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Appendix B

Contents

APPENDIX B

Casualties, 1st Battalion, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), Burma Campaign, 15 February-8 June 1944

James E. T. Hopkins, M.D.

In the following pages, the various engagements of the 1st Battalion, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), during the Burma campaign are grouped into tactical situations, and casualties are described in the order in which they occurred in combat.

A comparison of casualties sustained by the 1st Battalion during the period of actual combat from 5 March through 8 June 1944 with the number of enemy casualties is practically impossible because of lack of knowledge of either the Japanese forces or the casualties they sustained. The 1st Battalion sustained a total of 61 casualties, of whom 7 were killed in action. Of the 54 who survived the initial wounding, 8 died later of their wounds.

1.-While they were guarding the airstrip at Lagang Ga, near Walawbum, soon after entering Burma, elements of the 1st Battalion came under barrages from Japanese 77 mm. artillery at a range of 2 miles. The first shells caught the troops without protection of foxholes, and eight casualties were sustained, as follows:

Case l.-Multiple penetrating and mutilating wounds of the face and neck. This man was in a prone position on flat terrain in tall grass and bushes when an enemy artillery shell burst at a 1-yard range. Classified as DOW, with a 1-hour survival time. This casualty might have been avoided if the troops had taken advantage of protective cover and foxholes.

Case 2.-Multiple penetrating wounds of the thorax. This man was in a prone position when he was struck by fragments from an enemy artillery shell which had a tree burst at 25 yards. Classified as WIA, first echelon type.

Case 3.-Mild penetrating wounds of the left leg. This man was wounded under circumstances similar to those of Case 2. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.

Case 4.-Multiple, severe penetrating wounds of the left thigh and face. This man was in a prone position when he was struck by fragments of an enemy artillery shell when it detonated at a 2-yard range. Classified as WIA, first echelon type.

Case 5.-Mild penetrating wound of the thorax. This man was in a prone position on the ground when he was struck by fragments of an enemy artillery shell which had a tree burst at 15 yards from his position. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.

Case 6.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the thorax and mild penetrating wound of the left leg. This man was wounded by fragments from an enemy artillery shell which detonated 10 yards from his position. Classified as WIA, first echelon type.

Case 7.-Mild laceration of the right hand. This man, while walking on patrol, was ambushed by a Japanese trail block and was struck by an enemy rifle bullet at a 15-yard range. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.

Case 8.-Severe perforating wounds of the left upper and lower extremities. This man was riding horseback on patrol when the trigger of a Thompson submachinegun was caught in a twig and the weapon discharged. Classified as WIA, second echelon type. This casualty could have been avoided.

2.-After Walawbum, the 1st Battalion was assigned the task of throwing a roadblock below Shaduzup. A regiment of Chinese with pack artillery was attached to the battalion for the mission. En route to Shaduzup, the 1st Battalion encountered two enemy road


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blocks at Tabayin and Naprawa, and seven U.S. casualties were sustained while reducing enemy resistance as follows:

Case 9.-Severe penetrating wound of the head. This man, while on offensive action walking along a trail, was struck by a fragment from a Japanese knee mortar shell at a 3-yard range. Classified as WIA, U.S. evacuation type. This casualty might have been avoided if he had worn his helmet and taken advantage of protective cover.

Case 10.-Multiple, mild penetrating wounds of the neck and thorax. This man, while on patrol, was standing in the middle of a trail when he was struck by fragments from a Japanese knee mortar shell. Classified as WIA, first echelon type.

Case 11.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the left arm. This man was walking along the side of the trail in rather thick jungle growth when he was struck by an enemy rifle bullet. Classified as WIA, first echelon type.

Case 12.-Multiple, severe penetrating wounds of the head. This man was walking in a crouched position along the side of the trail when he was struck by enemy light machinegun fire at a 25-yard range. Classified as KIA.

Case 13.-Severe perforating wound of the head. This man was in a prone position when he was struck by an enemy sniper's bullet at a 100-yard range. Classified as KIA.

Case 14.-Moderately severe perforating wounds of the left leg. This man was advancing in a crouched position along the side of a trail when he was struck by fire from an enemy light machinegun. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

Case 15.-Multiple, severe penetrating wounds of the left lower extremity. This man was wounded under circumstances similar to those of Case 14. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

3.-The 1st Battalion engaged the enemy at a strongly defended area at Htingdankawing and sustained the following casualties:

Case 16.-Severe perforating wound of the right leg. This man was in a prone position behind a clump of bamboo but for some reason was told to leave this position and retreat to the rear. While running down the center of the trail, he was struck by an enemy machinegun bullet at a 35-yard range. The wound track involved the right popliteal fossa with laceration of the popliteal artery. This wound was not dressed for 15 minutes following the injury, and the patient became hysterical and kicked the tourniquet off. The patient bled to death within a half hour. Classified as DOW, with a 30-minute survival time. This casualty might have been avoided if he had used better judgment about running down the trail and if he had been cooperative with the aidmen in their attempts at treatment.

Case 17.-Mild penetrating wound of the abdomen. This man was struck by fragments from a U.S. 60 mm. mortar shell which exploded at an unknown distance. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type. This casualty might have been avoided if the 60 mm. mortars had been properly located closer to the frontline.

Case 18.-Mild penetrating wound of the face. This man, while attempting to treat Case 16, was struck by a fragment from the same shell which wounded Case 17. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.

Case 19.-Multiple penetrating wounds of the thorax and the left upper and lower extremities. This man was in a standing position when he was struck by fragments from an 81 mm. mortar shell at a 15-yard range. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type. This casualty might have been avoided if he had taken advantage of a prone position in protective cover.

Case 20.-Mild penetrating wound of the left upper extremities; no other record available.

Case 21.-Mild penetrating wound of the right thigh. This man was in a prone position in the midst of a bamboo clump when he was struck by fragments of a Japanese hand grenade which exploded within 5 feet of his position. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.


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4.-The 1st Battalion, with an attached Chinese regiment, had been advancing on Shaduzup over very difficult terrain and through virgin jungle for 2 weeks. They had fought several skirmishes with a few casualties.

On 27 March, the Americans, with the Chinese 24 hours behind, bivouaced with great care and secrecy on the east bank of the Nam Kawng Chaung, 3 miles below Shaduzup. The Chinese in the distance attracted attention with their campfires, and they were shelled by enemy 77 mm. guns. When the Chinese sent back several counterartillery barrages, they gave away their positions to the enemy and sustained numerous casualties. Shells began to fall in one of the 1st Battalion platoon areas, but they moved out, sustaining one casualty.

Case 22.-Severe penetrating wounds of the right temporal region of the head. This man was in a platoon area that was being shelled by the enemy and the platoon was being moved to a safer location. The man was not wearing a helmet, and in spite of orders to the contrary he returned to the original area to retrieve his pack. While walking around in the dark, he was struck by a fragment of an enemy 77 mm. artillery shell. It was 3 hours before the man was located, and it was 48 hours before he was treated by Seagrave Unit No. 2. Classified as DOW, with a 4-day survival period. This casualty, which could have been avoided, was due to the carelessness and disobedience of the soldier.

5.-During the night, an officer made reconnaissance of the Japanese camp across the river, and the combat team crossed at dawn, catching the Japanese by surprise and killing many of them. The entire operation was a success, and the enemy suffered many casualties. The attached Chinese units arrived within 24 hours to take over the position, and several heavy enemy counterattacks were broken up.

One platoon of the combat team found that in crossing the river they were required to make two crossings because of the S-shaped character of the river. While making the second crossing, the platoon came under fire from enemy automatic weapons located on a 20-foot embankment. Two men were wounded on the approach and two more were wounded during a rescue attempt. One of the four soldiers was killed.

Case 23.-Moderately severe perforating wound of the left leg with a compound comminuted fracture of the fibula. This man was on offensive action in a prone position in grass and brush cover when he was struck by a bullet from an enemy light machinegun at a 125-yard range. The man was able to bandage his own wound and was evacuated. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

Case 24.-Mild penetrating wound of the right leg. This man was struck under circumstances similar to those of Case 23. This man received treatment within 45 minutes and was classified as WIA, second echelon type.

Case 25.-Multiple, severe penetrating and perforating wounds of the head, the left arm, and the right foot. This man was wounded under circumstances similar to those of Case 23. Two hours after this casualty sustained his injuries, he reached an aid station where he received 6 units of plasma. On the following day, he was treated at the Seagrave Unit No. 2. Classified as DOW, with a 6-day survival. This man was attempting to reach a wounded man, and it is possible that his death could have been avoided if he had waited until more firepower were available.

Case 26.-Severe penetrating and perforating wounds of the right thigh. This man was wounded under circumstances similar to those of Case 23. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

6.-After the Japanese camp was occupied, a platoon patrol advanced north on the road. A Japanese truck was encountered before cover was available; one American was wounded, and nine Japanese were killed. Numerous other American casualties occurred in the camp area.

Case 27.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the right arm. This man was on patrol and in a prone position in grass cover along the side of the road when he was struck


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by a fragment from a Japanese hand grenade at a 5-yard range. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.

Case 28.-Mild laceration of the left temporal region of the head. This man was on defensive action when he was struck by a Japanese rifle bullet. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.

Case 29.-Moderately severe lacerating wound of the right forearm. This man was on defensive action and was constructing a foxhole when he was struck by a fragment from a 90 mm. mortar shell which exploded at a 10-yard range. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

Case 30.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the right side of the neck. This man was sitting in a very shallow foxhole with his head down when he was struck by a fragment from a 90 mm. mortar shell which had a tree burst at a 5-yard range. Classified as WIA, U.S. evacuation type. This casualty might have been avoided if he had constructed a deeper foxhole.

Case 31.-Severe perforating wound of the right forearm. This man, while on defensive action, left his foxhole and was in a standing position when he was struck by a fragment from a 90 mm. mortar shell which had a tree burst at a 5-yard range. Classified as WIA, U.S. evacuation type. This casualty could have been avoided.

Case 32.-Moderately severe laceration of the left hand. This man was on defensive action in a prone position but had not constructed a foxhole. During an enemy counterattack, he was struck by a .25 caliber rifle bullet at an unknown range. Classified as WIA, second echelon type. This casualty might have been avoided if he had taken advantage of protective cover or of a foxhole.

Case 33.-Severe penetrating wound of the abdomen, anteriorly. This man, while under defensive action, was sleeping in a very shallow foxhole when he was struck by a fragment from a 77 mm. artillery shell which had a tree burst at a 5-yard range. This man did not receive any treatment and died within 30 minutes. Classified as DOW. This casualty might have been avoided if he had constructed a deeper foxhole.

Case 34.-Severe perforating wound of the right buttock. This man was sleeping in the same foxhole with Case 33 and was wounded under similar circumstances. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

Case 35.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the abdomen, posteriorly. This man was in a prone position in a foxhole when he was struck by a fragment from a 90 mm. mortar shell which had a tree burst at a 2- to 3-foot range. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

Case 36.-Moderately severe penetrating wounds of the right forearm and the right leg. This man was in the same foxhole with Case 35 and was wounded under similar circumstances. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

7.-During the night of 28 March, sporadic enemy artillery and mortar fire was directed at the perimeter, and three casualties were sustained.

Case 37. -Enemy artillery shell made a direct hit in the center of the thorax, posteriorly, and the body was mutilated into three separate pieces. This man was on defensive action in a foxhole which was considered to be too deep and much too large. He was killed instantly. This casualty might have been avoided if the foxhole had been properly constructed.

Case 38.-This man was occupying the same foxhole as Case 37 and sustained at least 30 perforating and penetrating wounds of the thorax, abdomen, and lower extremities. Classified as DOW, with a 30-minute survival period.

Case 39.-Severe penetrating wounds of the left leg. This man was in a foxhole on defensive action when he was struck by a fragment from an enemy 77 mm. shell. Classified as WIA, U.S. evacuation type.

8.-A combat team of 250 men from the 1st Battalion threw up a roadblock at Kauri, 1 mile south of Nhpum Ga, at 1800 hours on 8 April. A strong perimeter was set up, and


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two attempts of an enemy food and ammunition train to reach the Japanese lines were repulsed. One American was killed by fire from a U.S. carbine, and another soldier shot himself while cleaning his gun. Two casualties resulted from enemy fire.

On 13 April, one man was killed and one man was wounded while out on patrol. Four other casualties occurred up to 1 May 1944. Two of these casualties were wounded by carbine fire, one was killed by fire from a Thompson submachinegun, and one was wounded by fire from a Browning automatic rifle. During the first 3 weeks in April, 6 of the 10 casualties were caused by U.S. weapons.

Case 40.-Severe perforating wounds of the head. This man, while on defensive action, left his foxhole during the night to investigate a noise. He was killed 10 feet from his foxhole by fire from a U.S. carbine at a few yards range. Classified as KIA. This casualty, due to carelessness, could have been avoided.

Case 41.-Mild laceration of the thorax. This man, while on defensive action, left his foxhole to reach his pack when he was struck by fire from a Japanese supply train. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type. The Americans had opened fire first, and this man did not have time to take protective cover.

Case 42.-Severe perforating wound of the right foot. This man was on offensive action moving in a crouched position toward the Japanese when he was struck by a .25 caliber rifle bullet at an unknown range. Classified as WIA, U.S. evacuation type.

Case 43.-Severe penetrating wound of the right forearm. This man was in a foxhole on defensive action when he was wounded by an accidental discharge of his own rifle. Classified as WIA, second echelon type. This casualty could have been avoided.

Case 44.-Moderately severe perforating wound of the left foot. This man was sitting cleaning his carbine when it accidentally discharged. Classified as WIA, second echelon type. This casualty could have been avoided.

Case 45.-Multiple penetrating and perforating wounds of the chest and abdomen. This man was out on patrol when he was ambushed by the Japanese and was struck by a burst of light machinegun fire at a 10-yard range. Classified as KIA.

Case 46.-Severe perforating wound of the right leg. This man was wounded under circumstances similar to those of Case 45. Classified as WIA, U.S. evacuation type.

Case 47.-Severe perforating wound of the thorax. This man was in a foxhole on defensive action and was awakened by the return of his companion at 0100 hours. This man then left his foxhole and was mistaken for a Japanese and shot with a Thompson submachinegun. Classified as KIA. This casualty could have been avoided.

Case 48.-Moderately severe perforating wound of the right foot. This man, after trading his Thompson submachinegun for a carbine, was engaged in cleaning the carbine when it accidentally discharged. Classified as WIA, second echelon type. This casualty could have been avoided.

Case 49.-Complete traumatic amputation of the right middle finger. This man was cleaning his Browning automatic rifle when it accidentally discharged. Classified as WIA, first echelon type. This casualty could have been avoided.

9.-On 10 May 1944, the 1st Battalion, with the 150th Chinese Infantry attached, bypassed the 3d Battalion, with the 88th Chinese Infantry attached, at Ritpong and proceeded to take the southern airfield at Myitkyina on 17 May. From this time, until they were reformed early in June, the 1st Battalion defended the airfield, with three casualties, details of which follow. Later casualties are not included in this study.

Case 50.-Mild laceration of left thigh. This man, while on offensive action, was wounded by a fragment of a U.S. mortar shell. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type. This casualty could have been avoided.

Case 51.-Mild penetrating wound to the left side of the thorax. This man was riding in a jeep at the airfield when he was hit by a ricochet of an enemy rifle bullet which struck the vehicle. Classified as WIA, first echelon type.


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Case 52.-Severe perforating wound of the thorax and penetrating wound of the left arm. This man, while on defensive action, was walking on the airstrip when he was struck by an enemy sniper's bullet at a 15-yard range. Classified as DOW, died 30 hours later while being taken to a hospital.

10.-An American patrol of 18 men had moved 750 yards from the base at Zigyum ferry when the patrol hit a 7-man enemy trail block. Three Americans were wounded, one dying later of his wounds; there were three Japanese casualties.

Case 53.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the abdomen. This man was on offensive action in a standing position when he was struck by a fragment from a Japanese hand grenade which exploded at a 2-yard range. Classified as WIA, second echelon type. This casualty could have been avoided if he had taken advantage of cover and concealment.

Case 54.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the left thigh and the hip. This man was wounded under circumstances similar to those of Case 53. Classified as WIA, first echelon type. This casualty could have been avoided.

Case 55.-Severe penetrating wound of the left side of the head and multiple penetrating wounds of the left side of the thorax. This man was on offensive action in a standing position when he was struck by fragments from an enemy hand grenade which exploded at a 3-foot range. Classified as DOW with a 58-hour survival period. This casualty could have been avoided.

11.-The 1st Battalion sustained the following casualties during the period 24-26 May 1944:

Case 56.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the right forearm. This man was on a defensive position when he was struck by a fragment from a 60 mm. Chinese mortar shell. Classified as WIA, first echelon type. This casualty was due to carelessness on the part of the Chinese forces.

Case 57.-Moderately severe penetrating wound of the left side of the thorax. This man was wounded under circumstances similar to those of Case 56.

Case 58.-Moderately severe penetrating wounds of the right forearm with a compound fracture of the radius. This man was on defensive action when he was wounded by an enemy rifle bullet. Classified as WIA, second echelon type.

Case 59.-Mild penetrating wound of the left side of the thorax. This man was sitting on the ground at the airfield when he was struck by an enemy rifle bullet. Classified as WIA, first echelon type.

Case 60.-Moderately severe lacerating wound of the left side of the thorax. This man was wounded by a fragment from a Japanese 77 mm. artillery shell. Classified as WIA, immediate duty type.

12.-At 1515 hours on 8 June 1944, a six-man patrol attempted to set up a machinegun in the vicinity of the airstrip. They saw the body of a Chinese casualty, and in attempting to reach it they were fired on by two Japanese light machineguns. The first burst took the heel off one man's shoe, grazed another man, and hit another soldier's carbine. After a few minutes of action, one man was killed. It was estimated that two Japanese were killed.

Case 61.-Severe perforating wound of the head. This man, while on offensive action in a prone position in brush cover, attempted to reach his helmet which had fallen off when he was struck by an enemy light machinegun bullet at a 150-yard range. Classified as KIA. This man had killed one of the enemy machinegun crew from the spot where he was hit and apparently did not take advantage of further protective cover.

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