A C dropping supplies over Burma. While support operations were not as glamorous as air strikes, Operation Thursday and supporting the Chindits took the fight to the enemy. National Archives.
For the Japanese, possession of Burma, which it achieved in early , was a plum rich in value. Three million of those tons could be shipped to the far-flung Japanese military outposts in the new East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere that in covered almost half the globe. Finally, because Burma bordered India, it could be used as a staging area for invasion of what was then the crown jewel of the British Empire.
In fact, the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters was preparing an ambitious plan to invade India and ultimately link up with German troops advancing from the east. The challenge facing Great Britain and the United States was daunting in the extreme.
As a result of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , the vast industrial and manpower might of the United States had gone from a standing start to high gear. But it would take time before the full weight of those resources could be employed. Those desperate times called for desperate measures.
Col Philip Cochran and Lt. John Alison as co-leaders of the unit that gave birth to the Air Commandos.
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Arnold provided initial but loosely defined directions. His orders were to assemble a composite task force that could provide aerial support for the allied mission and be self-sufficient for a minimum day window. Cochran and Alison, in what was known as Project 9, hand selected a bold crew of volunteers and chose a varied assortment of aircraft that allowed the Air Commandos to conduct a wide range of missions; these consisted of fighters, gliders, transports, liaison, bombers and the first U.
The mission was to carry troops via cargo and glider aircraft deep behind enemy lines to hastily constructed landing zones in dense jungle.
Operation Thursday: Birth of the Air Commandos [Illustrated Edition]
The reason they chose the glider airborne operation was to spare the Chindit force a dangerous and exhaustive jungle march and to beat the oncoming monsoon season. In February , Lt. Col Cochran and a handful of pilots manned their PA Mustang fighters and embarked on a daring secret mission. Institutional Login. LOG IN.
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Beginning with its inception at the Quebec Conference of and continuing through Operation Thursday until the death of the brilliant British General Orde Wingate in March , less than a month after the successful invasion of Burma, Project 9 details all aspects of this covert mission, including the selection of the American airmen, the procurement of the aircraft, the joint training with British troops, and the dangerous night-time assault behind Japanese lines by glider. Based on review of hundreds of documents as well as interviews with surviving Air Commandos, this is the history of a colorful, autonomous, and highly effective military unit that included some of the most recognizable names of the era.
Air Commandos Rise From Secret WWII Mission - ShadowSpear Special Operations
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Contents Download Save. Forward R. Preface Dennis Okerstrom pp.
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Acknowledgments pp. Prologue pp. Chapter 1 pp. Chapter 2 pp. Chapter 3 pp.