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The paper of the American Forces in the CBI.

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The paper of the American Forces in the CBI.


SALWEEN FRONT (UP) - Chinese troops mopping up among the japanese fortifications on the salween Front, recently captured 10 Japanese and Korean women who had lived with the enemy troops throughout three months of shattering artillery bombardment and desperate close-in fighting that fully reduced Sungshan Mountain.

The Japanese had shipped a supply of women to the forward fortresses at Sungshan and other large garrisons on the Salween Front. American liaison officers in action with the Chinese troops were inclined to doubt their own eyes when they first encountered this evidence of Japanese ruthlessness at Tengchung, where they found one Korean girl buried alive in a Japanese ammunition dump as a result of a nearby bomb burst.

With the help of a Japanese-speaking Chinese student who had escaped from Manchuria and now is serving with the Americans, the personal story of five of the pathetic women of Sungshan was obtained. Four of them were Korean peasant girls, 24 to 27 years old. They wore Western type cotton dresses they said they's purchased in Singapore.

They sat on low stools and eagerly puffed American cigarettes as they gradually relaxed from the shock of months of bomb and shell explosions. They said that early in the spring of 1942 Japanese political officers arrived in their home village, Pingyang, Korea. With propaganda posters and speeches the Japs began a recruitment campaign for "WAC" organizations which they said were to be sent to Singapore to do noncombatant work in rear areas - running rest camps for Japanese troops, entertaining and helping in hospitals.

All four said they needed money desperately. One said her father, a farmer, had injured his knee and that for the $1,500 puppet currency (about $12 US), given her when she enlisted, his doctor bills were paid.

A party of 18 such girls sailed from Korea in June, 1942. Enroute they said they were fed stories of Japanese victories and of a new empire being created in Southeast Asia. They said they first became worried when they were shipped direct through Singapore and that when they were placed on a train headed north from Rangoon they became certain of their fate.

When the party reached Sungshan, on the Salween Front, the four were placed under the charge of a fifth woman - a 35 year old regular Japanese prostitute who also was captured in the mopping up action.

There was a total of 24 girls at Sungshan. Among other duties, they had to wash Japanese soldiers' clothing, cook their food and clean out the caves in which they lived. They said they were paid nothing and received no mail from home.

When Chinese troops attacked Sungshan, the girls lived below ground in caves. Fourteen of the original 24 were killed by shell-fire. They said they had all been told they would be tortured if captured by the Chinese and all admitted they had believed such stories. They declined to give their correct names to protect their families but all said what they had lived through for the past two years had completely reversed their former naive trust of their Japanese overlords.

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