History of Engineer Section

History of Construction Service
and Engineer Section
Headquarters, India-Burma Theater
21 May 1945 - 2 September 1945


SUMMARY OF EXISTING CONDITIONS
AFFECTING THE CONSTRUCTION SERVICE
AND ENGINEER SECTION ON 21 MAY 1945


  Headquarters, Construction Service, performed a triple function at the time of consolidation of Headquarters, India-Burma Theater and Services of Supply, India-Burma Theater. In addition to discharging the command responsibility of Construction Service, the Headquarters organization also functioned as the Engineer Special Staff Section for the Commanding General, Services of Supply and as the Engineer Special Staff Section for the Commanding General, India-Burma Theater. The Construction Service was directly responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of pipeline projects within India with the exception of the pipelines extending eastward from Tinsukia, Assam. The Construction Service also was directly responsible for construction projects in the vicinity of Delhi and Agra. As Chief Engineer, Services of Supply, and Theater Engineer, India-Burma Theater, Colonel Alvin C. Welling exercised staff responsibilities for all construction in the India-Burma Theater.

  Organization of the Construction Service consisted of a Headquarters and two Engineer Districts. Headquarters was located in New Delhi. Engineer District #12, commanded by Colonel William C. Kinsolving, was situated in Calcutta and was responsible for pipeline construction and operation in India extending as far as Tinsukia, Assam, Tank Farm. Engineer District #9, commanded by Major John M. O'Connor, was located in New Delhi and was responsible for all construction in and about Delhi and Agra.

  The maximum possible utilization of the Reverse lend/Lease program was the basis for the general construction policy in the India-Burma Theater. Indian Labor Units and Civilian Contract Forces were used as the construction units. On all construction projects, except those with urgent completion priorities, the participation of American troops was limited to the provision of technical assistance and supply activities. On the high priority construction projects American troop units, augmented by Indian labor troops, Indian civilian troops, and Chinese Engineer troops, performed the construction function.

ACTIVITIES OF CONSTRUCTION SERVICE AND ENGINEER SECTION,
INDIA-BURMA THEATER FROM 21 MAY 1945 THROUGH 2 SEPTEMBER 1045

General

  The consolidation of Headquarters, Services of Supply, India-Burma Theater with Headquarters, United States Forces, India-Burma Theater on 21 May 1945 had slight effect on the operation of the Construction Service, as all functions of the Chief Engineer, Services of Supply, were transferred to the Theater Engineer, India-Burma Theater. The Construction Service, Services of Supply, India-Burma Theater was re-designated as Construction Service, India-Burma Theater, with all responsibilities and functions existing prior to the latter designation remaining unchanged.

  On 1 August 1945 the Construction Service, India-Burma Theater, was dissolved and the command function of the Construction Service for pipeline construction, maintenance and operation was assigned to the Commanding General, Base Section, India-Burma Theater. The command function of the Construction Service for general construction in the vicinity of Delhi and in the vicinity of Agra was transferred to the Commanding officer, American Delhi Military Area Command and to the Commanding General, Base Section, India-Burma Theater, respectively. The overall effect of the dissolution of the Construction Service on 1 August 1945 was the transition from a command to a staff responsibility for pipeline construction, maintenance and operation in India and for general construction in the Delhi and Agra areas. Colonel Alvin C. Welling remained as Theater Engineer, India-Burma Theater. The activities of the Construction Service and the Engineer Section, India-Burma Theater, during the period of 21 May 1945 through 2 September are summarized in the following paragraphs:

The Stilwell Road

  With the completion of the final course of metalling on 20 May 1945, the construction program on that part of Stilwell Road in India and Burma, extending from Ledo, India to the Burma-China border at Wanting, was brought to a close. Maintenance and improvement of the road remained the only function of the engineer forces. The Stilwell Road had been opened to truck convoys proceeding to China since January 1945. Thousands of trucks and trailers were delivered over the road to China, necessitating a program of continuing extensive road maintenance to keep the route in operable condition as long as truck traffic to China continued.

  During the 1945 monsoon, road maintenance requirements were quite heavy, and some sections of the road required re-gravelling as often as twice weekly. In addition, rivers in Burma, swollen by the monsoon rains, washed away bridges, which were, however, quickly replaced by the engineer maintenance troops. Improvements consisting of new drainage systems, widening of shoulder revetments, and strengthening of bridges were constantly being made. The 1626 feet long permanent bridge across the Irrawaddy River remained in complete and efficient working order throughout the monsoon floods.

  On 2 September 1945 the Stilwell Road continued in operation to form the major link in the overland transport supply route from India to China. Figure No. 1 is a map of the Stilwell Road.
 Stilwell Road (Figure No. 1)

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6" Tinsukia-Myitkyina Pipeline

  On 21 May 1945 the 297 mile 6" standard weight pipeline extending from the Tinsukia, Assam Tank Farm to Myitkyina was strung and coupled over its entire length. Construction of the permanent pumping stations was in progress, and on 16 June 1945, with ten pumping stations in operation, the first delivery of gasoline through the 6" line to Myitkyina was effected. By the end of July all 14 permanent pumping stations were completed, providing a maximum pumping capacity rate of 19,000 barrels of POL per day.

  Heavy rains during the monsoon caused landslides and swollen rivers, both of which had their effect on the 6" line. Sections of the line were broken by the landslides and some of the pipeline river crossings were washed out. Repairs were speedily made, and the pipeline shut-down time reduced to a minimum.

  On 2 September 1945 the 6" Tinsukia-Myitkyina standard weight pipeline was in full operation. Figure No. 2 is a map of the 6" Tinsukia-Myitkyina Pipeline.

 Stilwell Road Pipelines (Figure No. 2)

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4" Pipelines Along the Stilwell Road

  On 21 May 1945 the 941 mile 4" "A" pipeline extending from the Tinsukia Tank Farm to Kunming, China had been strung, coupled and tested over its entire length. The line had started pumping gasoline to Yunnanyi, China on 9 April 1945. A gasoline shortage at Yunnanyi prevented filling the Yunnanyi-Kunming section of the line until stocks sufficient to meet demands at Yunnanyi had been built up. The first gasoline through the India to Kunming 4" pipeline system reached the Kunming Tank Farm on 7 June 1945. The 4" Tinsukia-Kunming pipeline remained in operation continuously through V-J Day.

  The 4" "B" pipeline extending from the Tinsukia Tank Farm to Bhamo had been completed during March 1945. During the period 21 May 1945 through 2 September 1945 the pipeline continued the delivery of gasoline from Assam to consuming agencies in Burma as far south as Bhamo.

  The landslides and swollen rivers resulting from the monsoon rains occasionally damaged the pipelines to the extent that temporary shut-downs became necessary during periods of line repairs and replacement. Figure No. 2 is a map of the 4" pipeline along Stilwell Road.


Kunming Area Airfield Pipeline Distribution System

  By 21 May 1945, 22 miles of the pipeline system extending from the Kunming Tank Farm to the airfields at Kunming, Chengkung, Luliang and Chanyi had been strung and coupled. The pipeline distribution system to these fields was completed, tested, and filled by the end on July 1945.

  In accordance with the agreement between India-Burma and China Theaters, control and operation of the system was assumed by the China Theater on 15 August 1945, at which time the system was in full operation. Figure No. 3 is a map of the Kunming Area Airfield Pipeline Distribution System.

 Kunming Area Airfield Pipelines (Figure No. 3)

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6" Chittagong-Tinsukia Pipeline

  In June 1945, it became apparent that the capacity of the 150 mile section of invasion weight pipe at the northern end of the 6" Chittagong-Tinsukia Pipeline would have to be increased to meet estimated future gasoline demands in Assam and Burma. A decision was made to meet the anticipated increase in demand by the installation of six additional pump stations along the 150 mile Lahurijan-Tinsukia section of the line, rather than by the replacement of the invasion weight pipe with standard weight pipe. PUP pumps were on hand in theater stacks, enabling the work to start immediately after the decision was reached. On 29 August 1945, the six additional pump stations were completed and tied into the main line.

  The 6" Chittagong-Tinsukia Pipeline was in full operation on 2 September 1045 delivering gasoline to the Shamshernagar Airfield and to the Tinsukia Tank Farm. Figure No. 4 is a map of the 6" Chittagong-Tinsukia Pipeline.

 Chittagong-Tinsukia Pipeline (Figure No. 4)

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6" Bengal-Assam Pipeline

  The 6" invasion weight Bengal-Assam Pipeline, extending from the Budge Budge Tank Farm to the Tinsukia, Assam Tank Farm, remained in operation during the period of 21 May 1945 through 2 September 1945. On 14 August 1945 the pipeline completed its first year of continuous operation.

  The Bramaputra River, swollen by the monsoon floods, washed out the pipeline river crossing between Jogihopa and Goalpara. A ferry-shuttle system to move POL from the northern to the southern bank of the river was initiated, and the rate of the shuttle system was equivalent to the pipeline through-put. Knowledge of the impending cessation of operation of the pipeline system precluded any attempt to repair the Brahmaputra River pipeline crossing. Figure No. 5 is a map of the 6" Bengal-Assam Pipeline.

 Bengal-Assam Pipeline (Figure No. 5)

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6" & 4" Western Bengal Pipeline

  Gasoline deliveries through the 6" and 4" invasion weight pipeline extending from the Budge Budge Tank Farm to the VLR airfields at Kharagpur, Kalaikunda, Dudhkundi, Chakulia, and Piardoba were reduced to a low rate during the period 21 May 1945 through 2 September 1945. Requirements of gasoline at the airfields had been reduced to such an extent that further operation of the pipeline system appeared inadvisable. By 2 September 1945 action had been initiated to clear POL from the Western Bengal pipeline system preparatory to final disposition of the line. Figure No. 6 is a map of the Western Bengal Pipeline.

 Western Bengal Pipeline (Figure No. 6)

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Airfields

  During the period 21 May 1945 through 2 September 1945 maintenance and improvement was continued on 28 airfields in India and Burma. The work was accomplished primarily by British agencies on a Reciprocal Aid basis. Construction of domestic and technical accommodations, storage areas, water supply systems, erection of hangars, construction of taxiways, airfield roadways and parking areas, together with maintenance of airfields, constituted the major portion of the work. The airfields on which the maintenance and improvement was effected are shown in the Figure No. 7 map.

 Airfields Improved (Figure No. 7)

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The fields were, for the most part, Air Transport Command Bases for inter and intra-theater air transport, Air Service Command Depots, and personnel evacuation fields. No new airfields were constructed during the period 21 May 1945 through 2 September 1945. The cost of the airfield construction accomplished by British agencies on Reverse Lend/Lease is included in the total cost statistics shown in Figure No. 8 and 9.


 Trend of Construction Accomplished (Figure No. 8)

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Building Construction

  No major housing or miscellaneous construction projects were completed in the India-Burma Theater during the period 21 May 1945 through 2 September 1945. Housing and miscellaneous construction in Base, Intermediate, and Advance Sections was devoted primarily to improvement and expansion of existing installations such as expansion of hospital facilities, the installation of water supply and electric facilities, the construction and improvement of roadways within various installations and the extension of domestic, technical and storage accommodations. Whenever possible the construction was accomplished by British agencies with materials, equipment and labor obtained through Reverse Lend/Lease.

  Figure Nos. 8 and 9 indicate the amount of construction which was accomplished through Reverse Lend/Lease during the period 21 May 1945 to 2 September 1945.

 Trend of Construction Accomplished (Figure No. 9)

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Real Estate

  On 1 November 1944 staff responsibility for acquisition and disposal of real estate for United States Forces in the India-Burma Theater was assigned to the Engineer Section, United States Forces, India-Burma Theater.

  From 1 November 1944 to 20 May 1945 the Engineer Section accumulated records of real estate transactions on 1899 separate parcels of real property occupied by the United States Forces under Reciprocal Aid. The records of transactions were assembled and filed by installations to show the amount of real property leased at each United States Forces installation in the India-Burma Theater.

  Fixed installations were reported to the Chief of Engineers, Washington, D.C. on report forms "Quarterly Inventory of Army Installations Outside Continental U.S." and "Historical Records, Supplement to Quarterly Inventory."

  In June 1945 a team of officers from the Office of the Chief of Engineers, War Department, arrived in the India-Burma Theater to assist Headquarters, United States Forces, India-Burma Theater, in accomplishing report forms to be prepared and submitted to Washington, D.C. prior to 30 September 1945. All United States Forces installations in the India-Burma Theater, exceeding a capital cost of $25,000.00 and occupied for more than 130 days, were to be reported on the following forms:

  Real Property Records, Engineer Form 1266
    Part A - Interest in Real Property
    Part B - Description of Installation
    Part C - Quarterly Report of Change
    Part D - Report of Excess
    Part E - Report of Disposal
    Part F - Utilization

  From 23 June to 26 June 1945 conferences were held at Headquarters, United States Forces, India-Burma Theater with the representatives from the Office of the Chief of Engineers and representatives from all United States Forces Commands in the India-Burma Theater to review the newly required Real Property Records. As a result, on 29 June 1945 instructions were issued from Headquarters, United States Forces, India-Burma Theater, that the Real Property Records would be prepared by Section Commanders and forwarded to Headquarters, United States Forces, India-Burma Theater, not later than 25 August for review and transmittal to Washington, D.C.

  As of 2 September 1945 Real Property Records were being received and edited by Engineer Section, Headquarters, United States Forces, India-Burma Theater, prior to dispatch to the Chief of Engineers, Washington, D.C.

  It was estimated that approximately 200 fixed installations within the India-Burma Theater meeting the criteria of a capital cost of $25,000.00 or an annual rental of $25,000.00 and occupation for more than 120 days would be reported to the Chief of Engineers prior to 1 October 1945.

Disposition of Engineer Troops

  Figure No. 10, Engineer Troops Disposition Charts, indicates the mission of the United States Forces Engineer Troop Units which were engaged in road, pipeline, airfield and building construction and maintenance from 21 May 1945 through 2 September 1945.

 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 Legend)
 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 Chart I)

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 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 - Chart II)
 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 - Chart III)

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 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 - Chart IV)
 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 - Chart V)

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 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 - Chart VI)
 Engineer Troops (Figure No. 10 - Chart VII)

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SUMMARY OF CONDITIONS IN THE ENGINEER SECTION
INDIA-BURMA THEATER ON 2 SEPTEMBER 1945

  The official announcement of the termination of hostilities with the Japanese Empire on 2 September 1945 found all major construction projects within the India-Burma Theater completed. Construction had been limited to that necessary for completion of the India-Burma Mission and for the health and well-being of the troops.

  The major problem facing the India-Burma Engineers on 2 September 1945 was that of closing down installations and operations. Consistent with supplying China Theater requirements during the period of China Theater movement from Western to Eastern China, the India-Burma Theater pipelines, the Stilwell Road, and airfields would be closed down. Other India-Burma installations would be discontinued in accordance with the engineer requirements for implementation of the theater evacuation program. Continuing custodial responsibilities would be effected for such installations from the time of cessation of operation until disposal of the installations.





 History of Engineer Section





History of Construction Service
and Engineer Section
Headquarters, India-Burma Theater
21 May 1945 - 2 September 1945



Adapted from the original document
shared by Graham Thompson



Copyright © 2010 Carl W. Weidenburner