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
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
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
“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
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
Harry A. Blair