Operations in the China-Burma-India Theater

A - M

See "Four Intelligence Officers in the China-India-Burma Theater: Stilwell, Eifler, Peers and Chan" at the Huachuca History Program under "Masters of the Intelligence Art":

Aldrich, Richard J. "American Intelligence and the British Raj: The OSS, the SSU and India, 1942-1947." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 132-164. Also: In Knowing Your Friends: Intelligence Inside Alliances from 1914 to the Cold War, ed. Martin S. Alexander, 132-164. London: Frank Cass, 1998.

Abstract: "The scale of OSS reporting on India's economic and political condition is striking. This underlines how OSS always perceived itself as providing long-term political and commercial intelligence beyond 1945."

Bartholomew-Feis, Dixee R. The OSS and Ho Chi Minh: Unexpected Allies in the War Against Japan. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2006.

According to Peake, Studies 50.4 (2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), this "is the first book devoted" to the OSS-Ho wartime relationship. "The mission of the OSS team, designated Deer, was to work with the Vietnamese and conduct sabotage, intelligence collection, and morale operations against the Japanese in Indochina. While it might be expected that with the end of the war in view cooperation from all anti-Japanese participants in the region would have been smooth and effective, Professor Bartholomew-Feis leaves no doubt whatever that the reality was otherwise."

Goulden, Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), finds that the author has "skillfully mined OSS records in the National Archives." Bartholomew-Feis' "story is well told in a thoroughly researched, tautly written account." For Brown, I&NS 22.6 (Dec. 2007), the author "masterfully examines the fateful relationship" between the OSS and "the embryonic Viet Minh insurgent movement." This is "an engaging and valuable book." Fischer, Military Review (Sep.-Oct. 2007), says that this "account of the early U.S. involvement with Ho Chi Minh reads well and is based on sound and thorough research."

For Villard, Army History 67 (Spring 2008), this "[h]ighly detailed and well-researched" book "gives us a clear-eyed view of the early relationship between Ho Chi Minh and the United States." By telling the story of the OSS mission "with a sense of objectivity and with a judicious eye for detail, Bartholomew-Feis has brought a fascinating chapter in U.S.-Vietnamese relations to life."

Caldwell, Oliver J. A Secret War: Americans in China, 1944-45. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1972.

Constantinides: "[N]othing is discussed in any depth. Caldwell tells some anecdotes from his OSS work in psychological warfare operations, and he touches on one counterintelligence case. If he has more knowledge of intelligence matters, however, he neglects to share it."

Clemens, Peter. "Operation 'Cardinal': The OSS in Manchuria, August 1945." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 4 (Winter 1998): 71-106.

The author details an OSS operation that began as a mission to protect Allied prisoners of war in Manchuria, and moved into intelligence gathering following the success of their primary objective. The "Cardinal" team was kicked out of Mukden on 6 October 1945.

Dunlop, Richard. Behind Japanese Lines, With the OSS in Burma. New York: Rand McNally, 1979. New York: Time Life Education, 1991.

The author served with OSS Detachment 101.

Fenn, Charles. At the Dragon's Gate: With the OSS in the Far East. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004.

For Yu Shen, I&NS 20.2 (Jun. 2005), the author "tells his personal story as an OSS officer in Asia during World War II with a lot of attitude and insight.... [T]he highlight of his wartime experience and the most fascinating part of the story" is Fenn's duty in Vietnam, where he collaborated with Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh against the Japanese. OSS Society Newsletter (Winter 2004-2005), says that the author's "recollections of his wartime experiences are witty and insightful -- a story of real-life espionage.... Fenn's skill as a spy is matched by his talent as a storyteller."

Sacquety, Studies 50.2 (2006), says that the book "deliver[s] some valuable insights, but, Fenn strains his credibility when he ... presents himself as a bigger player in China than could possibly have been the case." The author provides "an interesting view" of how the civilian-controlled Gordon-Bernard-Tan (GBT) network "was run and of the personalities involved, but his later claims in the book cast doubt on his real role there.... The bottom line is that Fenn's book is flawed and frustrating. Fenn might have provided valuable insights into OSS operations in China -- particularly about the nebulous GBT network -- but the apparent falsehoods make detailed research and fact-checking in OSS records a necessity."

Hilsman, Roger. American Guerrilla: My Life Behind Japanese Lines. New York: Brassey's (US), 1990. 1991. [pb]

Clark comment: Roger Hilsman was Director of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) under President Kennedy and Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs under President Johnson. After retiring from the government, he was professor of government and, later, Professor Emeritus of Government and International Relations at Columbia University.

According to Surveillant 1.2, Hilsman "commanded a battalion of Chinese, Shan, Burmese, and Karen guerrillas that operated behind enemy lines in Burma.... At the war's end, Hilsman led a POW rescue mission to Manchuria -- where the prisoners included his own father." Windmiller, I&NS 6.4, notes that Hilsman served with Merrill's Marauders before joining OSS' Detachment 101 in Burma. "[T]his is a very readable description of what it is like to fight a guerrilla war, and what lessons can reasonably be drawn from it."

Hogan, David W., Jr. U.S. Army Special Operations in World War II. CMH Publication 70-42. Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 1992

Table of Contents

Chapter 5. Special Operations in the China-Burma-India Theater

OSS Detachment 101


The Final Campaigns in Burma

The Office of Strategic Services in China

The Office of Strategic Services in Southeast Asia

MacDonald, Elizabeth P. Undercover Girl. New York: Macmillan, 1947.

Constantinides notes that this is "one of the earliest works on OSS Morale Operations (MO) and MO work in China and from India." But that is "secondary to what she revealed of the organization and personalities of OSS in Washington, China, and Southeast Asia.... Her trained journalist's eye caught a number of humorous incidents and the subtleties of OSS personalities." For Pforzheimer, Studies 5.2 (Spring 1961), this work "contains ... the most detailed information publicly available on OSS operations, especially in black psychological warfare, in the Far East."

See also the author's later work: Elizabeth P. McIntosh, Sisterhood of Spies: The Women of the OSS (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998).

Mills, Francis B. [COL/USA (Ret.)], Robert Mills, and Dr. John W. Brunner. OSS Special Operations in China. Williamstown, NJ:  Phillips Publications, 2002. 

According to Peake, Studies 47.3, "Mills was in charge of OSS Special Operations in the area of China north of the Yangtze River, including Peking.  His book tells the story of the guerrilla operations ... by his teams behind Japanese lines.... While the authors state that the book is based mainly on declassified records, the records are not cited.  There are long quotes from diaries, intelligence reports, and team communications, but they are not referenced in any way that would allow a scholar to find them in the archives without going through all the files.  Nevertheless, this is a valuable memoir about OSS in China with a level of tactical detail not found elsewhere."

Moon, Thomas M.

1. This Grim and Savage Game: OSS and the Beginning of U.S. Covert Operations in World War II. Los Angeles, CA: Burning Gate Press, 1991.

From publisher: "Follows the career of Colonel Carl Eifler in the earliest days of the O.S.S. in action in Africa, Europe, and Asia on rescue missions, intelligence gathering, kidnap plans, secret invasions, and many other operations." Surveillant 1.6 notes that "Moon was the youngest agent of the OSS."

2. and Carl F. Eifler. The Deadliest Colonel. New York: Vantage, 1975.

Eifler headed OSS Det 101 in Burma. See also, David A. Philips, "The Toughest, Deadliest Hombre," in Military Intelligence: Its Heroes and Legends, 87-99 (Arlington Hall Station, VA: U.S. Army Intelligence & Security Command, 1987).

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