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Byers, Adrian - Air supply of China-Burma-India theater 1942-1945 (2010)

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Air supply operations in the China-Burma-India Theater between 1942 and 1945.

Byers, Adrian Rainier, United States Air Force

Master of Military Art and Science Theses
US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS

The USAAF responded to the requirement to keep China engaged against Japan by conducting two distinct air supply operations, a tactical air supply mission to Burma and a strategic air supply effort over the Himalayas to China. The tactical air supply effort to Burma supported offensive combat operations and the construction of the Ledo Road, while the Hump airlift directly contributed to the American strategic objective. Despite Stilwell's stubborn commitment to the Ledo Road as the main effort to supply the Chinese and to the necessary use of tactical air supply to support this and other ground operations in Burma, the key contribution to the success of keeping China in the war against Japan was ultimately the strategic air supply missions over the Hump. This thesis reviews how the operational airlift efforts within the CBI supported both efforts and examines the challenges, processes, and development of air supply. The fundamental question associated with this effort concerns how the USAAF responded to seemingly competing air supply requirements in the CBI Theater in order to keep China in the war against Japan.