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  Home > Battles, Weapons & Spy DVDs >

The Stilwell Road & the China-Burma-India Campaign in World War 2
Stills from from "The Stilwell Road and the China-Burma-India Campaign in World War 2"


 
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The Stilwell Road
& the China-Burma-India Campaign
in World War 2
Four Films on one DVD

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The Stilwell Road and the China-Burma-India Campaign in World War 2 - Four films

The story of China-Burma-India (CBI) campaign is one of the most under-reported, yet most dramatic, exciting and important actions in World War 2. This part of South East Asia was strategically vital for two reasons. 1) Keeping China supplied and in the war, thereby tying down scarce Japanese divisions and resources while providing B-29 bases to strike Japan. 20 Blocking a Japanese invasion of resource rich India and thwarting their plan to link up with the Germans, driving from the West.

Allied forces were remarkably diverse: Brits, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Chinese, Indians, Gurkhas, Chindits, Burmese, Africans and local tribesman fought hardened Japanese troops in a remarkably forbidding environment, ranging from disease ridden jungle to the high passes in the Himalayas. Traditional frontal assaults were supplemented by parachute and glider drops, deep penetration operations by special forces, and the airborne seizure of enemy airfields to bring in troops behind their lines. Air power played a vital role in supporting ground actions and ferrying troops and supplies by C-46s & C-47s. Add to that that one of the great construction feats of World War 2, the building of the Stilwell road to supply China through some of the most challenging terrain in the world and flying supplies over "The Hump" and you have one of the epic tales of the War.

* The Stilwell Road (1945, 51:00, B&W) Narrated by Ronald Reagan This is a very detailed strategic and tactical account of the entire campaign in the CBI, from the Chinese construction of the Burma Road in 1939 through the Japanese invasion of Burma, Allied counterattacks, Japanese counterattacks and the opening of the new Stilwell road to China in 1945. Lots of dramatic combat footage on all fronts is supplemented by behind the scenes looks at logistics, jungle hospitals and detailed maps that put diverse operations in context. In the air, you'll see P-40s, Spitfires, Hurricanes, B-24s, B-29s, B-29s, and very rare shots of P-51As and P-47 Thunderbolts operating in South East Asia. On the ground, you'll see troops from many nations in action, including legendary units like Merrill's Marauders and Orde Wingate's Chindits and commanders like Stilwell, Chennault, Cochran. and Picket. There's so much going on in this film, it's impossible to give more than a very brief description of all the action here!

* Why We're Here in the CBI (1945, 33:00, B&W) This filmed report was delivered by General Daniel Sultan, who succeeded General Stilwell as commander of Burma/India operations. When surveyed, 50% of US forces responded that they didn't know why they were in seemingly obscure South East Asia, "fighting to save the Chinese and the British Empire," instead of Europe or the highly publicized island campaigns in the South Pacific. In response, the General shows the vital strategic importance of keeping China in the war and the essential role (and sacrifices) of British and Chines forces, all done through engaging film clips and maps. The epic construction and importance of the new Stilwell Road and petroleum pipeline to China are also shown in detail, something all US troops could be proud of. Finally, the essential role played by logistical support units and hospital personnel in making it all happen is emphasized.

*The Joseph W Stilwell Story (1960, 27:00, B&W) Narrated by Alexander Scourby. This is the life of "Viniger Joe" Stilwell, one of the most brilliant, hardest driving, and at times most difficult to manage and work with Allied commanders in World War 2. Criticized for the high casualties often sustained by troops under his command and his battles with Chiang Kai-Shek, Claire Chennault and British commanders, there is no question he got results under extremely difficult circumstances, using meager resources. The film focus on the critical role he played as commander of field operations in the CBI during pivotal fighting in 1943-44. Produced by the US Army after the war, the film tends to gloss over Stilwell's faults and the controversies surrounding him, but it's still a very interesting pictorial record of his life.

*Traffic Control in the CBI (1945, 20:00) The video quality of this remarkable film is only fair but still watchable. It gives a very rare and unique behind the scenes look at transport & supply routing in one of the most logistically challenging theaters in World War 2. Millions of tons of supplies had to be funneled through the busy port of Calcutta, loaded on trucks that were transported to the railhead at Ledo, to front line troops fighting the Japanese, and eventually to China via the Stilwell Road. The first half of the film shows the innovative use of radio dispatched Jeeps to control traffic, in real time, to route convoys through the jammed streets of one of the worlds largest and most congested cities, Calcutta. The second half is devoted to traffic control on the Stilwell Road itself, which was often loaded with bumper to bumper traffic through extreme terrain, day and night, 24/7.


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