Yes it was in December of 1944 or January of 1945 that the Twenty-Seventh Troop Carrier Squadron converted a C-47 to a bomber loaded with frags and ran a successful mission against the Japanese who were evacuating troops along the Nam Kahm Highway on the Burma border

    Learning of the event a few days later, General Chennault signed an order that there would be “– no more bombing missions by C-47 cargo-type planes as the Fourteenth had more bombers than transports.”

    The time was early ‘45 and the “Y” Forces were engaged in heavy combat with the Japanese along the Burma border.

    I was with 69th Wing and assigned to coordinate all missions between the Twenty Seventh and the “Y” Forces since the Twenty-Seventh was flying in replacement troops.

    There were, of course, daily briefings on the progress of the battle and what seemed to annoy us all was the blatant disregard that the enemy was displaying for possible interdiction of their supply activities along the Burma Road.

    Although they only moved at night, there was no spacing of vehicles and the trucks actually had their headlights on full.

    It was like they were laughing at our possible attempts to do anything to harass them.

    “Where the hell are our B-25s?” Indignantly sputtered an angry officer during one briefing.”

    “Now let’s hold it right there,” said the briefing Colonel silencing the dissidents. ”As it happens, our 25s are not equipped for night missions. We’d have big navigational problems, and the projected loss factor would be too high.”

    “So let’s cut out this nonsense and continue with the briefing.”

    The briefing continued, but TURNER, Everett and others still fumed. Later he button-holed Lt. Colonel Nate Ranck, A-3 of the 69TH Composite Wing.

    Colonel, meaning no disrespect, but if the Twenty-Seventh can fly troops into the combat zone day and night until each mission is a milk-run, why can’t the B-25s I inquired. And if the bombers can’t find the target, I’ll bet I can get half a dozen crews that will lead them in. Or we’ll drop a load of frags ourselves.

    Ranck turned down the suggestion by the then 2nd Lieutenant Turner.

    “The idea is not only impractical,” replied Ranck, “but there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that Colonel Kennedy (Wing Commander) would buy it.”

    And so that’s the way it went for the next couple of days.

    What Turner did not know was that Ranck rankled along with all the others. (What I also did not know was that lite colonels never agree with any suggestion from a second looey) so Ranck had to wait until the idea could be broached as his own.)

    “Turner, I’ve been thinking about that Jap supply line along the road, “ said Ranck to Turner two days later.

    Yes sir I replied.

    “Why don’t we drop some frag clusters on the bastards,” suggested Ranck. “That would teach them to drive with their lights on.”

    Ranck knew that Colonel Kennedy would probably have him demoted if he found out that his A-3 was an ‘instigator,’ so everything was hush, hush.

    Major Hoffman, Wing Ordnance Officer, was let in on the plan. So was Squadron Commander Lewis BURWELL and only those others whose input was essential such as Lieutenant Yoder, Wing Weather Officer. No fight plan was issued to operations. The tower had no idea of the mission and was caught totally off guard when the aircraft took off without radio contact.

    The mission, as detailed in the Jing Bao Journal was a success

    I do not know if we shortened the war by two seconds but I do know that shortly there after the C-47 bombing raid, B-25s started fling night missions Japanese developed a lot of new headaches.”

Everett Turner

First Lieutenant
United States Army Air Force
Fourteenth Air Force
Coordinator for Twenty Seventh Troop Carrier Squadron missions.

NOTE:  TURNER, Everett is a close friend of yours truly and recorded two oral tapes of his relationship with the Twenty-Seventh Troop Carrier Squadron. The detailed tale of this mission is also covered therein.
    Your Historian was the radio operator on that flight. A volunteer mission that he never volunteered for but one he was proud to have been involved in. The Japanese were stopped by being blocked from both ends on the road. The next day ground forces completed the task of seeing to it that their fighting days in Burma were over.


Harry A. Blair

Twenty-Seventh Troop Carrier Squadron
La Crosse, Wisconsin
3 October 2000