The World War II Photo of the Week
for 17 March 2003
|Exposed Position ...|
After the Japanese had cut the Burma Road, the only way for the Allies to send supplies to the Chinese was by air, via the famous "Hump" route. So great was the importance of establishing a land route to China that the United States assigned 15,000 American troops to constructing the Ledo Road, which ran 271 miles from Ledo on the India-Burma border to a junction on the old Burma Road. Construction started in December 1942. The first section of the Ledo Road followed a steep, narrow trail through unsurveyed territory from Ledo, across the Patkai Mountains, and down to Shingbwiyang, Burma. Sometimes rising as high as 4,500 feet, the 103-mile trail required the removal of 100,000 cubic feet of earth every mile. The lead bulldozer reached Shingbwiyang on 27 December 1943, three days ahead of schedule. In January 1945, the Ledo Road was renamed the Stillwell Road (the map below is reprinted courtesy TIME Magazine, April 1944). More information on the road can be found here.