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Burma Campaign

P-40N "Sue" heads for its base in India after dropping its 500-pound bomb on a Japanese supply center in Burma in 1945. (U.S. Air Force photo)

P-40N "Sue" heads for its base in India after dropping its 500-pound bomb on a Japanese supply center in Burma in 1945. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A salvo of bombs hits a bridge in Bangkok, Thailand. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A salvo of bombs hits a bridge in Bangkok, Thailand. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Armorers load a depth bomb on a P-38J Lightning at an airbase in India in January 1945. Such bombs could be fused for either underwater or surface targets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Armorers load a depth bomb on a P-38J Lightning at an airbase in India in January 1945. Such bombs could be fused for either underwater or surface targets. (U.S. Air Force photo)

As the Allies gradually received reinforcements, the RAF and the 10th Air Force were able to win air superiority over the Japanese in Burma, and medium bombers and fighter bombers undertook energetic campaigns against enemy river traffic, bridges and railroads. In March 1944 Allied transport aircraft saved a large British force along the Indian border near Imphal by flying in more than 10,000 reinforcements and more than 20,000 tons of supplies after the force had been encircled during a Japanese offensive.

In the same month, Allied troop carrier units and an AAF air commando group carried out a daring operation far behind enemy lines in central Burma. Using gliders and C-47s, they landed some 9,000 British "Chindit" raiders under Maj. Gen. Orde Wingate, 1,300 pack animals and 254 tons of supplies and airfield construction equipment. Such long-range penetration ground forces, supplied entirely by air, struck at vital enemy communications and supply lines, keeping the Japanese forces in Burma off balance.

To the north, American-trained Chinese troops and American guerrillas under Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, sustained mainly by airdrops, seized the airfield at Myitkyina in northern Burma in May 1944 and reopened the Burma Road to China in January 1945. However, the total tonnage brought over the road by truck until the end of the war did not equal that flown over the Hump in a single month. Anglo-Indian ground forces, supported by the 10th Air Force and RAF combat and cargo aircraft captured Mandalay in March 1945 and Rangoon in May, as they drove the remnants of the Japanese forces from Burma.

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