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Thread: Kyaunggon - where is it?

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    Default Kyaunggon - where is it?

    On 18 January 1944, various airfield targets were attacked by the Liberators of 231 Group: Meiktila by 99 & 215 Sqns, Kangaung by 356 and 'Kyaunggon' by 355 Sqn.

    Can anyone throw me a lifeline and tell me where exactly Kyaunggon is please? The targets were all said to be in the general area off the Irrawaddy around Meiktila, but the results of my fruitless 'googling' so far have only turned up a place much further south in the Irrawaddy delta. (The secondary target for 355 Sqn was Pakokku, which again suggest the primary was further north.)

    Grateful for any suggestions...

    Geoff

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    This came up in my googling http://trip-suggest.com/myanmar/ayeyarwady/kangaung/ I am thinking it and Kyaunggon are the same.. ?

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    Thanks for the input but I am thinking they are not the same! From 184 Wing ORB (AIR26/273) for 18 Jan 1945:

    '0930-1655. 12 aircraft of 355 Squadron attacked Kyaunggon airfield with poor results most bombs being observed to undershoot.

    0914-1710. 12 aircraft from 356 Squadron made a very successful attack on Kangaung airfield, runways and dispersal areas being well covered with bomb bursts.'

    So Wing clearly regarded them as two separate targets. I have (somewhere on the 'web) seen the targets on this day being described as 'the Meiktila group of airfields' - or similar words. Still hasn't helped me find Kyaunggon though.


    Geoff
    Last edited by Smith 565; 18th March 2020 at 15:23.

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    How about this?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyaunggon

    Assuming its being attacked from an airfield at Calcutta, Kyaunggon is 550 miles away, and Meiktila is 460 miles from Calcutta
    Last edited by Jagan; 18th March 2020 at 15:43.

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    Yes, that's the one and only place of that name I had found, but dismissed as being some way from Meiktila.

    I'll have to sit and plot the various targets and see if that narrows it down. Unfortunately there are no routes to target recorded in the squadron records, which might have helped a bit.

    In very simplistic terms, the 355 Squadron op to Kyaunggon takes overall 7 hrs 25 mins for a Calcutta - target distance of 550 miles (1,100 total). The 356 op to Kangaung takes overall 7 hrs 56 for a Calcutta - target distance of 460 miles (920 total). Not sure that helps - just thinking out loud!

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    Hi, Geoff,

    I don't have a definitive answer, but here is the entry in the logbook of Ron Vine, a wireless operator, who flew on the op for 355 Squadron:

    "CIRCUS ON KYAUNGGON AIRFIELD - MEIKTILA GROUP".

    I think the “MEIKTILA GROUP” is an important clue here.

    I also have a partial copy of the logbook of 356 Sqn pilot Roy Collier, who was on this op. His entry says that the target was "KANGAUNG AERODROME". This is a different spelling than the airfield in Tony Vine's logbook, but it is also different than "KANGUANG".

    The following site has place names for Burma/Myanmar, though I seem to recall that I have found exceptions to this site's locations and spellings, and I think some place names from the past are not found in fallingrain.com. Still, there are 36 different locations for "KYAUNGGON" here:

    http://fallingrain.com/world/BM/a/K/y/a/u/n/

    They are:

    Kyaunggon city Sagaing Burma 24.41 94.76 347 2685
    Kyaunggon city Sagaing Burma 24.02 95.72 997 9238
    Kyaunggon city Sagaing Burma 23.97 96.05 406 7713
    Kyaunggon city Sagaing Burma 22.97 95.49 380 8393
    Kyaunggon city Sagaing Burma 22.27 95.25 830 24946
    Kyaunggon city Sagaing Burma 21.97 95.09 318 19950
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 21.31 94.67 324 8645
    Kyaunggon city Shan State Burma 21.20 96.69 4189 2193
    Kyaunggon city Shan State Burma 21.11 96.73 3349 7721
    Kyaunggon city Mandalay Burma 21.11 96.08 390 11324
    Kyaunggon city Mandalay Burma 21.11 96.05 403 11324
    Kyaunggon city Mandalay Burma 21.06 95.87 830 11456
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.70 94.67 144 14453
    Kyaunggon city Shan State Burma 20.69 96.68 4189 3844
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.63 94.65 177 14453
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.62 95.43 846 13112
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.45 94.53 364 16374
    Kyaunggon city Mandalay Burma 20.39 96.38 3349 11473
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.38 94.63 150 16539
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.25 95.42 830 11047
    Kyaunggon city Nay Pyi Taw Burma 20.18 96.49 1669 8613
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.10 94.44 830 5076
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 20.04 95.51 830 41959
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 19.86 95.34 830 13787
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 19.50 95.34 377 6442
    Kyaunggon city Bago Burma 19.31 96.30 187 8195
    Kyaunggon city Magway Burma 19.30 95.12 357 26592
    Kyaunggon city Ayeyawady Burma 18.41 95.19 3 18878
    Kyaunggon city Bago Burma 17.68 95.52 22 79442
    Kyaunggon city Rakhine State Burma 17.62 94.60 91 2512
    Kyaunggon city Yangon Burma 17.49 95.78 29 29982
    Kyaunggon city Yangon Burma 17.44 95.80 45 28519
    Kyaunggon city Ayeyawady Burma 17.10 95.19 26 47182
    Kyaunggon city Yangon Burma 16.99 95.98 36 6854
    Kyaunggon city Yangon Burma 17.00 96.08 32 61773
    Kyaunggon city Yangon Burma 16.34 96.13 36 11966

    There are two "KANGAUNG" spellings at http://fallingrain.com/world/BM/a/K/a/n/g/

    Kangaung city Shan State Burma 20.74 96.95 3349 175009
    Kangaung city Ayeyawady Burma 16.59 94.98 59 25181


    On fallingrain.com, there are NO listings for the spelling "KANGUANG", for what it's worth.

    For reference, MEIKTILA town's lat/long on this site is 20.8778 (20d 52m 40s) N, 95.8584 (95d 51m 30s) E. Using this lat/long, you can eliminate some of the locations in the above lists.

    The book "Signed With Their Honour" (I know you have it), which has many errors, states (and spells) the following:

    On the 18th twelve Liberators from 355 Squadron detailed to attack Kyaunggon airfield. 32 Thunderbolts provided fighter cover. Eleven aircraft bombed the airfield and bomb bursts were observed on the northern end of the runway. One 355 Squadron Liberator had hang up over target and jettisoned bombs live over satellite field at Meiktila. On the same day twelve aircraft from 356 Squadron attacked the airfield at Kanguang. The bombs from all twelve Liberators fell over the whole runway except for the south west corner.

    It seems that there were two separate satellite airfields spelled with a "K" which were part of the targeting of airfields in the MEIKTILA area on 18 January 1945 by RAF and also US 7th Bomb Group Liberators.

    On this date, 99, 215, 355, and 356 Squadrons each sent out 12 Libs, and the US 7th Bomb Group sent 27 Liberators to bomb THEDAW airfield, definitely one of the sites close to MEIKTILA.

    I might be able to find a reference to a Kew document which has a graphic showing the locations of all airfields in Burma – I’ll have to dig for that and then post when I find it. Then, maybe, on a future visit to Kew, you can check it out, or get someone to do the snooping for you.

    When I worked, I could access an old names gazetteer for Burma, which was fabulous, but, poor me, I'm retired now. A friend who recently did some work for me in this regard just retired last week (just before all this COVID-19 mess started to wreak havoc with the fundamental problem of federal workers with high security clearances who can't work at home). Maybe a names gazetteer can be found at a place like the British Library, where a librarian might be willing to look something up for you.

    But I must search for that reference to a Kew document, as I think it could solve the issue.

    Cheers,

    Matt
    Last edited by Matt Poole; 19th March 2020 at 15:50. Reason: Just cleaning house

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    Geoff,

    I did find my scribbled notes from a visit to Kew long ago. I was concentrating upon early 1944, but I did find two references to identified Japanese airfields:

    AIR 24/1296 (book) (March 1944) - Includes "Airfield-to-Airfield Report No. 20". Tons of photomaps and details.

    AIR 24/1297 (I didn't record a date, but I'll guess April '44) - Great mini-guide to all Burma airfields. Shows runways & perimeter track in thumbnails.

    Since these both probably date to the spring of '44, there's a chance that the satellite airfields around Meiktila had not been constructed yet.

    Maybe in your next trip to Kew, you'll be able to check one or both of these sources. And maybe other AIR 24 sources from later in the war will be found. I think the above were bound books released each month, so possibly there will be other mini-guides to Japanese airfields in Burma which will clarify matters.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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    Thanks for the customary detailed reply Matt.

    Kew is closed at present due to Covid-19. Goodness knows when it will open again, but not in the immediate future.

    I'm sure the answer to my question is in the Meiktila area and I'll do some serious work on it next week with the material I have available, including your helpful data.

    Interested to see you have some copies from the Roy Collier logbook. That was up for auction last year at Colchester in the UK, about half an hour from where I live. I went to have a look at it and did bid on it, but there was someone in the room with deeper pockets. There was also a box of miscellaneous papers related to Collier in the next lot; same buyer got them too. Then, December last year, both logbook and some other items turned up again at another auction house, this one very local to me. Sold at a further increase in price! Its a very small world sometimes...

    Geoff

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    Matt,

    Thanks also for your 19.54 hrs post, which must have come in while I was composing my previous reply!

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    Well, Geoff, Kew being closed...I should have realized the likelihood...this virus onslaught goes deep, no doubt about it. Someone I know was at the Imperial War Museum this week studying some files, so I guess I just blindly assumed that TNA was still up and running.

    My Collier info comes from what I downloaded from the auction announcement, so I lucked out in getting the partial scans of his logbook covering at least part of his 356 Squadron flying. I can't remember, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that you pointed out this auction to me.

    So...Kew is closed...but the question of whether there were two separate satellite airfields beginning with "K" in the Meiktila area can be learned. I'm already feeling strongly that there were two different airfields, but it would be great to get the proof.

    Oh, I know, I can go over to the US National Archives and search for the evidence, which surely exists there. Whaaaat? They're closed? (My sister just told me this...no surprise.)

    Actually, at the Nat'l Archives I have done imagery work -- ordering wartime flight recon imagery over a place I was studying. I had zeroed-in on Meiktila airfield a couple of years ago, and no doubt the imagery I was looking at had other airfields in the area...I just didn't have a need to study them at the time, and I didn't take digital images. Now that I think about it, I bet I could find the answer fairly easily, because photo recon flights often focused on airfields. However, the National Archives are closed...

    I have one last option -- a friend who is quite the collector, so if -- a big if -- he has a wartime map of the area, it might have airfields on it, or villages with wartime spelling. I'll ask.

    Cheers,

    Matt

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