Monsoons, Mules and Jeeps

Collectable Books On the Shelf

Heat, heavy rain, impassable terrain, road construction, Chindits and aerial resupplies, the campaign in Burma thwarted the Japanese invasion of India and was all about logistics

On aweekday afternoon many years ago, I was driving a Willys Jeep south through Northumberland and stopped for fuel in Corbridge. An elderly man walked up, looked at the Jeep and said: “I haven’t seen one of those in a few years.” It turned out that he’d been in Burma where he’d driven – and fixed – Jeeps. I asked what Burma was like. “It was a hard country,” he replied. “Hard in the heat and hard in the wet.”

This month’s collectable book is the official Report to The Combined Chiefs of Staff on the campaign in that ‘hard country’ between 1943 and 1945. It belonged to my late father-in-law, Major James Cross who, during that period, was involved with the Troop Carrier Command’s aerial resupply of troops fighting on the ground, including those of the 81st West African Division in the Kaladan Valley, part of the biggest formation to be supplied wholly by air. This report, authored by Vice-Admiral The Earl Mountbatten of Burma, goes into detail about such aerial resupply and the overall logistics of fighting a determined enemy in a country with minimal transportation links and networks.

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