Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Local Knowledge

November 11th, 2011 · No Comments

A brief Veterans Day special today, as I try and dedicate a strong eight hours to the book. I was planning on directing your attention to this excellent site, which honors the men and women of the 335th Station Hospital in Tagap Ga—the Burmese hamlet where so much Now the Hell Will Start action goes down. But I just couldn’t resist the temptation to give some love to the Kachin Rangers, the unit of Burmese jungle fighters our men in OSS Detachment 101 pulled together to help clear the way for the Ledo Road. Nice details here of what the Rangers provided, aside from their traditional skill with square-bladed daggers:

The Kachins taught the Americans how to use punji sticks; the sharpened bamboo stakes that were made needle-sharp and then tempered in fire. These stakes were “poisoned” with rotten pig’s liver or with human dung. They would place these stakes well hidden on both sides of the trail. When the enemy patrol came down a trail and was fired upon, the Japanese would dive for the bushes beside the trail. Many of them were killed in this manner.

More on the Rangers, in the purple prose of the early 1940s, available here. And remind me some time to dig up the documents I have regarding the Kachins’ very rigid rules regarding interactions between their women and American soldiers. Leers were not appreciated, to say the least.

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