26 JANUARY 1945, Page 2

The Burma Road Reopened

"The land route to China is open." The message sent by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten to the Combined Chiefs of Staff refers only to one dramatic incident in a long series of suc- cesses which has been achieved by several distinct forces operating under his command, converging from a vast arc in northern Burma in the direction of Mandalay. The Ledo road, constructed by the tireless effort of General Sultan's forces, is now linked up with the Burma Road as the result of the junction of Chinese forces from the East with forces that have fought their way down from the north ; and these operations have themselves been aided by the steady advances of British troops from Manipur and down the Chindwin valley, now within 31 miles of Mandalay itself. Since the Burma road was closed in April, 1942, supplies to China have gone by air. The route by the Ledo and Burma roads will be long and arduous, but it will carry heavy equipment that cannot be sent by aeroplanes. So the "first part of the orders" which Lord Louis received at Quebec have been carried out. Of even greater im- portance in the long run is the advance on Mandalay, and the successful operations on the coast beyond Akyab, which together hold the promise of the eventual ejection of the Japanese from Burma. This elaborate and brilliantly conceived campaign, which to some at one time seemed to be spending itself in the void, is having results of major consequence in the eastern war.