Vol. III No. 28. Reg. No. L5015
Delhi, Thursday March 22, 1945.
British 36th Occupies Mogok
Chinese 50th Division troops of Lt. Gen. Dan I. Sultan's Northern Combat Area Command are mopping up around Hsipaw, as British 36th Division units occupied the ruby center of Mogok, second main objective of the three-pronged drive initiated by the American commander into Central Burma.
In the meantime, the British 14th Army has entirely surrounded Mandalay, with only a suicide garrison inside Fort Dufferin remaining of the Nip defenders of the city. The Nips have been pounded by land artillery and rocket fire from the air, but seem willing to fight to the last in typical Japanese fashion.
British units which seized the Meiktila air strips are encountering considerable opposition in the area. One of the hardest battles of the Burma campaign is expected when the British come up against the enemy elements trapped between Meiktila and Mandalay.
The Chinese 50th Division troops of Maj. Gen. Pan Yue-kun have consolidated their positions inside Hsipaw. But to the northwest, northeast and north, pockets of Nips have burrowed in and will have to be wiped out. Another pocket of Japs have dug themselves in to the south of the town on a hill.
The First Chinese Army of Lt. Gen. Sun Li-jen is driving southwest along the Road from Lashio, with only 29 miles separating them from the 50th Division. Other First Army units are progressing south and southeast from the road to Mongyai, with leading elements only 20 miles from Lashio.
Maj. Gen. Francis W. Festing's veteran 36th British has control of the western drive of the Sultan forces. Facing light opposition at first, the 36th encountered tough opposition along the road to Mogok. Japs have dug into the hills.
Earlier in the week the 14th Army seized Maymyo, cutting another escape route of the Japs from the Mandalay area.
Fly Warm Eggs From Calcutta To Ledo Area
CALCUTTA - Less than 24 hours after the hen cackles in Madras (indicating the drop of an egg) the boys in the Ledo area are having them sunny side up or once over lightly.
This is the result of a speedy chicken to candling service operated by the members of a General Depot warehouse unit functioning in the Calcutta area.
"The egg service to the boys up-country works so fast that sometimes they are still warm when they arrive," brags Cpl. Robert C. Grice, who has supervision of the candling routine. "And I don't mean just a few dozens of eggs; I mean thousands upon thousands."
ENOUGH FOR EASTER
Pfc. Louis J. Elmore, who is in on the processing, firmly believes that the chickens, like the warehousemen candling the eggs, are working on a 24-hour war basis.
"During the past few weeks," Elmore maintains, "I've seen enough eggs to fill every basket in the United States for the coming Easter season, including the egg-rolling on the White House lawn."
Approximately 70,000 eggs a week are flown here from Madras each evening for candling. Early the next morning they are placed aboard a fast plane which lands them up-country in time for breakfast. The eggs are candled for blood spots, meat, spots, stuck yolks, seepy yokes and broken yolks.
HENS ON THE BALL
A former professional photographer from the Bronx, N.Y., Pvt. Raymond Hanson, another processor on the job, says that very few of the eggs, are found to be unfit for consumption. "The chickens must be on the ball, considering the small number of eggs which are discarded, and you can take it from me that they're laying their part in this war."
Just how many eggs the boys have candled since the over-night service started must remain a military secret for the present, but it's a cinch that if they were all broken open they would make an omelet which would come pretty close to serving nearly all of the G.I.'s in the India-Burma Theater.
In War Thus Far
WASHINGTON - (ANS) - Army Ground Force casualties for February on the Western Front dropped to 34,468, lowest figure in three months, War Secretary Henry Stimson announced this week.
Overall casualties are now 839,589, an increase of 15,956 in the last week, he added, giving a breakdown as follows: 180,671 dead, 492,209 wounded, 100,139 missing and 66,570 prisoners of war.
Stimson said the Allies Rhine bridgehead at Remagen was now well consolidated and prepared to deal with possible heavy German counter-attacks, the Nazis having lost their best chance to eliminate the salient by not reacting swiftly after the original crossing.
TONI ATTACKS BRASS HATS ON PINUPS
Toni Seven, chosen as Miss Cheesecake of 1944 by the Paris edition of Stars And Stripes, this week attacked "stuffy officers who make the men tear pinup pictures off their walls."
According to the United Press, Miss Seven heard that pictures of her delectable legs had been ordered ripped from the walls of American air bases in England.
In language dear to the heart of Roundup cheesecake lovers she blasted the brass with the following:
"They can't do that to the boys. If they want more leg pictures I'll have a new photo made tomorrow. I'd rather be court-martialed than stop sending our boys anything they want."
She said she received more than 2,000 letters weekly from troops overseas and that most of them needed "plasma and pinups."
She claimed to have sent more than 1,000,000 pictures of herself, plus her legs, all over the world.
"If only those stuffy officers could read the letters written to me by troops they'd give priority to pinup pictures instead of tearing them down. The boys are fighting for a symbol and that symbol is the girl at home. If I happen to be that symbol to some of them, then they'll continue to get my pictures no matter what."
(So if any of you India-Burma G.I.'s lack pinups, write Miss Seven. We don't know her home address, but send your request to Darrell Berrigan at United Press, 220 E. 42nd St., New York City. He forwarded the story, and as an old CBI correspondent should be able to transmit the requests through the proper channels.)
|Here the Army sailors take a load of P-38 fighter planes upriver for air squadrons operating in Burma and China. Two American Barge Line tugs, a Mule at the left and a MTL at right, push the heavily-laden barge from the ships to the jetty only 100 yards from the airfield where the planes will be readied to take off to blast at the Japs.|
|It wasn't so long ago that T/5 Arthur Devoe of Buffalo was trampling the hills of North Burma and killing Japs with Merrill's Marauders. Here he is learning how to moor a boat under the expert eye of Sgt. Leo Sorenson of Marinette, Wis. These boys are working on a "J" boat of the American Barge Line which operates on the waterways around Calcutta moving supplies.|
|It's paint, paint and paint in the water Army. Sgt. Charles Bevis, Miami, wields a paint brush while chatting with Sgt. Benion Dendy, Texarkana, Tex. Bevis was a deep-sea fisherman. Dendy was on coastline tankers.|
ASC DEPOT, AGRA - For eight months Sgt. Steve Orlowski kept unopened in his footlocker the quart bottle of Ovaltine sent him by his family in Chicago. Steve doesn't like Ovaltine.
Recently he submitted it, with other things, to Capt. Charles Stalter for censorship, intending to send it back home. Fascinated by the first Ovaltine he had ever seen in liquid form, Stalter tasted some. Then Steve tasted it, then everybody tasted it. The verdict was unanimous - Canadian Club.
Steve saved his postage.
Burma Safest Place In Far East|
For Soldier Jewel Purchasers
BUY PRICELESS GEMS AT LOWEST PRICES
By S/SGT. EDGAR LAYTHA Roundup Staff Correspondent
BURMA - There aren't many cheap knicknacks in Burma. Nothing is manufactured here to make the American a sucker. The PX may carry stereotyped ivory carvings or gold braided Benares bags imported from India, but the native bazaars sell almost no curios.
This is so, because Northern Burma never was a tourist country. The average globetrotter rarely ventured further north from the coast than Mandalay. And Allied North Burma is comparatively empty. The bulk of the population lives in the fertile South which is still Japanese held, and the people in the North are still busy restoring their bombed villages, rehabilitating their dead paddy fields, procuring bare necessities for their kitchens. They have not yet found time to create a curio trade for military tourists.
But Burma is the home of jade, of the ruby and of sapphire. Relatively the safest place for the G.I. in the Far East to play with precious stones. I can tell you from personal experience, for I have watched the game in India and in China. That story is too sad and too hackneyed to be told again. Yet, here in Burma the picture is pleasant.
One reason is the absence of professional gem merchants. About a year after the arrival of the Yank in the Orient 3,000 to 4,000 gem merchants, who never in their lives had anything to do with precious stones, appeared on the Indian scene. The development in Burma was just the opposite. Many Indian merchants had evacuated to their homeland in the face of the approaching Japanese, and many of the Burmese dealers had left for the South, where the Japanese Coprosperity Sphere, then at the height of its glory, beckoned as a land of promise and opportunities. Thus, the people who sell stones in Burma are mainly amateurs. And the funny thing is, that very few actually know the whole of what they have.
I have seen spectacular star rubies and uncut pigeon-blood rubies on the fingers of Americans in the forward areas, gems worth $500 to $1,000 in the States. They were given to them as return courtesies for an occasional package (not carton) of Camels. A medical officer, who works behind the Japanese lines, showed me a priceless piece of emerald jade given to him by a grateful Burman for medical advice. And a British major showed me a similar stone for which he had pair only 120 Rupees. On the other hand, I have watched transactions
Buying in Burma is purely a matter of luck. If you buy from professional dealers, who are few, you pay as much as you would have paid in the States. But you rarely go further as a sucker. And even if the dealer charges you the double of the Burmese market price, you are not too badly off considering the 49% duty tax and the profit of the Stateside dealer on stone imported the regular way. But, and this is my personal advice, do not buy from dealers. You'll find G.I.'s in every Burmese town and they surely will know at least a few native ladies who want to sell their stones. And there is where your bargain lies.
Those people need funds to rebuild their homes and they will gladly part with treasures, which are so easily replaceable in Burma, in itself a treasure chest. Then, the good ladies have only a vague idea about the international market value of their wares. The Burman lady just guesses how much the American can spare, and her guess fluctuates between the ridiculously little and its other extreme. The trouble is that the G.I. doesn't know either.
At a time when I was crazy about stones I made a virtual pilgrimage to these ruby-packing mamas. One day I met a lady who had four flawless blue sapphires to offer. They were perfect in color, matched, and were blue as a tropical lagoon. I was ready to pay anything, but the lady insisted on two cartons of C-ration biscuits.
He husband was on a strict diet, she lamented, and couldn't eat anything but dry biscuits. Another lady had a rose ruby of that light pink hue connoisseurs cherish so much in this unusual gem. Again I offered rupees for rubies but the lady of the basha insisted she was hungry. The Japs had left the village just about a week before, looted the rice storage, slaughtered the village cattle. The hungry lady wanted for her rose ruby nothing else but a few cans of corned beef and some K-rations.
The lady next door had moonstones. Her price was four parachutes. Since the coming of the Japanese she hadn't been able to procure any material and was wearing her last set of clothes. She was an intelligent woman and tried to manage the deal in a businesslike way. She argued her moonstones were worth 80 rupees or two American parachutes. But an Allied unit had passed through the village and they had a food dropping strip in the neighborhood.
Many chutes were dropped and with them fell the value of the chutes on the local exchange. This was the reason the mammy had raised her price to four parachutes from two. Of course I had no chutes and had to leave the lady minus the moonstones. Since that time, however, the parachute business has become a court martial affair. The chutes, used or not, happen to be worth $75 to the Government.
I have passed through many a village in the forward areas and come to the conclusion that edibles speak stronger language than any money in the world. But, of course, I wouldn't like to talk you into any of these transactions since the MP's are against them. Gradually, however, as we are taking the country over again the food situation improves and the ruby packing mamas regain their faith in money. As a result, you can buy today a hell of a lot for a musette bag full of silver rupees. In the more established centers, like Myitkyina and Bhamo, even paper money is fully en vogue.
Now a few words about the Digging Mamas. Their reputation is questionable, their knowledge of stones is zero, yet they can dish before you some wares a Fifth Avenue store would covet. They are gold diggers in the most literal sense of the term. Their hunting grounds are abandoned village gardens. There, they look for the site of an old tree, a rock or any other suitable place where a worried individual would hide his family heirlooms. Their trade is the most fantastic I have ever witnessed in the jewel business. They would fight and chisel with a G.I. about a cheap amethyst which they take for a ruby, and they would give a sparkling emerald away like a peanut.
Finally, a word of caution. A beautiful jewel begins to rate with three zeroes attached to a number. So what can we expect for a song?