(This typewritten account was given to Major John J. Gardner by 1st Lt. John K. Jouett with the following note:
" Major Gardner, Thought you might be interested in this, Jack Jouett" )
THE FOURTEENTH DIVISION
(Chinese Army in India)
BACKGROUND OF THE FOURTEENTH DIVISION, C.A.I.
The Chinese Fourteenth Division first saw action against the Japanese in September of 1937 in Shanghai. There, this division distinguished itself by a stubborn delaying action against the enemy in that area. The Fourteenth Division later fought against the Japs near Wuchang in July of 1938 and again in October 1940 in Kwangtung and was able to defeat and force the Japs to retreat on the Hankow-Canton Railway, to within fifteen miles of Canton, thus aiding in preventing the Japanese from capturing the Hankow-Canton Railway. From there, this division was ordered to Yunnan Province where it was given security missions until April 1944. At that time the Fourteenth Division was selected by the Generalissimo and ordered to proceed to India to re-enforce the Chinese Army in India.
First units of the Fourteenth Division arrived at Dum Duma airdrome in India on April 19, 1944. From there the Fourteenth Division proceeded to bivouac areas along the Ledo Road. At that time, the American liaison staff was brought up to strength and the unit embarked on a program of intensive training. Previous to this time, only officers and a few enlisted men had been given American-type training at the Yunman Training Center.
MAY 17th to MAY 30th , 1944
On May 17th, orders were issued by the Chih Hui Pu (C.A.I.) alerting the 42nd Regiment of the Fourteenth Division for combat. On May 19th, first units of the Third Battalion 42nd Regiment, arrived at the newly captured Myitkyina airstrip, and were placed on perimeter defense of the airstrip. By the 31st of May, the whole of the 42nd Regiment had been transported by air from Ledo to Myitkyina and joined the Third Battalion in the perimeter defense of the airstrip.
Fourteenth Division units in Myitkyina were commanded by Major General Chin Wing, Vice Commander of the Fourteenth Division, and Lt. Col. Sheh Chung-len, Vice Commander of the 42nd Regiment Lt. Col. Merrell C. Fisher was Chief Liaison Officer of the 42nd Regiment, with Capt. John Lattin as Assistant Regiment, Liaison Officer, and Major John C. Robbins as Medical Liaison Officer. Major Lo Kwei commanded the First Battalion with Capt. Paul L. Tobey as Liaison Officer. Major Huohchun commanded the Second Battalion With Capt. Jefferson I. Davis, Jr. As Liaison Officer. Major Ho Fung-tung commanded the Third Battalion with Capt. Arthur W. Draper as Liaison Officer.
The 42nd Regiment, at that time, was placed under the command of the 50th Division and operated under that command until July 24th when at that time, the Fourteenth Division Hdq. at Myitkyina assumed command.
MAY 30th to JUNE 10th
On May 30th, the Third Battalion 42nd Regiment proceeded out from the airstrip under orders to attack Myitkyina from the south and by June Third had established a line and was advancing slowly to the north.
The Second Battalion 42nd Regiment left the airstrip on the 31st of May moving in support of the Third Battalion. Its first action was to place two platoons in a gap between the Third Battalion and the 89th Regiment and the remainder of its force covering a gap on the right flank between the Third Battalion and the 150th Regiment By the Third of June a line had been established.
By this time a general line had been established with the Third Battalion on the left and the Second Battalion on the right. Both units were advancing slowly, meeting determined Jap resistance. The enemys main line of defense ran along the South end of the railway yards and along the main North South-East Road of the town of Myitkyina. The terrain south of this line was a flat, medium wooded area criss-crossed by lanes and trails. The North South-East Road was metaled and had a roadbed that was fifteen feet higher than the surrounding terrain. This greatly favored defense as there was little natural protection from enemy final protective lines of fire.
On the 5th of June the First Battalion along with Regimental Headquarters arrived at an area about 3000 yards south of the railway yards. The First Battalion was placed in regimental reserve. Major Robbins, Medical Liaison Officer was wounded in the cheek by a stray enemy bullet on the 8th of June and evacuated to Ledo. This was the only casualty to Liaison Personnel in the Battle of Myitkyina. By the 10th of June the Second and Third Battalions. had arrived at a line meeting strong enemy resistance emanating from the above described defense line. Heavy automatic weapon fire of the Japs dominated the area.
JUNE 10th to JUNE 27th
On the June 12th orders were issued by the Chih Hui Pu (C.A.I.) for an "all out" attack on Myitkyina by the 42nd Regiment This attack was to be supported by artillery and air support. Due to inclement weather, the attack was postponed on June 13th and was ordered to proceed regardless of weather on June 14th.
On June 13th the First Battalion was ordered to support the Third Battalion and moved into the Third Battalion area (these two units became soon mixed up that it is impossible to give them separate sectors). The attack was launched at 0400 June 14th and continued through June 16th. This attack was made with only organic mortar support and very slight artillery support. Very heavy losses were suffered by all units and on the afternoon of June 16th, orders were issued to consolidate and hold positions taken.
As described before, enemy positions were centered along the North South-East Road which commanded the area. On the right flank, the Second Battalion was confronted by enemy strong points all along this road, with the main points of enemy defense at RJ 1 and RJ 2. Of two companies of the Second Battalion that crossed this road on June 14th, no men returned except a few who were wounded early in the day. By night fall, the 4th and 5th Companies were practically annihilated, the 6th Company suffered heavy casualties. Interlocking hands of enemy machine gun fire on commanding terrain accounted for those heavy casualties, so without support, these men had attacked into certain death. On June 16th, the Second Battalion had captured RJ 2 and had established a line.
The First and Third Battalions attacking on the left encountered the same difficulties. The enemy strong point at RJ1 repulsed five separate assaults by the Sixth Company of the 3rd Battalion. Not until June 16th was this strong point taken by the combined efforts of the Eighth and Second Companies. Heavy losses were suffered by both the First and Third Battalions.
On June 13th, the Division Reconnaissance and Division Anti-Gas Companies arrived at the airstrip from Ledo with 1st Lt. John K. Jouett as liaison officer. These two companies went immediately to the Regimental sector and were held in reserve. On June 15th, the Reconnaissance company was committed with the Second Battalion and units of the Anti-Gas Company went with the Third Battalion.
The losses to the 42nd Regiment for the three days of attacking was over 200 killed and 300 wounded. Such heavy losses dictated a change of tactics, so the Chinese began digging tactics, which were used until July 23rd. This method was comparatively simple. It consisted of digging into or around enemy strong points and then connecting them to adjoining strong points with connecting trenches and then continuing on to the next enemy strong points. Although this method is slow, it proved practical, as nearly all gains in the future in this area were made this way.
The Second Battalion continued with digging tactics and by June 27th had captured the whole road, and at that time there was a slight change in sectors. The First and Third Battalions continued digging and consolidating positions on the road south of the railway yards. On June 20th, Lt. Col. Charles Harberger relieved Lt. Col. Fisher as Chief Liaison Officer of the Fourteenth Division units in Myitkyina. On the 25th of June orders were received by the First Battalion to move north of Sitipur to attack with the 5307th Composit Unit (Provisional),code name "Galahad", popularly known as Merrill's Mauraders.
JUNE 27th to JULY 23rd
The First Battalion proceeded without delay to the Sitipur sector and on the evening of June 28th, moved into line with American Galahad units on the right and left. The mission of the First Battalion was to capture RJ3 with Galahad units supporting on the right and left. At 0800, June 29th, the First Battalion jumped off, advancing rapidly without contact with the enemy. By 1000 hours the First Battalion had reached point "4" where it was pinned down by heavy fire. The Battalion established a perimeter defense and dug in for the night. By the next day it was learned that the American Galahad units on both right and left flanks had failed to advance, thus leaving the First Battalion encircled by the enemy and completely cut off from friendly troops. This Battalion stayed in position four days and withdrew under orders from the Chih Hui Pu (C.A.I.) on the night of July 2nd.
While staying in a perimeter of about 200 yards diameter, many soldiers of the First Battalion performed acts of individual heroism. One outstanding act was that of Lt. Fang, Vice Commander of the Machine Gun Company. The Japanese had attacked his position three times, killing all personnel in his two machine gun teams. Lt. Fang, though wounded himself, got behind one of his machine guns and was able to repulse the fourth attack of the enemy, inflicting heavy losses.
The withdrawal from the defense position was accomplished with a minimum of losses under difficult conditions. Capt. Tobey, Liaison Officer, personally lead a company through the Jap lines into a friendly area during this withdrawal.
On July 4th, the First Battalion was attached to the Thirtieth Division until July 23rd at which time it returned to Fourteenth Division control. During that time this Battalion covered a gap in the lines between the 38th and 39th Regiments.
During the period of June 27th to July 23rd, the Second Battalion on the right and the Third Battalion on the left made steady gains using the digging tactics described previously. Very stubborn resistance, with the enemy using numerous automatic weapons was encountered. During this period our losses were comparatively light, whereas we were able to inflict heavy losses on the Japs.
On June 25th, the Second Battalion of the 41st Regiment Fourteenth Division arrived at the airstrip with Major Nat Perrine as Liaison Office. On July 6th, the Second Battalion 41st Regiment replaced the 39th Regiment on the left flank of our sector. Slight gains were made up to July 23rd by the Second Battalion due to the fact that the terrain consisted of open paddy fields heavily commanded by enemy automatic weapon fire.
JULY 24th to AUGUST 4th
On July 24th, orders were received from the Chih Hui Pu (C.A.I.) initiating a change of sector placing the Second Battalion 42nd Regiments on the left, the Second Battalion 41st Regiment on the right and First and Third Battalions 42nd Regiment in reserve. The same day, orders were issued for a general assault on Myitkyina. On July 26th, units of the Fourteenth Division attacked and by evening of July 30th, had reached their objective. Further objectives were assigned to the Fourteenth Division and by August 4th, Myitkyina had fallen. Japanese resistance was heavy on July 26th and 27th, but by July 28th had scattered and no further organized resistance was encountered. The enemy held strong points up to the last man, and at the end many cases of self destruction were found by our troops. The First Battalion of the 42nd Regiment was committed on the 30th of July and was placed on the right of the Second Battalion 41st Regiment.
JULY 31st to AUGUST 19th, 1944 --- WAINGMAW
On July 30th orders were received by the Fourteenth Division to send one battalion to cross the Irrawaddy River and to operate on the east bank of the river. Further orders issued on the First of August disclosed the objective to be Waingmaw.
The Third Battalion 42nd Regiment with 1st Lt. John K. Jouett as Liaison Officer, crossed the Irrawaddy River on July 31st and advanced to the south of Waingmaw. On August 1st, the Second Battalion 42nd Regiment arrived at Thayaga, and on August 4th, the First Battalion 42nd Regiment and the Second Battalion 41st Regiment arrived at Thayaga.
On the 2nd of August the Second Battalion and Third Battalion 42nd Regiment advanced to the rice mill south of Waingmaw there meeting heavy enemy resistance. On the 3rd of August patrols to the right flank made contact with the Kachin Levies on the right. On 4th August, a combat patrol with both Chinese and Kachin troops made a diversionary attack on Man-Laing. Heavy resistance was encountered by the Second Battalion 42nd Regiment in the town of Waingmaw so the planned main assault on Man-Laing and on the morning of August 6th, all enemy resistance south of the Namyin Hka had ceased.
On August 7th, troops of the Fourteenth Division crossed the Namyin Hka on bamboo rafts and native dugouts, this unit made an excellent crossing despite a monsoon swollen river and primitive equipment. On August 8th, a general attack was made on Yadaw and the area north to Maingna, no enemy resistance was encountered and by afternoon contact had been made with the Haswell Force at Maingna, thus ending all enemy resistance on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River.
On August 11th, the Second and Third Battalions 42nd Regiment were ordered south and east to mop up fleeing enemy remnants. Although both battalions moved as ordered, it was too late and no further contact was gained with the enemy.
Approximately 900 enemy killed.
600 killed and 1100 wounded of our troops.