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Item:
ON5102

Original U.S. WWII Ledo Road Cattaraugus 225Q Commando Fighting Knife

Regular price $295.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. In the Burma Campaign, the Chindits, whose long range penetration groups were trained to operate from bases deep behind Japanese lines, contained commandos (King's Regiment (Liverpool), 142 Commando Company) and Gurkhas. Their jungle expertise, which would play an important part in many British special forces operations post war, was learned at a great cost in lives in the jungles of Burma fighting the Japanese.

The United States formed the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II under the Medal of Honor recipient William J. Donovan. This organization was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was responsible for both intelligence and Special Forces missions. The CIA's elite Special Activities Division is the direct descendant of the OSS. In mid-1942, the United States formed the Rangers. The United States and Canada also formed a sabotage ski brigade for operations in Norway who became known as the Devil's Brigade, officially known as the First Special Service Force, during their eventual service in Italy. Merrill's Marauders were modeled on the Chindits and took part in similar operations in Burma.

These specialized troops required specialized knives to do the job.

Manufactured by Cattaraugus. The model 225q was designed for use by the US special forces. With a very stout blade measuring approximately 6 inches, handle comprised of stacked leather washers with a checkered steel pommel. This example is in excellent condition and comes complete with the original issue leather sheath which is painted Ledo Rd. and bears the insignia in green red and yellow paint.

The Ledo Road was built by U.S. Army Engineers and native labor during World War II from the tea plantation province of Assam in India, through the mountains and jungle of northern Burma, to a junction with the Burma Road.  It went over tough mountain terrain, across monsoon fed swamps and through the thickest jungle.  General Lewis A. Pick, who commanded the road building effort, called it the toughest job ever given to U.S. Army Engineers in wartime.

Its purpose was to re-establish the land supply route to China that had been blocked by the Japanese invasion of Burma in 1942.  Construction began 16 December 1942 and the completed road was officially opened 20 May 1945.  An estimated 147,000 tons of supplies were carried over the road by the end of the war.

The usefulness of the Ledo Road was debated both before its construction and after its completion.  Even as it progressed into Burma, military planners had their doubts about whether it could be completed in time or even at all.  As it neared completion and until well after the war ended, many pointed out that it never lived-up to the original estimates of capacity as a supply line.

Overlooked is the fact that it was decided not to build the road to the original specification of a double-track (two-lane) road over its entire length, the fact that it was never assigned the originally planned number of truck transport companies, and the fact that it actually assisted the airlift operation over The Hump to which it was constantly compared.

As the road was built it served as a combat highway enabling the reconquest of Burma, serviced a pipeline that paralleled it to carry fuel all the way to China, and allowed safer more southerly routes for airlift flights to China.  The accomplishment of building the Ledo Road stands as a testament to the men responsible and the American spirit that made it possible.

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