Aerial photographs of Allied bombing raids on Japanese occupied Burma.

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Another undated USAAF photograph, though hopefully, when the original photograph arrives from California, it will have more information. I have worked out that it was taken during a bombing attack on Heho airfield, probably during 1943-44. Note the blast pens and A.A. gun pits around the perimeter of the airfield.

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  2. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Luckily, I have a copy of a 1:25,000 map entitled HEHO Sheet 2, which provides an almost exact match.

    Heho 002.JPG
  3. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The photographs have arrived from California and whilst their condition is not great, the detail is superb. Unfortunately this particular photograph is undated.

    USAAF 001.JPG
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Note the number of Japanese aircraft on the runway and adjacent blast pens. It would seem from the number of aircraft on the ground that there was little warning of the attack.

    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  5. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The detail in the Mandalay photograph in Post 59 is equally good. Mandalay had obviously been subjected to heavy bombing as vast numbers of the buildings are roofless.

    USAAF 013.JPG
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  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The building complex top left appears to be a hospital as it has what appear to be red crosses painted on the roof.

    USAAF 019.JPG
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  7. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Mandalay, being the former capital and the largest city in central Burma, was a main road, rail and river communications centre with pretty much all Japanese military supplies destined for northern Burma passing through it. The railway, that ran through the city, being a natural choke point.
  8. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The streets of Mandalay are numbered East-West and North-South. The Zegyo Market suffered bomb damage and has three whole sections of roof missing. There still is a famous clock tower outside the Market.

    The Setkyathiha Pagoda was also badly damaged during the war and was subsequently repaired.
    Mangoondalay 031.JPG
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
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  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    This photograph is from the Australian War Memorial Collection, reference number SUK14020 and is captioned thus: The main thoroughfare of Mandalay deserted after the Infantry of the 14th Army had passed through.
    The photograph actually shows 26th Street with the Zegyo Market to the left and the Clock Tower in the middle distance.

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  10. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The next photograph in the sequence, SUK14021, has the following caption: Mandalay Burma. C. 1945.04. British infantrymen of the 14th Army advancing through the bazaar area.

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  11. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Photograph SUK14024. Mandalay, Burma. A British military truck passes through a bazaar district which has suffered from air attack.

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  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Back to Rangoon with the U.S.A.A.F. 6th September 1943. The photograph shows an attack on Japanese shipping on the Rangoon river. The Kemmendene area of Rangoon can be seen to the east of the river.

    USAAF 009.JPG
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  13. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    The same area on the map.
    Kemmedene 003.JPG
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  14. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Close up of the attack on the Japanese shipping.

    USAAF 010.JPG
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  15. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Close up.

    Mangoondalay 022.JPG

    Kemmedene 005.JPG
  16. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    With regard to the photograph of the bombing of the Japanese dumps near the Mental Hospital in Rangoon in 1945, (See Post 1 of this thread), you may have wondered, who, in their right mind, bombs a mental hospital?
    Rangoon bombing 002.JPG
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
  17. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I have in my collection, a large scale, (3" to 1 mile) map of Rangoon with an intelligence overprint dating from the 8th April 1945. This map shows various Japanese, I.N.A. and B.N.A. locations in the city and outskirts. This section shows the area around the Mental Hospital.

    rangoon 001.JPG

    Legend for overprinted numbers.

    13. I.N.A. Camp and O.T.S.
    14. Broadcasting Station Transmitter.
    15. I.I.L. Headquarters. (Indian Independence League).
    16. Brick barracks for 200 Japs & I.N.A.
    17. Wireless Transmission Station.
    18. BA Han's bungalow, (brother of Ba Maw)
    19-23. Extensive Petrol & Bomb Dumps.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2019
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  18. Matt Poole

    Matt Poole Member

    High Wood, I'm impressed with your collection of photos and maps, and your grasp of geography, too. It's rare. I hadn't popped on to this forum in a while, so I'm just seeing these postings for the first time. Many thanks. I keep suffering computer issues, and things like my scanner giving up the ghost, and software which is not supported on newer computers, and Google Earth which will only work on my laptop, not my main desktop computer. But...but...but maybe over time (no promises...) I'll do a couple of "fits", and then-and-now fades, of wartime imagery atop modern Google Earth satellite images, as these things are fun to see.

    I'm about to go to bed, so I can't but here are some 1 Jan 1945 and 30 Jan 2018 comparisons for Hmawbi airfield, north of Rangoon. I had these lying around in a file... I photographed the '45 imagery at the US National Archives and then fit it to the GE satellite image. It is still a military airfield.


    1Jan45_vs_30Jan18,a.jpg 1Jan45_vs_30Jan18,b.jpg 1Jan45_vs_30Jan18,c.jpg 1Jan45_vs_30Jan18,d.jpg
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  19. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member


    I am very pleased that you have found this thread. Regrettably, it is a very ad hoc thread which is limited by my lack of photographs and corresponding maps of the right scale. I should ideally have limited it to one location per thread as it jumps back and forth all over the place. But never mind, I am having fun even if no one else is. Thank you for posting the Hmawbi overlays, it is appreciated.

  20. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Another American photograph, this one is captioned, "The only railway line between Mandalay and Monywa in Burma is destroyed at strategic points by U.S. bombers".

    The railway between Mandalay and Monywa on the Chindwin River is a branch line of the main north-south railway line between Rangoon and further north of Mandalay. It crosses the Irrawaddy River via the Ava Bridge at Sagaing and runs east-west along the north bank of the Irrawaddy, before turning north to Ye U, its final destination. A quick look at the map reveals that it does not cross the Irrawaddy between Sagaing and Monywa but it does cross the Mu River near Nyaungbinwun. Unfortunately the photograph was wrongly orientated when captioned.

    mu 005.JPG mu 007.JPG

    Here is a U.S.A.A.F. photograph released to the press on 3rd October 1944 with the caption: Mu River Bridge feels Yank bombs.Knowing that the reconquest of Burma depends largely on the disruption of Jap lines of communication and supply, U.S.A.A.F. planes return again and again to bomb the river bridge at Nyaungbinwun. Here is an aerial view of the bridge, which controls traffic over a 250-mile stretch of the Burma Railroad between Mandalay and Ye-U. The bridge has been completely rebuilt after previous bombings and all is peaceful here, except for the ominous shadows of three U.S. Planes (on river, at top of photo) coming in for the kill.

    Bridge 001.JPG

    Note the craters from previous bombing attacks on the west side of the bridge.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020

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