CBI THEATER OVERVIEW



Ex-CBI Roundup
November 1977 Issue

By Earl O. Cullum

(formatted for readability)

CBI veterans have many memories, but few facts. When did CBI begin and end? Who were its commanders? Its campaigns? Its units? Its casualties?

Thumbing through the 1960 U. S. Army Almanac gives us a few basics on our World War II theater.

The CBI Theater was activated 4 March 1942 with Headquarters at Chung­king. New Delhi became Headquarters 1 April 1944, with the Forward Echelon at Chungking. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell was Theater Commander, with Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler in temporary command April-June 1943, and Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Hearn in temporary command November-December 1943.

The CBI was deactivated 24 October 44, and the China Theater activated with Headquarters at Chungking. The Headquarters moved to Shanghai 14 October 45, and China Theater was deactivated 1 May 1946. Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault was Temporary Theater Commander in October 1944 until Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer arrived and became perma­nent commander.

The India-Burma Theater was also activated 24 October 1944, with Headquarters at New Delhi. This Headquarters moved to Calcutta 15 April 1946, and the theater was deactivated 31 May 46. Theater Commanders were Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan to June 1945, Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler to September 1945, Maj. Gen. Thomas A. Terry to February 1946, and Maj. Gen. Vernon Evans to May 1946.

The Detachment, U. S. Army in India was activated 19 April 1946 and contin­ued to 30 September 1946.

The major tactical units of the CBI were the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces, XX Bomber Command of the Twentieth Air Force, and the several Air Wings; the 5332 Provisional Brigade, 124 Cavalry and 475 Infantry Regiments, and the 87th AA Group.

The Tenth Air Force had as its primary function the defense of the ferry route over the Hump. Its China Air Task Force operated from Kunming, and the India Air Task Force from Dinjan. CATF duties were taken over by Fourteenth Air Force in March 1943, with the Tenth continuing to operate from Assam in support of the Burma campaign. The Tenth moved to China in the summer of 1945 in preparation for the Offensive Against Japan. Its commanders were Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton March-June 1942, Brig, Gen. Earl L. Naiden June-August 1942, Maj. Gen. Clayton L. Bissell August 1942-August 1943, Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson August 1943-August 1945, and Brig. Gen. Albert F. Hegenberger August-November 1945.

The Fourteenth Air Force was activated at Kunming 10 March 1943 replacing the Tenth's China Air Task Force which had continued the work of the Flying Tigers after the American Volunteer Group was deactivated in July 1942. The Fourteenth supported the Chinese Armies and operated against the Japanese throughout the remainder of World War II. Its commanders were Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault March 1943-August 1945, and Maj. Gen. Charles B. Stone August 1945-January 1946.

The XX Bomber Command of the Twentieth Air Force began bombing the Japanese homeland 15 June 1944, using B-29 Superfortresses based in India-China. This command was transferred to the Marianas in March 1945, to join the XXI Bomber Command. These units of the Twentieth continued the war over Japan, climaxing with atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The Twentieth lost 494 planes to enemy action. Its commanders were Gen. Henry H. Arnold April 1944-July 1945, Maj. Gen. Curtis E. LeMay July-August 1945, and Lt. Gen. Nathan F. Twining August-October 1945.

The five CBI campaigns were:

CAMPAIGNDATES
Burma7 December 1941 - 26 May 1942
India-BurmaApril 1942 - 28 January 1945
Central Burma29 January 1945 - 15 July 1945
China Defensive4 July 1942 - 4 May 1945
China Offensive5 May 1945 - 2 September 1945

The following units are credited with participation in those campaigns:

UNITCAMPAIGN
5332nd Prov. Brigade
87th AA Group
17th, 18th AA Bns.
Central Burma
843th AA Bn.China Defensive
124th Cav. RegimentIndia-Burma
475th Inf. Regiment
612th, 613th Field Artillery Bns.
16th, 484th AA Bns.
India-Burma, Central Burma
464th AA Bn.India-Burma, Central Burma, China Defensive
 
10th, 14th, 20th AF UNITS
UNITCAMPAIGN
2nd Air Commando Gp
3d Combat Cargo Gp
Central Burma
Fourteenth Air Force
1st Bomb Gp (Prov) (CACW)
3d Fighter Gp (Prov) (CACW)
68th Comp. Wing
81st Fighter Gp
312th Fighter Wg
China Defensive, China Offensive
5th Fighter Gp (Prov) (CACW)
504th Bomb Gp
507th Fighter Gp
China Offensive
1st, 22nd, 28th, 29th, 30th Transport Gps
64th Troop Carrier Gp
India-Burma
1st Air Commando Gp
12th Bomb Gp
80th Fighter Gp
443th Troop Carrier Gp
India-Burma, Central Burma
XX Bomber Command
8th Photo Recon. Gp
33d Fighter Gp
40th, 444th, 462nd, 468th Bomb Gps
58th Bomb Wing
India-Burma, Central Burma, China Defensive
1st Combat Cargo Gp
7th Bomb Gp
India-Burma, Central Burma, China Defensive, China Offensive
Tenth Air Force
4th Combat Cargo Gp
India-Burma, Central Burma, China Offensive
23d, 51st, 311th Fighter Gps
69th Comp. Wing
308th Bomb Gp
341st Bomb Gp
India-Burma, China Defensive, China Offensive
 
5th AF UNITS
UNITCAMPAIGN
35th Fighter Gp
475th Fighter Gp
China Defensive
58th Fighter Gp
312th Bomb Gp
China Offensive
5th Emergency Rescue Gp
6th Recon Gp
38th Bomb Gp
49th Fighter Gp
71st Recon Gp
345th Bomb Gp
348th Fighter Gp
380th Bomb Gp
China Defensive, China Offensive
 
7th AF UNITS
UNITCAMPAIGN
15th Fighter GpChina Defensive
41st Bomb Gp
318th Fighter Gp
319th Bomb Gp
China Offensive
90th Bomb GpChina Defensive, China Offensive
 
13th AF UNITS
UNITCAMPAIGN
13th Emergency Rescue Gp
307th Bomb Gp
China Offensive
42nd Bomb Gp
347th Fighter Gp
China Defensive, China Offensive

The 1st Air Commando Group was also credited with three Assault Landings in Burma in March 1944.

Total WW II battle casualties in CBI are listed as follows:

Killed .....1922
Wounded .....2400
Missing .....2164
Total .....6486


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