On May 08, 2020, 75-Years after the Victory in Europe, I want to claim that there will be no Peace without preparing for War. I am specifically speaking about Peace, Freedom, and Justice for the Tibetan people. During the concluding phase of World War II, after the celebration of Victory in Europe, Tibet received a golden opportunity to prepare for War to prevent the Chinese Aggression of 1950.
I ask my readers to learn about the Hump Flights which essentially describe the beginning of ‘The Cold War’ in Asia. Apart from defeating the Japanese aggression in China, the US was deeply concerned about the spread of Communism to mainland China. At the same time, Tibet was concerned about its own security. Tibetans were concerned about the military power of both the Nationalists and the Communists who were fighting to gain control over the mainland China. The US delivered arms and ammunition to Tibet using the Hump Flights. That military assistance was inadequate and insufficient to meet the security challenge to Peace and Freedom in Tibet. Between 1945 and 1950, Tibet missed this golden opportunity to prepare for War that would have prevented the Chinese military conquest in October 1950.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada
6 brutal facts about ‘flying the hump’ — the deadly World War II air route over the unforgiving Himalayas
Blake Stilwell, We Are The Mighty Jun 15, 2018, 11:43 AM
“The Hump” was the nickname Allied pilots gave the airlift operation that crossed the Himalayan foothills into China. It was the Army Air Force’s most dangerous airlift route, but it was the only way to supply Chinese forces fighting Japan — and things weren’t going well for China.
World War II began in 1937 for Chiang Ki-Shek’s nationalist China. By the time the United States began running supplies to the Chinese forces fighting Japan, the Western part of the country was firmly controlled by the invading Japanese. The Japanese also controlled Burma, on India’s Eastern border, cutting off the last land route to the Chinese. Aid would have to come by air and American planes would have to come from the West — over the “Roof of the World.”
But getting there was terribly inefficient.
As a matter of fact, the original plan to bomb targets on the Japanese mainland involved flying B-29s loaded with fuel over the Hump from India into China. But when the planes landed at Chengdu, they would often have to take on fuel to ensure they could make the flight home, as recounted by then-Army Air Forces officer and later Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the film The Fog of War.
Beyond the inefficiency of flying the Hump, it was incredibly dangerous. More than 1,000 men and 600 planes were lost over the 530-mile stretch of rugged terrain, and that’s a very conservative estimate. It was dubbed the “Skyway to Hell” and the “Aluminum Trail” for the number of planes that didn’t make it.
1. Flying the Hump was central to winning the war.
When reading about World War II’s Pacific Theater, what comes up most often is the gallantry and bravery of Marines, sailors, and coasties who were part of the island-hopping campaign.
We also hear a lot about the bomber groups of airmen who devastated the Japanese home islands. What we seldom hear about is the US Army in the China, India, Burma theater who were busy building a 1,000-mile road and flying over the Himalayan foothills to keep China in the fight.
And this was vitally important.
China is a vast country, and when the Communists and nationalists joined forces to take on the Japanese, they were a massive force to take on. Three million Chinese soldiers kept 1.25 million Japanese troops in China, away from the ever-creeping Allies who were taking island after island, slowly getting closer to the Japanese mainland.
2. Extreme weather took down more US pilots than the Japanese.
Forget, for a moment, that American pilots were flying planes dubbed “The Flying Coffin” — the Curtis C-46 Commando — at times. The mountain ranges of the Himalayas caused jetstream-strength winds and dangerous weather at extreme altitudes. And when that doesn’t take you, a Japanese Zero will be there to try.
Pilots would plod along at ground speeds of around 30 miles per hour while the wind lifted their planes to 28,000 feet and then back to 6,000 shortly after. If pilots weren’t fighting ice storms or thunderstorms, they were fighting the Japanese.
3. Many pilots flying the Hump were newbies.
Although the China National Aviation Corporation ran the route before the war and its pilots continued to run cargo over the Hump, the Army’s pilots were newly-trained flying officers with little experience flying in anything, let alone extreme weather. Even General Henry “Hap” Arnold — the only General of the Air Force ever bestowed such a title — got lost due to lack of oxygen flying the Hump.
This may have added to the fatality rate on the route — a full one-third of the men flying it died there.
4. If the weather didn’t get them, the terrain might.
5. Inside the plane wasn’t great either.
Pilots were issued fleece-lined jackets, boots, and gloves to keep their extremities from freezing during the flight. Lack of oxygen could cause pilots to veer off-course and into an almost certain death. C-46 cargo planes did not glide, their heavy engines causing an almost immediate dive. Once out of fuel, crews would have to bail out with minimal protection, cold weather gear, and nine rounds of a .45-caliber pistol.
6. That last bullet is for you.
Whether crashing or bailing out into the freezing cold or jumping into enemy-held territory, there would be no search and rescue mission coming for crews flying the Hump. A rescue crew would be subject to the same extreme cold weather and fuel issues as any other plane. In enemy territory, Japanese patrols would capture American pilots, torture them, then kill them. Part of the training regimen for Hump pilots included the right way to use the last bullet on oneself.