Time Runs out in Cbi

By Charles F. Romanus; Riley Sunderland | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
The Crest of the Flood in China

In December 1944 Wedemeyer faced a grave test of his ability as a commander and staff officer. While he was still shaping his new command, the Japanese 11th Army sent two of its divisions to the border of Kweichow Province. (See Map 1 -- inside back cover.) If they drew closer to Kunming there would be an obvious menace to the principal U.S. base in China. Wedemeyer would then have to carry out twc major tasks simultaneously: recommend and obtain Chinese approval of actions that could stop the Japanese; and continue with the setting up of his command and the Chinese participation in ALPHA.


Wedemeyer Asks Help From SEAC

The original orders of the Japanese command in China had directed the 11th Army to halt at the border of Kweichow Province. Taking the bit in its teeth, 11th Army raced across the boundary, with the later approval of higher authority. However, it thought of pursuit, not Kunming.1 Its 13th Division took the town of Tushan, finding there considerable quantities of arms, and defeated some fresh Chinese troops, whose presence on the scene was among the first results of ALPHA. Local Chinese command problems had been greatly complicated by a tragic error of the Fourteenth Air Force, which bombed Chang Fa-kwei's headquarters on 27 November, destroying most of his transport and signal equipment.

The road up which the Japanese were moving forked not far above Tushan, one leg of the Y leading to Kunming on the west, the other, to Chungking. This was the strategic Kweiyang area. Americans were sent there to advise and assist the Chinese on technical and operational problems: Col. Frederic W. Boye, who assisted General Tang En-po throughout the rest of the war; Colonel Bowman, who in addition to aiding Chang Fa-kwei sent out OSS demolition teams led by Cols. Dan Mallon and Alexander H.

____________________
1
(1) Japanese Study 130, pp. 26, 30. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments on draft MS.

-142-

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