The High Country

The layout of Mingaladon Airport, Rangoon

CAMCO sketch 1941 This file began when a Flight Simmer asked me about the layout of Mingaladon airport in 1941-42. Here's the best answer I could find, from the appendix of Erik Shilling's autobiography. It is based on a 1942 CAMCO diagram of the airport outside Rangoon, complete with the final assembly and test area to the south (the hoist, "mat sheds," and two-plane hangar). This diagram first appeared in Flying magazine, illustrating an article by Byron Glover. I've added the runway designators from Erik's description of his stint at Mingaladon in December 1941. He says that AVG Tomahawks took off from 06 and 12 while the RAF took off from 36. What fun!

Later, Matt Poole contributed a British sketch map of Mingaladon made from a photo-reconnaissance mission in May 1943, before the Japanese lengthened the east-west runway. Some of the dispersal areas were likely built by the Japanese after they occupied the airport in February 1942. On documents Matt found at the Public Records Office near London, runway 06/24 is shown as 3960 feet "between turning circles." Runway 12/30 is 3750 ft, and Runway 35/18 is 4200 ft. (Toward the end of the war, the Japanese lengthened 12/30 to the west, actually crossing the Rangoon-Pegu Road. It was this longer runway that I mistakenly described in the first edition of my history of the AVG.)

Mingaladon, 1943

Mingaladon, December 1941
By way of comparison, here's a Japanese sketch of Mingaladon as revealed by reconnaissance photographs in December 1941. Thirteen crossmarks show where RAF and AVG aircraft were dispersed when the photo plane went over. The sketch was published in a semi-official Japanese history of the air war in Southeast Asia.

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