Along the Ledo Road
with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. 164th Signal Photo Co.

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    During World War II, the Japanese invasion of Burma blocked the Burma Road supply line to China. A new way of sustaining the Chinese war effort had to be found. It was believed air supply wouldn't be enough and so it was decided to build a road to bypass the blockaded portion of the Burma Road. The road would be built from a railroad terminus at Ledo, Assam in extreme northeastern India, through northern Burma to finally link to the Burma Road. The Burma Road could then be used to complete the route to Kunming, China. Stilwell Road as it came to be called, was an important part of the war effort in Burma, China and the Pacific.
    This site contains almost one thousand U.S. Army Signal Corps photos taken by the 164th Signal Photo Co. which was assigned to CBI. Some of the photos were proofs and the quality is less than ideal. Photographs are from the collection of Col. Charles S. Davis Jr., Executive Officer of the Ledo Road project and later commanding officer of Motor Transport Service (MTS) on the Stilwell Road. The photos have been grouped together to convey at least part of the story of the Ledo Road. The road building, convoy trips and related activity is featured in the photos.
    Many of the captions on the photos are from the original Signal Corps photographers. Some wrote what could be used in a newspaper article while others simply reported what they had photographed. Some photos had no identification and so captions or photo identification have been added to these based on what is known and observed in the photo. More about Col. Davis, the Ledo Road and the China-Burma-India Theater can be seen by following the links at the end of the page. For best viewing, click on any photo to move to the next one.

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General Lewis A. Pick

His experience on the Missouri River flood project and reputation for getting things done led to his being selected to move the Ledo Road project ahead. It had become bogged down in rain, mud and delays.

Pick brought with him Lt. Col. Charles S. Davis to serve as his executive officer. Col. Davis had also worked the Missouri River project. He brought back the photos on this page including one signed by Pick (left).

Col. Pick was promoted to Brigadier General while on the Ledo Road project and would go on to achieve the rank of Lieutenant General and serve as Chief of Engineers after the war.

Click this and subsequent photos for next

Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, Commanding General, Advance/Base Section 3, viewing
a map of the Ledo Road while seated at his desk in his office in Ledo, Assam.

Gen. Pick (center) with Col. Charles S. Davis, Executive Officer (left)
and Col. William J. Green, Commanding Officer of Road Headquarters

Lt. Col. Donald Jarret, in charge of Road Maintenance (at far left) and
Capt. George C. West (?), aide to Gen. Pick, join the others for this photo.

Photo is most likely at Shingbwiyang, Burma

Col. Pick points to Tingkawk on map of Ledo Road on the wall of his
headquarters as Gen. W. E. R. Covell, SOS Commander, looks on.

Chinese Gen. Sun Li-jen with Gen. Pick

Chinese Gen. Sun Li-jen with Gen. Pick

Lt. Col. Glen Peterson, Base Ordnance Officer, Maj. Gen. W.E.R. Covell, Commanding General, Services of Supply, and Col. Lewis A. Pick, Commanding Officer, Base Section 3.

Col. Pick with Maj. Gen. W.E.R. Covell

Gen. Pick speaks with unidentified United Press correspondent

Col. Davis, Gen. Pick, Gen. Sun and United Press correspondent

Gen. Pick and Gen. Sun (note size of jungle leaves behind them)

Gen. Lee with Gen. Pick and other Chinese officers

Maj. Perley M. Lewis, Engineer of Road Headquarters, Lt. Col. Joseph Green, Col. Lee of 38th Chinese Division, Col. Pick, Commanding Officer of Base Section 3, Lt. Col. W. R. Hicks, Executive Officer of 330th Engineers, Maj. Joseph W. Savage, Regimental Engineer for 330th, Capt. Paul Bamberger, Commanding Officer Co. "A" 330th, and Capt. Joseph Kaminer in early photo.

Gen. Sun shakes hands with Lt. Col. W. R. Hicks of the 330th Engineers

General Pick's quarters. Sign reads "Major General Lewis A. Pick"

Bungalow, lawn and garage occupied by Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Pick,
commanding general Advance Section 3, when in Myitkyina.

Col. Pick confers with visiting officers Capt. Victor O'Neal, Asst. G-1 (Personnel), SOS (Services of Supply),
Col. Thomas F. Farrell, Chief Engineer, SOS, and Brig. Gen. Tom Wilson, SOS Transportation Officer

Col.Lewis A. Pick, Pvt. Harvey Orme, Heavy Equipment clerk, Maj. Gen. W.E.R. Covell, Col. DeWitt T. Mullett, Acting S-3 (planning and training), Maj. James A. Walker, Engineer Supply Officer, Lt. S. A. Boyle and Capt. C. M. Deaver, Supply Officers inspecting an Engineer supply area

Brig. Gen. Lewis Pick, left, and his executive officer, Col. C. S. Davis, talk to Pfc. Glenn Ballowe, operator of a road grader on the Myitkyina Airstrip. Shortly afterward, a runaway C-47 destroyed the general's new private plane.

Brig. Gen. Pick speaks with Pfc. Glenn Ballowe, road grader operator,
moments before a runaway C-47 has them diving for cover
Read the story and see more:  RUNAWAY C-47 CHASES PICK OFF AIRSTRIP 

Gen. Pick and Col. Davis along the road

Gen. Pick inspects Chinglo Hill sign with Col. Davis (right) and Col. Green

Gen. Pick looks out on the Ledo Road in the distance

Col. Davis and Col. Green with Gen. Pick

Mountainous landscape as background

Cleared trace and road are evident in this photo

Col. William J. Green ponders the situation near Pangsau Pass

Gen. Pick speaking with unidentified soldier

Col. Ellis Altman of Base Section 3 helps Maj. Gen. W.E.R. Covell light his cigarette at dinner

Col. Pick visits a bridge construction site

Col. Charles S. Davis pins 2 stars on collar of new Major General Lewis A. PIck.

Col. Davis congratulates the new Major General.

Timber For Building

With the CBI supply line being the longest of the war, materials for bridge and road building were scarce. Plenty of trees in the jungle provided timber for bridges and buildings and riverbeds contained gravel for hardening the road surface.

Early in the war there were no bulldozers to push back the jungle so engineers cut trees and cleared brush by hand. Eventually, heavy equipment arrived and the engineers made better progress.

A Chinese engineer fells a jungle tree that will be hewn down to a plank to be used in the flooring of a bridge being built by American and Chinese engineers in the Hukawng Valley (14 February 1944).

Large logs headed for the mill.

Chainsaw helps make quick work of large log

Log is prepared at the mill

Bark is stripped in preparation for saw

Manpower to handle logs at the mill

Here cross-arms for telegraph poles are being bored

Nepoli workers sawing logs with primitive methods at a
lumber camp about 10 miles west of Digboi, Assam, India.

Nepoli workers sawing logs

Stacked beams ready for transport to site

Local "power" being prepared to haul milled beams

Beams being hauled into place

Beam being shaped on site

A Chinese engineer makes notches in a log that will make it easier to smooth down to
form a plank for the flooring of bridge. Bridge construction by the Chinese 12th Engineers
between Yupbang Ga and Ningam Sakan, Burma in the Hukawng Valley.

More cutting for a good fit

"Lincoln Logs" support, possibly for a bridge

A "stiff leg" crane is used to move logs

More local power assisting moving logs

Carving Out A Road

The photo is a good example of what the Ledo Road Engineers faced when first they arrived to build a road. A thick jungle with trees, vines and streams galore awaited them. Add extreme rainfall, temperatures, and disease and it was to be no easy task. General Pick would call it "the toughest job ever given to U.S. Army Engineers in wartime."

Engineers started to hack away at the jungle 16 December 1942 with little more than machetes. Eventually heavy equipment arrived and the road was pushed forward.

Looking down Burma side on the China-Burma border from Hkenitang Pass (13 August 1944).

Work begins on the Ledo Road in India

Survey party sets up

Survey "transit" determines the path the road will take

Blasting away at the jungle to clear the trace

An Engineer sets a charge at base of tree

A blast felled this tree

Work crews assembling

Chinese Engineers and their equipment

Drainage was a major part of building the road

A road takes shape

Mountainside cut away in preparation for clearing the slope away by blasting a new straighter road.

Elephant and native labor at work

Officers check a tree that seems to have come down by itself

Culvert and reinforced road section nearly complete (see next)

Closeup of culvert and reinforced road section

Bulldozer clears a feshly cut section of road

Telephone poles already being installed as dozers and graders work in the distance

Dozers and graders work in the distance

A smooth and wide trace

The definition of "precipice." Vehicles just get by after landslide blocks road.
Bulldozer cleared single-lane path.

Dump trucks at work

Bulldozers smoothing-out a sharp curve

Local labor at work on a drainage ditch

Logs laid across void which will be filled-in with dirt

Dirt is pushed over interlaced logs to reinforce road with a stable base.

Finished elevated curve on approach to bridge

Newly filled and graded section to straighten road

Trees felled to clear trace

Truck passing construction camp.

Tents at construction camp

Holes are drilled for dynamite to blast away at rock formation.

Moving earth

Encampment along newly cut trace

Crushed rock steam-rolled to harden surface of road ("metalling")

Mobile "construction office"

Work trucks move along the road

Filling bags with dirt for "sandbagging"

Muddy curve

Winding nature of road is evident here.

The Ledo Road at mile 65 in Burma.

Looking into India from the Burma border.

"Corduroy road" - wooden planks laid over road surface

A section of corduroy road washed out

Bhamo road improvement eight miles southeast of Kasu, on road to Bhamo, looking southeast and showing road blown out by Japanese leaving sheer cliff of solid rock about 60 feet high and only room enough for narrow trail.

Laborers work to clear rock slide

Unidentified officer

Col. Davis and driver look over the road

Hopefully everyone was OK after this bulldozer accident

Jeep passing slide area

Tractor-trailer carrying pontoons

Gravel gathering operation

A little bit of everything in this photo (see next)

Trucks, dozers, graders and a newly finished bridge

Men and equipment of "C" Co 1905th Engineers grading new section with
culvert sections at right, about the 126 mile mark (from Shingbwiyang).

H-20 Being built in the distance (see next)

H-20 Being built

Company "E" 352nd Engineers drive piling into a section of road which washed out during the heavy rains.
This will support timber and sandbags which will be used in repairing the washed out section of road.
Photo taken at the 25 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

Stone being loaded from riverbed for use in metalling road

Graveling or "metalling" the Ledo Road about 5 miles east of Warazup.

The 4024th Quartermaster Truck Co. is hauling gravel and
the metalling is being done by "B" Co. 1880th Engineers.

Bridges Built & Crossed

The Ledo Road crossed 10 major rivers and 155 smaller streams and every one of them needed some sort of bridge. Engineers made use of timber plentiful in the jungle to fashion bridges out of logs and milled lumber. Often they had to come back and rebuild bridges that were washed-out during the monsoon rains. When equipmet was available, prefabricated bridges common to the Corps of Engineers were used.

Engineers at work on a new bridge being assembled.

Engineers at work on pontoon bridge

Ferry landing being built

Five ten ton aluminum pontons model 1938 fastened together to make a river ferry and used to transport "Cats" across the NamYung River at NamYung, Burma. This picture shows Cat getting on ponton.

This type ferry can hold 20 tons, while the Cat model 42 weighs 16 tons.
These Cats will be used to cut a new section of the Ledo Road.

Kachin family takes advantage of the modern engineering facilities of the U.S. Army in Burma as they hitch
a ride across the Tawang River on the ponton ferry constructed by the 76th Engineer Light Ponton Co.

Ferry has reached the opposite bank

At the Namyung River, Ledo Road mile 75, the 504th Engineer Light Ponton Co. has constructed a ponton ferry to carry convoys across. Due to the very swift current all bridges so far constructed have been washed away.
Photo shows a 2½-ton truck being ferried across the river.

Col. W. E. Hicks, Commanding Officer of the 330th Engineers makes notes
on the conditions of the Ledo Road causeway, which his outfit built.

A priority convoy of gravel trucks crossing causeway.
It was 1.8 miles long and up to 9 feet in height.

A convoy crossing the causeway on Ledo Road. An M.P. rides first vehicle in each convoy to enforce 5 mile per hour speed limit.

Driver leans out for a better look

The causeway was located near Warazup at about mile 189 on the Ledo Road.

A bridge supported by rubber pontoons being built

Bridge sections being assembled

Pilings driven for a new bridge

Pile driver

Pontoon used as ferry for Engineers working on a bridge

Chinese soldiers being ferried across a river

Trucks cross pontoon bridge one at a time.

Timber bridges a smaller stream

Engineers shown working on a section of a rubber ponton bridge which they have built across the Tarung Hka River at Yupbang Ga, Burma in the Hukawng Valley.

Girders will support this bridge

A 20-ton piece of Air Corps equipment crosses the Salween River bridge

A 32-ton truck and trailer crosses the Salween River bridge at the 750 kilo mark on Burma Road in China

No bridge necessary for this jeep-powered rivercraft.
Paddles on the wheels propel it.

Preparing to blast away debris prssing against bridge pilings

Members of the 330th Engineers blast debris which floated down the river and lodged against the piling of the South Mogaung River Bridge, mile 189 on the Stilwell Road (31 July 1945).

South Mogaung River Bridge which was washed out due to debris
that floated down the river and lodged against the pilings.

Chinese Engineers completing a wooden bridge.

Beginning of a permanent bridge at the 90.1 mile mark. Co. "A" 1304th Engineers is cleaning riverbed.
Temporary bridge on service road is shown at extreme right. Cut lumber, not logs, being used on this bridge.

Chinese 10th Engineers putting in a temporary bridge
on an access road about 3 miles below Mayan.

Bridge constructed by "C" Co. of the 236th Combat Engineer Battalion.
Here the New Chinese 30th Div. 90th Inf. Reg. is crossing one at a time and in single file due to shortage of material to finish bridge.

Sometimes there is no bridge as these muleskinners have discovered

Overturned carry-all and in the back-ground men of the 1905th Engineer
working on piling of a bridge at the 100.8 mile mark.

An abandoned work camp on the hill above the road.

Chinese soldiers cross on foot as jeep leads convoy across bridge

Revetment and temporary bridge at the 19 mile mark.

The Kanglawhn bridge on 6 August 1944

On the left is a Built by the Chinese Engineers and on the right is the Built by American Engineers. The Chinese bridge was only for pack animals and a foot bridge, while the other bridge will be used for everything including heavy equipment that will be transported to the Chinese front lines.

Photo of the remains of a bridge which has been washed away.
Engineers of the 504th Light Pontoon Co. have constructed a ferry
approximately 100 yds down river from this point to take care of traffic.

At Namyung River, mile 75 on the Ledo Road.
Bridges have been washed away due to the very swift current.

Washed-out bridge

After 5½" inches of rain the river swelled burying the 75 yd. approach to the north Mogaung River bridge under 3' of water. Photo taken at the 182 mile mark, Stilwell Road.

Convoy No. 114 crosses a small stream at the 800 kilometer mark
on Burma Road in China, bypassing a new bridge under construction.

Pontoon bridge which was washed out during the heavy rains is being repaired by members of the 75th Light Pontoon Co. It will be used until Bailey Bridge (in background) can be repaired. Photo taken at the South Mogaung River Bridge - 190 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

The Tawang River bridge under construction by the 330th Engineer Regiment. Cable in upper right corner is part of pontoon ferry being used in the meantime.

Looking northeast at the Namyin River bridge at Washawng.
Photo was taken from the west bank of the river.

Bridge construction by Chinese Engineers in the Hukawng Valley of Burma.
This photo shows the men carrying planks and laying them on the floor of the bridge.
These planks were hand hewn from logs that were out in the jungle.

The Inkyi River bridge is a typical jungle foot bridge which is used in these parts.

The Luhtawng River bridge

Pile driving

Chainsaw in foreground used to cut logs to length

Pouring concrete abutment for a bridge

Loaded Ferry makes river crossing


Moving the Earth

After a slow start, working mostly by hand, heavy equipment arrived in the form of Caterpillar bulldozers. These "cat" earthmovers were instrumental in clearing the jungle and forming the beginnings of a road.

Once the trace was clear the cats could do their job moving the earth and smoothing a road surface. They were also invaluable when a heavy push or pull was needed.

At left a bulldozer at work in the jungled Hukawng Valley of Burma about 12 miles south of Taipha Ga.

A D-8 bulldozer pushes over trees as if they were match sticks. At times the men have worked under fire and so a armed soldier keeps a wary eye open for Jap snipers. The point crew work in three shifts of 6 hours.

A bulldozer operated by Co. "B" of the 330th Engineers gets in a tight spot. The ground is so soft that sometimes the "cat" all but buries its tracks.

Tight spot

Bulldozers of the 330th Engineers, Co. "B" lend a hand in finishing the landing strip.

At left a "Cat" D-8 bulldozer which is part of the point crew, 300th Engineers Co. B. and next to it a Clark airborne tractor belonging to the 900th Airborne Engineers. The D-8 weighs over 20 tons while the airborne tractor weighs a little over 3000 lbs.

With their two bulldozers' blades touching, operators are being congratulated by Col. Lewis A. Pick, Commanding Officer of Base Section 3, base for Ledo Road operations.

Having cleared the last obstacle in their path, the bulldozers meet.

Here the lead bulldozer hacks its way through the last obstacle to join the forward section which was made by an advancing party of Engineers of the Ledo Road.

A D-8 bulldozer belonging to the 45th Engineers fells a tree in the Burma jungle.

Caterpillar tractor dragging a log out of the jungle where it will be cut into timber and used on the Ledo Road (29 May 1944).

An overturned power shovel, with hauler and trailer, stands in the tangled brush. A bulldozer builds a road to the wreck to permit lifting out the valuable equipment.

Bulldozer making progress toward wreck

A 10-ton wrecker goes to the aid of a Caterpillar off the road.

Here the operator and two of his men get under a fallen Caterpillar to attach a tow chain.

A bulldozer pushes dirt into a dump truck below in this jungle loading station.

After skidding off the road into a drainage ditch at mile 97, a cab and trailer is helped back on the road with the aid of a bull dozer (27 July 1945).

A landslide being cleared

Bulldozer clears away landslide on Ledo Road

Two bulldozers clear the way in preparation for laying a culvert.

Bulldozers carve-out side of hill

Slope being eased

Bulldozer smooths earth raising roadbed (note onlookers feet)

Dozer pulls truck stalled at low point on road

View of trees from hill 10 miles east of Warazup. Service road at left.
Co. "C" of the 330th Engineer Regiment operating bulldozer in foreground (27 November 1944).

A Drainage Project

It was said that the Ledo Road was as much a drainage project as it was a road building one. The Ledo Road crossed 10 major rivers and 155 smaller streams.

The naturally wet jungle was made worse by an unusually heavy rainy season that exceeded the average 140 inches of rain during a normal year. Bridges were constantly washed-out and needed to be repaired or replaced. In one area more than 23 inches of rain fell in a single month. Some normally small streams turned into raging rivers during this time.

On average there were 13 drainage culverts used per mile over the 465 mile route of the Ledo Road. That amounts to about 105 miles of pipe.

Local laborers at work on a drainage ditch

Engineers assembling culvert. Note sections in background.

Road widening in progress as culvert sections are ready for installation.

This culvert protects the road by a supply storage area

Engineers appear to be clearing culvert below a nearly washed-out bridge

Small sign reads: "RIO GRANDE R."

Trucks cross bridge as work continues on the "Rio Grande"

Part of China-bound convoy No. 114 crosses a bridge over double culverts (9 May 1945).

American Engineers supervise as culvert is installed by the Chinese 5th Co.,
10th Engineers at the 107.5 mile mark (26 November 1944).

Culvert is installed by the Chinese 5th Co., 10th Engineers

Huge quantities of water will be moved by these five grouped culverts when the rainy season begins.

Bulldozers clearing a path for the installation of a culvert. Here one bulldozer pushes a heavy log while the second pulls it with a tow line attached.

In foreground a raging, monsoon swollen river, fed by innummerable culverts, affords drainage for the road above. Photos taken at the 44 mile mark.

Engineers working to clear what appears to be a wash-out

Indian Pioneers (engineers) and American Engineers roll this culvert
into the prepared ditch at the 328 mile mark (6 May 1945).

Truck carries bulldozer past large section of culvert waiting to be installed

Retaining walls hold back the roadbed over this culvert

Engineers work on retaining wall around culvert.
Note supporting log inside the culvert.

The results of poor drainage is shown in this muddy, rutted section of road.

Chinese soldiers attempt to help heay truack through the muck

When heavy rains washed out the Ledo Road between Makum Jct. and Digboi, damage was mainly large ruts.
A jeep is shown stuck in the mud as a Cat is maneuvering to pull it out (5 July 1944).

Due to heavy rains the Mogaung River swelled, flooding the approach to the North Mogaung River Bridge.
An engineer (in foreground) directs vehicles fording flooded area. Photo taken at the 182 mile mark.

Truck plows through, obscuring the drivers view. Photo taken at the 187 mile mark.

During the dry season stream flows thru a small culvert beneath the road at the 187 mile mark.
The heavy monsoon transforms the stream into a raging river which vehicles are shown fording.

A China-bound convoy pushes it's way through a flooded stretch
on the renamed "Stilwell Road" at mile 48 (27 July 1945).

Pioneers work to clear a muddy section.
In background, stone has been spread for new roadbed.

Lines of Communication

"Lines of communication" as used during the war referred to roads, trails, air routes, anything that connected two points on a map. The Signal Corps changed that by stringing telephone and telegraph wires between those points. Now communications meant a message or telephone call.

Not far off the road the Signal Corps installed poles and strung wire for communications which was an important part of the road building effort and military operations in Burma.

Shown at left is a Signal Corps lineman cutting a pole preparatory to fitting cross-arms.

Signal Corpsmen digging a hole for a pole line

Signal Corps men placing wire on reels prior to stringing on the crossarm

Splicing spiral cable wire

Signal men stringing wires to a pole

Signalman stringing wires to a pole

Placing double arm at a corner pole

Linemen preparing to splice two completed sections of line

Terminal box and "H" pole on telephone line near SOS Headquarters at Myitkyina.

Scene of the Ledo Road between Kumkido and Pangsau Pass. Note double pole signal construction and long span of lines disappearing over the mountain in the distance.

Wires strung through the jungle.

Operating a M-15 teletype at the Message Center

Operating the switchboard at Road Headquarters of the Ledo Road at Tarung, Burma. A CF-1-A carrier is in the background.

Press time for the special edition of the Bull-Dozer newspaper. Members get out the paper using a mimeograph machine and typewriter.  Read the  BULL-DOZER 

Commander of China convoy No. 114 gives message to teletype operator stating that his convoy has reached Mong Yu. Message goes to Motor Ttransport Service headquarters in Ledo, Assam.

Signal man operating an SCR-188 radio
(SCR-188 is Set, Complete, Radio model 188 for Air-Ground Liaison)

Telegraph poles are going through a creosoting process

Wires lead into signal building, S.O.S. Headquarters,
Myitkyina, Burma (27 September 1944).

Final boring of telephone pole line cross arms for braces and through bolts

Assembling crown arms on a pole line at the 101 mile mark

Services of Supply

To keep China supplied and in the war was the primary purpose of the Ledo Road. The fight with the Chinese would occupy many Japanese units that might otherwise be used elsewhere in the Pacific. It was therefore important to the Allied war effort to help China.

The road was the final link in a supply line that reached 16,000 miles across the globe to bring supplies from the United States to our Chinese allies.

These soldiers are handling supplies at a warehouse loading dock.

Railhead warehouses at Lekhapani

628th Quartermaster Ice Plant near Lekhapani

Storage sheds

Trucks are stored at Chabua, Assam until convoys are formed.

All destined for China

Working On The Railroad

Ledo, Assam in the extreme northeastern part of India was chosen as a starting point for a road to bypass the blockaded Burma Road because it was the terminus of a rail line from Karachi and Calcutta. Many American soldiers reached Ledo at least a part of the way by rail as did the supplies destined for China over the Stilwell Road.

Rail lines were subject to the same hazards as the road bridges. Wash-outs and flooding often took them out of service. Equipment too, suffered. American Engineers came up with a simple way to use the rail lines. Modified jeeps with special wheels like a rail car served as engines pulling special wagons built for use on the rails.

At left a flooded approach to a railway bridge.

Flooded approach to railway bridge (wider angle)

Another bridge and another flooded approach

High water has deposited debris from the river onto the ralroad bridge

Mogaung River Railroad Bridge

Mogaung River railroad bridge bombed by Allies during Japanese occupation
is to be repaired by 504th Light Ponton Co.

Bomb damage to the bridge

Mogaung River railroad bridge

At work on the railroad bridge across the Mogaung river at the village of Mogaung in Northern Burma (28 August 1944).

Temporary shoring supporting railroad bridge

View of two lines of weapon carriers about to be unloaded at Bongaigaon station, Assam. These vehicles will be convoyed to Pigeon Hill, Assam. There they will be serviced and then move on to Ledo.

Rice, rice and more rice being unloaded from train into classification warehouses

Welder works to convert a standard wheel into one for use on the rails

The new wheel is fitted to a jeep

Jeep "engine" ready to roll

Two jeeps - One for the road and one for the rails

Wagons used on the Jeep Railroad

The "Jeep Railroad" used existing rails and a modified jeep to pull rail wagons

Modified wheels on a more standard railcar

Flatcar with load and a curious number of onlookers

Onlookers now hitch-hikers

A convenient way to get to where you're going

A direct hit in the center of the tracks of the Burma Railway. Huge crater in center of photo shows accuracy of American bombing (6 September 1944).

Locomotive of the Burma Railway which the Japanese used as a pill box at Myitkyina is shown blown on its side by two bomb hits.

Much bombed Burma Railway work shop. Many building like this in Myitkyina were bombed by American flyers.

Looks like this boxcar is full of used cans and other trash

Injured are being placed on a flat car to be hauled to Myitkyina for medical treatment.
The accident was the result of a head-on collision between two Jeep propelled trains.

American trained Chinese soldier gives the sign as he says, "Ding-How," which means O.K.

Over The Road To China

Even before the Japanese invaders were pushed back and even before the road was officially completed, convoys started to roll to China. A Motor Transportation Sevice was formed to administer the delivery of supplies to China via Stilwell Road convoys. The Ledo and Burma Roads together had been renamed Stilwell Road at the suggestion of Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

Convoy trucks pause along the road at mile 91. Typical terrain of Burma can be seen in the background.

M.P. posted near often photographed mileage sign at the beginning of the Stilwell Road in Ledo, Assam, India.
Small sign indicates beginning of maintenance by Company "A" of 382nd Engineer Construction Battalion.

Col. Charles S. Davis Jr., Commanding Officer of Motor Transport Service,
Advance Section, India-Burma Theater, Ledo.

Col. Davis passing a few of his own driving tips to drivers who are waiting the starting signal
that will send their convoy out over the Stilwell Road to deliver war materials to the Chinese at Kunming.

Col. Davis personally checks cargo of war materrial in a truck in China-bound convoy at Ledo.

Headquarters building of Motor Transport Service at Lekhapani, Assam.

Col. Davis, with Lt. Col. Albert L. Reeves, Jr., Executive Officer, Motor Transport Service,
talk to a group of drivers from the 78th Truck Battalion.

Col. Davis with a group of drivers from the 300th China convoy.

Lt. Col. John F. Leary shakes hands with Col. Davis just before departing
from Ledo for Kunming as commander of Convoy No. 300  (20 July 1945)

Awaiting the starting signal, a long line of trucks are shown on the Stilwell Road at Tokyo Y
near Ledo, Assam just before starting for Kunming, China, with heavy loads of war material.
The drivers of this convoy No. 300 are from the 3645th Quartermaster Truck Co.

Heading for Kunming, China, 1079 miles away at the end of the famed Stilwell Road,
trucks of Convoy No. 300 are shown pulling out past the control station at Tokyo Y near Ledo, Assam.

China bound trucks encounter steep grades and switchbacks approaching Pangsau Pass,
the India-Burma boundry line. Photo taken at the 38 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

Despite the torrential monsoon, heavy flow of convoys to China continue almost without interruption as a result of the efforts of U.S. Army Engineers on the Stilwell Road. Photo taken at the 44 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

Muddy patches along the Stilwell Road are hazardous but do not interrupt
the heavy flow of convoys to China. Photo taken at the 52 mile mark.

A China-bound convoy is detained while Army Engineers replace a wooden approach
to the Bailey bridge at the 79 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

After seven days of rain the road was still passable to the endless stream of heavy traffic.

China bound trucks navigate steep grades at the 81 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

China bound trucks navigate steep grades at the 81 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

Photo shows log cribbing at 86 mile mark on Stilwell Road in Burma.
Construction is being done by Co. "C" 1358th Pioneers (Indian Engineers).

Drivers of the 96th Signal Battalion Co. "B" drinking coffee
and waiting for convoy movement approval at the 91 mile mark.

Trucks shift into high range second gear on the six mile downgrade at Chinglo Hill.
Photo taken at the 92 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

A convoy plows its way thru a muddy stretch at the 97 mile mark on the Stilwell Road. Pioneers (Engineers) of the Indian Army and U.S. Army Engineers are in the process of harding road bed with the use of gravel and rock.

A China bound convoy laden with war material for China plows its way thru a muddy stretch of road.
Pioneers (Engineers) of the Indian Army and U.S. Army Engineers are in the process of harding roadbed
with the use of gravel and rock. Photo taken at the 97 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

A native using a banana leaf for an umbrella, curiously watches a China-bound convoy
racing by. Photo taken at the 97 mile mark on the Stilwell Road (27 July 1945).

China-bound vehicles their way around sharp turns on the six mile down grade at Chinglo Hill.
Photo taken at the 98 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

Convoy passing an American Military Cemetery where those men who died during fighting
and building of the Stilwell Road are buried. Photo taken at the 101 mile mark.

Tilt Memorial Cemetery near Shingbwiyang, Burma

Convoy passes the Tilt Memorial Cemetery at the 101 mile mark on the Stilwell Road. Crosses in foreground
mark the burial place of Americans who died during the fighting and building of the Stilwell Road.

The cemetery was named in honor of Major Ralph B. Tilt, who was killed in action on 26 January 1944.
Guard of Honor fires 3 volleys in honor of the dead. This is the first official American cemetery in Burma.

T/5 George W. Arkle plays taps over the grave of Major Ralph B. Tilt, 30 May 1944.
The plot was at mile marker 101 on the Ledo Road at Shingbwiyang, Burma.
Major Tilt now rests in Englewood, New Jersey.

China bound convoy completes the first lap of its 1,079 mile journey to Kunming, China.
Vehicles are shown driving into the Motor Transport Service China Control Station at Shingbwiyang, Burma.

The Motor Transport Service China Control Station at Shingbwiyang, Burma, mile 103 on the Ledo Road.

What seems like a ribbon of land between two rivers is the causeway and it's drainage canals
filled to capacity. Photo taken at the 150 mile mark on the Stilwell Road. Grass along the side
of the road was transplanted from the jungle by Army Engineers to keep the banks of the road
from washing away during the heavy rains.

Truck belonging to the 45th Quartermaster Battalion is off the road in a ditch at mile 158.
Two other trucks have their winch cables tied to it, and will drag it back on the road
as soon as rest of convoy passes.

Checking-in with an M.P. border guard enroute to China (10 May 1945).

Tractor-trailer appears to be carrying personnel carrier
back to where it came from as trucks pass in other direction.

A convoy of jeeps. Today's "Jeep" brand name probably came from
soldier's referring to the General Purpose (GP) vehicle as "gee pea" or "jeep."

A convoy is stopped while a blast is being prepared.

This convoy commander will be leading Convoy No. 189 of Air Transport Command equipment and supplies.
Note Air Corps insignia on sleeve and "ATC" on jeep windshield.

LeTourneau Tournpull model Super C scraper

LeTourneau scraper

LeTourneau Tournapull model Super C scraper being convoyed over the Ledo Road into Burma.

LeTourneau scraper

LeTourneau scraper

LeTourneau scraper

Long line of tanks travel the road

Constant reminders of the speed limit were livened-up so drivers took notice.
"Speeder Beware! Mark my words, Wait and see, You'll get caught, Just like me. 25 MPH"

Convoy passing what appears to be a construction camp

Drivers of M.T.S. China Convoy No. 100 gather for a group photo.

A little entertainment before heading out on the road.

Drivers in China bound convoy No. 114 eat dinner of K-rations during a break in driving.
This is the 830 kilometer mark on Burma Road in China.

Larger than life M.P. sign cautions drivers

Trucks of the 179th Trucking Bn. as they wind their way along the Ledo Road.

Vehicles of China-bound convoy No. 114 drive over the 110-ton
barge bridge across the Irrawaddy River at Myitkyina, Burma.

Trucks exiting bridge

M.P. stops truck prior to it proceeding across bridge

"The middle of nowhere" marks the junction of the Ledo and Burma Roads at Mongyu, Burma.

A closer look at the junction sign

A photographer stands next to another eye-catching speed limit sign

Artillery pieces being convoyed up the Ledo Road

Trucks on a reinforced section of road

Truck convoy passing over one of the many H-20 bridges along the Ledo Road.

Truck convoy of the 179th Quartermaster Battalion on a
short, level stretch along the Ledo Road (9 December 1944).

"Take my advice soldier, whenever you drive, don't be foolish, and you'll stay alive."

Convoy passes radio tower on a hilltop.

Photographed going down a road near Shingbwiyang is a convoy of the 45th QM Truck Co.
This convoy is making a run between Ledo and Warazup (mile 189) in Northern Burma, and is shown here at a stopping off place between these two bases. These convoys haul supplies to the bases to be used by the troops stationed there.

Convoy paused along the road.

A chance for a dip in the river.

Wrecker pulls truck back onto road.

Mechanics work on a truck with an engine problem.

Piece of Air Corps equipment reaches border checkpoint.

Scenic stop

U.S. Army trucks roar along Ledo Road into Northern Burma to keep supplies moving
to the road construction units and to the fighting front. Here a convoy heads back to
the base after unloading at an advance position.

Stilwell's men fighting in Burma were often supplied via the Ledo Road.

Air Force items of China bound convoy No. 114 shown going over a repaired section of the Burma Road.

Truck crosses narrow bridge

Despite the torrential monsoon, heavy flow of convoys continue over the Stilwell Road.
What seems like a raging river alongside the road is really a drainage canal.
Photo taken at the 155 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

Busy Mess Hall

Mess Hall

Snaking their way along a mountain side, a convoy pushes slowly ahed along the narrow road.
Later bulldozers will widen the road by eating away at the mountain side.

Bulldozer on trailer is pulled through China-Burma border gate on the Burma Road.
This complete piece of equipment weighs 32 tons (read sign in next photo).

DUE TO CRITICAL BRIDGES - by command of Maj. Gen. Cheves"
(The bulldozer on trailer weighs 32 tons.)

Convoy commander is greeted at the Motor Transport Service at Paoshan, China.

Commanding Officers

Shown here with Col. Lewis A. Pick, Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, in his signature campaign hat, was the driving force behind getting the Ledo Road project "off the ground." He knew it would be needed to get his Chinese troops to where they were needed to clear portions of northern Burma even before the road could be completed as the Japanese still occupied much of the area.

Below are Signal Corps photos of just a few of the many men who led the effort to push the invaders out of Burma and build the road to China.

Col. Charles S. Davis Jr., Executive Officer of the Ledo Road project and later Commanding Officer of the Motor Transport Service delivering supplies to China.At his left arm is a stack of booklets:  STILWELL ROAD - STORY OF THE LEDO LIFELINE 

Col. Edward T. Telford, Deputy Commander, Motor Transport Service
More about him  HERE 

Lt. Col. David M. Gantz, Ordnance, Chief of China Traffic Branch, Motor Transport Service

Lt. Col. A. L. Reeves Jr., Executive Officer

Maj. John A. MacDonald, Transportation Corps

Unidentified officer

Congressman Mike Mansfield, Democratic Representative from Missoula, Montana, conversing with
Col. Charles S. Davis, at Mile 00.00, the beginning of the Ledo Road.  (22 November 1944)
Congressman Mansfield is a personal envoy for President Roosevelt.

Col. Davis with Congressman Mansfield

Unidentified officer with Col. Davis

Unidentified officer with Col. Davis

Unidentified enlisted man and officer

Unidentified officer with Col. Davis

Gen. W.E.R. Covell with Col. Pick as M.P. stands guard outside headquarters.

Officers in front of S.O.S. Base Section 3 Headquarters

__________?, __________?, Col. Davis, __________?, __________?

__________?, Col. Davis, __________?

Col. Pick and staff

Col. Davis, __________?, __________?

General Covell and other "brass" visit a work area.

Col. Davis above the winding road.

Col. William J. Green, C.O. Road Headquarters; Col. Charles S. Davis, Exec. Off. Adv. Section;
Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, C.G. Advance Section; Col Richard Seele, C.O. 45th Engr. Regt.;
Lt. Col. Donald Jarret, Charge of Road Maint.; Capt. George C. West, Aide to Gen. Pick.

Two bulldozers breaking through the jungle to meet, creating a "photo op" for area commanders.
In this photo, Col. Pick congratulates bulldozer operators.

Major Clarence L. Lyle, engineer in charge of the Point, congratulates bulldozer operators

Lt. Col. Joseph Green congratulates bulldozer operators

Col. Charles Gleim Commanding Officer of the 330th Engineers congratulates bulldozer operators

Col. Lee of the 38th Chinese Division congratulates bulldozer operators

Base Section 3 Headquarters building

Headquarters building and parade grounds

Soldiers assemble for awards ceremony

Assembling on parade grounds at Ledo headquarters

Col. Pick stands ready

Col. Pick addresses assembled soldiers from a microphone

Staff assembled

Staff salute

Officers and enlisted men to receive various awards

Left to right, Maj. Samuel W. Whitebread and Lt. Col. Charles S. Davis awarded the Legion of Merit
while Pvt. Paul Lee, Jr. and Pvt. Jacob Colter are awarded the Purple Heart (approx. May 1944).

Col. Pick congratulates Pvt. Lee

Col. Pick congratulates Pvt. Colter

Col. Pick congratulates Maj. Whitebread

Lt. Col. Davis receives Legion of Merit. Read the newspaper article HERE 

Col. Pick pins on the award

Another ceremony

More soldiers recognized

Sergeant is congratulated after being awarded a medal (pinned on uniform).

Pipeline to China

Possibly the most successful aspect of the Ledo Road was the pipeline that ran parallel to it. Early in the war fuel had to be flown over the Hump from storage tanks in India to the China end of the air route. This wasted valuable cargo space.

From Tinsukia, Assam, India, the Assam-Burma-China pipeline finally reached Kunming via Myitkyina and Bhamo in Burma and freed-up cargo space for supplies and war material for China. It also supplied convoys over the road with "gas stations" located along the route.

A member of a P.O.L. (Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants) company turns a valve on a section of the pipeline to China.

Loading pipe sections onto a C-47 at Dergaon, India for the Tenth Combat Cargo Squadron.
Foreground shows large area where pipe sections are stacked, ready to be flown out.

Members of the 775th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co. unload pipe sections from a C-47
of the Combat Cargo Squadron at Myitkyina, Burma. The pipe was flown from Dergaon, India

Stringing pipe along the Myitkyina and Mogaung Railroad (20 August 1944).

Men of the 776th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co. carry a section of pipe through the jungle eight miles south of Warazup.

Members of the pipe line are carrying pipe through swamp in the jungle. Thin pipe line runs 8 miles through this type of jungle in Warazup.The pipeline 8 miles south of Warazup goes through a heavy jungle and because of heavy rains and deep mud, the pipe must be carried in by members of the 776th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co.

Pipe sections are clamped and joined

Officer shown pointing to the hole in pipe made by a fragment of a bomb dropped by a Japanese plane the evening of 29 November, 1944. This was the first time the pipeline in Burma was damaged from the air. Only 3 or 4 barrels of gas were lost. The pipe line at this point is about 150 yds. from the Warazup air strip.

Examining anti-personnel bomb dropped at Warazup air strip by a Japanese plane.
The bombs shown are duds.

Connecting pipe sections deep in the jungle

Installing a gate valve on the pipeline south of the Warazup airstrip are men of the 776th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co.

Ledo Fire Department at work on the burning remains of an equipment-filled warehouse in the Harmony Church area of Ledo. Conflaguration caused by leakage of high-octane gasoline from broken pipeline.

Downed trees "guard" the pipeline in this area

Pipeline runs right along the side of the road

Members of the 699th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co. (EPD) with sign marking their area.

Completed 1000 bbl. tank, partially camouflaged at the Myitkyina tank farm,
built by the 775th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co.

Network of pipes, valves, etrc., at the pumping station on the tank farm at Myitkyina being constructed by the 775th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co. This is a part of the India-Burma pipeline that will continue on into China.

Men knock off work at the Myitkyina tank farm, part of the Assam-Burma-China pipeline.
They're passing a 5,000 bbl. tank that they built. Tank will be camouflaged.

One of 49 booby-traps laid by the Japanese between the tank farm and the Myitkyina air strip.
The grenades are fitted to cardboard containers and then attached to vines or wires.
A slight tug on the vines or wires pulls out the grenade which then goes off.

View of Myitkyina gas storage tank farm being built by the 775th Engineer Petroleum Distribution Co.
White circle is stone base for a 10,000 barrel tank of which there will be 6 when the farm is completed.

Keep 'Em Rollin'

Over one thousand miles of twisting turning road, mountains, dust, mud, monsoons, malaria, etc., is tough on men and machine. The Motor Transport Service (MTS) was tasked with overcoming these obstacles and whatever else might happen along the route.

Along the road maintenance facilities were built to check and repair vehicles, fuel them from the pipeline and provide parking. Men had to be housed overnight or longer and also fed. They strategically located these "rest stops" along the way.

At left is Lt. Col. J. E. Mutty, company commander of 478th Quartermaster, MTS terminal No.3, which receives all vehicles over the famous Stilwell Road and turns them over to the China Theater.

Perhaps most important of all maintenance is on bulldozers that push the road forward.

Col. Davis speaks to mechanics working on bulldozer engine.

Engine undergoing service

Truck receives tune-up

May be beyond help but good as a donor for parts

Drums of gasoline are filled for convoy use

The road was tough on axles

Very tough

Some may be able to be used for repairs.

Spare truck cabs

China-bound trucks are lined up outside an Ordnance shop at Makum, Assam,
where they will be checked and then turned over to MTS for convoy duty to China.

China bound trucks are checked by ordnance at the
Makum Ordnance shop before turning them over to MTS.

Trucks being serviced

Unloading 100 gallon drums of gasoline at the Myitkyina, Burma China bound convoy stop.
These men are with convoy No. 114 and it is parked at this point overnight.

Working on a rock that has become wedged between the two tires on a 2½-ton truck in convoy No. 114.

View from the water tower of the inspection wash racks and parking lot of the
45th Ordance Battalion 1st and 2nd Echelon maintenance shops near Lekhapani, Assam.

The first operation at the 45th Ordnance Battalion, 1st and 2nd Echelon Maintenance shops
near Lekhapani, Assam. Here Indians help fill the gas tanks before the trucks go thru inspection,
wash, grease, tightening and 2nd echelon repair.

The P.O.L. at Myitkyina, Burma, mile 260 on the Stilwell Road.
At the pumps are vehicles of China bound convoy No. 114.

The driver of a vehicle in China-bound convoy No. 114 fills his gas tank at the Myitkyina, Burma P.O.L.

Ambulance gas tank is filled at the Myitkyina, Burma P.O.L.

Flat tires being repaired by personnel of 69th Tire Repair Squadron while China-bound
convoy No. 114 is stopped at the convoy control station at Myitkyina, Burma, 260 mile mark.

Mess Hall and kitchen at the convoy stop at Myitkyina, Burma at mile 260 on the Stilwell Road in Burma.

Four drivers of China-bound convoy No. 114 are shown filling their gas tanks
at the Myitkyina Burma P.O.L. at the 260 mile mark on the Stilwell Road.

Filling a "Federal" truck tractor gas tank at Myitkyina, Burma P.O.L.

Working on truck in Ordnance section of the MTS at Paoshan, China at Kilo 676 on Burma Road.

Checking truck at Kunming MTS terminal after truck arrived in convoy from Ledo.

Working on a 6x6 dump truck along the route.

Signal Corps. photographer takes a photo of a Chinese soldier guarding a refueling stop.

The photo

Chinese repairmen working in the Ordnance section of the
MTS at Paoshan, China on the Burma Road at kilo 676.

Three truck tractors winching bulldozer from a ravine into which it fell from a trailer
that tipped over while rounding narrow curve and bridge. Kilometer 859 on Burma Road.

Changing a tire as convoy continues on

The processing line at Kunming MTS terminal #3. Here convoy vehicles
from India have grease checked, bolts, nuts, tightened and inspected.

An Overnight Stay

Just like any highway, the Stilwell Road had rest stops along the way. Parking areas were built for trucks, and tents and mess facilities were setup for the drivers. After a long day on the road, sleep probably came quickly even with the sparse accommodations.

Distance along the Stilwell Road was measured in an interesting way. On the Ledo Road, distance was measured in miles from Ledo. On the old Burma Road, distance was measured in kilometers (kilos) from Kunming. While driving the Ledo Road, miles counted up as you went along, while kilos went down as you traveled on the Burma Road portion.

Shown at left are tents for the overnight stay at Paoshan, China, 676 kilometer mark on Burma Road.

A convoy stop

A Kunming-bound convoy is directed into the Motor Transport Service
parking area at Paoshan, China at the 673 Kilo mark on Burma Road.

Parking lot at left center; wash racks at right and 2nd echelon maintenance shops at rear.
Shot from the water tower of the 45th Ord. Bn. 1st and 2nd echelon maintenance shops near Lekhapani, Assam, India.

China bound convoy No. 114 shown in parking area at the Myitkyina, Burma convoy control station.

Services of Supply Headquarters area at Bhamo

Parking area at the MTS stop at kilometer 812 on Burma Road in China.
There are no tents for drivers to sleep in.

The P.O.L. at Myitkyina, Burma, mile 260 on the Stilwell Road.
At the pumps are part of the vehicles of China bound convoy No. 114.

View of the convoy control parking area at Bhamo, Burma on the Stilwell Road.
China bound convoy No. 114 is parked overnight at this stop.

View of the MTS parking area at Paoshan, China at the 676 kilo
mark on Burma Road. At the left is the Ordnance section.

Shower building at the MTS area ar Paoshan, China at the 676 kilo mark on the Burma Road.

Convoy driver recives treatment for injured foot at the MTS stop at Paoshan, China.

Tents for the overnight stay at Paoshan, China, kilo 676 on Burma Road.

Mess line at one of the Motor Transport Service stops, this one at Paoshan, China on the Burma Road.

Driver waits on convoy commander to take his padded seat.

Jeep leads convoy out of overnight parking area

Convoy pulls out of parking area

Jungle Armored

General Stilwell knew the Ledo Road would be more than a supply line. He knew he needed it to swiftly move men and equipment to the battle to retake Burma. Merrill's Marauders and Chinese Army divisions traveled the road.

Tanks brought a distinct advantage to battle and they too traveled the road into the jungles of Burma to meet the Japanese.

At left, tanks form a convoy to move up the road.

Well-camouflaged tank in trees above river bank (note visible barrel)

Damaged M3A3 tanks are parked together, out of action

M3A3 light tank

Ready for the Mess Hall

Fresh meat was not something shipped from the U.S. Locally obtained meat was needed to supply the troops and the workers along the road.

The pictures that follow document some fresh meat being "obtained."

Air Operations

Air power came into its own during World War II. Aircraft were used for a variety of air operations. In the CBI Theater and along the Ledo Road these included delivering supplies to bases, air dropping supplies to forward bases and evacuating wounded Chinese soldiers.

The Japanese too, used the air, especially for bombing Burma. While not a major problem, they did cause some damage early in the war. The U.S. Army prepared for these air invaders by equipping anti-aircraft guns in the area of the road.

In the photo, Chinese wounded are assisted from an air evac "Ambulance Plane" and will be taken to nearby hospital.


AMBULANCE PLANE No. 1 unloading wounded

Medical patient being loaded onto Ambulance Plane No. 1, a C-47 Skytrain

The Red Cross markings are visible on the two types of ambulances in the photo

Men of Air Evacuation Unit removing wounded Chinese soldier from the plane at India Clearing Station.
From this station the wounded are immediately rushed by ambulance to hospitals nearby (22 April 1944).

A wounded Chinese fighting man is hoisted to the ambulance plane at Shingbwiyang

Gate at Myitkyina South Airbase

This plane is being loaded with supplies

Laborers prepare paper parachutes for loading

Paper parachutes ready for loading

Supplies with parachutes being loaded

Paper parachutes are being pushed out of a C-47 plane above the Dinjan Airport in Northern Assam.
This is the first time that paper chutes have been used in any theater of operation.
They are 18 feet, made of 68 lb. Kraft paper and are expendable.

Man on floor pushes load out the door using his legs.
Airmen called this "kicking" supplies out the door.

This ia a picture of one of the drops in the testing of the Navy Paper Cargo Parachute.
This drop was made from an altitude of 300 feet at a speed of 160 MPH  (16 June 1944).
The cargo has pulled away from one of the chutes, but the others made a good landing.

The following claims are made for the chute: maximum capacity at 165 MPH, 100 lbs. A 100 lb. load falls at approximately 25 feet per second. Parachute opens in approximately 100 feet in a vertical drop.

Parachutes glide to earth as seen from the cargo door of plane that dropped them

Supplies landed

Unidentified large airdrome


A Curtiss C-46 "Commando" transport

A mix of transports and waiting soldiers at the field

Two C-46's, the closer one unpainted, which saved about 60 lbs.

Inspecting a crashed plane

No longer air-worthy

Transporting personnel. Emergency parachutes on racks above.

A Cub Liaison plane of a Liaison Squadron attached to combat troops, taking off from the landing strip
along the Ledo Road. The planes use the field even while it is still under construction (November 1943).

Smooth clear landing strip

Parachutes being packed

Supplies with attached parachutes are readied in a warehouse

Ready to load waiting plane

Loading a C-47 for an air drop

Preparing to "kick" supplies out the door

Air drop mission complete

Extremely low-level drop right next to the road where trucks wait

Low-level air drop

This plane appears to have an issue that has drawn a crowd

6x6 "rear end" being loaded through double-doors of a C-47

P-40s lined up along the runway at the Dinjan Airport

Kachin natives and American soldiers all pitch in to help unload equipment from a glider on Myitkyina airfield.

Gunner and ammunition bearer set for action near Maurgerhita, Assam. The weapon
being manned is a 50 caliber water cooled machine gun used for anti aircraft defense.

Gun crew of Battery "C" 464th Co. Anti-Aircraft Artillery, activated about 20 months prior and
in foreign service one year. Pictures are made of the crews about the Bofors 40mm Aniti-Aircraft gun (24 April 1944).

Trenches are part of observation post for anti-aircraft emplacement

Col. Pick takes a break while visiting an anti-aircraft battery

Col. Pick with an "eye to the sky"

Anti-Aircraft battery protects an unidentified air strip

At the Hospital

Hospitals along the Ledo Road cared for American as well as Chinese soldiers who were injured or wounded. They also treated those sick from the myriad of diseases found in the jungles of Burma.

One thousand one hundred thirty three lives were lost building the Ledo Road. Two hundred sixty one of those lost were engineers who died in accidents or from disease. Still, the medical units in CBI saved an untold number of American and Chinese lives.

At left a soldier is carried from an air evacuation plane to waiting medical care.

Jeeps which have been converted into ambulances are awaiting
the ambulance plane at Shingbwiyang with wounded Chinese soldiers.

More jeep ambulances

Operating Room

Surgery in progress

Recovering Chinese patients


Entrance to Chinese Section of a General Hospital

Chinese patients recovering at a hospital

Col. Davis visits Chinese ward at a hospital

One wall is complete for the new air condittioned hospital ward building being built.

Interior view of the construction of the brick and concrete air conditioned building
for the use for scrub typhus and cerebral malaria patients.

This is a close up of the wall structure of the brick and concrete air conditioning hospital ward now
being built at the 20th Gen. Hospital area, Ledo, Assam, for scrub typhus and cerebral malaria patients.

This is an outside view of the air conditioned scrub typhus ward.
This building has been air conditioned by five 3/4 H.P. York-Philco air conditioners.

This is an interior view of the air conditioned critical surgical casualty ward.

General interior view of new "Pick Ward" at the 20th General Hospital in Assam.
The ward, as seen from inside the nurse's office, is completely air conditioned for
the benefit of critically ill patients, most of whom are suffering from Mite Typhus.

This is an interior view of the air conditioned scrub typhus ward, 20th Gen. Hospital located near
Ledo, Assam. Shown at the right foreground is one of the five 3/4 H.P. York-Philco air conditioners.

These air conditioners arrived with many parts broken in transit and are being re-conditioned and
put into operation as quickly as possible for use in the critical ward and operations buildings of the
hospital in the Ledo area (11 June 1944).

Until the installation of this air conditioning unit fluoroscopic equipment
could only be operated during cool hours of the day.

Accordion music for patients in this ward

Injured are being placed on a flat car to be hauled to Myitkyina for medical treatment.
The accident was the result of a head-on collision between two Jeep propelled trains.

A view of a small hospital for civilian population in the outskirts of the city of Myitkyina.
On the right is Mrs. "Daisey-Mae" Johns, a nurse working in one of the wards.

A rescued P-51 pilot being placed in ambulance for removal to hospital at conclusion of rescue mission.

The Jap bullet is shown above the incision of a soldier who was wounded
in the battle for Myitkyina. American surgical team performed the operation.

A surgical nurse keeping the withdrawing bottle in motion, while taking blood from an American donor.
The blood taken from American donors is not used to make plasma, but is used for direct blood transfusions,
while blood donations made by Chinese troops are used to make plasma which is very scarce here.

Chinese soldier wounded in the successful battle for Myitkyina in North Burma,
with leg in Balkan Frame at a large American hospital in Assam.

First Iron Lung in an Assam U.S. hospital. Doctor and nurse watch over
a Poliomyelitis victim in a Drinker-Collins respirator.

Patient gets a special visit from Paulette Goddard during her tour of CBI.

Other patients get a visit from the actress.

Hospital patients gather for a group photo with the popular actress.

Nurses too, are visited by Paulette Goddard.

A heart attack landed Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill of the "Marauders" in the 20th General Hospital.
Col. Isidor S. Ravdin M.D., executive officer of the hospital, and Lt. Col. Charles Davis are his visitors.

Census chart of the 14th Evacuation Hospital showing the anticipated
volume of 600 beds and the actual tremendous influx of casualties.

Occupational therapy at a convalescent camp run by a General Hospital in Assam.

A Rehabilitation Camp (Provisional Rehabilitation Unit) being built at mile 19
on the Ledo Road for convalescent Chinese from the Burma campaign.

A rehabilitation camp for recovered wounded Chinese soldiers at the 22 mile mark of the Ledo Road.

Ambulance transport

During a tour of Myitkyina, Southeast Asia commander Lord Louis Mountbatten visits a hospital.
See more of the SEAC commander's visit  HERE 

Patient is given a back wash and rub by the nurse.

Red Cross worker hands out cigarettes to battle casualty in a crowded hospital ward.

Red Cross recreation room at a hospital.

Crowded ward interior at an Evacuation Hospital.

This ward accomodates 240 patients and is formed by 60 tents.

This tent ward of 60 tents was set up for battle casualties.

Chow time for the battle casulaty patients. Because of the lack of cover
for the waiting line in wet weather, patients are called out, one ward at a time.

Patients relax during recuperation

The Dentist's office

Patient receives dental care

Christmas at a hospital on the Ledo Road

Hospital staff work on wreaths to brighten the wards.

"Homemade" decorations

Decorated hospital ward

Possibly a letter home for the holidays

Another holiday decorated hospital

Another decorated ward

A snowman for the holidays

It's Sunday night at Col. Seagrave's Hospital "Burma Surgeon" on the bank of the Irrawaddy River at Myitkyina.
Every Sunday night Col. Seagrave leads his nurses and such others as are interested in an hour of singing hymns.

Dr. Gordon Seagrave and his Burmese nurses outside the hospital.

Dr. Seagrave speaks with visitor

Scene Along The Road

Some photos just don't fit in any category. Still they were of enough interest or importance for the Signal Corps photographer to snap a picture.

Many of these photos do not have captions, possibly due to their random nature. Some captions have been added.

At left, what remains of one of the trucks involved in a head-on collision on the Ledo Road, 29 November 1944, about 6 miles east of Warazup.

Men of Bomb Squad examining badly burned truck from the head-on accident.

Unidentified American soldier
60% of the Engineers working on the Ledo Road were Black

Mail call on the road.

GI's browse through books provided by a Special Service Unit.

Dump truck driver smiles for the camera

A chaplain passes the kiddush cup, filled with wine, before the chanting of the kiddush (blessing).

American soldiers (possibly Merrill's Marauders) at Ledo

A quiet shady spot

More primitive transportation moves on the road

Mule train and coolies crossing the Tungmu River, near Sadon, Burma.

Unidentified officers

Better with hats on?

Lucky soldier displays the holes in his coveralls made by a fragment from an
anti-personnel bomb dropped from a Japanese plane. He was only slightly scratched.

Soldiers showing holes in tent caused by shrapnel when a Japanese plane dropped 3 bombs
in the Mogaung River about 10 yds. from mess hall and tents of the 77th Light Ponton Co.
About 400 yards from the Warazup airstrip. Three men of the Company were hurt.

Group of 884th Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battery Station men around bomb crater about 100yds. from
Warazup air strip. A single Japanese plane dropped a few clusters of 1lb. anti-personnel bombs and about
six fragmentation bombs in the vicinity of the air strip about 1900 on 29 November 1944.

Members of 70th Field Hospital shown with two holes made by 1lb. anti-personnel bombs
dropped at the edge of the Warazup air strip by a Japanese plane the night before.

The shattered cockpit of a Japanese bomber showing part of the Rising Sun insignia.
The searching party included some of the Ledo police and Ghurka soldiers.

More wreckage

A wrecked building in Myitkyina. A shell crater is in the foreground.

More damaged buildings

SEAC Commander Lord Louis Mountbatten inspects damaged town of Myitkyina with Chinese and American officers.

Typical basha construction with bamboo. Here they are setting the roof peak and wall.

Working on the roof

Placing woven sections on bamboo poles

Conventional building construction with milled lumber

Another conventional building under construction

A lot of activity in this photo from unknown camp location

Securing a cable (unknown purpose)

The base laundry gets an inspection visit

American supervises Indian workers sewing uniforms

Chinese soldiers

Chinese soldiers move up the road

Chinese muleskinners

American muleskinner pauses to light a cigarette


Reading an issue of CBI Roundup while "bearers" serve breakfast.

Time for a haircut in the field

Possibly a good example of driving the Burma Road.

Members of ground rescue party with Naga guides on way through
dense north Burma jungle to aid in bringing out a downed P-51 pilot.

Maj. Kamminer, head of reconniasance party from Advance Section 3

Three Naga girls employed by ground rescue party as porters
on mission to bring out lost P-51 pilot.

Pilot is carried after being rescued from Naga village
where he was found after bailing out of his disabled P-51.

Officers and enlisted men gather around to watch the entertainment sponsored by a Special Service Unit.
A performer gives out with an impersonation of "I'm an old barracks bag."

Here with the aid of beer and a piano, Engineers make merry at a celebration.

"Everything on the house"
Free magazines, beer and cigarettes during the festivities.

An outdoor theater complete with projection booth and bamboo benches

A more remote outdoor theater but with some cover for soldier audience.

One of the local inhabitants

Hilltop road at left

Looking across the top of a mountain

Mountains rise above the mist

Campsite in the distance

Terraced rice paddies on the hillside below

Looking northwest from mule trail showing Kaullang pass in center and trail in foreground.

The Namdang Tea Garden

Start of days march on the trail coming down from Sadon, Burma.

Brush and timber have been cleared preparatory to laying out a new
road trace to eliminate the curves and steep grades of the old road.

This gun has joined other out of action equipment in the "junk yard"

Another view of the junk yard

Captured Japanese aircooled convertible truck. One of two captured at Namti, Burma. Both trucks were booby-trapped, but were disarmed by American soldiers.

Japanese aircooled, convertable diesel truck with six-wheel drive.

Japanese truck has been converted for use on rails

Information plates on a captured piece of Japanese equipment

Close-up of information plates

Here a Garo dances a war dance.

Burmese girls

A Mohammedan Mosque in Dibrugarh.

In front of a Burmese propaganda sign are three Burmese coolies at the village of Namti.
Sign reads: "The Japanese invasion will absolutely be bitten by the strong armed Allies"

A Chinese opera company entertains Chinese and American troops in the Ledo area.

Crossing the Goal Line

Officially 1,079 miles of sometimes dusty, sometimes muddy, always difficult, twisting, turning road was what drivers had to navigate on the way to China. Many of them were volunteers for the adventure of driving the military highway. The first convoy arrived in Kunming, 4 February 1945 over the newly-named Stilwell Road.

Over the course of its use as a military highway, the Stilwell Road carried an estimated 147,000 tons of supplies to China. This paled in comparison to the "Hump" airlift which carried 650,000 tons during the war. Still, the road was an important part of the victory in Burma and the airlift to China.

A convoy truck, arrived from Ledo, is checked-in at the Vehicle Acceptance Station in China.

A piece of equipment of China bound convoy No. 114
crosses the Burma-China border on the Burma Road.

The sign marks passing of first convoy on 28 January 1945.
(see next image for text)

Military Police posted at Burma-China border

Officers look over a row of jeeps in the final inspection line at Kunming, China.

Number of truck is recorded as it is checked-in at Kunming, China.

This truck has reached the goal line at the Vehicle Acceptance Station of the China Theater at Kunming.

Somewhere . . .

Along the Ledo Road
with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. 164th Signal Photo Co.

Photos from the Archive of Col. Charles S. Davis, courtesy of Joe Davis

Compiled by Carl W. Weidenburner


Copyright © 2021 Carl W. Weidenburner         Visitors