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    Cheng Tu Airfield (Chengtu, 成都) Szechuan Province China

Location
Lat 104° 4' 0" E Long 30° 32' 0" N. Located at Cheng Tu (Chengtu). Also known as Chungsing Chang, Fenghwangshan and Makiashipen. Wartime spelling "Chengtu" or "Cheng-Tu" was the Wade-Giles transliteration used during World War II for the Chinese city 成都.

Construction
Around Cheng Tu, four runways were built using thousands of Chinese laborers as bases for B-29 Superfortreess bombers. The four runways were named A-1, A-3, A-5 and A-7.

Hsinching Airfield (A-1, Xinjin, Xin-jin, Sintsing, 新津)
Forward base for the 40th Bombardment Group at Hsinching.

Kwanghan Airfield (A-3, Guang-han, 廣漢)
Located at Kwanghan. Forward base for the 444th Bombardment Group.

A-5: Forward base for the 462nd BG at Kiunglai, (maybe spelled Chiung-Lai 邛崍; Qiong-Lai)
A-7: Forward base for the 468th Bombardment Group at Pengshan (彭山; Peng-shan)

Wartime History
On October 21, 1942 B-24s from the India Air Task Force (IATF) stage through Chengtu and Chinato bomb Lin-hsi, China coal mines; the attack fails to flood the mines but inflicts considerable damage to the target area; this marks thefirst use of heavy bombers in China and the first AAF strike north of the Yangtzeand Yellow Rivers.

On November 10, 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved in principle the use of Chengtu for raids deep into China and later Japan. During 1944, used by 20th Air Force, 462nd Bombardment Group B-29 Superforesses as a staging base for bombing missions.

As of May 1, 1944 there were a total of four runways capable of handling B-29s in the Chengtu area. On June 15, 1944 47 B-29s flying via Chengtu bomb the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata. On July 7, 1944 14 B-29s, operating out of Chengtu during the night of 7/8 July bomb Sasebo, Omura, and Tobata, Japan. On July 29, 1944 70+ B-29s out of Chengtu bomb the Showa Steel Works at Anshan and Taku Harbor.

August 10, 1944 two missions are flown during the night of 10/11 Aug; in one, 24 B-29s, out of Chengtu, bomb the urban area of Nagasaki and 3 others hit targets of opportunity. Next, on August 20, 1944 a total of 61 Chengtu based B-29s bomb the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata during the day, followed by 10 more during the night of 20/21 Aug, 5 hitting targets other than the primary.

On September 8, 1944 90 Chengtu based B-29s bomb the Showa Steel Works at Anshan. On September 26, 1944 83 B-29s, staging from Chengtu bomb Anshan most of them striking the Showa Steel Works with poor results; 15 others bomb Dairen, Sinsiang, and various targets of opportunity. During the night of September 26/27, Japanese aircraft bomb the Chengtu area, damaging five B-29s. On September 8, enemy aircraft follow B-29 missions and continue until 19 Dec but are of light nature and annoying rather than seriously damaging.

On October 6, 1944 20th Air Force P-61 Black Widows arrive in Chengtu. On October 14, 1944 103 B-29 Superfortresses stage through Chengtu to bomb the Okayama aircraft plant on Formosa. Two days later on October 16, 1944 40 B-29s, flying via Chengtu, again bomb Okayama aircraft plant The next day 10 B-29s, flying out of Chengtu. Next, on October 25 a total of 59 B-29s, flying out of Chengtu, bomb an aircraft plant at Omura, Kyushu, Japan.

On November 12, 1944 29 B-29s fly via Chengtu to bomb Omura, Japan. On November 21, 61 B-29s from Chengtu bomb an aircraft plant at Omura, Japan. On December 7, 1944 Mission 19: 108 B-29s, operating from Chengtu bomb the Manchuria Airplane Manufacturing Company at Mukden.

On December 18, Mission 19: 108 B-29s, operating from Chengtu, are dispatched to bomb the Manchuria Airplane Manufacturing Company. The next day on December 19, Mission 22: 36 B-29s, from the Chengtu are dispatched to hit an aircraft plant at Omura, Japan. On December 21, 23: 49 B-29s from Chengtu are dispatched to attack Mukden.

On January 6, 1945 Mission 25: 49 Chengtu based B-29s are dispatched to bomb an aircraft factory at Omura, Kyushu, Japan; 28 hit the primary target, 13 bomb a secondary target at Nanking, while 6 attack targets of opportunity. This is 20th Bomber Command's last mission against targets in Japan from China. On January 9, 1945 Mission 26: 46 B-29s from Chengtu are dispatched to bomb Kirun Harbor, Formosa. On January 14, 1945 Mission 28: 82 B-29s out of Chengtu are dispatched to bomb Kagi Airfield; 55 hit the primary target while 1 bombs Heito; 22 others hit alternates and targets of opportunity at several points, among them Taichu Airfield, Formosa and Hengyang, China; no B-29s are lost. January 17, 1945 Mission 29: 77 of 92 B-29s from Chengtu bomb Shinchiku Airfield; 8 other hit alternates and targets of opportunity in SE China.

By January 27, 1945 the forward detachments of B-29 groups operating from the Chengtu area are evacuated to more permanent bases in India. This move complies with the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) directive formulated on 15 Dec 44 and received on 18 Dec; the long-existing understanding that the XX Bomber Command might be moved from the CBI Theater when more convenient bases are available is thus put into its initial stage when the XX Bomber Command's Commanding General, Major General Curtis Emerson LeMay, and the JCS agree that on logistical grounds XX Bomber Command's operating scheme is basically unsound, a situation made more apparent when in November the Japanese overran Luchou and Yungning and threatened Kunming, China; this development necessitated air tonnage flown over the Hump being diverted to Chinese ground forces and the Fourteenth AF, resulting in curtailed supplies.

American units based at Cheng Tu
312th Fighter Wing, HQ Kunming March 23, 1944 - ?
443rd TCG, 27th TCS (C-47 detachment) May 21, 1944 - ?
Used as a staging base for 20th AF B-29s during November - December 1944
14th AF, 426th NFS (P-61) Madhaiganj November 5, 1944 - March 1, 1945 Shwantliu

References
Thanks to Raymond Cheung for additional information

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

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