April 1977 Issue
352nd Engineers in Iran and CBI
Service On Two Fronts
This history of the 352nd Engineer General Service Regiment, provided by John A. Carlson, is from a book on the regiment edited by R. S. Lippincott and published shortly after the war. It is interesting to note that this organization first worked on the road, railroad and in the camps of the Persian Gulf Command supplying Russia; then, after Germany had fatten, moved on to CBI to take part in the war against Japan. At one time the regiment was stretched out along 60 miles of the monsoon-drenched Ledo Road in Assam and Burma, keeping open the Patkai Mountain section where grades were steepest and rain heaviest.
The 352nd Engineer General Service Regiment was re-activated for World War II on 18 April 1942, at Camp Gordon, Ga. In July it took part in maneuvers in the Carolinas, before the completion of which it was alerted for overseas movement and returned to Camp Gordon for final preparations. Movement by rail to the staging area at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pa., was completed 22 September. Orders de-alerting the regiment were received soon after arrival there.
Following a period devoted largely to specialist training, the regiment was alerted again in December. In three sections the regiment moved across the country by rail, assembling at Camp Stoneman, Calif., 4 January, 1943. It sailed 13 January from San Francisco on the converted British liner "Mauretania." Brief refueling stops were made at Pearl Harbor, Wellington in New Zealand and Fremantle, Australia, before arrival at Bombay, where the regiment transshipped to the British troopship "Dunera."
The regiment reached its overseas destination, the Persian Gulf Command, on 2 March, landing at Khorramshahr, Iran. From there units and detachments worked northward toward Russia along the Persian Gulf Corridor until Teheran was reached in August by a detachment of D Company. To the South B Company maintained a detachment at Abadan. At the peak of operations in Iran members of the regiment were stationed in thirteen separate posts and camps and approximately a third of the officers were on detached service with various headquarters, serving in administrative or technical capacities.
Among the major jobs done by the regiment in assisting the PGC to accomplish its mission of getting supplies to Russia were:
These, as well as numerous smaller tasks, were accomplished despite the intense heat and poor sanitation prevalent in Iran's desert region.
The regiment assembled again at Ahwaz in early September, 1944, for re-staging and shipment to another overseas destination. On 1 October it embarked at Khorramshahr and was convoyed in the British troopship "Son-tay" and a Liberty ship to Bombay in the India-Burma Theater. Personnel loaded immediately for an eight day rail trip across India to Ledo, Assam. Vehicles were taken across in motor convoy. C Company was meanwhile detached for utility work in the Calcutta area, later moving to Chabua and not re-joining the regiment until assembly for the return home.
Maintenance and construction of sections of the Ledo Road, necessitating the use of a large amount of heavy engineering equipment, was the regiment's assignment in India-Burma. Camps were established early in December above Ledo at Bogapani, where two companies maintained a 20-mile stretch through heavy winter rains, and in the Warazup section 175 miles south of Ledo. In the latter 50-mile section four companies began immediate intensive work which lasted through April. The job there consisted largely of developing the improved combat road to permit heavy convoy traffic toward China, especially during the summer monsoons. Grading, widening, ditching, straightening, placing culverts and cribbing, graveling and construction of new road, bridges and camps occupied all but a small overhead, which had its difficulties supplying and administering the isolated jungle camps. At Tinghawk a two and a half mile relocation was cut through the hills and jungle. Among the bridges constructed, all two-lane, were a 120 foot timber trestle across the Tinghawk River, two across the Mogaung River, one of which totaled 400 feet including two 90-foot steel spans.
In May the regiment was assigned the task of keeping the road open through the approaching monsoons in the 60-mile stretch south of Ledo into the Patkai Range, where it was most threatened. Six companies moved in and built separate camps. The end of the war called a halt to this intensive effort against torrential rains and formidable topography and preparations for the move home were begun.
The regiment left Ledo by rail, starting in late September, 1945, and assembling at Karachi. On 21 October it sailed on the United States transport "General Anderson," going homeward via the Mediterranean Sea. Landing at New York was made 9 November, and the regiment moved to Camp Kilmer, N. J., where it was de-activated 11 November, 1945.
- Grading, topping and maintenance of the larger part of the desert section of the supply road from Khorramshahr to Andimeshk.
- Track and road-bed maintenance work on Trans-Iranian railroad in mountain and tunnel section from Andimeshk to Azna.
- Operation of post headquarters and facilities at Ahwaz and Andimeshk.
- Operation of motor pools in Khorramshahr, Andimeshk and Teheran.
- Furnishing convoy drivers to Motor Transport Service, including delivery of trucks from Bushire to Andimeshk Ordinance Depot.
- Enlarging and surfacing runways at Abadan Air Base.
- Operation of crusher plant at Sabz-Ab supplying rock for road and camp construction in southern half of PGC.
- Post utility and construction work in Ahwaz, Andimeshk and Hamadan.
- Maintenance of first aid stations, heat stroke centers and dispensaries throughout Desert District.
- Furnishing entertainment to entire PGC through band and attached personnel.