This exceedingly rare – seemingly unrecorded – mimeographed magazine was made by American airmen stationed in Chubua, Assam, India during the latter days of World War II. These men were part of the U.S. Air Force’s India-China Division (ICD), a special unit tasked with flying supplies from India to the China to aid the Nationalist forces in their efforts to liberate their country from Japanese occupation. The magazine was made to entertain and inform troops as they waited in Chubua between sorties. We cannot race even a reference to the Two-Fifteen series, let alone the present issue.
The cover of this issue of the magazine features a map of Luzon, Philippines, entitled ‘Luzon – Key to West Pacific’. It was made during the early days of the Battle of Luzon (January 9 – August 15, 1945), the herculean, and ultimately successful, American-Filipino endeavour to evict the Japanese for the island. The map labels Manila and other major cities, and delineates the island’s railway system. Airplanes are figuratively shown to fly outwards from Luzon, noting the distances between Manila and several overseas locations (ex. Calcutta is 2200 miles away, while Tokyo is 1600 miles form Manila). Some of the ICD airmen would subsequently be redeployed to missions in Luzon.
Otherwise the magazine, noted as being ‘Precensored for Mailing’, features notices on events and regulations at the Chubua station; humorous articles and cartoons; as well as an article on Lt. Colonel Lassiter “the pilot who leads the Group in the number of combat missions flown”; as well as a curious article on a member of the group who is an expert on snakes.
It was common for troops stationed abroad during World War II to make improvised, often mimeographed, magazines and newspapers in the manner of the present title. However, the survival rate of such periodicals is extremely low; many issue of series that are recorded as having been made are not known to exist in even a single example. Even in its time examples were limited; the last line of the present work reads: “Share this copy!!! We can’t mimeograph enough to go around! Stencils wear out. So pass it along, pal”.
An imperative oft he Allied war effort was to support Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese Nationalist forces as they battled the Japanese occupation oft he their country. Initially, the Allies were able to deliver war material from India to china, via the so-called Burma Road. However, from April 1942 this route was blocked by the Japanese.
The Allies were faced with the daunting task of delivering aide to China by air, flying over “The Hump”, the troops’ term of the Himalayas. The overstretched British Royal Air Force would not have resources to lead the task, a role that was taken up by the U.S. Air Force. Originally, base out of the Calcutta area, from December 1942 the India-China Wing, a special unit for flying supplies to china, went into action. The unit’s name was changed to the India-china Division (ICD) in June 1944. The operation set up air bases in Assam at Dinjan and Chubua (where the present magazine was made), and eventually came to be manned by 34,000 airmen as support staff, operating 640 planes. By the end of the war, the ICD had delivered over 650,000 tonnes of supplies to Chiang’s forces, greatly boosting the war effort to wear down the Japanese occupation.