The Hump - The Story of the brave pilots who conquered the Himalayan

World War two is already two years into war. Right now Nazi Germany owns parts of Europe the front moving towards Russia and France. Japan has the Pacific ocean and is pushing into mainland China. With Japan invading French Indochina this closed the ocean and the railroad systems to supply China with materiel, the only way China could get it was going through the Soviet-Union country of Turkestan. Unfortunately due to the Soviet Union signing the Japan-Soviet Union neutral treaty pack this ended any support into China besides going through Myanmar (Burma) and using the Burma Road. The rapid success of Japanese military operations in Asia threatened the life line prompting discussion of an air cargo service route from India in 1942. Chiang’s foreign minister TV Soong estimated that 12,000 tons of materiel could be delivered monthly by air from India if 100 C-47 Skytrains.

February of 1942 President Roosevelt contacted General of the Armies George Marshall (US Army (Go Army Beat Navy)) informing him that “it is of the utmost urgency that the pathway to China be kept open.” From there the US Committed 10 C-53 Skytrains to be leased to the China National Aviation Cooperation. The goal was to have at least 25 aircraft for the CNAC.

With the 10th Air Force opening it’s head quarters in New Dehli, under the command of Maj. Gen Lewis Brereton they were given the task to supply China using both American and Chinese built aircraft. With the operation given the green light the 10th Air Force began to designate routes to China. Two branches opened up unofficially, the “Trans-India Command” from India’s western ports to Calcutta would deliever cargo to Assam. From there the unofficial “Assam-Burma-China Command” would accept the cargo and begin flying it into southern China. The original scheme envisioned the Allies holding northern Burma and using Myitkyina as an offloading terminal to send supplies by barge downriver to Bhamo. Then transfer to the Burma Road. On 8 May 1942 the Japanese seized Myitkyina along with Yagoon (Ragoon). This ended the idea of using the Bruma Road for the allies. o maintain the uninterrupted supply to China, U.S. and other allied leaders agreed to organize a continual aerial resupply effort directly between Assam and Kunming.

The first mission “over the hump” took place on 8 April 1942 Flying from the RAF Field Dinja India, Lt Col William D. Old used a pair of the former Pan Am DC-3s to ferry 8,000 gallons of Aviation Fuel intended to resupply the Doolittle Raiders. With the fall of Myanmar, that meant further diversion of the air effort. The ABC Ferry Command resupplied Stilwell’s retreating army and evacuated its wounded, while establishing a regular air service to China using ten borrowed DC-3s, three AAF C-47s, and 13 CNAC C-53s and C-39s.

Only two-thirds of the aircraft were serviceable at any time. Dinjan was within range of Japanese fighters now based in Myanmar. forcing all-night maintenance operations and pre-dawn takeoffs of the defenseless supply planes.

On the first two months of the airlift the AAF delivered only 700 tons of cargo and CNAC only 112 tons. In July, CNAC quadrupled its tonnage to 221 tons, but 10AF C-47s brought only 85 net tons. In July of 1942 the two branches of the India-China Ferry merged into the India-China Ferry Command , an organized component of the Tenth Air Force.

The allies worried during this time the Japanese would strike bases their nightmare came true on afternoon of 25 October.100 bombers and fighters, bombing from 10,000 feet, achieved complete surprise. The only defense provided came from three P-40s that were on patrol. and six others which took off and gave pursuit. Dinjan and Chabua were heavily bombed, with nine transports and twenty fighters destroyed or badly damaged by low-level strafing. The next day 30 more fighters came in again without warning, but damage was confined to a single storage building containing food and medical supplies.


After the attack the Army reviewed the 10th and determined they were defeatist. Living conditions for both airlift flight crews and support personnel, particularly at Dinjan, were described as "by far the worst in the entire theater with primitive quarters, poor sanitation, bad food and mess facilities, pervasive disease, and lack of recreation. Apathy became widespread and morale dropped to a “dangerous point,” with the feeling among the troops that as part of the Tenth Air Force, they were “illegitimate children” 10 days later the Air Transport Command took command in December 1st of 1942. Because of the ATC taking command bomber support, fighter support and more cargo aircraft came to support operations.


On the 21 April 1943, the first replacement of C-46s arrived. The C-46 having a much larger cargo capacity replaced the C-47s .In May the 46s were placed in service.


Due to the Scorching heat and torrential rains of the summer monsoon completed the undermining of the ambitious goals. The long-delayed work on existing fields resulted in intervention by Marshall in which he ordered Wheeler to have the Services of Supply complete the work by 1 July and issued a deadline of 1 September 1943 to have three additional fields ready for operations, but airfield construction problems were not overcome for several months.

In May of 1943 President Roosevelt ordered ATC to deliver 5,000 tons a month to China by July; 7,500 tons by August; and 10,000 tons by September 1943. ATC operations accounted for 685,304 gross tons of cargo carried eastbound during hostilities, including 392,362 tons of gasoline and oil, with nearly 60% of that total delivered in 1945. ATC aircraft made 156,977 trips eastbound between 1 December 1943, and 31 August 1945, losing 373 aircraft. Though supplemented by the opening of the Ledo Road, and the capture of Ragoon. the airlift’s total tonnage of 650,000 net tons dwarfed that of the Ledo Road (147,000 tons) CNAC pilots made a key contribution to India-China flight operations. Between 1942 and 1945, the Chinese received 100 transport aircraft from the United States: 77 C-47s and 23 C-46s. Of the eventual 776,532 gross tons and approximately 650,000 net tons transported over the Hump, CNAC pilots accounted for 75,000 tons. The India-China airlift continued beyond the end of the war. The final missions of the ICD, made after most of its attached organizations had departed, were the transporting of 47,000 U.S. personnel west over The Hump from China to Karachi for return to the United States.

The maximum aircraft strength of the India-China Division, ATC (31 July 1945) was 640 aircraft: 230 C-46s, 167 C-47s, 132 C-54s, 67 C-87/C-109s, 33 B-25s, 10 L-5s, and 1 B-24.Gen. Tunner’s final report stated that the airlift “expended” 594 aircraft.At least 468 American and 41 CNAC aircraft were known lost from all causes, with 1,314 air crewmen and passengers killed. In addition, 81 more aircraft were never accounted for, with their 345 personnel listed as missing. Another 1,200 personnel had been rescued or walked back to base on their own. ATC logged over 1.5 Million flight hours. he India-China ferrying operation was the largest and most extended strategic air bridge (in volume of cargo airlifted) in aviation history until it was surpassed in 1949 by the Berlin Airlift.

Flying The Hump during WW2 with Frank Gurney

Interview with Dr. Carl F. Constein, WWII CBI Hump Pilot


@RotorGuy… Historical Data appears to be a cut & paste. What Source Document was this extensive history extracted from?

War records, Google Searches, a couple of youtube videos ect.

@RotorGuy… Good Show. I’m a War History buff. The CBI Theater is the forgotten war. The “Hump” is just an episode. Air Support to the “Behind the Lines” irregulars in this Godforsaken Tropical cesspool need a good review, consider it.

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Sorry was on the phone with our mainline HR.

I love forgotten, and secret wars like Laos. Myanmar ect!

Always a entertaining read from @RotorGuy!

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