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Burma Road (Israel): Wikis

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Building Burma Road

The "Burma Road" was a makeshift route built by Israeli forces headed by general Mickey Marcus during the 1948 Siege of Jerusalem, inspired by the WWII route into China.

Jerusalem had been under siege intermittently since the beginning of 1948 during the 1947-1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine. The last major convoy had got through in April. After the British left Palestine, the British officered Transjordan Legion took up a strategic position at the Latrun Monastery and police fort that dominated the road and prevented supplies from reaching Jerusalem. A small amount of supplies, mostly munitions, were ferried by air, but the shortage of food, water, fuel and medicines was acute.

Area map

Several Israeli attempts to take the Transjordanian Legion's positions in Latrun failed, but surrounding parts of the road were cleared of snipers by the end of May. Passage of 150 troops on foot from Hulda to Harel Brigade headquarters near Abu Ghosh suggested that it would be possible to modify the "gazelle path" so that it would be hidden from the firing range of the British 25 pound cannon in Latrun and would accommodate vehicular traffic. On the night of May 30 to 31, an attempt failed when the lead jeep overturned. The road was improved slightly. A second attempt on the following night succeeded. On the night of June 1 to 2 the vehicles returned, and with them were three jeeps from Jerusalem, that went on to Tel Aviv to organize a supply convoy for Jerusalem, which returned that night. However, the road was still really impassable. Vehicles had to be pushed by hand through large sections. Porters and donkeys were used to bring supplies to Jerusalem while bulldozers and road workers moved critical parts of the road out of the line of sight of Jordanian artillery and widened it. The Legion spotted the activity and Jordanian artillery shelled the road ineffectively, since it could not be seen. Arab sharpshooters killed several road workers, and an attack on June 9 left 8 Israeli dead.

The road allowed passage of a convoy without leaving the vehicles on June 10, in time for the UN imposed cease fire, but it required repair as vehicular passage opened new pot holes. The road was finally completed on June 14, and water and fuel pipes were laid alongside it.[1] [2]

In popular culture

The 1966 film Cast a Giant Shadow, which dramatizes the career of Mickey Marcus, has a major part dedicated to the construction of the Burma Road.
The 2006 file O' Jerusalem includes scenes in which food and supplies are brought into Jerusalem on what would become the Burma Road.

References

  1. ^ Isseroff, Ami (September 2008). "Burma Road". http://zionism-israel.com. http://zionism-israel.com/dic/Burma_Road.htm. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  
  2. ^ Rosenbloom, Michael (December 2001). "The Road to Jerusalem". Tales of Survival. http://www.ohav.org/columns/survival/solomon3.html. Retrieved 2006-11-26.  
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