This Day in 1944 – Japanese Aircraft over the Salween Front

On June 28, 1944, Japanese aircraft arrived over the Salween Front for the first time in the campaign to resupply their besieged troops as Songshan. The Japanese Army Air Force had been preoccupied by the Allied offensive in Burma and the Ichi-go Campaign in central China. By late June, however, the supply situation of the…

This Day in 1944 – The Japanese Abandon the Shweli Valley

The Salween River raged through a narrow canyon at 2,100-feet above sea level. Once across this dangerous, rapid river, however, the Chinese Expeditionary Force had to cross the Gaoligong Mountains. Rising up to twelve thousand feet above sea level, this monolithic range was the highest battleground of World War II. Captain Kenneth Scott, an American…

This Day in 1944 – The CEF Captures Yingdun Mountain

The Japanese 113th Regiment under the command of Major Kanemitsu Keijiro transformed Songshan into a multi-peaked mountain fortress, with trenches, pillboxes, caves, tunnels, and fortified artillery positions. The Americans called it “the Gibraltar of the Burma Road,” because it appeared unassailable. Yet on June 17, 1944, the Chinese New 28th and New 39th Divisions attacked…

This Day in 1944 – The CEF Breaks Through to Longling

On June 8, 1944, the Chinese 71st Army broke through the Japanese defenses around Longling, the largest city along the Burma Road on the west side of the Salween River. Marshal Wei Lihuang recognized an opportunity when the Japanese shifted most of their forces north to oppose the XXth Army Group in the Gaoligong Mountains.…

This Day in 1944 – Chinese Troops Capture Pingda

On May 15, 1944, Chinese troops from the XIth Army Group captured Pingda, the first town liberated from the Japanese south of the Burma Road during the Salween Campaign. The Japanese 56th Division was spread thin across the hundred-mile front and offered little resistance. The Chinese, however, had not yet learned to consolidate their positions…

This Day in 1944 – “Normandy” on the Salween

On May 11, 1944, forty thousand troops from the Chinese Expeditionary Force (CEF), or Y Force, as the Americans called it, crossed the Salween River to retake southwest China from the Japanese. The Salween was rapid and unnavigable, a turbulent river between two colossal mountain ranges. The Chinese called it Nujiang (怒江), or “Angry River.”…

This Day in 1944 – Stilwell Forms “End Run”

On April 21, 1944, Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell created the End Run Task Force to make a surprise attack on the Japanese airfield two miles west of Myitkyina, Burma. Myitkyina was the key to North Burma. The Japanese used it as a staging field for fighters attacking American transports flying the “Hump” airlift. Capturing…

This Day in 1944 – Japanese Army Launches Ichi-go Operation

On April 17, 1944, the Japanese Army launched Phase One of Operation Ichi-go. It was the most ambitious military operation they had undertaken since the beginning of the war. Initially, a division of troops struck out south from the Yellow River bend to connect the railway from Beiping (Beijing) to Hankou. Eventually, the operation would…