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"Over the Hump Airlift Simulation - Ready to Play!" Topic

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989 hits since 5 Aug 2012
©1994-2016 Bill Armintrout
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sloophmsstarling05 Aug 2012 3:30 p.m. PST

Following the several progress reports previously posted here, I recently completed design and development of my Over the Hump Airlift Campaign simulation in tribute to Paul Rommel, one of the members of our Friday Breakfast Club, who was presented the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award last year, and was also honored by a resolution in the South Carolina legislature recognizing his FAA award and his service flying over the Hump in WWII.

Last year when I couldn't find an Over the Hump game or simulation to play out a few missions and then brag about it all to Paul, I boldly rushed in where angels fear to tread and designed one of my own. I inscribed the first printed copy of the simulation and gave it to Paul to add to his collection of memorabilia and books on the Hump and on flying for all those years. Paul's shadow box in his living room includes his RAF wings, his US Army Air Force wings, and his Chinese Air Force wings, along with his Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Republic of China World War II Service Medal. Paul was as happy to have my "book" as I was to present it to him.

I enjoyed this project very much and now that it has been completed, I have uploaded a copy of the complete simulation to the Files section on the Air Wars Society Yahoo group web page and also to the new Over the Hump Airlift Campaign page on Board Game Geek, where it may be freely downloaded and shared with others.

I hope that it will be interesting for those of you who are students of the China-Burma-India Theater and how airlift was instrumental in keeping the China theater going when ships and trucks couldn't carry the cargo in there. The story unfolds through 16 scenarios, from the first path-finding flight by the China National Aviation Corporation, all the way up to the climactic Big Day on US Army Air Forces Day on 1 August 1945 when hundreds of aircraft made more than 1,000 round trips and lifted more than 5,000 tons into China in one 24 hour period!

Enjoy your games!


Personal logo BrianW Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2012 6:12 p.m. PST

Found the entry on, but did not find any files attached to it. Where are they located, as this sounds interesting.

No Reserve05 Aug 2012 6:40 p.m. PST

The moderators at Board Game Geek take forever to approve files; perhaps it's still in the queue.

Sergeant Paper05 Aug 2012 7:00 p.m. PST

Likewise no files on BGG, and cannot find the AWSoc group either.

sloophmsstarling05 Aug 2012 7:05 p.m. PST

"No Reserve" is right, the file is still in the queue. BGG promptly set up the page in only one day, and I uploaded the file today, so hopefully it will appear in a day or so. The file uploaded right away to the Air Wars Society Yahoo group site and members of that group can download it now.

Here's the link for the AirWarSoc:


Sergeant Paper05 Aug 2012 9:52 p.m. PST

Thanks, looking forward to this!

Personal logo Condotta Supporting Member of TMP06 Aug 2012 3:57 a.m. PST

Thanks, interesting and oft forgotten, Burma and China. An interesting story that continued even after the war as the war material remaining had to be mostly destroyed or buried. I look forward to this coming out of queue as well as any recommendations for a good read about the post-war drama.

sloophmsstarling06 Aug 2012 7:52 a.m. PST

I just checked BGG and the simulation file is now posted! Enjoy your missions!

Personal logo Cheriton Supporting Member of TMP06 Aug 2012 10:29 a.m. PST

Thanks, interesting and oft forgotten, Burma and China.

My father-in-law was a navigator (USAAC) during those oprerations. I discovered that my wife and her sisters had always thought that Al had only participated (safely) at the fringe of WWII.

I bought him a copy of "Flying the Hump" (Jeffrey L. Ethell) when he was in hospital near the end of his life. My wife took an interest in reading it and then encouraged her sisters to do so as well.

Needless to say they all have a new perspective on his war service now.



sloophmsstarling15 Aug 2012 11:29 a.m. PST


I had a similar experience when I gave my talk to the Men's Breakfast Club earlier this month. I had printed copy number 1 for Paul Rommel, and also brought printed copy number 2 for "anyone else who flew C-47s in the 1940s" knowing that my friend Buz flew C-47s in the European Theater and also later flew in the Berlin Airlift, and I also mentioned that we would use the master club member email list to forward copies of the simulation to all. Well, that got everyone even more excited and another member who is a good friend and nearby neighbor, and whose wife takes art classes from my wife, went home and told his wife about the talk and she mentioned to my wife that she was very interested in it and that her father had flown over the Hump, but never really talked about it very much. So I sent her a copy of the text of the talk, it is always good to work from a prepared text, because if you go off on a tangent and the talk runs beyond 8:00, the members will start clapping in mid-sentence and bolt for the doors to make their golf tee times! Anyway, I sent her a copy of the prepared text and the simulation and she was very pleased to have it and learn more about the dangers and the accomplishments of those intrepid aviators including her father. She then sent it along to family members and they all enjoyed learning more about what happened over there. The family had sort of assumed it was more like airline travel, and were grateful to gain an appreciation of the heroism of those who served.

Also, for Condetta, the post-war narrative is pretty thin, but I have more or less assumed from bits and pieces that the primary "cargo" coming out of China were American troops, with most equipment left behind for the Chinese. Trucks carrying cargo over the Stillwell Road (ex-Burma Road), that had been reopened in early 1945, were left behind for the Chinese army. The Hump operation formally ended on 15 November 1945, and cargo continued to be carried in up until that time, with 40,000 tons going over in September and 8,000 tons in October.

Plating devotes a short chapter at the end of his book to post VJ Day operations, and mentions how the India-China Division (ICD) played a critical role in demobilization by flying India and China based troops to port cities for shipment home. ICD airlift operations were also instrumental in strategic redeployment of Chinese Nationalist forces, and this was a fairly complex operation, once described by General Tunner as the equivalent of basing the planes in Los Angeles, flying to Atlanta, picking up the troops and then flying them to Boston, all with not a drop of fuel nor any equipment or aircraft parts east of the Rockies. It was accomplished for one of the movements by loading up the C-54s in Tezgaon (in present day Bangladesh) to the maximum capacity with drums of aviation fuel, flying over the Hump to the Chinese base at Liuzhou, taking off the fuel drums, loading on 80 to 85 Chinese soldiers plus enough fuel for the round trip to Shanghai and back to Liuzhou, refueling at Liuzhou from the drums brought from Tezgaon, then flying back to Tezgaon to start the cycle over again. Nothing was ever easy in CBI!

Also after VJ Day some of the cargo was of, shall we say lower priority, such as shrubbery for a Chinese general's house, ping pong tables, beer, two-by-fours, etc., well ok, beer could be vital, but there was some reluctance by the aviators to risk their lives for such items, and it became a matter of concern in Washington when a congressman brought a constituent letter directly to the attention of General Hap Arnold rather than reading it out on the floor of the House of Representatives!

Enjoy your missions!

sloophmsstarling27 Nov 2012 3:38 p.m. PST

I had a chance to read a couple of more references on the Over the Hump campaign recently, and these more or less confirmed assumptions and information that I had used previously in designing and developing Version 1.0 of the campaign simulation as posted on Board Game Geek.

Also, these sources did provide a little more about what was going on over the Hump after VJ Day. Steven King, a C-109 and C-54 pilot, noted in his book that he flew gasoline into China and later participated in flights repositioning Nationalist troops in the post-VJ Day operations mentioned in the post above as summarized from General Tunner's comments.

Carl Constein, a C-46 pilot, made his 750 hours on 28 July 1945, and no longer had to fly transport missions over the Hump, but he only had nine months in theater, when the regulations called for one year before rotating home, which he characterizes as the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way! After a month flying a few missions within India to overhaul depots and whatnot, he was given a new assignment, assistant training officer reporting to a captain who was the training officer.

As Carl tells it: "A few days later I walked into a small office at the end of the flight line and reported to the training officer. Except for two desks and chairs, the office was bare, not even a phone or a file cabinet. I introduced myself, and before the captain laid it out, I got the picture. We'd been sent to Siberia. Report every day -- and do absolutely nothing!" Ah yes, the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way.

Also, I caught up with Otha Spencer's book again, one of my main sources, after loaning it to a friend who flew C-47s in Europe before VE Day. Otha was in the Tenth Weather Squadron, and flew several different planes over the Hump and within China and India, including specially equipped B-25s and C-47s. Otha relates the strategic troop shift mission mentioned above, and also talks about bringing out weather station personnel and equipment. Otha describes the end of the Hump missions as follows:

"We also knew that it would be impossible to return to the United States all the material that had been delivered over the Hump during the last three years. Most of the military equipment from lend-lease was given to the Chinese Nationalists … I was a pilot for one of dozens of crews working to deactivate weather stations in all parts of China … Until the end of 1945, the Tenth Weather Squadron continued evacuating weather stations throughout China. Many times we took off with twenty to twenty-five weathermen, their personal gear, and instruments for an entire weather station. On some bases, we left complete stations to the Chinese. … As we evacuated the military bases, we took many chances, struggling to get the heavy planes in the air. We usually took off at daybreak, when the air was cool and heavy, to get the best lift. After long, slow, mushy takeoffs, we often had to fly for over an hour, dodging peaks and clouds to gain altitude to ten thousand feet to make the trip to Kunming or on to Shanghai. We learned again to respect the C-47 for its ability to get into and out of short fields at high altitude."

Yes, nothing was ever easy in CBI!

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