandson).
Charles Beard's Story - Radar Counter Measures in the CBI Theater
Radar came of age during the Second World War and the U.S. took full advantage of the British development, sending teams to study and further develope it. CBI Veteran Roger Cook tells the little-known story of fellow Tampa Bay Basha member Charles Beard and Radar Counter Measures in the CBI Theater.
Buck Sheet - Along The Ledo Road
A two page single-sheet newsletter produced by Special Services for men along the Ledo Road. This one is from March 15, 1945, and contains war news from CBI and other theaters. Another way soldiers in CBI stayed informed about progress of the war. Shared by CBI Veteran Tony Bushur.
The Services' Newspaper of South East Asia Command published by SEAC in Kandy, Ceylon (although printed in India). The paper features a definite British perspective. This issue features a year-end historical review of the Burma Campaign of 1944. Original issue shared by Roger Cook, Past Commander, Tampa Bay Basha, CBIVA.
The place was Burma - some 200 miles behind the Japanese lines. The time - April, 1944. And the operation was a repeat - the second successful skyborne invasion of this territory within two months. In each case the pattern had been the same: spot open spaces from the air, send in glider-borne engineers and equipment to hack an airstrip from the brush, and within a matter of hours, fly in troops to harass the enemy and his lines of communication. A 1944 U.S. Army "Newsmap" pictorial of the Air Commandos and the aerial invasion of Burma. Shared by Charles Peterson.
of Men and Mud
"This is a story of men and mud, a story of a battalion of Aviation Engineers, activated, trained and shipped across half a world to become a part of the Allied striking forces which reversed the Japanese in their conquest westward to India, turned their greedy fingers from Burma and opened the lifeline to China." An unofficial history of the 879th Engineer Aviation Battalion "as told by its members." Shared by Charles Peterson.