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And then they set out

“The road gave out and all vehicles, except jeeps for carrying supplies, had to be abandoned, including the radio truck and the radio set itself which weighed 200 pounds. Last messages were sent. The sergeant bent to his work, tapping, listening anxiously and tapping again. The message to Brereton in India advised him of the route and stated ‘we are running low on food with none in sight.’ He was asked to send food and bearers and medicines to meet the party at Homalin and to alert the Indian Government that tens of thousands of refugees and Chinese troops were heading for India along the various trails as far north as the Hukawng valley and that it was urgent to stock the trails with rice and to send police and doctors ‘or thousands will die. . . . Large numbers on way. All control gone. Catastrophe possible.’ The Stillwell party should reach the Uyu in three days. ‘This is our last message.’ To the War Department via Chungking Stillwell did not admit the worst since they could not help anyway. ‘We are armed have food and map and are now on foot 50 miles west of Indaw. No occasion for worry. Chinese troops coming to India this general route. . . . Believe this is probably our last message for a while. Cheerio. Stillwell.’ The radio was then smashed with an axe and codes and file copies burned.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China (ellipses in original)

Published inBarbara TuchmanJoseph StillwellThe Second World War

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