Time Runs out in Cbi

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

CHAPTER XI
Preparing a Drive to the China Coast

The requests for tonnage that Wedemeyer presented to India-Burma Theater and the ATC were the logistical requirements for operations to take the Canton-Hong Kong area and support the transfer of the Tenth Air Force from SEAC to China. As soon as plans and preparations for ALPHA were well under way, Wedemeyer had ordered his planners to outline an operation in which the U.S.-sponsored Chinese divisions of the ALPHA plan would take the offensive toward the seacoast. On 29 January 1945 the Generalissimo was advised of the trend of Wedemeyer's thinking, and in the days that followed Wedemeyer mentioned shifting the center of China Theater operations toward the east.1 (See Map 1 -- inside back cover.)


Plan BETA

By informally writing to General Hull, Wedemeyer began laying the groundwork for War Department approval of his plans. He told Hull that he envisaged a strategic air force (the Fourteenth) and a tactical (the Tenth) in China, the two commanded by some officer like General Stratemeyer. This powerful new force would support the ALPHA divisions in taking a seaport in the fall. By so writing, Wedemeyer was accepting an organization proposed by the Tenth Air Force on 15 January 1945.2

Operations on the scale envisaged would require aid from neighboring theater commanders and the concurrence and support of the Joint Chiefs. On 5 February Wedemeyer outlined his intentions for the benefit of his colleagues and his superiors. He thought that the ALPHA troops could take the offensive in July or August, with the weather in southeast China favoring their operations. By then, fifteen to twenty-five divisions should be ready. "We have considered an attack from Kweiyang eastward to acquire air bases and to cut enemy communications lines in area Heng-yang-Ling-

____________________
1
Min, Mtg 34, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 29 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes.
2
(1) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Hull, 29 Jan 45. Case 37, OPD 381 (TS), Sec II. (2) The Army Air Forces in World War II, V, 268.

-330-

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