View Full Version : One theater of operations, two seperate (hi)stories? - air war over Burma

Mikkel Plannthin
23rd August 2011, 17:43
During the last weeks, I have been trying to dive into the history of (especially) air transportation over Burma 1943-45. Given that I have a day job that needs to be cared for, there are limits to how deep a dive I have been able to do, but I would like to know if my initial experience has been shared by others on forum. Let me elaborate.

I am researching two Danish airmen in this theater: one was a pilot of the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) attached to the Air Transport Command (U.S.); the other a navigator in the 177 Wing, RAF. Since, I am fairly new to the topic, I have been trying to get a basic understanding. In this process and in the search for any references to the two pilots I have kept the Danish Air Force Library very busy, ordering almost any title that might hold relevant information. Furthermore, I have been scanning the internet for some of the official stories that are available on USAAF or RAF.

In many cases I have found that the in a US account, the role or contribution of RAF is virtually non existing. And similarly, the other way around. Even if I have only been through just a fragment of all the pages written on the subject I find it striking.

Have I just found the wrong titles to introduce me to the conflict, or?



Bill Walker
23rd August 2011, 19:54
Mikkel, I have also found that much of the information for this theatre and era is very "focused" (which is a polite way of saying biased possibly). You may have to read several different sources to get a full picture.

One very good but very focused source is "Canadian Flying Operations in South East Asia 1941-1945", by T.W. Melnyk, published by the Canadian Department of Defence Directorate of History. It covers 413, 435 and 436 Squadrons in detail, but also gives a broader picture of activites in the given area and time frame. It does mention some US operations (at least briefly), but is clearly focussed on the UK lead efforts.

Mikkel Plannthin
23rd August 2011, 20:58
Bill, thank you for this suggestion. I will try to locate a copy of this book.

Let me just add, that I can see many reasons for very focused studies and that we are all indebted to several generations of researchers who have spent years digging through archives, interviewing witnesses etc. I this respect, focused and in depth is not necessarily the same as biased.

In any area of study, one will always have to approach the subject from different perspectives.


PS Let's face it: some people might even think that my focus on Danish airmen, disregard the contribution made to the war effort by other nationalities :-)