Imphal, The Hump and Beyond
U.S.A.A.F Combat Cargo Groups of the Second World War
1st Combat Cargo Group, Headquarters
The 1st Combat Cargo Group arrived in the China, Burma, India Theater of operations with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Squadrons during the latter part of August 1944 and set up Headquarters at Sylhet India.
This organization was assigned to the Army Air Forces China, Burma, India Theater and later to Army Air Forces India, Burma Theater for operational control with the British 3rd Tactical Air Force. In October 1944 the Combat Cargo Task Force was formed and this organization was placed under that Headquarters for operational control.
This analysis was made to show in cold figures a comparison between Squadrons and to give higher Headquarters an all over picture of the first six months summary for this Group.
Note: This was copied from the original mimeographed document, that Lt. Frank Gray, statistical officier, presented all Group personal at the end of the War.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER
Commitments were light for this operating month, not all aircraft were used that were available.
The squadrons were committed to transporting casualties, supplies and reinforcements to and from the Imphal Area.
A detachment was sent to 14th AAF China Theater to evacuate the Air Base of Kweilin, China and to transport Chinese troops.
Engineering maintenance was carried on by the squadrons crew members as the Airdrome Squadrons had not yet arrived from the United States.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER
Commitments were again light, not all aircraft were used that were available.
Transporting supplies, casualties, and reinforcements were the outstanding commitments to and from the Imphal Area. Supply missions to the forward areas greatly increased. The 1st Squadron operated a detachment at Hathazari, India.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER
Commitments went to a high level for this month. Supplies, reinforcements and casualties were carried to and from the Imphal Area and also Central Burma.
The 1st Squadron continued to operate with a detachment at Hathazari, India.
The 3rd Squadron moved to Tulihal, India and was committed mostly to Central Burma.
The 2nd and 4th Squadrons were, for the most part, Committed to the Imphal Area.
Aircraft maintenance hit a new high as the Airdrome Squadrons arrived and operated one to each squadron.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
Operations for this month were hampered with two large movements. The 2nd Squadron moved to Imphal, India and the 1st and 4th Squadrons with Group Headquarters moved to Tulihal, India.
The commitments during this period were the highest yet and at times we were unable to meet them. The 1st and 2nd Squadrons second movement took place on the 12th day of this month, moving to Tsuyung, China. On the 20th the 4th Squadron moved to Chenkung, China and Headquarters moved to Tsuyung, China. The 3rd Squadron continued to operate from Tulihal, India.
While in China the organizations were placed on temporary duty with the 14th AAF, with principal duty to move Chinese troops from Paoshan and Mangshih to Luliang, China with a secondary commitment of gasoline to Chihkiang and Liangshah, China. [In eighteen (18) days 16,678 Chinese troops were carried.]
Aircraft maintenance continued to be very good and the 3rd Squadron started the first double engine changes.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY
Commitments for this month were mostly gasoline and Chinese troops for the Squadrons in China. The 3rd Squadron continued to operate from India flying into Central Burma. Weather and long hops hampered operations and due to the limited amount of space for carrying gasoline, our payload figures dropped considerably.
On the 30th of this month, the 2nd and 4th Squadrons, along with Group Headquarters, moved to Dohazari, India. The 1st Squadron moved to Chengtu, China and continued on temporary duty with the 14th AAF.
Aircraft maintenance was the greatest problem due to the shortage of spare parts, and all aircraft were due for 500 hour inspections and double engine changes.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY
Operations for the 1st 15 days was light as the 2nd and 4th Squadrons pulled double engine changes. We were committed heavily for the remainder of the month which turned out to be our best month to date.
The 2nd and 4th Squadrons operated from Dohazari, India while the 3rd Squadron was still stationed at Tulihal, India. Commitments continued into Central Burma and for the first time to Southern Burma.
The 1st Squadron operated from Chentu, China carrying gasoline and Chinese troops.
Aircraft maintenance was low but a very good job was done on engine changes. The Bengal Air Depot and the 54th Air Service Group gave every assistance possible and without their never ceasing interest our figures for this month would have been much lower.
This is the second part of the years analysis covering the second six months of operations for the First Combat Cargo Group beginning on 1 March 1945 and ending 31 August 1945.
This organization was assigned to the Army Air Forces, India, Burma Theater for operational control under the COMBAT CARGO TASK FORCE from 1 March 1945 through 30 May 1945, for operational control of Northern Burma Combat Task Force, from 1 June 45 through 22 June 45, for operational control of India China Division of the Air Transport Command from 23 June 1945 through 31 August 1945.
NOTE; Effective 16 tune 1945 the 1st Combat Cargo Squadron with the 344th Airdrome Squadron was transferred to the 14th Army Air Force China, Theater Effective 23 August 1945 the 3rd Combat Cargo Squadron along with the 346th Airdrome Squadron was transferred to the 10th Army Air Force, China Theater. Effective 4 August 1945 the 4th Squadron along with the 347th Airdrome Squadron was transferred to the 10th Army Air Force, China Theater. Operation figures for the above mentioned organizations are complete through those effective dates.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH
Due to the British 14th Armys establishment of four (4) bridgeheads across the t River, our commitments v ere quite heavy. Flying mostly on parapack drop missions, with aircraft flying three (3) and four (4) trips a day, we were able to show a great increase over February.
The 1st Squadron based at Hsinching with a detachment at Liangshan continued operations with the 14th Army Air Force in China, flying missions to Hsian, Ankang, Hanchung, Laohokaw and Enshik. Weather was a constant hinderance to flying and was so bad at times that aircraft frequently had to remain on the ground.
The 2nd and 4th Squadrons continued to operate out of Dohazari, India, while the 3rd Squadron operated from Tulihal, India. Drop and landing missions were forcing all units to increase the strength of their flying personnel in order to meet all the commitments going to the Irrawaddy River, Meiktila and Mandalay, Burma.
Engineering was still a big problem. The 1st Squadron was forced to use Navy oil in their engines due to a shortage of Army 1120 grade. The Squadrons in India started "running" inspections which made most aircraft flyable around the clock.
As most crews were required to fly from 150 to 200 combat hours monthly, it was necessary to increase the rate of personnel rotation.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL
Total freight decreased this month due to a general Japanese withdrawal all along the lines. Dummy drops were carried out to screen the movement of British troops and to lead the enemy away from the general advancing forward.
The 1st Squadron operated from Chengtu with a detachment at Liangshan. Missions from both bases were flown to Peishyi, Ankang, Enshik and Hanchung. Due to an emergency existing in the Hsian area, over 75% of all missions were to Hsian, supplying Valley Fields behind the enemy lines was a standing order for each day.
The 2nd and 4th Squadrons continued to operate from Dohazari, India with the 3rd Squadron operating from Tulihal, India until April. On 1 April 1945, the 3rd Squadron along with the 346th Airdrome Squadron moved to Hathazari, India. Myitche (?Myitkyina?), Mandalay, Meiktila, Toungu and Vegu are just a few of the
landing and drop missions carried out by these organizations. On the 21st, 23rd, and 25th, the 2nd and 4th Squadrons towed gliders with engineering, communication and other equipment necessary to reconstruct and operate newly captured airstrips. These landings were made at Lewe and Tennant. 1216 POWs were evacuated from forward areas.
Engineering showed little change over the past month. Commitments were never hampered due to maintenance.
Personnel were sent to rest camp in large numbers this month as crews were beginning to show fatigue from increased combat flying. This helped in many ways to keep up the pace needed to perform our commitments.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF MAY
With the fall of Rangoon on the 7th of this month, it was known that our commitments would take a sharp drop. This month an all time "flying time record" was set. This was due to long trips but we were still able to keep up with our commitments, falling off only little on total trips.
The 1st Squadron was still operating from Hsinching, Chengtu and Liangshan flying supply missions to Hsian, Ankang, Hanching and Valley Fields. The weather began to improve and flying was done under less strain and operation figures show a very good increase.
The 2nd and 4th Squadrons operated from Dohazari, India until 15 May. Group Headquarters with the 2nd and 4th Combat Cargo Squadrons and the 345th and 347th Airdrome Squadrons moved to Dohazari, India where the 3rd Squadron was stationed. This move was made mostly by trucks. Few aircraft were necessary to complete this move thus enabling us to carry on with normal operations. Landings were made at Myirgyan, Akyab, Ywotsung, Lewe and many other bases. Supply drops were few except at Prome and Pegu. Glider tows were made by the 2nd and 4th Squadrons on the 6th and 8th at Zyrtkwia, Burma. On the 1st and 2nd the 2nd and 4th Squadrons participated in the 40 plane parachutist drop over Elephant Point, which preceded the amphibious landing at Rangoon. 203 chutists were dropped in addition to supplies consisting of ammunition, rations and gasoline. 1573 POWs were evacuated from forward areas.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
With our mission complete in Southern Burma, we were released from operational control of Combat Cargo Task Force and placed under the Northern Burma Task Force. The 4th Squadron was not affected by this change and was preparing to start transition to C-46 type aircraft. Many changes took place in this month.
The 1st Squadron along with the 344th Airdrome Squadron was assigned and transferred to the 14th Army Air Force, China Theater. This organization was still stationed at Hsinching and Liangshan with no change in mission assignments.
In the first few days of this month, the 2nd Squadron along with the 345th
Airdrome Squadron moved to Bahmo, Burma. Group Headquarters along with the 3rd Squadron and the 346th Airdrome Squadron moved to Myitkyina East, Burma. The 4th Squadron remained at Hathazari, India.
The "Disc" movement commitments were assigned to the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons. Hauls were made to South Central China, carrying personnel, rations, arms, ammunitions and mules. The load on mules was four (4) to a ship, and the Squadrons hauled 299 mules during this period. The Disc" movement was carried out in support of the Chinese Sixth Army. Chanyi and Nanning were the principal landing strips.
The 4th Squadron operated into Southern Burma in support of the British 12th Army while under the operational control of the British 542d Wing. Most of their flights were centered in the Rangoon area. These supplies were for the push on Thailand.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF JULY
Operations for this month were light as compared to the past four months but almost everyone was needing a rest and the aircraft were now undergoing a more thorough maintenance since the rush, rush, rush had been relieved. All commitments were carried out. Weather was the only hindrance to normal operations.
There were no changes this month. The 2nd Squadron operated out of Bhamo, Burma and the 3rd Squadron out of Myitkyina East, Burma. These organizations flew into South Central China with hauls of mules, personnel, rations and arms. The base at Nanning was the most used in support of the Chinese Sixth Army which was fighting in the Luichow and Kweilin areas. 1875 mules were off loaded at that one base.
The 4th Squadron stationed at Hathazari, India, turned back all their C-47s and were assigned C-46s in their place. Transitioning began with a secondary duty of flying supplies to Rangoon, Burma.
Engineering was good with no trouble involved that is worth noting.
The point system began to take many seasoned crew members and along with authority to return personnel with over 850 combat hours to the States, cut the Squadrons down to less than a crew and a half per assigned aircraft. Crews were green, but commitments were up to date.
RECAPITULATION FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST
There is little to be recorded during this month. The ending of the war found us still operating into South Central China, awaiting orders to transfer us to the 10th Army Air Force, China, Theater.
The 2nd and 345the Airdrome Squadron were the only units still assigned to us at the end of our one year operations overseas. The 2nd and 3rd Squadrons flew the "Hump" into South Central China carrying gasoline.
The 3rd Squadron along with the 346th Airdrome Squadron were transferred to the 10th Army Air Force at Kunming, China effective 23 August 1945. The 4th Squadron and the 347th Airdrome Squadron, which was located at Hathazari, India, were transferred to the 10th Army Air Force and moved to Luichov, China effective 4 August 1945.
We ended our year of service almost as slow as we began but with a brighter outlook for the months to come.
Submitted by Cpl. John F. Van Lieu, Headquarters 1st Combat Cargo Group
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I am looking for former members of the 3rd Combat Cargo Group, 1st, Combat Cargo Group, 2nd Combat Cargo Group and the 4th Combat Cargo Group. In fact I would like to hear from anyone who flew over the Hump during WW II, or flew any Combat Cargo Missions at any time (Berlin Air-Lift, Korea, etc.)
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