Myanmar Road MapBurma Road Map
Ledo Road is shown on the far right. At the beginning of Ledo Road there was a road plate showing the distances in kilometres (in the picture American GI's on the plate around 1945): "lorries made by the US army meander along the hill along the Ledo road that now leads from India to Burma..."
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Anglo-Burmese railroad constructors measured the Pangsau Pass, 1,136 meters high on the Indian-Burmese frontier, on the Patkai ridge, over Nampong, Arunachal Pradesh and Ledo, Tinsukia (part of Assam). Their conclusion was that a path to Burma and the Hukawng Valley could be crossed.
Though the suggestion was abandoned, the Brits explored the Patkai Range for a road from Assam to North Burma. UK engineering had measured the distance for a road for the first 130 kilometers (80 miles). The construction of this road became a US top of the agenda after the Japanese forced the Brits out of most of Burma.
With Rangoon conquered by the Japanese and before the Ledo Road was completed, most of the shipments had to be airlifted to the Chinese across the east end of the Himalayas, the so-called Hump. This road was constructed by 15,000 US troops (60 per cent of whom were African Americans) and 35,000 domestic laborers for an estimate of $150 million (or $2 billion in 2017).
However, the expenses also affected over 1,100 Americans who lost their lives during the building, apart from many other locals reasons why the manpower needed for the 1079 miles long road was sometimes referred to as "A Man A Mile". Since most of Burma was in Japan's possession, it was not possible to obtain information on the landscape, soil and behavior of the rivers before the start of work.
The information had to be collected when the road was built. Under the leadership of Major General Raymond A. Wheeler, a top-class US Army engineering officer, General Stilwell had organised a "Service of Supply" (SOS) and commissioned him to build Ledo Road. Colonel John C. Arrowsmith in turn handed over to Major General Wheeler the roadworks.
In December 1942 work began on the first 166 km of the road, followed by a short, sharp path through the Ledo area, over the Patkai chain through the Pangsau Pass, also known as the "Hell Pass" because of its difficulties, down to Shingbwiyang, Burma. Occasionally up to 1,400 meters (4,600 ft) high, the road demanded the distance from ground at a speed of 1,800 m3 per kilometer (100,000 m3 per mile).
Shingbwiyang received its first dozer on December 27, 1943, three and a half more than planned. Construction of this section enabled the armies that attacked the eighteenth division of Japan, which defended the north of Burma with its most powerful defenses around the cities of Kamaing, Mogaung and Myitkyina, to supply urgently needed provisions.
Prior to reaching Shingbwiyang Ledo Street, the Allied forces (most of them were American-trained X forces from China ) were completely dependant on deliveries flying in over the Patkai Mountains. The Ledo Road was lengthened because the Japans were compelled to withdraw to the north. That was made much simpler from Shingbwiyang by the existence of a good-weathered road constructed by the Japans, and the Ledo road generally followed the track of Japan.
When the road was constructed, two 10 cm long petrol pipes were installed next to each other so that the petrol for the utility cars no longer had to be transported by road. Varazup, Myitkyina and Bhamo, 600 km from Ledo. By this time, the road connected an offshoot of the old Burmese road, and although further improvement followed, the road was dirt-traffic.
At the crossroads of Mong-Yu, 748 km from Ledo, the Ledo Road hit the Burma Road. In order to get to the Mong-Yu intersection, Ledo Road had to cross 10 large creeks and 155 tributaries, one on average every 4 hours.
The first convoy, when they turned right, were on their way to Lashio 160 km (99 miles) southward through Japan-occupied Burma. By the end of 1944, however, the road had not yet reached China; by this point in the year, the volume of cargo transported to China via the hump had increased considerably with the advent of more advanced transportation planes.
William Slim, the English field marshal who was in command of the Fourteenth Army in India/Burma, has written about the Ledo Road: that the road could be made. It was my belief that if, as with his Ledo troop, China's forces, correctly armed and effectively guided, could beat the Japs, they would have significant outnumbering.
We' had constructed streets over land so hard, with much less technology than the Americans. I was very optimistic with my UK colleagues who had measured the road lane for the first 80km. Up to now Stylwell and I were in full accord, but I did not keep two items of his belief.
In any case, I thought it started from the wrongs. Anyway, if the road is to be really efficient, the shuttle should depart from Rangoon, not Calcutta. The road slowly crumbled after Burma's liberation.
You followed the path from Ledo to Myitkyina and further (but not to China). The expedition of Eric Edis and his crew also used the road from Ledo to Myitkyina on their way to Rangoon, Singapore and Australia in February 1958. The Indian government also limited entry into the area for many years.
India impose strict limits on trips to Burma between 1962 and the mid-1990s due to the constant clash between rebels (who sought refuge in Burma) and the Indian armed forces. India-Myanmar tourist traffic has been improving and the Pangsayu Pass (Lake of No Return) has started to attract tourists.
The most recent efforts to go the whole way have led to different results. Now the road on the Burma side is supposedly suitable for vehicle use. Shingbwiyang was received by Donovan Webster on bikes in 2001, and in mid-2005 the Burma Star Association hosted a visit to Shingbwiyang organized by a well networked political agency.
They have successfully gone down the road, but none of them has subsequently commented on the Burma issue of politics or people. People from Pangsau stroll down the Pangsau Pass to Nampong in India, because the frontier is open on both sides despite the resurrection.
There' s Assam rifles and Burma army stations in Nampong and Pangsau, respectively. Allied forces had difficulties providing the Ledo deposits with all the logistic assistance of the Northern Front and the Chinese National Army. Archives on May 19, 2007 at the Wayback Machine. "No reopening of India WWII road key".
"Are we reopening the renowned Stilwell Road in India? ab Sherry, Mark D., China Defensive 1942-1945, United States Army Center of Military History, CBI Hintergrund. "Defensive China" ^ Sankar, Anand (February 14, 2009). "Going to China." "United States Embassy celebrates 60 years of Ledo Road." Embassy of the United States to China.
"70 years later, Stiltwell Road." Stylewell Road a historic look back at the website of the Tinsukia District in India. Stillwell Road, the website of the Changlang district in India. A story of the road and the suggested re-opening as the International Highway. Burma: Jon Latimer, Burma: Section 13:'Stilwell in the North' Reagan, Ronald (Narrator).
Stiltwell Road (1945) A 51-minute documentation describing why and how the Ledo Road was made. "African-Americans and Ledo-Stilwell Street. Burma's Stilwell Road: The Wikimedia Commons has got press in connection with Ledo Road. Ledo Street. to China.