Chinese Army in India-Burma Campaign – China-Burma-India Theater of World War II

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RAID ON MYITKYINA

STORMING ON BHAMO

BATTLE AT KAIBTIK

CROSSING THE SHWELI

THE CAPTURE OF NAMHKHAN

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The New First Army rested at Myitkyina for nearly two months. By October, the rainy season in Northern Burma was over, the C.A.I. launched its second major offensive. The New First Army was to launch a frontal attack on Bhamo, while the New 6th Army was to head towards Shwegu from the left. The last named post was captured on October 29, after which the New 6th Army was recalled to China Theater and the Burma Campaign thenceforth was solely undertaken by the New First Army.

From Myitkyina to Bhamo was mountainous terrain, which was helpful to the defense and provided difficulties for the attackers.


During its march towards Bhamo, the New First Army unearthed en route a stone memorial of great historical importance. It was a commemorating tablet of one of the Chinese expeditions to the district in the Ming Dynasty, and characters “Wei Yuan Ying” (Overwhelming Afar Barracks) were boldly engraved on the center of the tablet. A description of the events leading to the erection of the memorial testified to the military operations and established the strategic importance of Bhamo even in those old days.


Early in November, the New 38th Division had registered great progress in the advance. At this juncture, the Army made use of the great suspension bridge which had been built by one of the famous Chinese generals who undertook one of the expeditions into Burma during the Tsing dynasty.


The enemy made full use of the boggy nature of the terrain at Bhamo in laying his defense positions which, it was later made known, took eight months to build.


By November 16, the Chinese Army had taken the suburban regions and three of the airfields. The enemy retreated to the inner defenses within the city, and offered stiff resistance. He was immediately encircled.


Street fighting ensued and the Chinese encirclement of the enemy was gradually tightened. The city of Bhamo was completely captured on December 15. The enemy was completely wiped out, and a large booty was captured.


To commemorate this signal victory, the Allied Supreme Command in Northern Command named the road from Memauk to Bhamo the Sun Li-jen Highway, while a street in Bhamo was renamed Li Hung Road.

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While the battle for Bhamo was still in progress, General Sun Li-jen ordered the New 30th Division to proceed forward beyond Bhamo, heading for Namhkam.


The Battle at Kaibtik

The enemy was given a surprise by the New 30th Division’s march on Namhkam while the New 38th Division was still fighting for Bhamo. Reinforcements were brought in hurriedly in an attempt to disperse the New 30th Division and thence to go to the relief of Bhamo. These forces, recently transferred from Korea, met the New 30th Division at the Kaibtik plateau, and the first frontal battle of Northern Burma took place.


Kaibtik is the highest salient between Bhamo and Namhkam and is of such strategic importance that its capture would be decisive in the battle for Namhkam.


After a number of battles, the enemy was completely routed, abandoning 1260 dead when they retreated by December 14.

The Crossing of the Shweli River

The approach to Namhkam is a narrow valley enclosed by mountains, and is neither easily attacked nor defended.
By this time, Bhamo had already fallen, and the forces attacking Namhkam were reinforced by two regiments from the New 38th Division.
The most eventful episode at this period of the campaign was the crossing of the Shweli River, a watercourse flanked by high cliffs offering a great risk to the undertaking.

The Capture of Namhkam

Little fighting was expected in the Namhkam Valley itself, but the problem was the securing of the mountains surrounding the valley.
After successfully crossing the Shweli River, the Chinese forces had little difficulty in breaking through enemy lines in the vicinity of Namhkam.


On the morning of December 15, the Namhkam Valley was enveloped in a thick fog. The 90th Regiment marched through the fields into the town of Namhkam, which was fully captured before noon that day.

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From Hsenwi to Lashio

While the enemy was cleared off from the Stilwell Road, he still maintained forces at Meng Yu and Namhakka. The New 50th and New 38th Divisions therefore continued to clear these districts of remnant enemy units, and the divisional commander of the enemy 56th Division barely escaped being taken prisoner in the engagement.


Hsenwi was captured by the New 30th Division on February 20, when the march on Lashio was launched.


The 30 odd miles separating Hsenwi and Lashio was very mountainous territory, and the progress was necessarily slow but now with the arrival of armored car units our forces were reinforced.


The old town of Lashio fell on March 6, while the new section of the town fell three days later.

From Mwanhawm to Hsipaw

The capture of Lashio completed the mission of the New 38th and the New 50th Divisions, but the 50th Division had still to effect the last act in the Burma campaign.


The 50th Division, after the Mogaung Valley campaign, was first charged with the task of affording assistance to our British Allies (36th British Division) in their attack of Katha which was successfully accomplished. The 50th Division then crossed the Irrawaddy to mop-up the remnant enemy units in that district. The battle for Mwanhawn was the fiercest engagement in this connection, and the point was captured after a series of vogorous attacks.


The 50th Division carried on its victorious march southwards and by the middle of March captured Hsipaw and on March 23 effected a junction with the New 38th Division on the Naphai Highway.


The area west of Hsipaw was virtually a British war zone but because of the swift advance of Chinese Army the British were enabled to push immediately southwards to lower Burma, leaving the Chinese forces to capture the important point of Kyaukme west of Hsipaw with which Chinese Army in India concluded its brilliant Burma campaign. 


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