Burma Road 1943–44: Stilwell’s assault on Myitkyina Osprey Campaign 289 Book Review

Burma Road 1943–44: Stilwell’s assault on Myitkyina Osprey Campaign 289

By Jon Diamond, Illustrated by Peter Dennis

Series: Campaign Book 289

Paperback, 96 pages

Publisher: Osprey Publishing January 2016

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1472811259

ISBN-13: 978-1472811257

Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.3 x 9.9 inches

Another volume in Osprey’s well known and extremely successful Campaign Series, Burma Road 1943-44 follows the established format.  The book is broken up into sections first detailing the commanders, forces, and plans, then describing the campaign itself and the aftermath.  The book is well illustrated with maps and beautiful two page color paintings by artist Peter Dennis.  Color maps are a vital feature, and are used to illustrate opposing troop movements and the battles progressed.

During the Second World War China received a meager proportion of American aid when compared with other Allied nations.  Part of this was due to the divided political nature of the Chinese war effort, part of it was due to the entire Pacific Theater being viewed as a lesser priority.  A more practical reason was the fact that the Japanese controlled all the usable ports along the coast making supply from the sea impossible.  Efforts to form an air bridge were only possible over harshest terrain and were subject to aggressive Japanese fighter interception, and these efforts could only provide a small portion of the tonnage required.

This book tells the story of the campaign to open the Ledo road through Burma, vital for Western efforts to provide material aid to the Chinese fighting against the Imperial Japanese Army on the mainland.  The book mainly focuses on the American efforts, although there is some detail on the British and Chinese contributions to the campaign.  I was particularly interested in the Chinese-American armored unit formed on the M3 Stuart, and the use of American Nisei as signal intercept technicians.

Overall a good introduction to the subject and an interesting read.