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  • Hi, Altus,


    The airstrip was constructed in July 1945, by which time Ho Chi Minh had already recovered, I think.


    I have a problem with the dates Altus. Thomas only parachuted in on the 16th July. That only left 2 weeks for a 400X20m airstrip to be cut. A Stinson is a powerful and very robust aircraft.

    In absolutely ideal circumstances it needs half a soccer field wide by two soccer fields long to land and take off. It needs another soccer field clear of obstructions either end like a decent sized tree. L5s could land at 45 degrees into the wind. (Startling!) Climb performance was much shallower. Clearance is however required from both ends. Not even birds want to land with the wind!

    Start adding length for any uphill grade. Start adding length for long grass, start adding length for soggy or loose ground. Ideally it should be oriented into the prevailing wind. The narrower the strip the more difficult it becomes to land with a crosswind. Long wet grass with a little uphill grade is going to seriously degrade take off performance.

    If I was flying into somewhere approximately ATPNR, Id want three soccer fields lined end to end, directed into the prevailing wind with no obstructions for another soccer field in either direction. Id want the grass cut, a guarantee from someone with common dog, as to the soundness of the ground. A windsock would be nice, a smoke pot would be better. Even then, my freckle would be going fifty cents-five cents, fifty cents-five cents, fifty cents-five cents, until shut down. Some people call this cowardice; I call it sensible risk assessment.

    That this could be found, surveyed and done in a fortnight is a big ask IMHO.

    Actually, only Giap and his team went along with the OSS team. Ho had gone to Tan Trao and subsequently to Hanoi.

    I didnt know that but from Thomass description of his condition, if it was possible to fly him out. Im sure it would be attempted.

    Yes I also tracked down the 1945 OSS support missions to the 19th, but I'm not sure whether those L5s were theirs. I assume the Dakotas that RJD and lirelou cited were theirs however. Do you know what aircraft did they have?

    The link definitely establishes that the 19th flew Stinsons and that they supported OSS Missions in Indochina. Have another look. Scroll up and down

    In the meantime, I've found a fresh article on the Tuyen Quang province newspaper (in Vietnamese), in which it is said that the airstrip was 400m by 20m in size, that the first L5 that landed "was carrying two Allied officers and some supplies", that there were a number of subsequent similar flights, that the American posted a technician at the airstrip who assisted in landings and takeoffs, and that the airstrip was used in end July to repatriate a number of French imprisoned by the Japanese.

    Oh sweet. Its in Vietnamese.

    Also, this photo is said to have been taken of the locals who were constructing the airstrip.

    My Photo interpretation skills are well known in these parts.


    I've even located a photo taken at a monument near the said site (the airstrip no longer exists), featuring this US aircraft. Anybody might know what it is?


    It is an A1E Skyraider


    Cheers

    Mick

    Comment


    • Originally posted by altus View Post
      Thanks, Bob.

      Actually, what I'm interested in was the aircraft that landed in Viet Minh controlled territory which apparently brought both supplies and OSS personnel. I've found mentions about the airstrip and those missions in Marr's and Shapleen's books, corroborated by the memoirs of Le Gian, who oversaw the construction of the airstrip on the Viet Minh side at the specific request of Maj. Allison Thomas. Pretty rare stuff I reckon.

      But any info on the airdrops will be appreciated as well.

      Best regards,

      Altus
      Altus,

      The additional information is helpful. I would have responded sooner, but I have been preoccupied with family duties the past couple of days.

      Although I do not yet have a definitive answer to your question, perhaps the following information can help you narrow the focus for your research.

      Please permit me to begin by outlining my understanding of the timeline for events related to the contacts between Ho Chi Minh and the OSS. I believe an accurate understanding of the time line can help narrow the focus for research.

      The only allied agents with the Viet Minh prior to mid-June were a Chinese-American civilian businessman from Boston named Frank Tan, and a young British subject from Hong Kong named Mac Shin. They walked across the border into Vietnam with Hồ Ch Minh and arrived at the Viet Minh's Tan Trao base on 11 May 1945.

      U.S. Army Lieutenant Dan Phelan was the first OSS military officer to arrive at the Viet Minh base in Tuyen Quang. He parachuted in sometime in June 1945; probably near the end of June.

      At some point between 11 May and 16 July, the OSS office in Kunming, China sent a message to Ho Chi Minh requesting that he construct a field airstrip capable of receiving small aircraft that could bring in weapons, equipment, and personnel. I could not confirm the date; however, Vietnamese sources suggest that Kunming sent this request at the end of May or early June 1945.

      Team Deer, headed by U.S. Army Major Allison K. Thomas, parachuted into Tuyen Quang on 16 July 1945. The fact that Team Deer came in by parachute rather than on a liaison plane temps one to conclude that construction of the Lũng C airstrip was not yet complete. But there is another plausible explanation for using parachutes rather than landing an aircraft at Lũng c.

      It is likely that the Americans did not have any liaison aircraft at Kunming that were capable of landing at Lũng c when the OSS was planning the Team Deer mission in late June and early July 1945 (see details below about the 19th and 71st Liaison Squadrons).

      Ho Chi Minh and Team Deer departed the Viet Minh Tan Trao base in Tuyen Quang province on 22 August 1965. They arrived in Hanoi on the 25th of August.

      It appears that the last American liaison aircraft departed Kunming on 28 August 1945.

      The war ended on 2 September 1945. The end of the war brought an end to OSS interest in supplying arms and equipment to the Viet Minh.

      The above time line allows a very narrow window of time during which American aircraft could have landed at Lũng c.

      Now, back to the question of what type of aircraft might have landed at Lũng c.

      Vietnamese accounts describe the size of the airstrip as approximately 400 meters long and 20-25 meters wide.

      The length of the airstrip rules out any landings by the Douglas C-47 Dakota, the mainstay cargo plane used in the theater. I believe the C-47 required a minimum runway distance of 5,000 feet.

      Also, I believe we can safely assume that the OSS did not use fighter or bomber aircraft to deliver supplies and OSS personnel to the airstrip in Tuyen Quang.

      If we rule out C-47s, fighters, and bombers, the only candidates that remain (to the best of my knowledge) are the 19th and 71st Liaison Squadrons.

      All the sources that I have read state that American air missions over northern Vietnam, in1945, originated at Kunming, China. The 19th and 71st Liaison Squadrons appear to have been the only squadrons that operated out of Kunming during 1945, that had aircraft that could land at Lũng c. See:


      However, the timeline outlined above suggests that the airstrip was not constructed before mid-June 1945. If that is true, I believe we also can rule out the 19th Liaison Squadron.

      If the information posted at the websites cited above is accurate, the 19th Liaison Squadron was based at Kunming from 29 May 1944 until 28 March 1945. In other words, the 19th Liaison Squadron apparently left Kunming well before the Viet Minh began constructing the Lũng c airstrip, and approximately 3 1/2 months before Team Deer arrived in Tuyen Quang.

      This leaves only one candidate, the 71st Liaison Squadron. The 71st Liaison Squadron was based at Kunming from 10 July 1945 to 21 August 1945 (apparently, the 71st began moving from Piardoba, India, on 10 July, but did not complete the move until 21 July).

      The timing of the arrival and departure of the 71st Liaison Squadron at Kunming temps one to wonder whether the 71st Squadron was moved to Kunming for the specific purpose of providing support to the new OSS plans to work with the Viet Minh. However, I have not found any evidence that could support that conjecture.

      The 71st Liaison Squadron was equipped with the following four types of aircraft:
      • Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman: A ten-place, single-engine utility transport aircraft. The Norseman was designed for rugged Canadian bush country operations. Photos and specifications at: (http://www.military.cz/usa/air/war/t...c64/c64_en.htm) and (http://www.warbirdalley.com/uc64.htm)
      • Piper L-4 Grasshopper: Used extensively in World War II for reconnaissance, transporting supplies and medical evacuation. Continues to be sought after by bush pilots for its short take-off and landing capabilities. Crew: one pilot. Capacity: one passenger. Photos and specifications at: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_J-3)
      • Stinson L-5 Sentinel: Capable of operating from forward unimproved airstrips, the L-5 "Sentinel" delivered information and supplies to the front line troops. On the return trip, she would evacuate the badly wounded soldiers. Crew: 2 (pilot and observer). The L-5 carried a pilot and observer in a tandem seating configuration. The L-5B through L-5G models were modified to carry a litter patient or light cargo, or a rear seat passenger sitting in the normal position. Photos and specifications at: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-5_Sentinel)
      • Stinson L-1 Vigilant: The Vigilant was capable of stopping in less than its own length [34 ft 3 in (10.44 m)], and could maintain stable flight at 31 miles per hour. Crew: 3. Photos and specifications at: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L-1_Vigilant)

      The 19th Liaison Squadron had been equipped with only the L-5 Sentinel and L-1 Vigilant.

      One could infer from David Marr's wording in two footnotes on page 372 of Vietnam 1945 that he had seen evidence that Stinson L-5s had landed at Lũng c. In footnote 108, Marr wrote: "Ho Chi Minh letter . Presumably these letters were being picked up by OSS L-5 courier aircraft." In footnote 106, same page, Marr wrote, "Although the letter is undated, the text suggests it was penned on either 16 or 17 August [1945]."

      An article entitled, Lung Co - Vietnam's First International Airport [Lũng C - Sn bay quốc tế đầu tin của Việt Nam], published in the 5 November 2009, issue of Bo Tuyn Quang [Tuyen Quang News], seems to support Marr's suggestion that Stinson L-5 Sentinels landed at Lũng c.

      The Bo Tuyn Quang article states that "American L-5 aircraft could land and take off safely [at Lũng c]." [loại my bay L5 của Mỹ c thể hạ v cất cnh an ton]. (I did not find a mention of the L-5 in L Giản's memoir--perhaps I should have searched more carefully.)

      Of course, the preceding information is not sufficient to permit us to draw any definitive conclusion; however, it does suggest that the OSS flights that landed at Lũng c were flown between mid-July and 22 August 1945, by 71st Liaison Squadron pilots.

      It seems likely that at least some of the missions were carried out by Stinson L-5 Sentinels. The Piper L-4 Grasshopper would have been the most economical means to deliver and pick up documents. However, the Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman would have provided the most efficient means to bring in large amounts of equipment and personnel.

      I have sent an e-mail to the son of a man who flew the L-5 with the 71st Liaison Squadron in 1945, and asked if he or his father can shed further light on the OSS flights into Tuyen Quang.

      While not directly related to the question about OSS flights into Lũng c, there is a wonderful thumbnail history of the U.S. Army's WW II liaison pilots and the type of missions they flew, titled Army Air Force Enlisted Liaison Pilots in World War II, at the following URL:

      http://afehri.maxwell.af.mil/Documents/pdf/liaison.pdf


      Warm regards,
      Bob D
      Last edited by RJD; 16 Dec 09, 00:50.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Chippymick View Post
        Hi, Altus,


        I've even located a photo taken at a monument near the said site (the airstrip no longer exists), featuring this US aircraft. Anybody might know what it is?


        It is an A1E Skyraider


        Cheers

        Mick
        Mick,

        Did you know that the Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) aviators that carried out the VPAF's first successful air-intercept mission (18 Aug 64) were flying an A1 Skyraider (VPAF tail number 963)? There is a wonderfully complex and interesting story about the origin of that aircraft and the ingenuity that the VPAF displayed in putting that aircraft into operation, keeping it in operation, and eventually using it to carry out a successful air-intercept mission.

        Perhaps Altus and I could collaborate to write a movie script based on the story.

        Warm regards,
        RJD

        Comment


        • Wow, Bob, I'm speechless. Thank you so much for this elaborate analysis. I think your findings are the most authoritative that I've read on this subject.

          L Giản did not mention the type of the aircraft that landed at Lũng C. He only told how the airstrip was constructed.

          I only hope that when our script will be filmed, they will not use some AN-2 as a model.

          Respectfully,

          Altus

          Comment


          • Originally posted by RJD View Post
            Mick,

            Did you know that the Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) aviators that carried out the VPAF's first successful air-intercept mission (18 Aug 64) were flying an A1 Skyraider (VPAF tail number 963)? There is a wonderfully complex and interesting story about the origin of that aircraft and the ingenuity that the VPAF displayed in putting that aircraft into operation, keeping it in operation, and eventually using it to carry out a successful air-intercept mission.

            Perhaps Altus and I could collaborate to write a movie script based on the story.

            Warm regards,
            RJD
            No I didn't.

            Thanks for that.

            Can I just say at this early stage that your signal to noise ratio is singularly impressive.

            You will have to ask the Pieman whether or not you qualify as one of "the long poles in the tent", (because he coined the phrase) already, but you have my vote.

            A word of warning, collaborating with my mate Altus always carries risk, but the dividends are worth it

            Ive got a couple of billion questions for you; I hope you have the patience.

            Cheers

            Mick

            Comment


            • Originally posted by altus View Post
              :

              L Giản did not mention the type of the aircraft that landed at Lũng C. He only told how the airstrip was constructed.

              Respectfully,

              Altus
              Altus,

              Yes, indeed. I thought the choice of wording ("c thể" / "could") was interesting, which is why I posted the original Vietnamese text together with my translation.

              As you know, there is more interesting history associated with L Giản's biography, the Lũng c airstrip, and a later airstrip in Chim Ha District, north of Tuyn Quang City. Perhaps I will take time in the near future to recount some of that history and post it here.

              I will be away from my computer the remainder of today--volunteer work at our granddaughter's school.

              Thanks for your kind words.

              Warm regards,
              Bob D

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Chippymick View Post
                No I didn't.

                Thanks for that.

                Can I just say at this early stage that your signal to noise ratio is singularly impressive.

                You will have to ask the Pieman whether or not you qualify as one of "the long poles in the tent", (because he coined the phrase) already, but you have my vote.

                A word of warning, collaborating with my mate Altus always carries risk, but the dividends are worth it

                Ive got a couple of billion questions for you; I hope you have the patience.

                Cheers

                Mick
                Mick,

                Very kind words. Thank you.

                Questions welcomed. I have great patience for interesting questions about the Vietnam conflict.

                Warm regards,
                RJD

                Comment


                • Originally posted by altus
                  .a,s,a..... ..s..,.xlfm, c.z./.m,.v. /v.gv b b/f d s,s,,d,f,bh,,h,,h,h,hj,h,h,cxxs ,,
                  Altus junior strikes again

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Boonierat View Post
                    Altus junior strikes again
                    What to do... I banish him from one computer he instantly finds another. Guess I will have to remove all the bookmark shortcuts.

                    Comment


                    • *** New Indochina War website ***

                      It still under construction but we have some pages up:

                      www . legion etrangere . us
                      Lgion trangre en Indochine 1946-54
                      guerre d'Indochine franaise reconstitution historique du groupe
                      http://www.legionetrangere.us

                      Comment


                      • there used to be a superb Indochine website out of England a number of years back I think it was called "Indo '54" .... cant find a link. Anyone have any clue if its stillup?

                        Thanks.
                        Lgion trangre en Indochine 1946-54
                        guerre d'Indochine franaise reconstitution historique du groupe
                        http://www.legionetrangere.us

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by LegionEtrangere View Post
                          It still under construction but we have some pages up:

                          www . legion etrangere . us
                          Very interesting and informative website. Thanks and keep the new pages coming.
                          Skip

                          Comment


                          • French Riverine Craft 1946-54.

                            Hi everyone from 'way downunder',

                            For about five years or so I have had a very keen interest in 'Allied Light Coastal Forces' craft, predominantly WW1-2 but recently delving into post WW2 conflicts. I'm doing models mostly in 1/144th scale and have been 'tinkering' with a number of 'Brown Water Navy' craft from around the 1960's onwards.

                            I recently started becoming interested in craft from the 'First Indochina War 1946-54', in particular at this stage the STCAN/FOM river patrol boat. I have a couple of photo's and believe these boats were 11 metres in length but that is all the info I have.

                            Does anyone out there know of/has access to any plans or diagrams of the above boat?

                            I have saved a website dealing with quite a number of French riverine craft from that era (unable to post the link until I have posted five messages) but the above boat doesn't get a mention, not sure why not.

                            I am very new to this forum and am not sure if there is a 'pm' (personal message) facility or whether it's OK to post my e-mail address within a forum post.

                            Cheers,
                            Roger in Oz.
                            Bendigo, Australia.

                            Comment


                            • Welcome! It's been a while since I looked at Indochina but I'll dig out a few books and websites to see what I can find.

                              First, someone a few years ago asked about this website. http://indochine54.free.fr/cefeo/dinassau.html

                              Your question:
                              The STCAN/FOM patrol boat (a French design) had a crew of eight, one .50 caliber and three .30 caliber machine-guns.
                              http://vietnamresearch.com/history/rvn_navy.html

                              Also the Indo 54 site has french boats detailed here. It might be the Vedette FOM 11m. Armament probably not going to be exact. The french rarely had anything regularly uniformed/organized.
                              http://indochine54.free.fr/cefeo/boats.html#LCVP

                              Be a day or two before I can check the books.
                              "If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

                              Comment


                              • OK I'll have another go at posting a reply.

                                Thanks 'Craine' for your response, yes I know of the first link and have checked out the others, but alas they don't have what I'm looking for -- a plan or even a basic diagram. I do have photo's of a model someone has done and if nothing else emerges then these photo's and others in the aforementioned links will have to suffice.
                                An additional question -- what does 'STCAN/FOM' actually stand for, what do the letters refer to?

                                Yes I agree it does look like the 'Vedette FOM 11m' boat.

                                Cheers,
                                Roger.

                                Comment

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