Pai Bridge

The Pai River bridge is often cited as the most visible evidence of the presence of Japan's Army in Northern Thailand during WWII.
But the bridge was actually built after the war. This website attempts to correct that misconception and others about the period.

Lanna-ww2

Japan in Northwest Thailand during World War II

N23°54.0±
E97°39.5±
Off Topic: Locating Loiwing airstrip(s), Yunnan, China
Summary

Route   NA
Station

 

Text Notes
 


Summary

In Ruili, the westernmost part of Yunnan Province, China, two abandoned air facilities once carried the name "Loiwing" and were located within 8km (5mi) of each other:[i0]

TPC locatns for LoiwingS


Introduction

This subject began with ick53993's asking 'Where was Loiwing?' on Dan Ford's Warbird's Forum message board back in 2007. By January 2008, the question remained unresolved and the thread went dead. Six years later, the thread reawakened. with new information Since that time, inevitably, information available as hardcopy and also on-line about the topic has increased. That included Google Earth's view of the area which in 2007-2008 had been severely hampered by low resolution imagery.

Pages 1, 2, and 3 are intended to record how the rediscovery of Loiwing occurred.

Page 1 presents information, generally available before US Air Force archival material was accessed late last year,[i1] which hints at the existence of two separate air facilities in the Loiwing area. Crucially, it does not do so with any clarity:

Topic webpage
Background: Information available prior to use of US Air Force archives
   Miscellaneous sources
   Contemporary travel accounts
      Dunford Wood
      Olga Greenlaw
   Omissions in map coverage
1



Pages 2 and 3 treat the two sites in turn, expanding on the background information and melding in US Air Force archival material. Also described are some of the mechanics / manipulations of imagery used to locate the two sites:

Defining the first facility
   Loiwing (Factory airstrip)
   The border bridge
2
Defining the second facility
   Loiwing Aerodrome (Suili)
   More evidence on the ground
   Confirmation from Yunnan Museum
   The location of Namsham
3



In the search for information specific to the two facilities, some details were developed which turned out to be irrelevant, or dead ends, or errors. While not directly applicable to the airstrips, some might be of value to others in developing a broader picture of the area and are included as miscellaneous details on pages 4, 5, and 6:

A limited chronology

Postscript: Some history of the area subsequent to April 1942
4
The Shweli Suspension Bridges

Other airstrips in the area
     Namhkam
     Man Wing (and Bailey Bridge)
     Muse

The irregular Burma-China border in the Shweli River valley

Location of Gordon Seagrave's hospital
5
Seagrave's non-existent "Alternate Route"

The erroneous linking of Loiwing Airdrome to the USAAF's Loping Airport on the Hump Route

Map errors
     Unidentified airfield
     Different locations with same name
6

 

Continued on next page (1)

 

 

Revision List
Rev
Date
Description
0
2014 Nov 01
Drafted, not linked to index
1
2014 Nov 13
Linked to index
2
2014 Dec 24
Major revision
3
2015 Jan 01
New revision started
4
2015 Feb 21
Major revision completed

 

 

 

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See Key for interpreting page content.

Revision list. See bottom of Text column on this page.

Bibliography supports notes.

Coordinates are from Google Earth, unless otherwise stated.

Spelling of location names in English vary widely:

Always a victim of transliteration skills, they may vary here, examples:

Loiwing may also appear as Loi Wing; Manwing as Man Wing; and sometimes with hyphens

And spelling will vary even more widely elsewhere; examples: Loiwing may be the same as Lei-yun, Lei‑yung, and Leiyong per l1nh4wk (31 Jan 2008 1037hr entry in Yuku Warbirds' Loiwing thread).

And even wider variations can be seen, as in Loiwing Aerodrome, Loiwing (Suili), Ei‑Yun, Awlaw, Suili, Ruili, Juili, Shweli, Su-li, Ju-li, Namsham, Namshan, and Loping were all found to refer to the same airstrip, though the last, Loping, was later found to be in error.

i0.^ Map extracted from TPC J‑10B, Burma China, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam (St Louis: Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center, Jul 1979). Map image extracted and enhanced with IrfanView; annotated with Microsoft Publisher by author.

i1.^ I confess that I did not adequately access Gordon Seagrave's two books which were available for this initial effort --- I relied on quotes by contributors to the Warbird's Forum; hence most of the information I did get from his books appears in those pages following 1.