The Command Post
VOL. II.   No. 21  -  JANUARY 26, 1945                      FOR U. S. ARMED TROOPS                      PRECENSORED FOR MAILING
Prelude To Mandalay Victory
A double pair of 2,000 pound bombs head on the downward journey toward the railway bridge over the Ngalaik River at Pyinmana, one of the more important Burma bridges used by the Japanese to get food, ammunition and medical stores to their troops in the forward areas. The bridge was destroyed by B-24s of the Seventh Bomb Group of the Strategic Air Force under Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer's EAC.

  The Ledo Road is now open. The land route to China which was severed by the Japanese more than two and one half years ago has been cleared of the enemy by Chinese troops of the 1st Army under Lt. Gen. Sun Li-jen with Chinese Expeditionary Force troops from China.
  In a press conference on the night of January 22, Lt. Gen. Daniel I. Sultan, commanding general of the Northern Area Combat Command, announced that the road track was now open with exception of a few small pockets of Japs plus a few enemy snipers.
  In announcing the clearing of the road, Gen. Sultan was high in his praise of the achievement, and to all units and individuals who played a part in it.
  Summing up the North Burma campaign and the first convoy to China, Gen. Sultan said in a statement:
  "This convoy represents a magnificient achievement. It represents the bitter fighting of the Chinese troops both in Burma and across the Salween and of the American troops who built the Ledo Road. It represents the complete co-ordination of ground and air force. It makes the first breach in the Japanese land blockade of China."
  The campaign to open the land route to China began in 1943 when Chinese troops took Tagap. In November, however, fighting got underway in earnest when Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell's American-trained Chinese forces, led by the 38th Division, pushed over some of the worst terrain in the world against blistering heat, drenching rains, disease and other elements.
  Now the Chinese Army in India, with Merrill's Marauders, Mars Task Force, the British 36th Division, Chindits, Cochran's Air Commandos and the Kachin Rangers, plus outstanding support of the 10th USAAF have pushed to the Chinese border, 400 miles from Tagap, and opened the land route to China.

Japanese Unleash Artillery Barrage In Mandalay Battle

    ADVANCED HQ., ALFSEA: JAN. 25 - The biggest concentration of Japanese artillery ever used in the Burma war is being turned on the 14th Army positions in the bridgehead across the Irrawaddy east of Shwebo. It may almost be said that the battle for Mandalay is being decided in hard fighting 50 to 100 miles north and northeast of the city.
  More than fifty guns have been turned on the bridgehead, and the Japanese infantry in the past few days have been trying to eliminate it with ferocious attacks.
  An indication of the importance of this foothold on the east bank of the Irrawaddy is reflected in the repeated attacks of the Japanese in the face of heavy losses, and the tenacity with which the British are holding the position.


    WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 - Gen. Joseph "Uncle Joe" Stilwell, former No.1 man of the China-Burma-India Theater, has been appointed commanding general of the United States Army Ground Forces, it was announced today by Secretary of War Stimson.
  Gen. Stilwell succeeds Lt. Gen. Ben Lear.

  In the fighting against isolated pockets of Japanese in the hills west and southwest of Mongyu, artillery of the Mars Forces opened on a Japanese column and killed several hundreds today. Other Japanese parties in the valleys between the hills which the Americans occupy are being slowly but steadily wiped out.
  The remaining Japanese in the area to the north of the Mars block appear disorganized, but are offering desperate resistance in small groups.
  The invasion of Ramree is being speeded through the co-operation of the villagers. The troops are finding them friendly and supplies are being unloaded far ahead of schedule.


    CHINESE COMBAT COMMAND, SOUTHWEST CHINA - Wanting, last of the original objectives of the Salween campaign, fell to the Chinese Expeditionary Force Saturday, it has been announced officially.
  The Japanese began evacuating the city after midnight Friday following a 24-day battle in which an estimated 2,000 Japanese and 3,000 Chinese casualties were reported.
  Capture of Wanting marks the clearing of the Japs from Yunnan Province and will permit forging of the final link between the new Ledo Road and part of the old Burma Road to China.
  Chinese troops accompanied by American liaison officers under Col. John Stodter, of St. Louis, Mo., have started mopping up Japanese rear guard pocket resistance, and there is little hope that many Japanese will escape as the Chinese First Army is approaching Wanting from Burma.
  Announcement of the capture of Wanting followed by only two days the linking up of the Chinese Expeditionary Force with patrols of the Chinese First Army.
  Contact was made by the two forces in the Meng mao area. No Japs were encountered in the srea where the troops, who have been fughting in Burma, met those who have been fighting on the Salween front.
  Chinese expeditionary forces on the 17th of January captured several small villages in their drive to capture Wanting. Japanese counter-attacks were repulsed repeatedly by the Chinese, with the enemy suffering heavy losses.
  The 14th Air Force gave the ground force continuous support with bombing missions in the Wanting area.

New XX Bomber Command Chief

    Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, at right in photo, new Commanding General of the XX Bomber Command, discussing the Big B's with Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, whose appointment as Commanding General of the XXI Bomber Command was announced recently.
  Gen. Ramey, whose home is in Denton, Texas, was Chief of Staff of the XXI Bomber Command before replacing LeMay in the India-Burma Theater.
  Ramey formerly commanded the 5th Bomber Command in New Guinea and Australia. He was awarded the DSC for making twenty passes over a single target in two hours, dropping flares to distract the enemy so that his B-17's could accomplish their mission.
  Immediately preceeding his assignment to the XXI Bomber Command, Gen. Ramey was Commanding General of the Flying Training Wing at Kirtland Field, Texas, where future combat crews are given transitional training in handling four-engine ships.


    CHUNGKING (ANS) - Communiques released this week told of two twin Japanese offensives aimed to widen the protective ring around Hong Kong and to close the Chinese held gap in the Canton-Hankow railway.
  An enemy drive in the coastal Province of Kwangtung began with the capture of Waiyeung on the Tung River 16 miles north of Hong Kong. Chungking dispatches said this drive reflected Japanese fears of intended American landings in the Bias Bay area above Hong Kong.
  In their Hunan Province offensive, the Japs struck south from Leiyang, some 35 miles below Hegyang on China's North-South Railway and rolled up five miles.
  Meanwhile, word came that the Japanese, evidently expecting an intensification of raids on Tokyo and other large cities, have tightened their internal structure and announced a two billion Yen program, equivalent to $460,000, to provide permanent underground air raid shelters for key government offices and stricter control of population of major industrial centers subject to attack.

Three Triumphs In Burma Open Week

    KANDY, CEYLON (ANS) - Three Allied victories over the Japanese in Burma were reported Monday in a communique which said British troops entered the major enemy base on Monywa, captured Ramree Island in the harbor of Kyaukpyu and that Chinese troops from China and Burma joined forces on Ledo-Burma Road.
  Monywa, important enemy communications center and one of the major strongholds barring the way to Mandalay, 55 miles to the east, was attacked from the north by a column advancing down the Yeu-Mandalay branch railroad.
  A Chungking dispatch said that Japanese made progress in drives to extend the protective area around Hong Kong to close the Chinese held gap in the Canton-Hankow railroad and to strengthen flanks of the corridor from China to Indo-China.

First convoy to land-blockaded China, isolated by jap invasion of Burma in 1942, assembles at Ledo, preparatory to long haul to Kunming, China. The convoy will have air cover for the historic 1,000 mile trip.
Convoy To Kunming Arrives At Myitkyina From Ledo
  The first convoy to travel the Ledo Road and the first to carry supplies for China by way of an overland route since the Japs blocked the Burma Road two and a half years ago is enroute to Kunming.
  These pictures were taken during the first stage of the journey from Ledo, Assam to Myitkyina, Burma. At Myitkyina the convoy halted for a short period, pending either completion of the Tengchung cutoff road, the Myitkyina-Bhamo-Namkham-Wanting route, is cleared of remaining japs. Final destination of the convoy is Kunming, China, approximately 1,000 miles from Ledo.
  The first convoy is composed of heavy trucks, ambulances and jeeps. Many of the vehicles pulling anti-tank guns and heavy field artillery pieces, are being driven by white and Negro soldiers and Chinese drivers. Trucks are loaded with a wide variety of supplies and ammunition for the Chinese Army.
Through the mist covered Naga hills, the new Ledo Road winds its tortuous way up to Pansau Pass.
The convoy passing through Hellgate on the long climb up to Pangsau Pass, gap in the Naga hills which serves as the boundary line between Burma and Assam.
Still at work after slugging through a dreary monsoon, bulldozers continue on the Ledo Road as trucks of the first convoy follow cork-screw road Chinaward.
The trucks cross a temporary bridge of floating rubber pontoons to complete the first lap of the journey from Ledo to Myitkyina.

Thousands Of Chinese Troops Air-Borne To Meet Jap Push

    ATC BASE IN CHINA - Now it can be told . . . the story of one of the largest and most difficult troop movements by air in the history of China.
  It began when the Japanese were driving on Kweichow Province in November, threatening either Chungking or the gateway air terminals of China's aerial supply line in Yunnan Province.
  After a conference involving the commanders of U.S. and Chinese forces, it was determined to shift an undisclosed number of Chinese troops from the northern areas to Yunnan airfields, from where they could move into action against the Japanese threat.
  To move these troops overland would have taken weeks if trucks were available, months otherwise, for roads are few and pass over rugged, mountainous terrain.
  Immediately, preparations were begun by the China Wing of the India-China Division, ATC to move the undisclosed thousands of troops by air with their equipment. A survey flight made by Brig. Gen. William H. Tunner, commanding general of the ICD showed that complete facilities would have to be moved to the northern airfield from which the troops would be flown.
  Swinging into action immediately, China-based ATC planes flew in tents, lighting equipment, radio and navigational equipment, and the necessary personnel. Tents were pitched for operational offices and housing for the men, in spite of intense cold. Telephones lines about the field were strung, the runway lights extended, and the navigational aids set up.
  Then began the movement. Hampered by weather which saw clouds build up to 18,000 feet and higher, and each cloud full of ice, the planes struggled through the five-hour flight to the northern base on a run pilots called "tougher than The Hump." Starting slowly at first, because of the problems involved, the total of troops moved began to swell daily, until at its peak, it far exceeded a thousand men a day.
  Maj. Sam H. Lane, Jr., Ft. Worth, Texas flier who commands the China Wing of ATC, several times made the ten-hour round trip himself, and praised the pilots on the run, saying: "It took the utmost ability in instrument flying and sheer guts to battle through the weather encountered. The terrain over which these pilots flew, on a course previously almost unused, is as rugged as any in the world. Navigational ability, too, was at a premium, for even after more radio transmitters and other aids were installed, there were still vast distances to be flown without radio 'fixes.'"
  Flying day and night, pilots had to make instrument letdowns through thick cloud-banks into the valley where the northern field was located with mountains towering more than 14,000 feet within 30 miles of the valley.
  Commanding officer of the ATC detachment at this northern field was Major carroll D. Gregory, experienced pilot and ATC bas commander, a Kentuckian who had under him a hand-picked staff of maintenance personnel and others necessary in handling the movement. Ice and snow heaped up the troubles for maintenance crews, who had to work on engines out in the open with temperatures far below freezing.
  Planes on the run brought their own gasoline in with them, and it had to be pumped from drums back into their tanks before the return trip could start. Each plane was loaded to its utmost carrying capacity with troops crowded in with their equipment on the floor.

After unloading its cargo of bombs on the Japanese-held Moen Island in the Pacific, "Madame Pele," named after the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, heads for home. Smoke can be seen rising from the enemy hangers and airstrip. The plane was finaced through the proceeds of War Bonds purchased by Hawaiian school children and was named by them.
Smoke mushrooms upward as bombs dropped by India-based B-29s of the XX Bomber Command fall on and near an important bridge at Bangkok, in Japanese-occupied Thailand, as part of the Superforts campaign to reduce the resistance of the Japanese by hammering strategic bases.

Pilot of "Raidin' Maiden" Gets DFC

    HEADQUARTERS, 20th BOMBER COMMAND, INDIA - For the extraordinary piloting feat of landing his Superfortress "Raidin' Maiden" dead stick when all four engines ran out of fuel at 10,000 feet, Captain Charles Joyce of Winchester, Mass., has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, it was announced here by Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, commanding general of the 20th Bomber Command.
  The incident occurred following the longest daylight mission ever flown, the nearly 4000 mile attack on Singapore by India-based B-29's last November 5. Captain Joyce already holds the Air Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his participation in 20th Bomber Command attacks on strategic indistrial and military targets in Japan and Jap-held Asia.

Engineers Install Frozen Food Units

    A refrigeration crew under the command of Capt. Bobin Jobe, which has installed refrigeration for cold storage plants throughout the length and breadth of the India-Burma Theater, is now working around Calcutta with an engineer district, putting in long hours to construct another storage plant here. The plant will eventually provide the troops in and out of the fighting zones with an increased supply of frozen meats and other foods.
  The main difficulty in this specialized type of work is to build complete operating plants from available material and equipment. Lt. Col. John F. Lucy, commanding officer of the engineer district states that much ingenuity has been demonstrated by the men of the outfit in overcoming this handicap. One main problem is that all the pipe for the project comes in one standard size. Much improvising has been necessary in increasing and decreasing the size of pipe bt a swedging and welding process to make the proper connection of machinery and coils running through the various cooling units in the plant.
  In addition to the cold storage project, these men are also working on an ice plant that will supply 45 tons of ice daily - roughly 3 times the capacity of present facilities.
  M/Sgt. Loren Hess, Ashland, Oregon, who in civilian life was an erection engineer with the York Ice Machine Company of York, Pa., has proven himself to be an invaluable member of his unit because of his practical knowledge of refrigeration in general. He was especially picked out in the United States for this type of work, and has done much in aiding in the selection of qualified men for this highly specialized work.
  Prior to any refrigerator construction, precise blueprints are drawn at the engineer offices and then taken to the work site where each member of the unit is capable of applying accurate calculations as to the specific duties to be carried out.
  The remainder of the indispensable crew is composed of Sgt. Angelo Gregory, Gary, Ind., who assists Hess in the general construction and refrigeration of plants, and is the only crane operator in the outfit. Sgt. Lloyd Jones, Jr., Lafayette, Ind., and Corp. Robert Brier, Indianpolis, Ind., are electricians and it is their job to connect wiring to all electric motors and controls, and install powerful diesel generators in the plants.
  Corp. Frank A. Kish, Cleveland, Ohio, acts as a supply man, keeping records for all the stock, and in addition, assists in the electric welding of ice tanks; Corp. James C. Hall, Chester, S.C., is a welder and pipe fitter, and lays in the pipe for all the jobs.
  Corp. Bernard Herrington, Grand Rapids, Mich., Corp. Adam S. Sadwicki, College Point, N.Y., and Corp. Leo F. markiewicz, Cleveland, Ohio, specialize in Freon, Methyl-Chrolide, and Sulphur-Dioxide refrigeration, the types of cooling systems used to maintain the proper temperatures in a storage room.
  Corp. Walter Jones, Warren, Mich., Corp. Melvin Maves, Hayward, Calif., and Corp. Howard A. Roberts, Flint, Mich., are in charge of all equipment coming in, checking it and laying out plans for storage.

ATC Flys Record Towed-Glider Trip

    1306TH ATC BU - What is believed to be the longest non-stop glider flight on record was achieved by personnel of the Air Transport Command's India-China Division recently when a Curtiss Commando (C-46) towed a CG-4a glider 1,320 miles in seven hours and forty-five minutes. The flight was made from Karachi to a field in the Calcutta area. The previous unofficial record was 1,177 miles.
  The record flight was made dramatic by the last minute addition of 4,000 lbs. of Christmas packages as cargo. Since the flight was made the day before Christmas, military personnel at a base ten miles from the field of destination received parcels they would otherwise not have gotten until after Christmas.
  The flight demonstrated the distance a C-46 could tow a glider without the use of extra gas tanks, nor has the limit yet been reached.
The problem of ferrying gliders to combat areas over long distances in a comparitively short space of time now appears nearly solved. Gliders have in the past been used in the invasion of Normandy and in Burma.
  The CG-4a is a cargo glider of Waco design. The 4,000 lbs. it can carry has little drag effect on the towing plane. This type glider is built to accomodate jeeps, light tanks, bulldozers, howitzers and items of similar weight and compact structure. When not hauling cargo, the CG-4a can hold 15 men including the pilot and co-pilot.
  For the record trip the planes leveled off at 13,000 feet at the beginning of the flight, but severe cold brought the team down to 10,000 which altitude was maintained for most of the journey. The glider carried three pilots and the C-46 a crew of four.
  Piloting the Curtiss was Capt. Paul J. Slayden, Nashville, Tenn. He is a veteran airman with over 4,000 hours to his credit. Co-pilot on the record run was F/O Ralph J. Coleman, Salt Lake City, Utah. Lt. George H. Heldemann, South Bend, Ind., was the engineer, with Pvt. John P. Bolas, Chicago, Ill., the radio operator.
  Major R. W. Heartwell, Miami Shores, Fla., Lt. Russell J. West, St. Joseph, Mo., and Lt. Soloman Schnitzer, Port Arthur, Tex., were the pilots of the glider. They logged the flying time equally among themselves. (See Command Post Picture Page).

Chemical Processor's Plant Now Doing Cleaning For QM

    "Smells, don't it?" comments T/Sgt. Lloyd J. Hawkins, Portsmouth, N.H. Strong, pungent odor of chemicals fills the air. "Not dangerous though," he adds, inspecting some heavy electrical and mechanical equipment at the Processing plant of the Chemical Warfare Service of Base General Depot No. 2.
  The plant, the only one of its kind in Base Section 2, is under the command of Lt. John E. Fitzgibbons, Ft. Devens, Mass., and Lt. Jose F. Sweet, Saginaw, Mich., and is entirely operated by GIs without any civilian help.
  "Right now," Sgt. Hawkins explains "we're dry-cleaning some Quartermaster stuff. Blankets, overcoats, leggings; stuff that's been in the warehouse for some time and needs a dry-cleaning job to keep it in good condition. We can switch over to chemical impregnation in no time at all. This cleaning business is just a sideline with us."
  The plant was once a godown but has been rebuilt with concrete floors and ventilation, and electricity which is generated by their own power unit. The building houses an assortment of modern chemical impregnating equipment, which was imported from the States.
  "You can't be too darn careful on this job," smiles Pvt. James B. Reider, Louisville, Ky., operating the washer. On a little bench Pvt. Reider keeps his gas mask and rubber gloves. "When we're processing, I wear my gas mask for protection against fumes, and the rubber gloves make me feel a lot safer, too."
  "He's just a big sissy," hollers Pfc. Carl S. Harper, Knoxville, Tenn. The noise of the machine almost drowns him out.
  "It's a shame we can't dry-clean our OD's" remarks Pvt. John M. Ackein, Hornell, N.Y., the solution tank operator, "you see, we don't press the stuff."
  Over at the steam dryer Pvt. Melvin F. Fathauer, Mowrequa, Ill., complains: "Gets pretty hot around this machine."
  "Heck yeah," confirms Pfc. George R. Johnston, Olean, N.Y., "especially in the summer!"
  The processing plant has two distinct shops and bossing the other section is T/Sgt. James W. Cramer, Philadelphia, Pa. "You see, they process the new stuff, but we in this section take care of clothing that has to be re-impregnated for effective protection."
  "That means we have to wash it first," explains Pvt. Billy E. Medley. "Right now though we're not processing, but washing clothing for the Quartermaster," says Corp. Clayton Greer, Ashland, Ky. "Just like the other shop is dry-cleaning the wool clothing, we're washing the cottons."
  "WE feel kinda degraded," comments Sgt. Walter A. Swanson, Brooklyn, N.Y. "We ain't very proud
American infantrymen of the Mars Task Force take a break on their long trek through Central Burma, watch anxiously as native-handled elephants attached to the unit use river ford next to newly constructed bamboo footbridge.
of this cleaning and washing deal, but I guess it's got to be done."
  "You said it," agrees Corp. George R. Shookster, Brooklyn, N.Y. Swanson and Shookster are the chemists of the outfit. "We mix the brew," they claim.
  The storage and maintenance of the chemicals used in the plant is handled by T/Sgt. Milton Sarich, Detroit, Mich., who is a walking encyclopedia on chemicals, flashing points and formulas.
  On the way out Sgt. Sarich explains the Solvent Recovery System. "You see, in the last stages the chemical solution leaves the plant in gas form, so we cool it off by water which transforms the chemicals into the liquid stage and then we are able to recover 90% of the solution. Not bad, eh?"
  The processing plant takes care of its own equipment, maintenance, has its own electrician, repairmen, and carpenters, and the power plant is serviced and operated by Pfc. Arthur Shelton, Richmond, Va.
  "Did you know that we even have a softball team?" asks Pvt. Millard L. Edwards, Pittsburgh, Ill. "The Chemical Kids, we call ourselves," adds Pvt. Martin R. Weisbert, Brooklyn, N.Y.

I'm giving him the old silent treatment.
I only called him twice today.

"After fifteen years I've finally discovered what's wrong with the radio - it's the programs !"

"We talk some of remodeling the cellar and doing the work ourselves - but Henry is afraid recreation rooms are a fad that will blow over after the war!"

Lt. Col. Gordon Seagrave (left), the famed Burma Surgeon, accompanied by Brig. Gen. George W. Sliney, Thermopolis, Wyoming, sector chief of artillery, leave Seagrave's home in Namhkam after the capture of the town by the Chinese.
Lt. Donald M. Hart, Bakersfield, Cal., of an ATC Base Unit in India, claims that 'Pear Box' (he's that little fellow trying to follow in his masters footsteps) while not being the tallest man in India, does get his job done, even if he is a little hard on the Lieutenant's cigar ration.
This, fellers, is Beulah, "maid" of Fibber McGhee and Molly show heard on VU2ZU Monday afternoons. Better known as Martin Hurt. Recognize "her"?

A patrol of Chinese Infantrymen crosses a wrecked bridge over the Shweli River near the China-Burma border as the American and Chinese troops force the Japanese from positions in Burma in order to clear the way for the linking of the Ledo Road with the old Burma Road.
A U.S. mortar team set up in a rice field lays down a barrage on a Jap artillery position attempting to harass the American advance down the valley in Luzon in the Philippines. During this week the Yanks have overrun Tariac and are advancing on Clark Field.
This is the insignia approved by the War Department to be worn by a General of the Army. Eligible to wear it are Gens. George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Henry H. Arnold. The Navy also has indicated it will adopt the insignia for its 3 5-star admirals, William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King and Chester Nimitz.

One contingent of the thousands of Chinese troops, which were recently transported by ATC to meet the Jap drive toward Kunming, disembark at a Northern China improvised strip after the hazardous trip over the mountainous terrain in almost impossible weather conditions.
Some of the members of the ATC crews, which took part in the recent record 1320 mile towed-glider flight, get together after the trip to measure off the trip on a map of India. They are (left to right) Major R. W. Heartwell, Miami Shores, Fla.; F/O Ralph J. Coleman, Salt Lake City, Utah; Capt. Paul J. Slayden, Nashville, Tenn.; Pvt. John P. Bolas, Chicago, Ill., and Lt. George H. Heidman of South Bend, Indiana.
Pfc. Louis Jardone, Avenel, N.J., (right) demonstrates the operation of the new ice cream machine in the Post Exchange at the Base Section Headquarters in Calcutta for Lt. Benjamin Major, Washington, Pa. In the background (left to right) Pfc. George Mindala, Cleveland, Ohio; T/Sgt. Malcolm McSwain, Los Angeles, Cal., and Pvt. James R. Thomas, Wabash, Indiana, sample some of the ice cream.

THE COMMAND POST. Published weekly by Lt. Lester H. Geiss, Director, from the Headquarters of Base Section 2, I-B, USAF, Calcutta, India, for military personnel only. T/Sgt. Harry Purcell, Editor; Sgt. Maurice Pernod, News; S/Sgt. Charles Sievert, ASC correspondent; Sgt. Gordon Lewis, ATC correspondent; T/Sgt. George Neatherwood, Circulation. Printed by Benoy Krishna Sinha at the "Amrita Bazar Patrika" Press, Calcutta, India.

JANUARY 26, 1945    

Original issue of THE COMMAND POST shared by CBI veteran Roger Cook

Copyright © 2008 Carl Warren Weidenburner