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The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could continue to supply the Chinese after the Japanese cut the Burma Road. It was renamed the Stilwell Road in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek. See also the airlift over The Hump. Jump to: navigation, search World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrinations, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atom bomb. ... The Western Allies were the democracies and their colonial peoples, within the broader coalition of Allies during World War II. The term is generally understood to refer to the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations (from 1939), exiled forces from Occupied Europe (from 1940), the United States (from 1941), and... The Burma Road is a road linking Burma (now Myanmar) and China. ... Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887–April 5, 1975) was a Chinese military and political leader who assumed the leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925. ... The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew from India to China to resupply the Flying Tigers and the Chinese Government of Chiang Kai-shek. ...


In the nineteenth century British railway builders had surveyed the Pangsau Pass(3727') on the India-Burma border on the Patkai crest above NAMPONG,Arunachal Pradesh(then part of Assam),and concluded that a track could be pushed through to Burma and down the Hukawng Valley.Although the proposal was dropped, the British prospected the PatkaiRange for a road from Assam into north Burma and British engineers had surveyed the route for a road for the first eighty miles. After the British had been pushed back out of most of Burma by the Japanese this became a much more important priority . The Patkai or the Purvachal are the hills on Indias eastern border with Myanmar. ... Arunachal Pradesh (अरुणाचल प्रदेश) is an Indian state. ... Assam (অসম) is a northeastern state of India with its capital at Dispur. ... The Patkai or the Purvachal are the hills on Indias eastern border with Myanmar. ... Assam (অসম) is a northeastern state of India with its capital at Dispur. ...

Contents


Building the Ledo Road

On the December 1, 1942, British General Sir Archibald Wavell, the supreme commander of the Far Eastern Theatre, agreed with General Stilwell to make the Ledo Road an American NCAC operation. It was built under the direction of General Stilwell from the railhead at Ledo (Assam, India) to Bhamo on the Burma Road so that supplies could reach the railhead at Mogaung. It was built by 15,000 American soldiers, (60% of whom were African-Americans), and 35,000 local workers at a cost of US$150 Million. 1,100 Americans died during the construction and many more locals. As most of Burma was in Japanese hands it was not possible to acquire information as to the topography, soils, and river behaviour before construction started. This information had to be acquired as the road was constructed. Jump to: navigation, search December 1 is the 335th (in leap years the 336th) day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Jump to: navigation, search This article is about the year. ... Jump to: navigation, search General is a high military rank, used by nearly every country in the world. ... Archibald Percival Wavell, 1st Earl Wavell (May 5, 1883 _ May 24, 1950) was a British General and the commander of British Army forces in the Middle East during World War II. He led British forces to victory over the Italians, only to be defeated by the German army. ... The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. ... Jump to: navigation, search Stilwell with Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. ... The Northern Combat Area Command or NCAC was a mainly Sino-American formation that held the northern end of the Allied front in Burma during World War II. For much of its existence it was commanded by the acerbic General Joseph Stilwell. ... Assam (অসম) is a northeastern state of India with its capital at Dispur. ... Bhamo is a city in Kachin State in Myanmar, located 186 km south from the capital of Myitkyina. ... The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States. ... Jump to: navigation, search Surface of the Earth Topography, a term in geography, has come to refer to the lay of the land, or the physiogeographic characteristics of land in terms of elevation, slope, and orientation. ... Jump to: navigation, search For the heavy metal band see Soil (band) Soil is unconsolidated rock particles on the surface of the earth, mixed with organic matter from plant decay. ... Jump to: navigation, search The Murray River in Australia. ...


General Stilwell had organized a 'Service of Supply' (SOS) under the command of Major General Raymond A. Wheeler, a high profile US Army Engineer and assigned him to look after the construction of the Ledo Road. Major General Wheeler in turn, assigned responsibility of base commander for the road construction to Colonel John C. Arrowsmith. Later, he was replaced by Colonel Lewis A. Pick, an expert US Army engineer. Lieutenant General Raymond Albert Wheeler (1885 – February 9, 1974) was an American general. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Work started on the first 103 mile (166 km) section of the road in December 1942, followed a steep, narrow trail through territory from Ledo, across the PatkaiRange through the Pangsau Pass,nicknamed "Hell Pass" for it's difficulty, and down to Shingbwiyang, Burma. Sometimes rising as high as 4,500 feet (1400 m), the road required the removal of earth at the rate of 100,000 cubic feet per mile (1800 m³/km). Steep gradients, hairpin curves and sheer drops of 200 feet (60 m), all surrounded by a thick rain forest was the norm for this first section. The first bulldozer reached Shingbwiyang on 27 December 1943, three days ahead of schedule. Jump to: navigation, search This article is about the year. ... The Patkai or the Purvachal are the hills on Indias eastern border with Myanmar. ... Jump to: navigation, search December 27 is the 361st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Jump to: navigation, search 1943 is a common year starting on Friday. ...


The building of this section allowed much needed supplies to flow to the troops engaged in attacking the Japanese 18th Division, which was defending the Northern area of Burma with their strongest forces around the towns of Kamaing, Mogaung and Myitkyina. Before the Ledo road reached Shingbwiyang Allied troops, (the majority of whom were American-trained Chinese Divisions of the X Force), had been totally dependent on supplies flown in over the Patkai Mountains. As the Japanese were force to retreat south so the Ledo road was extended. This was made considerably easier from Shingbwiyang by the presence of a fair weather road built by the Japanese, and the Ledo road generally followed the Japanses trace. As the road was built, two 10 cm (4 inch) fuel pipe lines were laid side by side so that fuel could be piped instead of trucked along the road. Jump to: navigation, search Myitkyina is a city, and the capital of Kachin State in Myanmar, located 919 miles from Yangon, or 487 miles from Mandalay. ... Variant cover to X-Force #50 (1995), pencils by Rob Liefeld. ... The Patkai or the Purvachal are the hills on Indias eastern border with Myanmar. ... CM or cm may stand for: Cameroon (ISO country code) Roman numeral for 900 Chelmsford: CM is the British post code for the region in eastern England which is served by the Chelmsford postal sorting office. ...


After the initial section too Shingbwiyang, more sections followed: Warazup, Myitkyina and Bhamo, 372 miles (600 km) from Ledo. At that point the road joined a spur of the old Burma road and although improvements to further sections followed the road was passable. The spur passed through Namkham 439 from Ledo and finally at the Mong-Yu road junction, 465 miles (748 km) from Ledo, the Ledo road met the Burma road. To get to the Mong-Yu junction the Ledo road had spanned 10 major rivers and 155 secondary streams, averaging one bridge every 2.8 miles (4.5 km). For the first convoys, if they turned right, they were on their way to Lashio 100 miles (160 km) to the south through Japanese-occupied Burma, if they turned left Wanting lay 60 miles (100 km) to the North just over the China-Burma boarder. Jump to: navigation, search Myitkyina is a city, and the capital of Kachin State in Myanmar, located 919 miles from Yangon, or 487 miles from Mandalay. ... Bhamo is a city in Kachin State in Myanmar, located 186 km south from the capital of Myitkyina. ... Located near Wanting in southwestern China, Mong-yu is where the Ledo Road joined the Burma Road. ... Lashio is the capital of Shan, Myanmar. ...


In late 1944, barely two years after Stilwell accepted responsibility for building the Ledo Road, it connected to the Burma Road though some sections of the road beyond Myitkyina at Hukawng Valley were under repair due to heavy monsoon water, and it become a highway stretching from Assam, India to Kunming, China 1,079 miles (1736 km) length. On January 12, 1945, the first convoy of 113 vehicles led by General Pick from Ledo reached Kunming, China on February 4, 1945. Over the next seven months 35,000 tons of supplies in 5,000 vehicles were carried along it. Jump to: navigation, search For the band Monsoon see Sheila Chandra Monsoon in the Vindhya, a mountain chain in central India A monsoon is a periodic wind, especially in the Indian Ocean and southern Asia. ... Jump to: navigation, search Kunming (Chinese: 昆明; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kun-ming) is the capital of Yunnan province, China. ... The word ton or tonne is derived from the Old English tunne, and ultimately from the Old French tonne, and referred originally to a large cask with a capacity of 2526 wine gallons, which holds approximately 21000 pounds of water. ...


There was a mile sign at the start of the Ledo Road with the following information

Ledo Assam 0
Shingbwiyang 103
Warazup 189
Myitkyina 268
Bhamo 372
Wanting 507
Lunfling 560
Paoshan 652
Yungping 755
Yunnanyi 876
Tsuyung 959
Kunming 1079

When flying over the Hukawng Valley during the monsoon, Mountbatten asked his staff what was the name of the river below them. An American officer replied, "That's not a river, it's the Ledo Road." Jump to: navigation, search Sir Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, PC, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, FRS, (25 June 1900 – 27 August 1979) was a British admiral and statesman and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. ...


After India and Burma became free the road fell into gradual disrepair.The last recorded vehicular journey from Ledo to Myitkyina and beyond (but not to China) was the Oxford-Cambridge Overland Expedition which in 1955 drove from London to Singapore and back. The expedition book written by Tim Slessor reported that bridges were down in the section between Pangsau Pass and Shingbwiyang.At present the Nampong-Pangsau Pass section is passable in 4WD vehicles. The road on the Burmese side is reportedly fit for vehicular traffic.Donovan Webster reached Shingbwiyang on wheels in 2001, and in mid-2005 veterans of the Burma Star Association were invited to join a 'down memory lane' trip to Shingbwiyang organised by a travel agent, so the 'immense difficulties' reportedly faced by Mike Jenkins (cf Jenkins' article in OUTSIDE magazine cited below in external links) in getting there seems largely of his own making.


American Army units assigned to the Ledo Road

The units initially assigned to the initial section were:

  • 45th Engineer General Service Regiment (An African-American Unit)
  • 823rd Aviation Engineer Battalion (EAB) (An African-American Unit)

In 1943 they were joined by:

  • 848th EAB (An African-American Unit)
  • 849th EAB (An African-American Unit)
  • 858th EAB (An African-American Unit)
  • 1883rd EAB (An African-American Unit)

Work continued through 1944 in late December it was opened for the transport of logistics. In January 1945, four of the black EABs (along with three white battalions) continued working on the now renamed Stilwell Road, improving and widening it. Inside Nexus Distribution, a United States logistics provider. ...


The British strategic view

Winston Churchill said of the project "an immense, laborious task, unlikely to be finished until the need for it has passed". Jump to: navigation, search The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, FRS, PC (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an English statesman, best known as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. ...


The British General William Slim who commanded the British Fourteenth Army to whom the American General Joseph Stilwell reported during the campaign to liberate North Burma, during which the first and most difficult section of the Ledo road was built, expressed the British view on the building of Ledo Road in the definitive book on the Burma Campaign called 'Defeat into Victory, He writes at the start of CHAPTER XII: THE NORTHERN FRONT Field Marshal Sir William Slim (pictured here as a Major General) Field Marshal William Joseph Slim, 1st Viscount Slim (6 August 1897 - 14 December 1970), British military commander and 13th Governor-General of Australia, was born near Bristol, Gloucestershire. ... The British Fourteenth Army, in spite of its name, was a multinational force: most of its units were from the Indian Army and there were also significant contributions from East African divisions within the British Army. ... Jump to: navigation, search Stilwell with Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. ... The Burma Campaign was a campaign in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. It was fought primarily between Commonwealth, Chinese and American forces against the Empire of Japan. ...

The Northern was the most isolated of the Burma fronts. To reach it by rail-there was no road-you left Dimapur and continued your seemingly interminable journey through the tea-garden area of Assam. As you crept northward, it was impossible to avoid a growing feeling of loneliness, which even the sight of the increasingly busy airfields of the Hump route, strung along the line, failed to dissipate. At last Tinsukia, the junction for the Assam oilfields, was reached and your train turned wearily into the branch for Ledo. Ledo, in December 1943, seemed rather like the end of the world. Instead, it was the start of the road to China, the road that, if it were ever built, would replace the one from Rangoon, so effectively closed in early 1942.
Many people at this time, Americans no less than British, doubted if the Ledo road could be built. Thev doubted if the Chinese divisions would ever be able to drive back the Japanese and clear the route. They doubted if the Ledo railway would carry and maintain the troops, labour, equipment, and material required. They doubted if any road builders could overcome the monsoon climate combined with the extreme difficulty of the terrain. Many, even of those who believed it possible, did not think that the Ledo road would ever repay the expenditure in men and resources that would have to be devoted to it. Indeed, at this time, Stilwell was almost alone in his faith that, not only could the road be built, but that it would be the most potent winning factor in the war against Japan. His vision, as he expounded it to me, was of an American, trained and equipped, Chinese force, of some thirty divisions to begin with, maintained, except for what was available in China, by the road from Ledo. This new model army, under his command, would drive through China to the sea and then with the American Navy strike at Japan itself.
I agreed with Stilwell that the road could be built. I believed that, properly equipped and efficiently led, Chinese troops could defeat Japanese if, as would be the case with his Ledo force, they had a considerable numerical superiority. On the engineering side I had no doubts. We had built roads over country as difficult, with much less technical equipment than the Americans would have. My British engineers, who had surveyed the trace for the road for the first eighty miles [130 km], were quite confident about that. We were already, on the Central front, maintaining great labour forces over equally gimcrack lines of communication. Thus far Stilwell and I were in complete agreement, but I did not hold two articles of his faith. I doubted the overwhelming war-winning value of this road, and, in any case, I believed it was starting from the wrong place. The American amphibious strategy in the Pacific, of hopping from island to island would, I was sure, bring much quicker results than an overland advance across Asia with a Chinese army yet to be formed. In any case, if the road was to be really effective, its feeder railway should start from Rangoon, not Calcutta. If it had been left to me, on military grounds, I would have used the immense resources required for this road, not to build a new highway to China, but to bring forward the largest possible combat forces to destroy the Japanese army in Burma. Once that was accomplished, the old route to China would be open; over it would flow a much greater tonnage than could ever come via Ledo, and the Allied forces in Burma would be available for use elsewhere.

See also

The efficient running of the Northeast Indian Railways during World War II became critical to the success of the Allied war effort in the South-East Asian Theatre. ... Inside Nexus Distribution, a United States logistics provider. ... The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II was the name given to the campaigns of the Pacific War in India, Burma, Thailand, Malaya and Singapore. ... South East Asia Command (SEAC) was the body set up to be in overall charge of Allied operations in the South-East Asian Theatre during World War II. The initial supreme commander of the theatre was General Sir Archibald Wavell, initially as head of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command... The Changlang district is located in Arunachal Pradesh, located south of the Lohit district and north of the Tirap district. ...

References

  • A 51 minute documentary called Stilwell Road (1945), narrated by Ronald Reagan, describes why and how the Ledo Road was built.
  • "The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War" by Donovan Webster; Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US), Hardback (2003), ISBN 0374117403
  • "The Burma Road, The Epic Story of One of World War II's Most Remarkable Endeavours" by Donovan Webster; Pan (UK), Paperback (2005), ISBN 0330427032
  • "Burma: The Longest War 1941-1945" by Lewis Allen
  • "First Overland" by Tim Slessor

External links

  • THE LEDO ROAD
  • US Mil In China-Burma-India
  • Stilwell's Road
  • The Ghost Road
  • Stilwell Road with pictures
  • The Stilwell Road
  • 858 EAB
  • Photos and patches, From the Ex-CBI Roundup July, 1954 Issue, pg 20
  • Recent photos of Ledo Road
  • Burma Government page on the Ledo Road

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ledo Road - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1673 words)
The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Western Allies could continue to supply the Chinese after the Japanese cut the Burma Road.
Before the Ledo road reached Shingbwiyang Allied troops, (the majority of whom were American-trained Chinese Divisions of the X Force), had been totally dependent on supplies flown in over the Patkai Mountains.
As the road was built, two 10 cm (4 inch) fuel pipe lines were laid side by side so that fuel could be piped instead of trucked along the road.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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