"The Hump"

Discussions on all aspects of China, from the beginning of the First Sino-Japanese War till the end of the Chinese Civil War. Hosted by YC Chen.
Jerry Asher
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Joined: 06 Aug 2006 02:48
Location: California

"The Hump"

Post by Jerry Asher » 06 Jul 2007 07:32

Sorry to be so lazy; but can anyone point me in the right direction for an account of the decision making regarding the air rout from India to China. By late 1941, the American Volunteer Group (flying tigers) seems to be treating India-Burma-China as a whole, and its fighter flights are positioned accordingly. Is there a supply route active also? CNAC? Who and when is the decision made to resupply China by air? Of course they were forced into by Japanese success in Burma--but what of its embryo? Is there a solid intresting history?

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Post by South » 08 Sep 2007 06:36

Hi Jerry,

Better late than never. I'm new here and just saw your thread title.

Ref the "Hump" and also known as "Aluminium Alley", the route was so dangerous....the 17,000 feet mountain peaks required flying at 25,000 feet...in an area of dangerous weather. The veteran aviators said there were so many crashes, the sun's reflection on the broken aircraft gave the valley the morbid name "Aluminium Valley".

Is there a solid history? Yes.

Is it interesting? Yes. Plus, I consider it important. "Amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics." Gen Omar Bradley (quote generally attributed to him.)

The decision-making re the air route relates to the US assistance to China. The rest follows from this, eg Burma Road, Ledo Road, the upgraded Stilwell Road, and the Hump airlift.

One fast way to enter this aspect of the war is to look at Lend-Lease. The specific decision-making process here mirrors much of the rest.

A military name to check is Lt Gen William H. Turner. He supervised the Hump route. Some readers will recognize his name from the later Berlin airlift.

Some sketchy background:

By 1941, China's Nationalist faction was devoting more time fighting China's Communist faction than fighting the Japanese. Late 1941 saw US enter into a massive aid program to the Nationalist Government of China so as to defeat Japan in China. In Jan 1943, the US and UK revised their treaties with China re the "Unequal Treaties". (Very messy here; much intrigue eg Hong Kong, BCC). A couple of months later treaty arrangements allowed the US to station troops in China to fight the Japanese.

The aforesaid requires supplies.

All these arrangements were anticipated and prepared for as much as possible prior to Pearl Harbor, Dec 1941. Chennault's volunteers were really a "secret" US military advance unit.

In May 1942, the Japanese occupied Burma and the west section of Yunnan Province, China. This cut the land transport link along the Burma Road. This had been called the "last Chinese transfusion line".

The US and China were thus required to establish an air supply route.

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