On This Day, July 15, 1942 – WW II Pilots Start Flying ‘the Hump’

The Hump airlift

1942 – The first supply flight from India to China over “the Hump” was carried to help China’s war effort.

Heavily loaded transports began their runs to China after lifting off from hot, muggy airfields in India’s eastern jungles, then struggled upward for altitude to clear the towering Himalayas. A direct route to Kunming, China, took four hours, at an average altitude of about sixteen thousand feet, and placed aircraft over areas within range of Japanese fighters. The crews characteristically flew a dogleg to the north to escape enemy airplanes, even though the path stretched fuel reserves to the limit and required an operational altitude of twenty thousand feet to clear most of the Himalayan peaks. In addition to the changeable weather high over the Himalayas, pilots flew across virtually impenetrable jungles on both sides of the menacing mountain ranges. 

Over the Indian jungles, in particular, fliers had to contend with monsoon rainstorms for six months of every year. Landing strips and runways became muddy quagmires; fliers and ground personnel existed in a swampy world of sodden bunks, clothes, and tents. The C–46 Commandos mounted a many-paned windscreen and, when airborne, pilots discovered that the monsoons forced water through myriad gaps around the cockpit windows and left them as miserably soggy in the air as they were on the ground. Sheets of driving rain and turbulence around airfields often kept operations shut down for days at a time. Early in the war, the Japanese never expected Allied airlifts to work because of the mountains and the tropical storms, but the pressure to deliver needed war matériel often meant flying in conditions that normally kept airplanes on the ground.

1099 – Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders.

1806 – Lieutenant Zebulon Pike began his western expedition from Fort Belle Fountaine, near St. Louis, MO.

1834 – Lord Napier of England arrived in Macao, China as the first chief superintendent of trade.

1870 – Georgia became the last of the Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.

1876 – George Washington Bradley of St. Louis pitched the first no-hitter in baseball in a 2-0 win over Hartford.

1888 – “Printers’ Ink” was first sold.

1901 – Over 74,000 Pittsburgh steel workers went on strike.

1904 – The first Buddhist temple in the U.S. was established in Los Angeles, CA.

1916 – In Seattle, WA, Pacific Aero Products was incorporated by William Boeing. The company was later renamed Boeing Co.y2000

1918 – The Second Battle of the Marne began during World War I.

1922 – The duck-billed platypus arrived in America, direct from Australia. It was exhibited at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.

1958 – Five thousand U.S. Marines landed in Beirut, Lebanon, to protect the pro-Western government. The troops withdrew October 25, 1958.y2000

1965 – The spacecraft Mariner IV sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Mars.

1968 – ABC-TV premiered “One Life to Live.”

1968 – Commercial air travel began between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., when the first plane, a Soviet Aeroflot jet, landed at Kennedy International Airport in New York.

1971 – U.S. President Nixon announced he would visit the People’s Republic of China to seek a “normalization of relations.”

1973 – Nolan Ryan (California Angels) became the first pitcher in two decades to win two no-hitters in a season. 

1986 – Columbia Records dropped Johnny Cash after 28 years. Johnny signed with Polygram the next year.


Source: On-This-Day.com; USAF.net