Northwest Thailand during World War II

N18°34.06 E99°02.48 Lamphun Airstrip (Th: ทางวิ่ง ลำพูน / Jp: ランプーン 滑走路 )
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Route 0011
Station 00z


Text Notes

November 1943

"Miniatures" were a feature of Allied Airfield Reports for a time. Each miniature emphasized airfield configuration and alignment. They were designed to provide a quick reference for pilots to as many as 150 air facilities on one page. This is a miniature for the Lamphun airstrip:[8]

Lamphun miniature

"Cat. B" indicates "Believed [to be usable in] all weather".

The bearing of the airstrip would appear to be in error (see corrected aerial photo below).

The commentary below suggests that the IJA had assigned a low priority to the Lamphun airstrip until approximately November 1943. That date is significant because it implies that improvements to the airstrip were part of the preparations for support from Thailand for the IJA's planned 1944 invasion of India:[9]

Long stretch entry

. . . the landing strip at LAMBHUN is in course of rolling, this being the first time the Japanese have shown any interest in this site. . . .

15 Nov 1944: And details about the work:[10]


16 Nov 1944: No aircraft were reported seen at the airstrip. See 15 Nov 1944 report directly above.

26 Nov 1944: From the same period is an aerial photo.[11] Key details are circled:

1. "Nuang River" which flows south through Lamphun town
2.  Railroad bridge (unlabeled) over Nuang River
3. "Bangkok Chiengmai R/y."
4. "Access Road"
5.  Airstrip (unlabeled)
6.  North arrow which is pointed 14° too far west

Lamphun airstrip aerial photo annotated Annotated aerial photo of Lamphun aerial photo

Click on image for enlargement

Reoriented to true north:[12]

Lamphun airstrip wih corrected bearing

The correction is based on the known bearing of the straight section of railroad track marked with a yellow "center line" in the photo above. It is "known" because the track is still in use today.[13] With alignment of the aerial photo corrected,  it can be properly positioned, as shown on the location map on page 1.

31 Dec 1943: Allied intelligence reported that the airstrip actually had some use. Unfortunately the aircraft was not identified.

And, probably following the misinterpretation of an aerial photo analyst, the text under "(2) Development" continued the fiction of the strip as oriented "north-south".[14]


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8.^ Airfield Report No 16, Nov 1943, "Miniatures", unnumbered page (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8055 p 230).





















9.^ Airfield Report No 16, Nov 1943, page III (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8055 p 236)




















10.^ Airfield Report No 16, Nov 1943, page 21 (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8055 p 276)




















11.^ Airfield Report No 21, Apr 1944, unnumbered page (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8055 p 657). NB: while dated 26 Nov 1943, the photo appeared in a report five months later. Annotations by author using Microsoft Publisher.





















12.^ ibid.

















13.^ Information derived from Google Earth.





14.^ Airfield Report No. 18, Jan 1944, Record of Airfield Development, Thailand, p 27 (USAF Archive microfilm reel A8055, p 470).