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The Hump

The Hump

“The hump” was a military aerial supply route from Northern India to China, over and through the Himalayan Mountains, that allied pilots flew during WWII.

It was, and is, widely considered to be one of the most harrowing and deadly flights in aviation history.

I recall reading one airman’s story of watching two planes explode right in front of him. Twenty of his friends died within minutes of each other. This was on takeoff.

The most notable plane that flew the hump, the Curtiss C46 Commando, had nicknames like the “flying coffin,” the “plumber’s nightmare,” and “Curtiss Calamity.”

On board, oxygen was scarce, and temps were freezing. The survival stats are staggering, and not in a good way.

Hump Pilot Shirt No 5861 - The J Peterman Company

In the end, because of the hump pilot, the allies held.

“Hump Pilot” Shirt (No. 5861). This wool gabardine shirt was standard uniform. Tough and warm. Unmistakable button-down point collar. Scalloped flaps on chest pockets. Epaulettes. Lined yoke and collar. Made in Portugal.

This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. My dad was a belly gunner (ball turret gunner) who flew over the hump. He was a short man so he fit into the rotating glass bubble. He described how cold it was, but I didn’t realize what a vulnerable target those guys presented.
    “The first in/The last out
    The most exposed/The least protected
    . … The silent wing warriors.”
    There is an amazing photo on this blog
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/iris-ruth-pastor/my-dad-was-a-ball-turret-gunner_b_8342420.html

  2. I grew up listening to the stories told to me by my neighbor CPT Donald Bussart who flew the hump many times. To a child, his stories were absolutely amazing—and created a fascination that inspired me to explore the world. I always knew this man was bigger than life in my little corn field but to read about such courage here……THANKS!!!

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