Old Thailand Aircrash

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Chief Master Sergeant
Sep 19, 2012
MiTasol: I may have answered too quickly about Umemoto's coverage of Darwin. I'm continuing down the table at the end of his book (it's about 53 pages in the first volume, so I've got a long way to go) and I'm finding many instances listed of IJAAF and Brit losses / damage for the attacks on Colombo and Trincomalee in April 1942. That might suggest that Darwin may not show in the tables because there were no IJAAF losses on 19 Feb 1942 and no shootdowns of RAAF aircraft. No air combat. No dogfights. Would that be correct?

I'm out of my element with regard to IJAAF attacks on northern Australia: but one way to test if this is why nothing shows for the 19 Feb 1942 attack --- Wikipedia indicates that there were numerous attacks on northern Australia. Did any later attacks get opposed by the RAAF --- with planes downed as a result? Or IJAAF planes downed by AA fire in later attacks? If so, pass me some dates and I'll check: those losses should appear in Umemoto's listing.

I've not yet tried to go much into the commentary that takes up most of the book. There may be some discussion there about the attack on Darwin.

Hi Hak

There were a number of raids on Darwin over an extended period and they were opposed by the USAAF and RAAF. The RAAF had warning of the Feb 19 raid and the CO rejected the information which meant on that raid the IJN were unopposed.

The Darwin period I am interested in is for early July 1943 and the RAAF show at least one Spitfire shot down in that period by an Oscar. I am researching another aircraft wreck from around that date that officially was not shot down, officially was chasing an Oscar and it has at least one HMG or cannon hole in it through a solid steel component. The aircraft was never used as a ground target.

If you do come across something relevant in the Burma book I would appreciate a heads up.


Lieutenant General
Nov 22, 2009
The Jungles of Canada
PM sent Mi.



Airman 1st Class
Aug 27, 2007
Melbourne, Australia
I've been given a report describing aircraft wreckage sitting on a mountainside in Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand --- the northwesterly-most corner of the country. The site is not easily accessed, as in a 2-hour 4-wheel drive up a river bed followed by a 2-hour hike. And directions are not at all clear. Not the sort of trip to do in the current (very) rainy season with flooding, washouts, landslides, dengue fever, etc, and concerns about a coronapanic lockdown being reactivated.

From the limited information given about the wreck, I've checked a list of Thai military aircraft in Young, Aerial Nationalism (Washington: Smithsonian, 1995), pp 261-262, and find the only American, 9-cylinder, 2-blade prop aircraft is a Vought Corsair V93S. The model was purchased in 1934 and saw action during WW2.

With that as a hint, I pass the following details from the report to the forum and ask if anyone can confirm that identification from these details. A caution: the description is translated from Thai and terminology may be misleading.

"Shock parts & wheel hub with numbers 1 USA, ALS 4125, El 1241 AF BIC 2 F"

Inscriptions from "two aluminum plates thought to be from a wing" (see sketch "ww2_image_1.jpg")

A radial, 9-cylinder engine (see photo "ww2_image_2.jpg"), with various numbers (not visible in the photo): "14140 H 12414 L GRP 11"

A 2-bladed propeller

An unknown device that looks like a housing (see photo "ww2_image_3.jpg"). The letters "HAYES" are barely legible in the photo.

The report is dated 1998. The photos are dated 14 Mar 1998 and are obviously the result of several generations of copying; unfortunately better copies don't seem to be available.

Hak Hakanson
Chiang Mai

There is a Vought V93 Corsair in the RTAF Museum at Don Muang airport.


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Aircraft crashes:

Thank you for identifying the crash site of Sgt Ono (on the 'Data Base: Japanese Aircraft Engines' thread). There is a second IJAAF crash site up on a mountain top near that of Ono's crash site which is down on the river plain. Very little information is currently available about it as yet.

Access to the site required Ben Svasti to leave a local highway for a three hour drive in 4WD low, followed by a two hour seemingly "vertical" hike. Eye witness information --- second hand now from a second generation --- recounted a plane exploding midair in a cloud of white smoke. Debris seemed scattered round a wide area. There were no survivors. At first villagers dared not approach the site for fear of poison and disease, and superstition no doubt. Eventually they overcame their reluctance and found a debris field of body parts, engine parts, and aluminum framework.

The site is now largely overgrown. While cultivating bananas in the area, locals have uncovered hip bones. In addition, they retrieved some engine parts which point to a radial aircraft engine (one or more) and mechanical parts of a more tenuous nature --- see photos by Svasti:

aBen07.jpg aBen19.jpg

The extent of the crash site as described by Svasti seems to imply a large aircraft, such as a Ki-21. In that vein, there was a suggestion that Senshi Sosho had described the loss of a 12th Sentai Ki-21 in the Thai mountains on 25 Dec 1941. But that is not borne out by the Google translation of Senshi Sosho Vol 34 p 344 (1970) which mentions three losses (however, to which unit was not clear, at least as translated by Google).

Ford in Flying Tigers on p 134 (1991), in describing 25 Dec 1941 events, mentions a pilot from the 77th Sentai as crash-landng in Thailand --- but that was a Ki 27 (that already identified by Shinpachi as piloted by Sgt Ono). Immediately thereafter in Ford's text, perhaps confusing for a reader, is mention of a badly damaged 12th Sentai Sally crashing in a bamboo forest --- no location given, but with the crew all surviving.

Shores, et al, in Bloody Shambles, Vol 1, p 250 (1992) tells of the "12th Sentai . . . losing three Ki 21s over the target area, while a fourth was badly hit and later force-landed --- no location given.

Umemoto in Burma Air War Vol 1, pp 41, 450 (2002) confirms that three 12th Sentai Ki-21s had been shot down over Rangoon, and added that a fourth, badly damaged crash landed in a bamboo forest in northern Malaya, with crew all surviving.

The course between Don Muang (or Phnom Penh, for that matter (see further below)) and Rangoon does not go near the crash site --- unless, as in the case of Sgt Ono, the pilot changed course to get to Japan-friendly Thailand before an anticipated crash (see mark ups on attached map from Kameta Junichi and Jeffrey Stickley:
IJAAF courses.jpg

Secondary sources don't provide much guidance: Senshi Sosho, Shores et al, Umemoto make no mention of a candidate.

Ford mentions a possible incident in two publications, but those are unfortunately ambiguous / contradictory:

  • In Flying Tigers (1991), p 120: . . . the 60th Sentai . . . twenty-seven Sallys dropped their bombs on the city and headed back to Thailand with occasional interference from Allied fighters. A crewman was shot through the forehead, and one plane crashed on the way home, probably from battle damage; the fate of its crew isn't known.
  • and in Rising Sun Over Burma (2014), p: Kindle: . . . the 60th Sentai under Colonel Ogawa . . . . All returned to Phnom Penh, but evidently one bomber was destroyed by a crash landing, its pilot unknown, as is the fate of the crew.

(Senshi Sosho, Shores, et al, and Umemoto do not mention such an incident.)

There are other possibilities. Did all the aircraft listed as lost in the Rangoon raids crash in the Rangoon area?
  • 12th Sentai Ki-21s on 25 Dec 1941
  • Backtracking, the 62th and 98th Sentai Ki-21s on 23 Dec 1941
  • Moving ahead in time, the 14th Sentai Ki-21s on 24 Jan 1942
  • Setting aside the assumption of a Ki-21, the 31st Sentai Ki-30 on 23 Jan 1942
  • Might the bodies at this crash site have been already dead before the plane crashed; ie, might the bodies be those in an aircraft from which survivors were known to have parachuted, such as the 3/98 Ki-21 piloted by Nogami on 23 Dec 1941? That is, the plane flew on, pilot-less, 250 km easterly to finally crash?
Any thoughts?

I thank you.

Hak Hakanson
Chiang Mai
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Hi Hak

There were a number of raids on Darwin over an extended period and they were opposed by the USAAF and RAAF. The RAAF had warning of the Feb 19 raid and the CO rejected the information which meant on that raid the IJN were unopposed.

The Darwin period I am interested in is for early July 1943 and the RAAF show at least one Spitfire shot down in that period by an Oscar. I am researching another aircraft wreck from around that date that officially was not shot down, officially was chasing an Oscar and it has at least one HMG or cannon hole in it through a solid steel component. The aircraft was never used as a ground target.

If you do come across something relevant in the Burma book I would appreciate a heads up.


Entries in Umemoto's log 19 Jun - 13 Aug 1943: I give more translated detail for the dates just in July; but I don't think there is anything about a Spitfire or Darwin / Australia in that period (per Google translate):

19 Jun: northern Burma​
28 Jun: northern Burma​
29 Jun: "between Saswa and Jigon" [Saswad, India ? and ?]​
30 Jun: Chabua (on India Air Transport Route)​
30 Jun: Yunnan​

09 Jul: 11Sqn G.F.リーガン曹長 ブレニム トンガップ 不明 地上掃射中に炎上墜落•3名戦死​
Unit: 11Sqn; Master Sgt G.F. Regan; flying a Blenheim; downed at Toungup, Burma; Attacker / cause: unknown or none; Details: Crashed in flames during ground sweep • 3 killed in action​
18 Jul: 375BS B-24「オールド•バルディ」 不明 チャブア飛行場 着陸事故 4名死亡​
Unit: 375BS; flying a B-24 nicknamed "Old Baldy"; pilot: unrecorded; at Chabua Airfield, India; Attacker / cause: Landing accident; Details: 4 deaths​
29 Jul: 215Sqn ウェリントン 不明 アラカン沿岸 不明 昼間進攻中に行方不明​
Unit: 215Sqn; flying a Wellington; pilot: unrecorded; along Arakan Coast; Attacker / cause: unknown; Details: Missing during daytime invasion​

09 Aug: Kalemyo, Burma​
12 Aug: Akyab, Burma​
13 Aug: off Cape Diamond ?​

Here's the page in his volume 1 that carries the listing for those dates:



Feb 17, 2008
To measure the bore/stroke of the engine debris will be the first step to ID the engine and the airframe for it.


Airman 1st Class
Dec 11, 2020
The original photo #2 is definitely a Hayes part. They were marked "HAYES INDUSTRIES INC" on the top line, and I can see "HAYES" clearly and barely make out what looks like the "I" and "D" in the 2nd word. Then the lower line would normally be marked "JACKSON MICHIGAN USA" and by tweaking the image I'm sure I can see "JACKSO" there. So it all fits.
Another crash site found: we have been able to confirm the location where the P-38 of a Lt James Kintz, USAAF, crashed on 27 May 1945. Our source was the son of the landowner where the crash had occurred. Only about seven km from Mae Rim (which in turn is about 17 km from Chiang Mai --- both distances as the crow flies).

Kintz parachuted to ground, was taken into custody by Thai officials, and moved to a POW camp near Bangkok for the duration of the war. The wreckage was long ago removed and the site has been totally resculpted by subsequent development.

Records: we have: a USAAF MCR which describes the loss in general terms, and an entry in a diary kept by a local Thai telling of the crash and the name of a nearby village. And there are US newspaper articles right after war's end recounting how well he and fellow POWs were treated. I've mentioned the discovery to a Thai indexing RTAF records: he will eventually find the RTAF message about the crash. To close the loop, I'm wondering if anyone is aware of an IJA record of the crash? Umemoto does not list the event: he covers some, but hardly all, IJAAF aircraft incidents in Thailand; USAAF incidents in Thailand, he lists only when they can be specifically related to IJAAF interactions (and I've not found that he covers anything involving the RTAF --- its participation in the Burma Air War did include losses in the Shan State directly to the north of Thailand).
Yet another crash site in northern Thailand: at some point in the near future, we are hoping to locate the wreckage of a P-40 long ago reported to be in the mountains of northern Thailand and identify it. USAAF / AVG aircraft seem to be identifiable most readily by engine number and / or prop number. Can someone give guidance as to where on those items --- if we find the wreckage --- we should look for those numbers?


Chief Master Sergeant
Sep 19, 2012
The engine number is on a plate on the left side of the engine half way between the engine mount pads. Look for the AAF number as USAAF records use that. It will be in the format 41-12345 for a 41 built engine. Problem is engines moved from aircraft to aircraft so, unless the aircraft never had an engine change, do not always directly relate to the aircraft they were fitted to at the factory. I have some engine/airframe serials if you do find an engine serial tho. Nothing else on the engine has the engines AAF serial.

Airframe plates are scattered through the aircraft on line replaceable items and carry the serial of the first aircraft they were fitted to.

As such unless you find multiple plates with the same serial, they can lead to a mistaken identity. The cockpit plate on the left canopy rail is alloy and probably corroded. The plates on the ailerons are steel and often badly rusted. The plates on the main and tail gear oleos and the numbers stamped into the retract rams are good. Best is the radio call plate on the instrument panel or right hand canopy rail depending on model.



Chief Master Sergeant
Sep 19, 2012
USAAF record of aircraft and engine serials showing first engine fitted to the aircraft. I have never seen replacement engine numbers recorded and the four columns are to allow for B-17 etc aircraft to use the same form. You will note 5359 has a real early engine fitted which suggests it was overhauled before installation.
Yet another aircraft crash site has been found in northern Thailand. A 05 June 1943 entry in a local diary kept in Chiang Mai, Thailand, during WW2, recorded a Japanese plane crashing near Wat Phothi Mongkhon, southwest southeast of Chiang Mai town.

Two interviews 'on the ground' in the Chiang Mai area were conducted Sunday, 17 Jan 2021.

First, an interview with an 87-year-old Thai corrected the location of the crash site to about 1 km west of the diary location, near a different wat, Wat Don Chan.

Following that, an 88-year-old Thai in a different subdistrict confirmed the location near Wat Don Chan and provided more details. He had heard a loud noise on a clear day around 1 pm. Aged 12 at the time, he had followed adults to the crash site in rice paddies in front of the wat. People there told him that the wreckage was that of a Japanese twin-engined aircraft which had come down after running out of fuel. He saw that it had hit an irrigation system "water gate" and been demolished in the collision; there had been no fire. He watched as many Japanese had come and taken away three injured people. He said Japanese had removed all the wreckage within a week.

Approximate location of crash site: near the front entrance of the Wat Don Chan: N18°45.615 E99°01.960
2 หมู่ที่ 4 Tha Sala Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand

I believe that Umemoto, Shores, and Ford are all silent about the event. Is anyone aware of this accident having been recorded elsewhere, hopefully with additional details?

I attach a map showing the location of the crash site plus that of the Chiang Mai airstrip, at which, presumably, the aircraft was intending to land. Prevailing winds are from the north, so likely the pilot was heading west aiming for the south end of the runway. An extension east of the bearing between the airfield and the crash site does not connect with any other known airstrip.

I thank you.

Hak Hakanson
Chiang Mai

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The crashed aircraft would be a Ki-48 of the 34th sentai (fighters unit) as no other sentais in Chiang Mai on June 5, 1943.

Thank you. From Shores 3:426, I see that the 34th Sentai was composed of Ki-48s and that sentai was in the Burma Theater from Oct 1942 to Feb 1944. The identity of Ki-48s however seems to be astray: they were classified as "Type 99 Light Bomber" rather than "fighters" per Wikipedia, Ford, etc. Does that agree with your records?

I've not found any reference to a crash on that date in what RTAF pubs I've got (this lack of coverage is standard); the museum at Don Muang is working to organize its files of original records from that period and may find a report.


Feb 17, 2008
There are nuance differences between Japanese and English.
Sentai (戦隊) is translated as Fighters Unit but "戦"(sen)" itself means Fighting.
There were many army sentais which were organized by bombers or attackers with no fighters.

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