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.


Japan in Northwest Thailand during World War II

Off Topic: Locating Loiwing airstrip(s), Yunnan, China

Route   NA


Text Notes


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


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

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
Defining the second facility
   Loiwing Aerodrome (Suili)
   More evidence on the ground
   Confirmation from Yunnan Museum
   The location of Namsham

In the search for information specific to the two facilities, some details were developed which turned out to be irrelevant, or dead end, or in error. While not directly applicable to the airstrips, some of those details 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:

Supplemental information:
  A limited chronology
  Postscript: some history of the area
          subsequent to April 1942
Supplemental information:
  The Shweli Suspension Bridges
  Other airstrips in the area
     Man Wing (and Bailey Bridge)
  Irregular Burma-China border in
          in the Shweli River valley
  Location of Gordon Seagrave's hospital
  Dating NARA photo of CNAC's Chungking
  Seagrave non-existent "Alternate Route"
  Error linking Loiwing Airdrome to
       USAAF Loping Airport on Hump Route
  Map errors
     Unidentified airfield
     Different locations with same name
     Shweli bridge status


Continued on next page (1)



Revision List
2014 Nov 01
Drafted, not linked to index
2014 Nov 13
Linked to index
2014 Dec 24
Major revision
2015 Jan 01
New revision started
2015 Feb 21
Major revision completed




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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.