Lanna-ww2

Japan in Northwest Thailand during World War II

N18°21
E99°25
Hang Chat Landing Ground
(Th: ห้างฉัตรท่าอากาศยาน / Jp: ハンチャツ滑走路)

Lampang Province
Page 2 of 3
near Hang Chat
RR Station on
Northern Route
Sta 654.85

 

Text Notes

 

05 January 1945: "Lampang NW A/F" was specified as a photo target for this flight and photos, as specified, of "Lampang NW A/F" were reported as taken:

Hang Chat aerial 05 Jan 1945[7]


12 January 1945: Rolling and surfacing of the runway(s) continued. This being the dry season, such work was probably assumed by Allied intelligence not to be essential for aircraft to use the facility; hence probably the comment that no aircraft had been observed there:

[7a]
12 Jan 1945 update


13 January 1945
: Again, photos of "Lampang NW A/F" were specified and so taken:

Hang Chat aerial 13 Jan 1945[8]


31 January 1945
: The especially poor quality of the aerial photo below may be due to the original file copy having been mimeographed (a common copy process in WW2), which was then further degraded during archival microfilming. It is included here because it is the only aerial view currently available of the Hang Chat installation.

Rotated aerial photo of Hang Chat[8a]

The accompanying text for the above aerial photo reads:

HANGSAT LANDING GROUND IN THE LAMPANG GROUP, SIAM

This Japanese originated Landing Ground was first reported when in a fairly advanced stage of construction in April 1944. It is situated in the important LAMPANG Airfield Group in Northern SIAM and is being progressed simultaneously with the new site at MEMOH but work appears to be proceeding here quicker.  Two parallel landing strips are both oriented N-S each some 1,800 yds in length with dispersal developing between them and to the North. When serviceable all types of Japanese aircraft will probably be able to operate from this site.

While the text reads "first reported when in a fairly advanced stage of construction in April 1944", this conflicts with the first comment about the strip which appeared in reports at least currently available, dated August 1944: "This is a new site located for the first time on the 17th August". The 17 August 1944 date is adhered to in the following entry:

[8b]
Map, part, of Lampang airfield group

The entry above for "Hang Sat" reads:

Item
Information
First observed
17 August 1944
Runway or strips
1750 Yds
1750 Yds
Surface
Easterly Strip being metalled
[Westerly] is rolled earth
Shelters
2+
Type of A/C seen in last 12 months
Nil
Weather
serviceability
Easterly: probably all weather when complete
Westerly: Liable to become unserviceable after rains.
Comments
Construction being accelerated.


17 February 1945
: This is the last 21PRS aerial photo flight record of Hang Chat coverage. Coverage had been about monthly on average. In no flight record was the name "Hang Chat" (Hangsat) used:

Hang Chat aerial 17 Feb 1945[9]

Note that while no subsequent 21PRS flight records list "Lampang NW A/F" (or "Hang Chat" for that matter), other Allied aerial photo reconnaissance units may have provided coverage at later dates.


16 March 1945
: This map sketch finally provided a sufficient number of landmarks (adjacent roads, a bridge, and the conjunction of two waterways) to allow locating the facility. It had been previous located only by distances from railway stations, and the calculated point proved to be almost two miles away from the actual. Note that this map is not oriented with north to the top of the page:

[9a]
Map sketch of Hang Chat airstrips

TRANSCRIPT of text box:

Sketch Plan of [Hang Chat] L/G [Landing Ground] Siam
18°21' N 99°25 E provisional
Map Thailand 1/4" NE/47J
[scale]
Correct to EA/iop (16-3-45)
CPIC/Plans/1362/445 ACSEA/4501/G

This L/G was seen u/c [under construction] in August 1944, when it was first covered. It lies about 6-3/4 miles NW of Lampang Railway Station in an area of trees and scrub bordering on paddy fields. Considerable development took place until February 1945, since when there has been no sign of further work in progress.

LANDING AREA: Two clearings have been cut through scrub and partly levelled, surfacing has begun on No 2 strip, neither strip is yet serviceable (16/Mar/45).

DISPERSAL: There are 12 a/c [aircraft] shelters on the taxi-tracks between the two strips. The N & S ends of these taxi-tracks have been levelled and rolled.

While the above map sketch provides excellent detail, the north arrow shown is about 45° off: it should point in the same direction as the airstrips which are both nearly north-south. This is the sketch, properly realigned, with image-north towards the top of the page:

[9b]
Hang Chat sketch tilted

Relevant information in the sketch has also been transcribed and inserted. Note that only the easterly runway had been "surfaced".


19 April 1945: Yet again, no aircraft were reported having been seen at the facility. That the westerly strip would be "unserviceable" is in keeping with its not having been surfaced and this was the rainy season which could have turned the strip into a quagmire:

[10]
19 Apr 1945 note


30 April 1945
: The following amendments would appear to apply to the landing area described in the last formal report on the facility at the end of December 1944 (note that the formal report required "dimensions in feet", not the yards used here). The figures then for both strips were 5250 by 240 feet (1750 by 80 yards):

[11]
30 Apr 1945 note


31 May 1945: While Hang Chat was believed to be solely under Japanese control, it appeared to be "disused", probably reflecting the Allied stranglehold on the Japanese logistical system:

[12]
Final report mentioning Hang Chat

 

No further mention of the Japanese air facility at Hang Chat has been found in Allied records available to date.

 

 

 

 

 

7.^ 21PRS Report Mission No. 5 MA 4, 05 Jan 1945
(USAF Archive microfilm reel A0878 p0815).

Note that form is incorrectly dated with 1944, not 1945: the first digit of the report number 5 MA 4 confirms 1945. Such typos are typical shortly into the new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7a.^ Airfield Report No 30, Jan 1945, "Record of Airfield Activity and Development", p 6 (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8055 p1269).

 

 

8.^ 21PRS Report Mission No. 5 MA 9, 13 Jan 1945
(USAF Archive microfilm reel A0878 p0807).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8a.^ Airfield Report No 30, Jan 1945, unnumbered pages between pp iiia and iv, photo undated (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8055 pp 1246-1247).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8b.^ Airfield Report No 31, Feb 1945, unnumbered page, dated Jan 1945 (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8056 p 0003).

While the map was carried in the Feb 1945 publication, the map itself is dated Jan 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.^ 21PRS Report Mission No. 5 MA 39, 17 Feb 1945
(USAF Archive microfilm reel A0878 p0769).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9a.^ Airfield Report No 33, April 1945, unnumbered page, sketch dated 16 March 1945 (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8056 p0149)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9b.^ ibid, extract. Annotated by author using Microsoft Publisher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.^ Airfield Report No 33, April 1945, "Record of Airfield Activity and Development", p (3) (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8056 p 0165).

 

 

 

11.^ Airfield Report No 33, April 1945, "Part II: Amendments to Airfield Lists", p (10) (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8056 p 0173).

 

 

 

12.^ Airfield Report No 34, May 1945, "Comments on Current Airfield Development", p (1) (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8056 p 0294).