Burma Road

The Burma Road (Chinese: 滇缅公路) was a road linking Burma with the southwest of China. Its terminals were Kunming, Yunnan, and Lashio, Burma. It was built while Burma was a British colony in order to convey supplies to China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Preventing the flow of supplies on the road helped motivate the occupation of Burma by the Empire of Japan in 1942. Use of the road was restored to the Allies in 1945 after the completion of the Ledo Road. Some parts of the old road are still visible today.[1]

The Hump and Burma Road
Transportation of Allied Forces in Burma and southwestern China including the Burma Road
Ledo Burma Roads Assam-Burma-China
The "Twenty-Four Bends" (25.821725°N, 105.202600°E), often mistaken for a segment of the Burma Road, is actually in Qinglong County, Guizhou Province. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Western supplies carried over the Burma Road first arrived at Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, then traveled over mountain roads, such as the "24 Bends," passing through cities such as Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province, before continuing to Chongqing.
Workers with hand tools building Burma Road2
Burmese and Chinese laborers using hand tools to reopen the Burma Road


The road is 717 miles (1,154 km) long and runs through rough mountain country.[2] The sections from Kunming to the Burmese border were built by 200,000 Burmese and Chinese laborers during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 and completed by 1938.[3] The construction project was coordinated by Chih-Ping Chen. It had a role in World War II, when the British used the Burma Road to transport materiel to China before Japan was at war with the British. Supplies would be landed at Rangoon (now Yangon) and moved by rail to Lashio, where the road started in Burma.

In July 1940, the British government yielded, for a period of three months, to Japanese diplomatic pressure to close down the Burma Road to supplies to China.[4]:299 After the Japanese overran Burma in 1942, the Allies were forced to supply Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalist Chinese by air. United States Army Air Force cargo planes, mainly Curtiss C-46s, flew these supplies from airfields in Assam, India, over "the hump", the eastern end of the Himalayas. Under British command Indian, British, Chinese, and American forces, the latter led by General Joseph Stilwell, defeated a Japanese attempt to capture Assam and recaptured northern Burma. In this area they built a new road, the Ledo Road which ran from Ledo, Assam, through Myitkyina and connected to the old Burma Road at Wandingzhen, Yunnan, China. The first trucks reached the Chinese frontier by this route on January 28, 1945.[5]

Films set on the Burma Road

Further reading

  • C. T. Chang: Burma Road, Malaysia Publications, Singapore 1964.
  • Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2011). China's Ancient Tea Horse Road. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B005DQV7Q2
  • Jon Latimer: Burma:The Forgotten War. John Murray, London 2004, ISBN 0-7195-6576-6.
  • Donovan Webster: The Burma Road: The Epic Story of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II. Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York City, NY 2003, ISBN 0-374-11740-3.

See also


  1. ^ Voy:Burma Road
  2. ^ Burma Road - Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  3. ^ Seagrave, Gordon S., Burma Surgeon, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1943
  4. ^ Lorraine Glennon. Our Times: An Illustrated History of the 20th Century. October 1995. ISBN 9781878685582
  5. ^ Winston Churchill. The Second World War, v. VI, chap. 11.

External links

A Yank on the Burma Road

A Yank on the Burma Road is a 1942 film. It is also known as China Caravan and Yanks on the Burma Road.

Banksia scabrella

Banksia scabrella, commonly known as the Burma Road banksia, is a species of woody shrub in the genus Banksia. It is classified in the series Abietinae, a group of several species of shrubs with small round or oval inflorescences. It occurs in a number of isolated populations south of Geraldton, Western Australia, with the largest population being south and east of Mount Adams. Found on sandy soils in heathland or shrubland, it grows to 2 m (7 ft) high and 3 m (10 ft) across with fine needle-like leaves. Appearing in spring and summer, the inflorescences are round to oval in shape and tan to cream with purple styles. Banksia scabrella is killed by fire and regenerates by seed.

Originally collected in 1966, B. scabrella was one of several species previously considered to be forms of Banksia sphaerocarpa, before it was finally described by banksia expert Alex George in his 1981 revision of the genus. Like many members of the Abietinae, it is rarely seen in cultivation; however, it has been described as having horticultural potential.

Battle of Mount Song

The Battle of Mount Song (traditional Chinese: 松山戰役; simplified Chinese: 松山战役; pinyin: Sōng Shān Zhànyì), also known as the Battle of Ramou (拉孟の戦い), in 1944 was part of a larger campaign in southwest China during the Second World War. Chinese Nationalist forces aimed to retake the Burma Road.

Battle of South Guangxi

The Battle of South Guangxi (simplified Chinese: 桂南会战; traditional Chinese: 桂南會戰; pinyin: Guìnán Huìzhàn) was one of the 22 major engagements between the National Revolutionary Army and Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

In November 1939, the Japanese landed on the coast of Guangxi and captured Nanning. In this battle, the Japanese successfully cut off Chongqing from the ocean, effectively severing foreign aid to China's war efforts by the sea, rendering Indochina, the Burma Road and The Hump the only ways to send aid to China.

The Chinese were able to launch several major offensives that maximized Japanese casualties. A majority of the conflicts occurred in the contention for Kunlun Pass. With the success of the Vietnam Expedition in September 1940, the Japanese were able to cut China off from Indochina. Now only the Burma Road and The Hump remained, ending the costly necessity of occupying Guangxi. By November 1940, Japanese forces had evacuated from Guangxi except from some coastal enclaves.

Battle of Tachiao

The Battle of Tachiao (March 18–19, 1942), was the first clash in the Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road in the Burma Campaign of World War II and Second Sino-Japanese War.

Advanced elements of the 200th Division arrived at Toungoo on March 8, 1942 and took over defensive positions from the British forces. The city of Toungoo itself would be the main defensive position of the Chinese forces, with an outpost a few kilometers to the south at Oktwin. Major-General Dai Anlan the divisional commander, sent the Motorized Cavalry Regiment and 1st Company, 598th Infantry Regiment to the banks of the Kan River 35 miles south of Toungoo and 12 miles south of the town of Pyu. The cavalry regiment plus a company of infantry pushed up to Kan River, with a platoon of cyclists taking up positions at the bridge over the river.

At first light on March 18, about 200 Japanese reconnaissance troops from the 143rd Regiment of the 55th Division advanced right up to the bridge on motorbikes. Reaching the outposts they were ambushed by the Chinese troops hiding along the sides of the road. Chinese armoured cars joined the attack and after three hours of fighting the Japanese fell back, leaving some 30 dead behind together with some twenty rifles, two light machine guns and some 19 motorbikes. After night fell, the Japanese continued their attacks with small units, and the Chinese covering force fell back toward their line at Oktwin. Following up the next day, Pyu fell to the Japanese on the 19th.

Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road

Battle of Yunnan-Burma Road (Mid March – Early June 1942) was the name of the Chinese intervention to aid their British allies in the 1942 Burma Campaign. Its forces were composed of the 5th, 6th and 66th Army under the command of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma, commanded by Lt. General Joseph Stilwell, Lt. General Luo Zhuoying was his Executive Officer.

In February 1942, General Lo Cho-ying directed 5th Army to move from western Yunnan to the vicinity of Toungoo and further south in Burma. Advanced elements of the 200th Division of 5th Army arrived at Toungoo on March 8, 1942 and took over defensive positions from the British forces. The 6th Army was directed to move from Kunming to the Burma–Thai border. Its leading elements reached Mawchi, Mong Pan and Mong Ton in mid March. The 66th Army later arrived in Lashio and Mandalay as a reserve and to assist the British forces in their operations.

Battles of Yunnan-Burma Road Campaign:

Battle of Tachiao March 18–19, 1942

Battle of Oktwin March 20–23, 1942, in vicinity of Oktwin

Battle of Toungoo March 24–30, 1942, in and around Taungoo

Battle of Yedashe April 5–8, 1942, in vicinity of Yedashe

Battle of Szuwa River April 10–16, 1942, at Szuwa River northwest of Yedashe

Battle of Mawchi and Bato Early April 1942, in vicinity of Mawchi

Battle of Bawlake April 17, 1942, in vicinity of Bawlakhe

Battle of Yenangyaung April 17–19, 1942

Battle of Pyinmana April 17–20, 1942, in vicinity of Pyinmana

Battle of Loikaw April 20, 1942, in vicinity of Loikaw

Battle of Hopong-Taunggyi April 20–24, 1942, in vicinity of Hopong and Taunggyi

Battle of Loilem April 25, 1942, in vicinity of Loilem

Battle of Lashio April 29, 1942, in vicinity of Lashio

Battle of Hsenwe May 1, 1942

Battle of Salween River May 6–31, 1942

Battle of Hsipaw-Mogok Highway May 23, 1942

Behind the Burma Road

Behind the Burma Road is a 1963 book by William R. Peers and Dean Brelis that describes the American guerrilla warfare operations, including those of OSS Detachment 101, during the Burma Campaign in the China Burma India Theater during World War II.

Burma Convoy

Burma Convoy is a 1941 film about a truck convoy on the Burma Road directed by Noel M. Smith and starring Charles Bickford and Evelyn Ankers.

It was also known as Halfway to Shanghai.

Burma Road (Israel)

Burma Road (Hebrew: דרך בורמה‎) (Derekh Burma) in Israel was a makeshift bypass road between Kibbutz Hulda and Jerusalem, built under the supervision of General Mickey Marcus during the 1948 Siege of Jerusalem. It was named for the Chinese Burma Road.

Burma Road Nature Reserve

Burma Road Nature Reserve is a conservation area in the City of Greater Geraldton local government area of Western Australia. It lies 52 kilometres (32 mi) south of Geraldton and 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of Walkaway. It is a C-class reserve and covers an area of 6,889.5 hectares (17,024 acres) It is predominantly kwongan scrub-heath, typical of the Tathra Vegetation system of Beard and Burns. Almost all the native vegetation within a 20 km (12 mi) radius of the reserve has been cleared. There is only 11% of native vegetation remaining in the area (1256.6 km2), of which most is within the reserve.

China Girl (1942 film)

China Girl is a 1942 drama film which follows the exploits of a newsreel photographer in China and Burma against the backdrop of World War II. The film was directed by Henry Hathaway, and stars Gene Tierney, George Montgomery, Lynn Bari and Victor McLaglen. It is also known as A Yank In China, Burma Road and Over The Burma Road.

Chinese Expeditionary Force

The Chinese Expeditionary Force (simplified Chinese: 中国远征军; traditional Chinese: 中國遠征軍) was an expeditionary unit of the Republic of China's National Revolutionary Army that was dispatched to Burma and India in support of the Allied efforts against the Imperial Japanese Army during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Burma in the South-East Asian theatre of the Second World War.

Highway 38 (Israel)

Highway 38 is an arterial road in the low plains of Judea in Israel. It serves as the main access route to Beit Shemesh and as a main north-south route in the region. Along the route are many nature preserves and archeological sites.

Hulda, Israel

Hulda (Hebrew: חֻלְדָּה‬) is a kibbutz in central Israel. Located in the Shephelah near the Hulda Forest and the Burma Road, it falls under the jurisdiction of Gezer Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 1,067.

Ledo Road

The Ledo Road (from Ledo, Assam, India to Kunming, Yunnan, China) was an overland connection between India and China, built during World War II to enable the Western Allies to deliver supplies to China, to aid the war effort against Japan — as an alternative to the Burma Road became required, once that had been cut-off by the Japanese in 1942. It was renamed the Stilwell Road, after General Joseph Stilwell of the U.S. Army, in early 1945 at the suggestion of Chiang Kai-shek. It passes through the Burmese towns of Shingbwiyang, Myitkyina and Bhamo in Kachin state.In the 19th century, British railway builders had surveyed the Pangsau Pass, which is 1,136 metres (3,727 feet) high on the India-Burma border, on the Patkai crest, above Nampong, Arunachal Pradesh and Ledo, Tinsukia (part of Assam). They concluded that a track could be pushed through to Burma and down the Hukawng Valley. Although the proposal was dropped, the British prospected the Patkai Range for a road from Assam into northern Burma. British engineers had surveyed the route for a road for the first 130 kilometres (80 miles). After the British had been pushed back out of most of Burma by the Japanese, building this road became a priority for the United States. After Rangoon was captured by the Japanese and before the Ledo Road was finished, the majority of supplies to the Chinese had to be delivered via airlift over the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains known as the Hump.

Of the 1,726 kilometres (1,072 mi) long road, 1,033 kilometres (642 mi) is in Burma and 632 kilometres (393 mi) is in China with the remainder in India.After the war, the road fell into disuse. In 2010, the BBC reported, "Much of the road has been swallowed up by jungle."

Longcross railway station

Longcross railway station is centred approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) from the locality of Longcross in Surrey, England on the border of the former parishes of Virginia Water and Lyne and Longcross (a current civil parish) in part of the large wooded sandy heath known as Surrey Heath (which is larger than the area of the district of the same name). It is 25 miles 11 chains (40.5 km) down the line from London Waterloo and is served as a minor stop by South Western Railway on the Waterloo to Reading Line.

The station is not adjacent to a road but can be reached from the south along Burma Road, a road which runs north from the east-west B386. Burma Road skirts the western side of the former Longcross QinetiQ Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment site before narrowing to a track then a footpath. Much of the QinetiQ site is now home to Longcross film studio, and the remainder is being developed for housing in a 'garden village'. On the north of the station is Wentworth Golf Course and although Network Rail say that there are open gates on the north as well as the south side of the station, the 1:25000 OS map shows no right of way across the course from the station. The station is also adjacent to parts of the Wentworth Estate and Chobham Common.

The station was opened c. 1940 by the Southern Railway. Originally named Longcross Halt, it was not shown in regular timetables until 21 September 1942. On 5 May 1969 it was renamed Longcross by British Rail.

North-east Indian railways during World War II

The efficient running of the North-east Indian railways during World War II became critical to the success of the Allied war effort in the South-East Asian Theatre.

At the start of the War the railways and water communications of north-east Indian Railways was not a major concern for the British Empire forces stationed in Burma as they could be supplied by sea through port in Rangoon (as could Chinese forces in south western China thought supplies passing up the Burma Road). However, when the Japanese attacked and forced the British back to the Indian Burmese border, the supply of material over the extended lines of communication from Calcutta to the front lines and over the Hump into China, became a critical issue for the Western Allies and the Chinese National Revolutionary Army (NRA) under the command of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. War time expediency, investment and ingenuity increased rail tonnage from around 600 tonnes a day to over 7,300 by January 1946.

Salween River

The Salween or ၼမ်ႉၶူင်းor, officially, Thanlwin River (Phlone:ကၟံင့်ယှောတ်ခၠေါဟ်)(Shan language ၼမ်ႉၶူင်း )(Burmese:

သံလွင်မြစ်) IPA: [θàɴlwɪ̀ɴ mjɪʔ]; Thai: แม่น้ำสาละวิน Mae Nam Salawin; IPA: [mɛ̂ː náːm sǎːləwin]), known in China as the Nu River (Chinese: 怒江; pinyin: Nù Jiāng), is a river about 2,815 kilometres (1,749 mi) long that flows from the Tibetan Plateau into the Andaman Sea in Southeast Asia.

It drains a narrow and mountainous watershed of 324,000 square kilometres (125,000 sq mi) that extends into the countries of China, Burma and Thailand. Steep canyon walls line the swift, powerful and undammed Salween, one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the world. Its extensive drainage basin supports a biodiversity comparable with the Mekong and is home to about 7 million people. In 2003, key parts of the mid-region watershed of the river were included within the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The people who live on the Salween are relatively isolated from the rest of the world. The river is only navigable up to 90 kilometres (56 mi) from the mouth, and only in the rainy season.

The Burma Road was constructed between 1937 and 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War and crossed the river at the Huitong bridge. The Huitong bridge was blown by the retreating Chinese army and the river became the frontline from 1942 to 1944.

The Salween Campaign of World War II, was launched in order to liberate occupied China and open the Burma Road again and connect it to the Ledo Road.

Logging began on the mountains surrounding the Salween in the late 20th century, and has damaged the river's ecology. In recent years, there have been a number of proposals to dam the Salween River, both upstream in China and downstream in Myanmar, which have prompted social and environmental concerns as well as widespread opposition. Construction of at least one upstream dam on a tributary of the Salween is currently underway in China's Yunnan province, with many more expected to follow.

The genus Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae)

The genus Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae) is a 1981 monograph by Alex George on the taxonomy of the plant genus Banksia. Published by the Western Australian Herbarium as Nuytsia 3(3), it presented George's taxonomic arrangement of Banksia, the first major taxonomic revision of the genus since George Bentham published his arrangement in Flora Australiensis in 1870.

One of the most important contributions of The Genus Banksia L.f. (Proteaceae) was the publication of ten new species and nine new varieties of Banksia. These were:

B. aculeata (Prickly Banksia)

B. chamaephyton (Fishbone Banksia)

B. conferta (Glasshouse Banksia) (and therefore also the autonym B. conferta var. conferta, now B. conferta subsp. conferta)

B. conferta var. penicillata (now B. conferta subsp. penicillata)

B. cuneata (Matchstick Banksia)

B. ericifolia var. macrantha (now B. ericifolia subsp. macrantha)

B. gardneri var. brevidentata

B. gardneri var. hiemalis

B. grossa (Coarse Banksia)

B. integrifolia var. aquilonia (now B. aquilonia)

B. lanata (Coomallo Banksia)

B. littoralis var. seminuda (now B. seminuda)

B. meisneri var. ascendens (now B. meisneri subsp. ascendens)

B. micrantha

B. nutans var. cernuella

B. plagiocarpa (Dallachy's Banksia)

B. saxicola (Grampians Banksia)

B. scabrella (Burma Road Banksia)

B. sphaerocarpa var. caesia

B. sphaerocarpa var. dolichostyla

B. telmatiaea (Swamp Fox Banksia)In addition, B. sphaerocarpa var. glabrescens was redescribed as B. incana, and B. quercifolia var. integrifolia was redescribed as B. oreophila. B. collina was demoted to B. spinulosa var. collina, and B. cunninghamii was demoted to B. spinulosa var. cunninghamii.

George further proposed a new infrageneric classification for Banksia, redefining some of the existing sections, demoting Bentham's B. sect. Cyrtostylis and B. sect. Orthostylis to B. ser. Cyrtostylis and B. ser. Orthostylis (now B. ser. Banksia) respectively, and publishing six new series:

B. ser. Coccinea (now B. sect. Coccinea)

B. ser. Grandes

B. ser. Tetragonae

B. ser. Spicigerae

B. ser. Prostratae

B. ser. CrocinaeThe classification was widely accepted, and is essentially the one that is in use today.

Finally, having examined historical specimens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and elsewhere, George published lectotypes for most pre-existing Banksia taxa.

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