Chapter XIX: 
The Second Front and the Secondary War The CBI: January-May 1944
While preparations for OVERLORD were being completed, the war in the Pacific, like the campaign in the Mediterranean, refused to stand still. The SEXTANT decision to give OVERLORD top priority did more than pave the way for concentration against Germany-it also introduced a standard of reference by which the Army planners could regulate the reinforcement of the war against Japan. With strategy in the global war back on the main track desired by the planners, the equation of balancing off Mediterranean with Pacific deployment was no longer necessary.
If the OVERLORD decision finally brought some order into Pacific deployment, it also generated pressures of time and resources that, directly or indirectly, had impact on planning for the secondary war. To ensure the necessary balance in plans, resources, and manpower in the CBI and the Pacific, while preparations for OVERLORD were being consummated, required the Army staff to be as watchful as ever. Plans and projects, moreover, had to be weighed against the expectation that OVERLORD would be successful and the war in Europe might soon be over. The results of such examination in the first six months after SEXTANT were to have important consequences for the relative weights of the CBI and the Pacific in the strategic scales against Japan.
The Consequences of SEXTANT
The Presidential decision at SEXTANT to accept the British view that the bulk of Southeast Asia Command's landing craft might be put to better use in OVERLORD and ANVIL inaugurated a new era in Sino-American affairs. It necessitated a reassessment of the strategical value of the CBI in relation to the over-all war against Japan. The United States had little dispute with the British over the need of the landing craft for what were, after all, the major operations in the primary war. At the same time, the United States feared that the shift of landing craft would solidify the policy of delay and inaction in Burma to a point where it would be impossible to mount any important offensive there. The quicken-

ing pace of Pacific operations gave promise of outstripping and making anticlimactic any drive in Burma unless it were executed during 1944. Faced with the problem of getting CBI operations into phase with those in the Pacific, the Army planners still had to cope with Chinese reluctance to engage large forces in Burma and with British distaste for jungle warfare.
By his somewhat hasty message to the Generalissimo on 5 December, the President had complicated the task of the planners. Roosevelt had offered Chiang the choice of going ahead with the land operations in north Burma (TARZAN) or waiting until the fall, when sufficient resources would be on hand to mount an amphibious operation in the SEAC area.1 Both he and Mountbatten had incorrectly presupposed that SEAC would not have enough landing craft left to stage an amphibious move larger than a raid until that time. Not only did Chiang accept the delay, on 9 December he presented a new series of requirements, which, in his opinion, would be necessary to keep China in the war in the meantime. Besides a billion-dollar gold loan to sustain China's economy, the Generalissimo now wanted U.S. and Chinese air forces in China doubled and the Hump lift raised to 20,000 tons a month.2
Possibly inured by this time to Chinese demands, the reaction of the Washington planners reflected no alarm. The Strategy Section felt that General Somervell's remarks before the JCS on China had been very appropriate: A failure to carry out the Burma campaign would be bitterly resented by the Chinese. Despite this, he [Somervell] was convinced that the Generalissimo feels that he is now associated with the eventual winners of the war and that he would not withdraw from this association despite the disappointment at the loss of the Burma campaign.3
This attitude was carried over into the President's 19 December reply to Chiang, which injected a note of firmness hitherto lacking in American-Chinese top-level exchanges. The major contribution that could be made to aid China, the President stated, was to open the land route of supply to China. The President hoped that Chiang would co-operate with Mountbatten by permitting the use of his Yunnan forces in north Burma. Additional transport planes, he went on, were en route to the CBI. These should make a target of 12,000 tons a month over the Hump feasible, provided, of course, Japanese activities in the meantime did not cause diversions from the Hump or- succeed in interrupting the transport routes. Until logistical problems were solved, Chennault's air forces could not be increased. The President added that he had turned the request for a billion-dollar loan over to the Treasury Department for study.4
Although the Generalissimo seemed to feel that the success or failure of Burma operations was a matter of life or death for China, he would not agree with the President's suggestion that he commit his Yunnan troops to a flanking attack in north Burma. He would, however,

permit the use of the Ledo Chinese forces in the campaign, since he did not think their employment in Burma would adversely affect the situation in China.5
While these negotiations were going on, Stilwell's chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Hearn, reported that Mountbatten had succeeded in increasing his amphibious force from 20,000 to 30,000 troops, backed up by an even larger number of service troops. Plans were worked up in the theater for an amphibious operation against Akyab to satisfy Chiang's insistence upon simultaneous land and sea operations. In Washington, the War Department prevailed upon the President again to urge the Generalissimo to commit the Yunnan units. Roosevelt pointed out that the urgent need of Hump resources precluded devoting them to any undertaking that would not yield results in the near futures.6 The implied threat to Yunnan allocations if these troops were to remain inactive displayed the first signs of the President's impatience with the continuance of the status quo.
When the Generalissimo held firmly to his conditions for moving the Yunnan forces, the British Chiefs of Staff acted unilaterally to dispense with all amphibious operations in SEAC during the current dry season. In early January 1944 they ordered Mountbatten to send his three remaining LST's back to the Mediterranean. Since the approaching monsoon season would make amphibious operations in the Bay of Bengal dangerous, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff perforce accepted their cancellation. The British action automatically postponed any seaborne assault until the fall.7
Without an amphibious operation, plans for action in Burma were again reduced to limited ground offensives, and planners in the theater and in London and Washington began in January 1944 to re-examine the possible roles of both SEAC and China in the context of the general strategic picture. SEAC theater planners inclined toward building up the air route and sustaining Chennault and the B-29 program while conducting minor operations in Burma and preparing for an eventual campaign against the Malaya-Netherlands East Indies barrier and a subsequent advance northward. The Ledo Road would be constructed only as far as Myitkyina to support air ferry operations.8 To present these new plans to the Combined Chiefs of Staff, Mountbatten proposed to send a mission (coded AXIOM) to London and Washington, headed by his deputy chief of staff, General Wedemeyer. Stilwell, on the other hand, was diametrically opposed to such a shift of strategy, which would result in abandoning large-scale operations in Burma. He decided to follow the advice of his deputy commander, Maj.

 Gen. Daniel I. Sultan, and send a U.S. mission to Washington to present his own views to the JCS.9
The possibility of a change in strategy for SEAC posed for the United States the problem of the future role of China, for all U.S. personnel and equipment in the CBI were there to support China and only to aid SEAC insofar as it, in turn, tried to relieve China. By the beginning of 1944 the War Department General Staff had few illusions about the value of China in the war against Japan. Washington intelligence estimates recognized frankly that China had little desire to do any actual fighting, although it might engage in limited offensives to secure a voice at the peace table. According to these estimates, the main use of China would be to contain the Japanese divisions in China and provide air bases for Allied planes.10
General Roberts, the chief Army planner, examined the whole question of China's military value in detail and reported to Handy, "The only effective contributory effort toward the defeat of Japan from the China theater in 1945-1946 will be limited air support of the main effort in the Pacific area from bases now securely in our possession." He estimated that the Chinese Army could not be trained and equipped until 1946 or 1947, too late to support the Pacific drive. In view of these conclusions, he recommended that air strength in China be built up to provide support for the Pacific advance and that Chinese ground forces not be equipped any further until it was decided whether ground operations would actually accelerate the defeat of Japan.11 The report drew a quick protest from Handy, who pointed out that no consideration had been given to the fact that Japanese troops were being held down by the Chinese nor to the psychological or political factors, present and future, that were involved. "You could easily deduce from this paper," he concluded, "that the writer believes that continuation of China in the war is not worthwhile. In this true? "12
In defending the Roberts' estimate, which had been assembled by the Strategy Section, Col. Joseph J. Billo spoke frankly:
The purpose of the present paper is to offer a practical solution based on capabilities versus time, for the immediate critical problem that exists in China and Southeast Asia. Regardless of our political commitments and altruistic intentions, we are presently faced with a serious military situation that requires urgent decision and action .... China's past and present contribution to the war against Japan is recognized, as well as the necessity for maintaining China as a base. However, it is considered that only an unexpected catastrophe will cause her collapse. Our most practical recourse now to prevent such a collapse, as well as to provide support from that area for Pacific operations, is to build up air strength.13

General Hull sustained this stand, but went on to point out: "In some respects as regards China we have a bear by the tail. It is difficult to hold on but we cannot let loose." If the United States desired to use China as an air base and to keep the Japanese divisions in China pinned down, he continued, it would have to go on supporting China. The land route to China would not be ready in time to assist U.S. Pacific operations nor would the Chinese Army be able to take a port on the China coast. On the other hand, the United States could not take anything away from the CBI without interfering with the flow of supplies into China necessary to assure the accomplishment of the two vital purposes. In Hull's opinion, the War Department should carefully screen all requests from the CBI that did not benefit these two main projects.14 It was becoming evident that the U.S. investment in the CBI had reached a point where, although it had to be sustained for political and psychological reasons, it had become militarily and economically a losing proposition.
Since the United States seemed to have little choice about continuing its commitments in the CBI, the Operations Division proceeded to define its position for the forthcoming conferences between the War Department Staff, Stilwell's emissaries, and the Axiom mission. For 1944, full-scale operations should be carried out in north Burma to exploit the land route to China, increase the air transport line via Myitkyina, and keep the initiative from the enemy-basically the familiar U.S. strategic line in the CBI. Operations toward Sumatra or Malaya might prove to be profitable, but American resources for those moves could not be promised until definite plans were formulated and studied.15
While outwardly there was little change in the Army staff position by the beginning of February, there was at least a candid recognition that little could be expected from the CBI. From the grandiose schemes for utilizing China's manpower to the frank realization that the United States could not pull out of China even if it wanted to represented a marked shift in military thinking. Henceforth, planning could be conducted on a more realistic basis. China's role would be considered less and less important.
The Fate of SEAC
At a series of meetings held in Washington in early February, Army and Navy staff officers discussed with Stilwell's representatives such matters as strategy in SEAC, long-range penetration groups, the Ledo and Yunnan Chinese forces, and the intricate problems of logistics in the CBI. General Stilwell's views on the importance of north Burma operations and the build-up of the airlift over the Hump served to strengthen the position taken by Army planners.16 Soon after the staff meetings, Marshall informed the President of

the existing divergences between the British and the Americans over future operations in SEAC, and forwarded the briefs submitted by both Mountbatten and Stilwell.17
According to the Mountbatten concept, it seemed evident that since SEAC's amphibious resources had been taken away and Chiang had refused to commit his Yunnan forces, overland communication with China could not be reestablished within any reasonable time. The quickest way of making contact with China, Mountbatten therefore felt, would be to open a port on the China coast, and if forces were made available after Germany's collapse, then SEAC's greatest contribution could be an operation against Sumatra (CULVERIN). Although Mountbatten's commanders in chief considered that this operation could not be mounted until the spring of 1945, he believed it could be carried out in October or November of 1944.18
Stilwell's concept rejected the SEAC plan for several reasons. There was no certainty that operations along the Netherlands East Indies-China Seas route would open a port in China more quickly than those along the Burma-Yunnan road, he believed, and the former would require a frontal assault using large amphibious resources if Sumatra were to be attacked. Even granted that Sumatra were taken, the Japanese blockade of China would still be in effect, and the difficulties of a campaign in the NEI were largely unknown. Besides, Stilwell pointed out, the SEAC plan was premised upon the fact that Germany would be defeated at an early date, thus releasing large resources for the war against Japan, and this was a highly uncertain factor. He himself felt that the best way for SEAC to help the war effort would be to use its available resources now to defeat the enemy.19
Since Stilwell's views accorded with those of the Army staff, Marshall, via the JCS, urged the British Chiefs to have Mountbatten prosecute the war in north Burma with all means available, with Myitkyina the minimum objective for the current dry season.20 He also prepared a message that the President sent to Churchill on 25 February supporting the U.S. position in regard to SEAC:
I am gravely concerned over the recent trends in strategy that favor an operation toward Sumatra [CULVERIN] and Malaya in the future rather than to face the immediate obstacles that confront us in Burma. I fail to see how an operation against Sumatra and Malaya, requiring tremendous resources and forces, can possibly be mounted until after the conclusion of the war in Europe. Lucrative as a successful CULVERIN might be, there appears much more to be gained by employing all the resources we now have available in an all-out drive into upper Burma so that we can build our air strength in China and insure the essential support for our westward advance to the Formosa-China-Luzon area.21
Both Churchill and Mountbatten were inclined to blame Stilwell for this application of pressure to carry out the north Burma campaign. The Prime Minister asked the President to wait until Wedemeyer and the other members of the

mission from SEAC reached the United States and presented Mountbatten's side of the case before he made up his mind. Actually, the pressure for north Burma operations had begun to build up before either Stilwell's views or his representatives arrived in the United States. The President and his military advisers had for many months consistently supported Burma as opposed to Sumatra operations. The President now felt that any southern Burma or Sumatra operations would be "shots in the dark" and would be far outweighed in importance by those planned for China. When it became evident that the State Department also was supporting the primacy of the north Burma campaign, it appeared that for the first time in the Far Eastern war a united U.S. front would be presented to the British and Chinese.22
British resentment, especially as manifested at Mountbatten's headquarters, over Stilwell's alleged role in hardening the U.S. attitude occasioned unfavorable publicity in the American press and led Marshall in early March to instruct Stilwell to iron out this misunderstanding with Mountbatten. As he had once before, Marshall pointed out: "This is a matter of great importance not merely to your theater but in its effect on combined operations all over the world which depend upon our relationship with the British high officials." He urged Stilwell to seek "a working basis, that is not complicated by suspicions and stiffness that makes Allied procedure unworkable." The United States must avoid, he concluded, any "tragic repercussions to our serious disadvantage in other theaters." 23
The rather intense discussion over the merits of north Burma versus Sumatra was temporarily relegated to an academic position by the Japanese themselves. Launching an attack in mid-March, they threatened to capture the Imphal Plain on the central Burma front and to cut the Assam line of communications. In the face of this challenge, SEAC was compelled to devote the greater part of its resources to halting the enemy drive. The question of SEAC's future had to await the outcome of the Japanese attack, and it appeared that the press of circumstances might decide the problem for the Allies.
With the Japanese forcing the issue on the Imphal front and Stilwell's Chinese forces edging forward from Ledo toward Myitkyina, the War Department renewed attempts to commit Chiang to using his Yunnan troops in order to help relieve some of the enemy

pressure. The Generalissimo still hinged any advance of the Yunnan units upon an amphibious operation in the south, but in spite of his concern over communist movements in the north, he did allow the Ledo force to be reinforced with men who could be flown in from Yunnan.24
In early April, as the situation on the Imphal Plain grew more critical, a final Presidential effort to persuade Chiang to send the Yunnan forces into Burma was accompanied by a threat that supplies for those forces would be halted unless he did so. Whether this warning caused the Chinese to change their minds or whether they realized that further delay might be held against China later on, in mid-April Chiang ordered four Yunnan divisions to move into position to cross the Salween River into Burma.25
At long last, the three-pronged assault on north Burma was set in motion, although hardly under as auspicious circumstances as had been planned. But what would the capture of north Burma or even of all Burma mean at this juncture? The War Department had accepted the fact that China must be kept in the war. The opening of the Burma Road would allow the Allies to achieve this aim more easily, but with the growth of the airlift, the Burma Road would not be absolutely necessary. To the staff, the build-up of U.S. air forces in China to support the Pacific drive was important, but only if it could be brought into phase with Pacific operations. The rapid progress in the Pacific caused Handy to inform Somervell in mid-April
During the past months, the strategic plan for the defeat of Japan has progressed to a point where it now appears probable that there will be no major land campaign in China supported from India and it is very doubtful that it will be possible or necessary to launch a major amphibious operation from India in support of the advance along the Philippines-Formosa-China coast line.26
The waning interest of the Army staff in Burma operations was borne out by an estimate of the Asiatic Section of the Operations Division in the latter part of March. If north Burma could be held south of Myitkyina, the necessary security for the Air Transport Command, the north Burma road, and the pipeline from India to China could be provided-all essential to support Pacific operations. The Army staff showed no enthusiasm for the reconquest of all Burma, since U.S. combat troops would probably have to be committed, and up to this point the Chief of Staff had shown no inclination to employ combat troops -except the long-range penetration group-in the CBI 27
In late March it seemed to the JCS that the CCS should send a new directive to Mountbatten instructing him to carry on operations most vigorously in north Burma even during the monsoon in order to build up the air route and lay the pipeline. Arnold informed the

British that he was forming four new groups of transports (400 planes), which could be sent to SEAL starting in June to meet anticipated needs. The JCS were convinced that the greatest contribution SEAC could make to the war against Japan would be through timely support of the final Pacific advance.28
The need for a clear-cut directive to Mountbatten was strongly urged by Stilwell's deputy, Sultan, who felt that powerful forces were at work in the theater to limit British operations in Burma, and by Stilwell himself, who believed that Chiang had given his Chinese commanders in Burma an order to slow down.29 In view of a lack of agreement between Churchill and his advisers on SEAC's future role, the JCS decided in early May to give Stilwell more definite instructions on the part his forces would be expected to play. He was given responsibility for air support from China against Formosa, the Ryukyus, the Philippines, and the China coast before and during the advance on Formosa in February 1945- If possible without prejudice to his current operations, Stilwell would also give indirect support to the Mindanao landings in November 1944. The JCS recognized that air support of future Pacific operations from China would mean a major curtailment of supplies to ground forces in China, but they directed that stockpiling for the air support should begin immediately.30
The new JCS instructions marked the beginning of another phase of U.S. military policy in the CBI and went hand in hand with the more realistic attitude developing in Washington. No longer would Stilwell's primary mission be to help the British in the Burma operations and improve the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. Rather, he would develop the air link to China and build up forces and stores there to aid in the Pacific advance. The former primary goals would remain as paper objectives but would now be carried out only insofar as they assisted the growth of the air route and its protection. The opening of the Burma Road was retained as desirable mainly as a safety precaution for, although the airlift was recognized as the quickest and most certain method of helping the Pacific, the Army staff realized that a setback in the Pacific might allow development of the Burma-China road to be brought into phase again. The means for clearing, building, and using the Ledo and Burma Roads would not be available in time to be of value to Pacific operations, but the Army planners wanted to protect U.S. interests in the land route so that it could be used if projected plans went awry.31
The final version of the directive sent by the CCS to Mountbatten on I June followed American recommendations in the main. SEAC was to develop the air

 link to China in order to assist future Pacific operations and in the meantime was to press advantages against the enemy to allow exploitation of the overland route to China. The operations were to be carried out with those resources available in or definitely allocated to SEAC.32
The restriction on resources confirmed Marshall's opinion of the role of the CBI, which he had expressed the preceding week when he turned down Stilwell's request for a U.S. Army corps:
Japan should be defeated without undertaking a major campaign against her on the mainland of Asia if her defeat can be accomplished in this manner. Subsequent operations against the Japanese ground army in Asia should then be in the nature of a mopping up operation. The heavy requirements for our operations against Germany and for our main effort in the Pacific preclude our making available to you the American Corps you request to assist you in the reopening of ground communications with China.33
Certain factors were beginning to emerge clearly out of the maze of negotiations and discussions on strategy and operations in the Asiatic theater during the six months after SEXTANT. The role of the theater was definitely to be subordinate to and dependent on the main advance in the Pacific. The possible large-scale use of Chinese ground troops had been discarded. Because China must be supported politically and kept in the war and because geographically it still offered itself as an air base, emphasis would in the future be placed upon the build-up of air forces alone, unless a delay in the Pacific advance allowed time to utilize China manpower. SEAC, too, would strengthen and develop the air route to China as its primary task. With the accent on speed becoming ever more important and air support becoming the most feasible means of aiding the main drive in the war against Japan, the chief burden in the Asiatic theater would be placed upon the complex air mechanism existing in the CBI.
The Mounting of the B-29 Offensive
One of General Stratemeyer's favorite cartoons showed him sitting at his desk surrounded by pictures of his eight bosses, all of whom could give him orders in one or another of his capacities.34 The American air commander in the CBI had a status comparable to that of Stilwell, who also wore quite a number of hats. Part of Stratemeyer's command, the Tenth Air Force, had been integrated with the RAF in India in December and was operating under Mountbatten. Another part of it, the Fourteenth Air Force in China, was at least technically under the jurisdiction of Chiang as theater commander. And although the India-China wing of the Air Transport Command received its assignments of tonnage from Stratemeyer as Stilwell's deputy, control actually stemmed from Washington. By the spring of 1944, when the B-29's arrived in the theater, another complex air factor would be added to the potpourri. The imposition of command upon command produced divided responsibilities and crisscrossing lines of authority that pro-

moted confusion, especially in times of crisis when heavy demands poured in from all sides. Supposedly, Stilwell was the control and co-ordinating point for all activity, but with his assumption of personal direction of the advance of the Chinese Ledo forces into north Burma in late 1943, he was often out of touch both with his own headquarters and with the over-all situation. Thus, during periods of emergency when central direction and co-ordination were most necessary, the tactical needs of the moment were often allowed to overshadow long-range strategic requirements.
It was natural in a theater of comparatively low priority that competition for men and equipment among the various subordinate commands should be quite keen. With the prospective introduction of the B-29 into the CSI, the rivalry became even more intense, since the new bomber program would affect all of the other theater projects. The reverberations of the preparations in late 1943 and in the early months of 1944 were felt also in projects and theaters remote from the CBI. To man the planes, the Air Forces had to secure an increase in their troop basis allotment and, to transport the first B-29 units to the CBI, a ship had to be taken from the United Kingdom run. In India and China airfields had to be built and facilities constructed to take care of the crews and planes, and this requirement drew Engineer and other service troops from such projects as the Ledo Road.35 In order to protect the huge bombers from Japanese surprise attacks, fighters had to be brought in to defend the fields in China, and the Tenth Air Force and RAF units were called upon to watch over the Calcutta airdromes. The President had promised Chiang in late December that fighter protection would be provided for the Cheng-to bases, and thus in January two fighter groups (less planes) were ordered to be transferred from North Africa, along with one B-29 group (less planes) and two service groups. Eisenhower, then concerned over the requirements for ANVIL, immediately registered opposition to the shift and asked for reconsideration. Marshall overrode his objections and directed that the air units be transferred by 15 February. The Army in the meantime had prevailed upon the Navy to divert two escort carriers from the Atlantic-Mediterranean run to transport the first shipment of one hundred P-47's from the Mediterranean to the CBI so that they would arrive by the middle of March. This would deprive the Mediterranean and United Kingdom runs of the convoy protection provided by the carriers for two and one-half months during early 1944 but the Army wished to get the B-29's into operation as soon as possible.36
The imminent transfer of these fighter groups caused Churchill some concern, and he approached the President in February with a view to canceling the

move. After all, he declared, he had given up his Aegean projects and freed eight squadrons of fighters for OVERLORD. He was also expecting to send three "groups" of fighters from the Mediterranean to the United Kingdom, but these would probably have to remain now and OVERLORD, despite its supreme priority, would be the loser.37 Roosevelt reassured him that OVERLORD would have sufficient fighter protection and pointed out that Air Marshal Sir John C. Slessor had indicated that if aid to Turkey were abandoned, the Mediterranean area could take the loss of the two groups to China and even spare some additional units for OVERLORD.38
In the CBI, the introduction of the P-47's in April made a tight situation tighter. It soon became apparent that the installation of these fighter groups at Cheng-to would mean another drain upon Hump tonnage, and the Fourteenth Air Force, which was receiving the bulk of the airlift, would be affected most severely. In December 1943 the Hump tonnage had gone over the 10,000-ton mark for the first time-to 13,450 tons. A further gain was registered in January, when 14,472 tons were flown in, but this was to be the peak until June. A critical gasoline shortage in the Assam line of communications throughout most of the early part of 1944 and diversions from the Hump -caused by the Japanese assault on the Imphal region in March held down deliveries. During the period from February to June, combat aircraft were pressed into duty as transports, and, following their arrival in April, even B-29'S were temporarily converted into tankers to get supplies into the forward areas. The United States urged the British to militarize the Assam line of communications and thus remove the bottleneck. With Churchill's blessing, American men and materiel helped the British improve the transport situation in Assam. Part of the strain on the line came from the huge quantities of gasoline devoured by the B-29's. Although the B-29'S were supposed to be self-sufficient, over 10,000 tons were brought to Cheng-to by the ATC for B-29 use in the period of February-September 1944.39
Sometimes the costs of mounting the B-29 offensive (MATTERHORN) were quite indirect. Originally, the project had been set up for China because China needed a boost in morale and because the Army staff thought that bases in China could be readied long before any suitable bases in the Pacific could be captured and prepared. However, in early 1944 doubts began to rise in some of the Army planners' minds that the most efficient use could be made of the giant bombers from China, where logistics problems were so complex.

Army planners suggested that part or all of the first eight groups be based in SWPA to strike at NEI oil targets. When the JWPC informed the joint Staff Planners in February that twelve groups of B-29's could eventually be based in the Marianas, the Navy supported the Army planners and urged that the majority of the Super-fortresses be located in SWPA and only one group be sent to China. Arnold, on the other hand, defended the original plan on the grounds that more bombs could be carried from bases in China to Japanese targets and that more Japanese shipping lay within reach of the China bases. When in late March MacArthur requested that a group of B-29's be based at Darwin to bomb NEI oil centers, Marshall informed him that some of these objectives would be attacked by long-range bombers from Ceylon, and that MacArthur's B-24's could hit others from SWPA.40
While SWPA's petitions for B-29's were denied, plans went ahead to base the Super-fortresses in the Marianas, and the .JCS decided in early April to locate four of the eight MATTERHORN groups there with a target date of 30 September for beginning operations. This would supposedly mean that less fields and facilities and less service troops for construction and maintenance duties would be needed in the India-China area. Actually, it did not work out so simply since the CBI had so many construction programs under way and never seemed to have enough service troops. Building roads, airfields, bridges, and other facilities, laying pipelines, and running railroads, besides providing logistic support for all the U.S. troops and some of the Chinese forces, exacted a heavy toll on service troops. The War Department could do little to ameliorate the situation, for, as Somervell informed Sultan in April, the shortage was also being felt in the Pacific: "It will perhaps relieve you somewhat to know that the higher priority of operations against Germany is also operating to restrict the means available in the Pacific, so a slowing down there is in prospect. This may permit your effort to keep pace."41
That was bleak comfort, but the Army became acutely aware that a balance must somehow be struck in the CBI between construction planned and units available to do the work. In mid-April a list of projects deemed "timely and feasible" was drawn up by the War Department in the order of importance and sent to the theater. Top priority went to raising Hump tonnage to 20,000 tons a month; second to the pipeline construction from Calcutta to Kunming; third to road construction from Ledo to Myitkyina, which would be continued on to Kunming if practicable; and last to a

pipeline between Kunming and Tu-shan in east China.42
It was becoming increasingly imperative that Hump tonnage, which had sunk to 11,000 tons in March, be raised to 20,000 tons, since a stockpile of some 60,000 tons was required in China to mount the air support for the Pacific drive in early 1945, If such a program started in April 1944, General Arnold estimated that 60,000 tons could be accumulated in time by stockpiling 5,000 tons a month. Until the Hump traffic reached 20,000 tons, such a monthly accumulation would be impossible, especially in view of diversions that were likely to be made in time of crisis. In May 1944 an increase to 20,000 tons seemed quite remote to Sultan, who felt that terminal congestion in India and China and slow airfield construction were to blame.43 Fortunately, Sultan's view proved to be unduly pessimistic, for only two months later the Hump delivered over 25,000 tons to China, and deliveries continued to rise.
During the early months of 1944, while arrangements were being made to establish the MATTERHORN project, construct fields and facilities, and provide men and equipment, there had been a recurring discussion about the command of the very long range bombers. Initially, Marshall had proposed that Stilwell, under the JCS, would exercise direct command and control, using Tenth and Fourteenth Air Force facilities. The JCS had issued a directive to him in early March that left the choice of specific objectives to the JCS and listed the priority targets: coke ovens, Japanese industrial and urban areas, shipping concentrations, and aircraft industrial plants; the Palembang oil refineries on Sumatra would be a secondary goal. The directive made Stilwell responsible for the defense of B-29 bases in China and Mountbatten responsible for those in SEAC.44
The arrangement proved to be temporary in the face of the growing interest of Chiang and Mountbatten in the command of aircraft that would operate from or through their theaters. The Army Air Forces had also devoted considerable thought to the problem and in early April proposed that since the bombers would be operating from several theaters and might be transferred whenever and wherever the need dictated, Arnold should be appointed commander of a new air force composed of all B-29's. The concept itself was not original, for a similar arrangement had been advocated by the Army as the logical organization for the Anti-Submarine Command set up as the Tenth Fleet under King in early 1943.45 The mobility gained would permit the planes to be employed economically wherever they could do the most good and would also lift the command problem from the purview of Chiang and Mountbatten. In spite of some opposition within the Operations Division to this establishment of an air force transcending theater boundaries-on the ground that the AAF

was not a self-supporting agency and could not provide the complete logistical support of any force-the JCS forthwith approved the AAF proposal. Arnold was made the executive agent of the JCS in carrying out their decisions regarding deployments, missions, and targets. Theater commanders were given the right to use the B-29's in cases of emergency and were made responsible for defense of the bomber bases located in their areas. Thus the Twentieth Air Force came into being on 4 April 1944.46
To soften the blow to Chiang's pride, the President personally informed him of the necessity for central control and command. The British were not so easily mollified. They made several attempts to bring direction of the B-29's under the CCS, but the JCS countered that when the British were ready to take part in the very long range bombing program actively, the matter might be opened for reconsideration.47
In the first week of June, as Allied forces invaded France, the B-29'S carried out their first shakedown mission against installations at Bangkok. It was an important moment in the Pacific war, for it marked the initiation of an active threat to the Japanese "Inner Zone," which hitherto had been out of range of land-based bombers and subject only to carrier nuisance raids. Employment of long-range strategic bombers would tighten the circle around Japan.
The Battle of the Air Transports
Significant as this event promised to be for over-all planning in the Pacific war, during the early portion of 1944 it could not completely overshadow the performance of another branch of the air arm, the transports. What the B-29 was to strategic planning, the transport was to tactical operations in Burma. The development of a critical transport situation, with its accompanying strains and stresses on operations in other theaters, reached its peak during the determined Japanese attack on the Imphal Plain in March.
The outbreak of intense fighting along the central India-Burma frontier produced a new kind of warfare built around the effective employment of transport aircraft. Although the emergence of a system of air transport and supply dated back to 1941 when the British had airlifted a battalion of troops from India to Iraq, operations had been on a relatively small scale and for short periods of time. In the war against Japan the Americans had first used the technique in the Burma Campaign in 1942 and later, on a larger scale, during Kenney's airdrop in the Markham Valley of New Guinea in the late summer of 1943.48 Transport squadrons were also established during the fall of 1943 to supply the Wingate long-range penetration groups and the American GALAHAD forces. Arnold's efforts during SEXTANT to find thirty-five scarce C-47's for SEAC

emphasized the importance attached to the need for cargo and troop planes in the Burma operations.49
There were two sources of transport supply in the CBI: the Troop Carrier Command, which, since the integration of Tenth Air Force and RAF units in December, formed an intrinsic part of the new Eastern Air Command under Stratemeyer; and the Air Transport Command, which was controlled from Washington. Any diversion from the latter would, of course, have to be approved by Washington authorities. During the British move along the Arakan coast in January and the ensuing Japanese attempt to cut them off, the British were supplied by air transport. When the Japanese threat became critical, Mountbatten temporarily borrowed twenty-five C-46's from the ATC. These were later replaced by thirty C-47's upon U.S. insistence that less Hump tonnage would be lost thereby. During February the Japanese were first halted and then forced to withdraw.50
It was not surprising then that when the pattern of the Japanese attack upon the Imphal Plain repeated that of the Arakan thrust, Mountbatten should again turn to the ATC to help supply his cut-off units. There was even more justification on this occasion for diversions, since on 5 March Wingate's long-range groups had- been dropped in central Burma behind the Japanese lines and were also entirely dependent on air supply. In order to meet the crisis and provide for future emergencies, Mountbatten asked for blanket authority to divert transports from the Hump whenever the need arose without reference to the CCS. Although the JCS agreed to permit the temporary diversion of thirty C-47's or twenty C-46's from the Hump, they would not grant him carte blanche for the future. In their opinion, Mountbatten's normal transport requirements were a concern of the British and, secondly, all U.S. operations in China were dependent upon the Hump and would suffer from diversions. To speed action on any subsequent requests from Mountbatten, however, Marshall asked Stilwell to delegate authority to Sultan to send future recommendations directly to the JCS, since Stilwell was not always immediately available.51
As the battle on the Imphal front mounted in intensity, Mountbatten saw an opportunity in late March to turn the tide if he could keep the twenty C-46's borrowed from the Hump and secure seventy additional C-47's to fly reinforcements to the besieged units and the Wingate columns.52 The JCS granted Mountbatten permission to retain the C-46's, but the British could not provide the seventy C-47's and asked that Mountbatten be allowed to divert these from the Hump. In the ensuing exchange of telegrams between SEAC, Lon-

don, and Washington, the British agreed to divert a squadron of fifteen RAF Dakotas (equivalent to C-47's) from the Mediterranean and to provide thirty-two C-47's from the United Kingdom, while the United States approved the dispatch of a troop carrier group of sixty-four C-47's from the Mediterranean for thirty days' service and agreed to allow Mountbatten to divert thirteen C-47's from the Hump if this proved necessary. This quick improvisation to more than fulfill Mountbatten's pleas allowed SEAC to carry out its plans and relieve a rather desperate situation.53
Improvements in the battle picture during April and the quick response of the CCS to his request allowed Mountbatten to refrain from asking for the thirteen Hump C-47's and to return some of the twenty C-46's he had borrowed earlier. Conditions warranted, in his opinion, the retention of seventy-nine aircraft borrowed from the Mediterranean, since he had to air supply four Yunnan Chinese divisions that had crossed the Salween into Burma in April. In spite of the protests of Wilson, the Mediterranean commander, the Combined Chiefs permitted SEAC to keep the seventy-nine planes either until they could be replaced by planes from the United States or until 15 June, whichever was earlier.54
The use of the transport planes to reinforce the beleaguered Allied troops and to turn the tide of battle baffled the Japanese and threw their attack timetables out of line. The failure of the Japanese to capture Allied stores blunted their drive and finally forced them to retreat. Essentially, it was a victory of machine over man. In June 1944, though Stilwell and his forces were still embattled at Myitkyina, the Japanese were withdrawing from the Imphal sector, and Japanese fortunes in Burma were on the ebb. The road to victory might be hard and slow for the Allies, but the initiation of a large-scale attack by the Japanese in Burma now began to recoil upon them.
The Decline of the CBI
By June it was apparent to the Army staff in Washington that the status of the CBI had altered considerably. The SEXTANT Conference, aided and abetted by the President's hastiness, Chiang's stubbornness, and Great Britain's lack of enthusiasm, had been the turning point. Many of the earlier frustrations that had led to delays and modifications of operations had been eliminated, but time had overtaken the theater. Now its chief raison d'etre lay in the possible support it could afford the main advance in the Pacific. SEAC's attention was focused on the build-up of the air route over the Hump and, secondarily, on clearing north Burma of the enemy. China was

 to be of value as an air base only, and Chinese manpower was relegated to a minor position. Major land campaigns on the Asiatic continent were to be avoided, and there was not enough time to equip and train Chinese troops for use in the U.S. drive through the Pacific.
The establishment of the B-29 in the CBI had brought the Japanese "Inner lone" under attack, but forces were already at work to shift the bulk of the big bombers to bases in the Marianas, where logistics would not be so difficult on the ground, the tide of Japanese expansion in Burma began to recede.
Now the prime interest of the enemy would be shifted to the airfields of eastern China, which, as Allied heavy bombers were brought in, would present a serious threat to the Japanese homeland. The Japanese reaction to this threat was a drive that opened in April and reached major proportions in May with advances into east China. But even if the Japanese were successful in capturing the airfields and eliminating CBI air support for the Pacific drive, they would only gain delay, not escape, for the CSI was no longer considered essential to the Allies for victory over Japan.


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