Academic journal article Military Review

Vinegar Joe's War: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma

Academic journal article Military Review

Vinegar Joe's War: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma

Article excerpt

VINEGAR JOE'S WAR: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma, Nathan N. Prefer, Presidio Press, Novato, CA, 2000, 312 pages, $29.95.

Vinegar Joe's War: Stilwell's Campaigns for Burma, is slightly mistitled. The focus is not so much on General Joseph W. Stilwell as much as on U.S. involvement in the Burma Campaign with the glamorously nicknamed Merrill Marauders.

Nathan N. Prefer takes the reader from a call for volunteers to when the unit disbanded. The murky command relationship in the Burma theater of operations is critical in understanding why Stilwell used the unit for so many daring missions. Yet, Prefer glosses over the command relationship and never quite goes into the depth required to gain a full understanding of the complexities involved.

Burma was a British theater of operations, and the Japanese were threatening the weak British forces in India, which were protecting the only remaining supply route for Mainland China. This led to Chinese involvement in clearing northern Burma to allow the opening of the Ledo road and to shorten fighter coverage for transports flying the Hump.

Stilwell was never truly in charge of the Chinese Army assigned under his control, and he never could rely on the force to accomplish its assigned orders or missions. This led to his requesting and finally obtaining the 5307th Composite Unit, better known as Merrill's Marauders.

The Marauders were patterned after the British Chindits, a longrange penetration force organized and trained by the unorthodox General Orde Wingate. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.