You are here

Following the advice of UK and Scottish Governments, NCAP has now returned to limited operations in our offices.

We are now able to process orders for not-yet-digitised aerial imagery, to revised delivery timescales.

Targets in Thailand

 

From September 1943 until the end of the Second World War, No. 684 Squadron, Royal Air Force, was based at Dum Dum, India with a detachment in Sri Lanka, and undertook long-range photographic reconnaissance missions across south-east Asia in de Havilland Mosquito and B-25 Mitchell aircraft.

 

One of the missions flown by this unit is sortie 684BN/0556; this mission took place on 21 January 1945 and covered a variety of key military installations and railway bridges in Thailand, as well as overflying the capital, Bangkok. The mission also records the locations of several heavy warships and submarines of the Royal Thai Navy.

 

 

Railway Bridges

Railways were key lines of communication in south-east Asia, where roads were often poor and could be unpassable to vehicles in monsoon season. As such, railway bridges were key targets and aerial reconnaissance was required in order to assess bomb damage from attacks and to monitor the rate of repair work afterwards. This image shows a destroyed steel truss rail over river double bridge.

This image shows the Rama VI through-type steel cantilever rail over river bridge before its destruction by Allied aircraft on 7 February 1945.

This image shows the two bridges over the River Mae Klong (renamed Kwa Yai in 1960) and the adjacent Tamarkan Prisoner of War (POW) camp. Vital links in the infamous Burma-Siam railway, these bridges were built by the Japanese using POW and Asian slave labour in extremely unfavourable conditions. The wooden trestle bridge was completed in February 1943 and the steel truss bridge in April 1943.

 

The 1957 film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, was based on the construction of one of the railway bridges over the Mae Klong.

 

 

Military Facilities

Part of the accommodation area of the Sattahip Bay naval facility, with two semi-buried storage tanks visible in the hills to the south.
A small grass airstrip with hangar and workshop building adjacent. There is evidence of repaired bomb damage on the runway, probably from the December 1941 Japanese invasion, but the site appears to be unoccupied at the date of imaging.

 

 

Warships

Two warships, possibly Maeklong-class cruisers of the Royal Thai Navy, are visible in this image. Both have environmental covers over their decks to keep their metal decks cool and to shield their crews from the sun.

 

Since Thailand had sided with the Japanese during the Second World War, it was important for Allied intelligence to track the movements of warships such as these.

 

A large warship, probably the coastal defence ship HTMS Thonburi, is visible moored in the river offshore from the Royal Thai Naval Academy site. The ship has environmental covers over her fore and after decks and main armament.

 

This image shows part of the Sattahip Bay naval installations, with oil fuel storage tanks ashore and two submarines moored in the river channel. Both vessels have environmental covers erected fore and aft of the sail.

 

 

Bangkok

This image covers part of Bangkok city centre, showing Ratchadamnoen Klang Road and the Democracy Monument at upper centre, Wat Suthat temple and the Giant Swing at lower left, and the Golden Mountain and Wat Saket at lower right.

A grid of new roads has been laid out and house construction started in this area south of Bangkok. Due to the high flood risk in this area, houses and pathways connecting them to the road grid are elevated above ground level.

 

Today, many of these houses have been cleared away and the area is devoted to rice and prawn fields.