East Asian/Pacific Area

This section includes:

{short description of image} Chinese Air Force

The Chinese Air Force found itself rebuilt nearly from scratch three times between 1935 and 1943. In the mid-1930s, Italian and American aircraft and advisors were brought in - nearly 500 in all. The heart of this air force was some 300 Curtiss Hawk biplane fighters (60 Is, 130 IIs, 80 IIIs). In August 1937, when Japanese forces in China attacked, this Air Force rapidly fell apart; only 200 aircraft were in a flyable condition and most of those were rapidly destroyed in air combat.

The Soviet Union came in next in the fall of 1937, giving some 250 aircraft directly to China, including I-15 and I-16 fighters and SB-2 bombers, and bringing with them some 200 aircraft of their own. At this time, the Japanese were deploying new, modernized aircraft like the A5M2 and Ki.27a fighters, Ki.30 lt bombers, and Ki.21 medium bombers. These cut the deeply into the Russian-built aircraft, though the Russian pilots flew much better than the Chinese.

Also in 1937, a team of American advisors under Claire Chennault were brought in to rebuild the CAF training system.

China had limited funds, and bought a variety of aircraft in small lots in 1938-1941. These included:

  • 30 Gloster Gladiators (fighters)
  • 24 Dewoitine D.510s (fighters)
  • 100 Curtiss P-36M Hawks (fighters) assembled by CAMCO
  • 24 CW-21 Demons (fighter)
  • 12 Northrop A-17A Nomads (lt bomber)
  • 35 Vultee V-11 (A-19 lt bomber) assembled by CAMCO
  • 6 Martin 139W (med B-10 bomber)

Most of these aircraft did not survive long. The first dozen Vultee bombers were destroyed on the ground when the foreign pilots boasted of what they would soon do with them. The CW-21s were bought as kits and assembled at loi-wing during early 1942; by the time they began to approach completion in May, the Japanese advanced on Loi-wing, and the almost-completed aircraft were destroyed.

In addition to aircraft, Chennault spent a lot of time developing an air defense network of civilian spotters, so that the Japanese could be intercepted BEFORE they arrived at their targets. He also re-organized the Chinese military flight school.

Chennault went to the US for aide, and in March, 1941, was right in line as soon as the Lend Lease bill was passed. He also received permission to recruit military pilots for an American Volunteer Group. In December, 1941, with the US entry into the Pacific War, China was promised many more goods - but of course, China's needs came after the US military's needs. US military advisors also became quite annoyed that a large amount of aid was squirreled away for later use against the Communists. Still, China was given a number of aircraft including:

Some of these aircraft (especially the Vanguards) were left boxed for storage and saved for later use against the Communists. The Lancer and the Vanguard, Dewoitine D.510, Curtiss P-36M, Curtiss Hawk, Boeing P-26, Martin 139W , Northrop A-17 Nomad, and the Russian aircraft are available on-line from Uncle Ted's. The P-40C appeared in Air Power. These aircraft trickled in as pilots and fuel was available between October 1941 and December 1942.

At this point, the Chinese Air Force was organized into 3-squadron groups as follows:

Later on (1943-45) additional aircraft including P-51Bs and B-25s were given to the CAF.

In 1943, the Chinese Air Force was organized as:

The Chinese always had major problems with maintenance and pilot quality. Aircraft very quickly became unflyable due to poor or no maintenance. Add +2 to any aircraft availability rolls.

Pilot Quality: Poor

American Volunteer Group

In mid-1941, Chennault began to organize the American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers, made of military and ex-military pilots. The AVG was organized as 3 squadrons, flying P-40Cs (originally 100, later reinforced by 32 P-40Es). The Flying Tigers did not actually begin to fly against the Japanese until late December, 1941 - after Pearl Harbor. The Flying Tigers flew over southern China and Burma until July, 1942, when they were incorporated to the USAAC as Fighter Squadrons 74, 75, and 76.

Pilot Quality: Good


Japan is a major air force of World War II; I will not document it. I will describe its air unit organization for use with various campaigns, which will be documented elsewhere. Japan had two major military organizations - the Army and the Navy - each with its own air force.

The antagonism between the IJN and the IJAAF were even worse than between the USN and the USAAF. As with the US Army and Navy, these two air forces did not share a common designation system. But where the USN and USAAF at least used common weaponry and occaisionally shared aircraft, radar, and some radio equipment, both Japanese services had completely separate weapons, equipment, and aircraft. They made little effort to cooperate in the field.

Japanese Army Air Force Japanese Fleet Air Units
The Japanese Army Air Force was built from the Air Company up:
  • a Chutai had 3 or 4 sections (shotai)of 3 aircraft (9 a/c)
  • 3-4 Chutai of 1 type (fighter, Lt bomber, Mdm bomber) formed a Sentai 27-36 a/c).
  • 3-4 Sentai, usually a mix of fighter and bomber units, formed a Hikodan (80-130 a/c).
  • 2 or more Hikodan formed a Hikoshidan.
The Japanese Fleet Air units were built up from squadrons, but the basic unit was the Air Wing:
  • Squadron (Chutai) had 3 sections of 3 aircraft (9 a/c) +3 reserve a/c. They usually flew as a section - a Lead and two wingmen.
  • 3-4 Chutai formed a Wing or Air Group (Kokutai).
  • Wings were built into Air Flotillas (Koku Sentai).
  • Flotillas were built into Air Fleets (Koku Kantai).
In November, 1941, the Admiral in charge of the 11th Koku Kantai, tasked with hitting the Philippines, send home two small aircraft carriers and their escort, since he could carry out his mission with just his Tainan-based bombers and Zeros - creating a Japanese fleet with no ships.
In September, 1940, the JAAF consisited of :
  • 36 fighter Chutai
  • 28 light bomber Chutai
  • 22 medium bomber Chutai
  • 29 recon Chutai
In 1941, The Japanese Naval Air Fleet was some 1750 aircraft:
  • 660 fighters
  • 330 carrier-borne strike aircraft (Val and Kate)
  • 240 medium bombers (G3Ms, G4Ms)
  • 520 Flying boats and sea planes

11th Koku Kantai (December, 1941)

21st Koku Sentai Kanoya Kokutai
1st Kokutai
Toko Kokutai
27 G4M1 Betty mdm bombers
36 GM32 Nell mdm bombers
24 H6K2 Mavis flying boats
22nd Koku Sentai Mishoro Kokutai
Genzan Kokutai
Kanoya Kokutai
Special Detachment
36 G3M2 Nell mdm bombers
36 G3M2 Nell mdm bombers
27 G4M1 Betty mdm bombers
6 C5M2s, 25 A6M2 Zeros, 12 A5M4 Claudes
23rd Koku Sentai Takao Kokutai
Tainan Kokutai
3rd Kokutai
54 G4M1 Betty mdm bombers
6 C5M2s, 92 A6M2 Zeros, 12 A5M4 Claudes
6 C5M2s, 92 A6M2 Zeros, 12 A5M4 Claudes

See also various campaigns, which may have more specific information.

Japanese Bombs, Rockets, & Accessories

The Japanese used the bombs described in the following table:

Name Type Weight Load points Soft/Hard
Att Strength
Year Avail. User
Type 92 15 kg HE 33 lb. 3/1 A
25 kg HE 55 lb. 0.5 4/2 1938 A
No.3 Mod 2 30 kg HE 66 lb. 0.5 5/2 1937 N
Type 94 50 kg HE 110 lb. 1.0 8/4 1937 A
Type 97 60 kg HE 132 lb. 1.0 10/5 1936 N
Type 94 100 kg HE 220 lb. 2.0 20/10 1936 A
12th Year Type 100 kg AP 220 lb. 2.0 15/15 1936 A
Type 98 250 kg HE 550 lb. 3.0 40/20 1938 N
Type 99 No. 25 250 kg AP 550 lb. 3.0 20/40 N
300 kg HE 660 lb. 3.5 50/25 A
No. 50 mod 2 500 kg HE 1100 lb. 5.0 80/40 1939 N
Type 2 No. 50 500 kg AP 1100 lb. 5.0 50/80 1939 N
1000 kg HE 2200 lb. 7.0 150/70 1941 A
Type 91 torp 1760 lb. 7.0 100/50 1931 A/N
Launch parameters: Height: 0.7, speed: <6.0. Type 91 Torp moves two hexes in three turns. Range: 22 hexes.
Type 91 mod 2 torp 1870 lb. 7.0 120/60 1942 A/N
Launch parameters: Height: 0.9, speed: <6.0. Type 91 Torp moves 1 hex each turn. Range: 22 hexes.
28.6-gal FT FT 250 1.5/1.0 Ki.27 1938 A
35-gal FT FT 300 2.5/1.5 A5M4 1937 N
40-gal FT FT 300 2.5/1.5 A6M5 1938 N
50-gal FT FT 350 2.5/1.5 Ki.61 1941 A
87-gal FT FT 600 3.5/2.0 A6M5b 1939 N

British Far East Air Force

The Far East Air Force was charged with the air defense of British possessions beyond India (Australia was a separate entity): Malaysia, Burma, Singapore, Borneo. The goal of British defense policy in the Far East was the defense of the naval base in Singapore, where the British would send a battle fleet in time of war. This was expanded to include all of Malaya, and to help the small number of ground troops cover the large about of ground, air units were added. The plan entailed some 339 aircraft (local commanders had asked for 550).

Neither of these numbers were approached, and all of the aircraft were second-line.

In December, 1941, the British Far East was guarded by 233 aircraft in 13 squadrons:

Add to this a small Australian air contingent moved to Malaya once the Japanese attacks began consisting of

In early 1942, the Australians added two more squadrons of Hudsons: 1 to Timor and 1 to Ambon.

None of these fared very well against the Japanese. However, as American aid began to reach Britain and the Battle of Britain eased off, Britain could afford to send more aircraft. By September, 1942, British air strength was up to 25 sqdns (including those based in India).

Pilot Quality: Average

RAF/FAA Bombs, Rockets, & Accessories

The RAF and FAA used the bombs described in the following table:

Name Type Weight Load points Soft/Hard
Att Strength
Year Avail.
Mk VII DC 450 lb 3.0
Mk IX DC 288 lb 2.0
Mk ?? torp 1610 lb. 7.0 80/50
Launch parameters: Height: 0.7, speed: <6.0. Type 91 Torp moves two hexes in three turns. Range: 22 hexes.

Netherlands East Indies Air Force

The Netherlands East Indies Air Force (NEIAF), like the rest of the East Indies forces, remained as Allies after May, 1940. Even before May, 1940, the NEIAF was equipped differently than the LVA, since the USA was much closer than Holland. NEIAF was spread across the Southwest Pacific area over the Dutch holdings.

By August, 1941, the NEIAF consisted of:

Almost all of these aircraft were lost in action or destroyed or captured on the ground between December, 1941 and March, 1942.

Pilot Quality: Limited

Vichy IndoChina

Vichy France's most remote large colony was IndoChina, encompassing the current nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Until the fall of France, Haiphong was the port used to import supplies bound for Nationalist China, many better routes cut off by Japanese gains in China in 1937-40. When France fell, and Vichy became an associate of Germany, Vichy was ordered to at least cooperate with the Japanese, and to support them by ceasing to import material to China.

The air units in IndoChina had to defend against a war declared by Thailand in January 1941. These included:

September 1940 :
Groupe Aerien Mixte 41
(formed 1938)
Escadrille 1/41, Potez 25TOE
Escadrille 2/41, 4 Farman 221 (used as transports & night bombers)
Groupe Aerien Mixte 42
(formed 1938)
Escadrille 1/42, Potez 25TOE
Escadrille 2/42, 6 Potez 542 (used as night bombers)
1 Potez 631C used for reconnaissance
Groupe Aerien Mixte 595
(formed March 1939)
Escadrille 1/595, Potez 25TOE
Escadrille 2/595, 9 Morane-Saulnier 406 (formed October 1939)
Groupe Aerien Mixte 596
(formed March 1939)
Escadrille 1/596, Potez 25TOE
Escadrille 2/596, 7 Morane-Saulnier 406 (formed October 1940)
Commandement des Bases du Sud
(Southern Bases Command)
Escadrille 1/CBS, 8 Loire 130, 2 CAMS 55, 2 CAMS 37
Navy Seaplanes: 2 Loire 130, 3 Potez 452, 3 Gourdou 832 (most from ships of the Indochina station)

See the Vichy vs. Thailand campaign for more information.


  1. Reconnaissance/army cooperation biplane. I have not been able to find exact number of planes per escadrille, but there were 30 Potez 25TOE in Indochina in September 1940.
  2. Bought by China (hence the C designation), three Potez 631 were held in Haiphong. Two were used for reconnaissance until 1943, the third being used for spares. This aircraft was assigned to the group commander; the other one probably went to the commander of Groupe Aerien Mixte 41.
  3. These are the "Chinese" Moranes that were impounded in Haiphong and flew without their 20mm gun (some say the guns were never sent; some say the cannon were found after the war, still in their crates, long after the last Morane was retired). These aircraft were mixed in the two escadrilles later.
  4. Seaplanes. The Loire 130s - monoplane equivalent of the Walrus - was used for night bombing missions using anti-submarine depth charges !

Pilot Quality: Limited


(information supplied by

Thailand had a small air force. It was modern for its corner of the world. It was used independently when Thailand attacked Vichy IndoChina in January 1941. It was taken over by the Japanese when they invaded Thailand on their way south and west in late 1941/early 1942. The Thai Air Force included:

Thai Air Force (December 1940 :)
Northern Region Command #73 Mixed Wing (Ubon)

Observation Sqdn # 32 - 9 Vought V-93
Bomber Sqdn # 50 - 6 Martin 139W

#35 Mixed Wing

Observation Sqdn # 34 (Udorn), 9 Vought V-93s
Pursuit Sqdn # 50 (Nakhon Panom), 9 Curtiss Hawk III

Southern Region Command #66 Wing

Phibun Songkram Sqdn # 1 (Don Muang - Bangkok), 12 Mitsubishi Ki.30 Ann
Phibun Songkram Sqdn # 2 (Don Muang - Bangkok), 12 Mitsubishi Ki.30 Ann
Pursuit Sqdn # 60 (Don Muang - Bangkok), 11 Curtiss Hawk 75N

#74 Mixed Wing
Observation Sqdn # 44, 9 Vought V-93s
Pursuit Sqdn # 71, 9 Curtiss Hawk III
Pursuit Sqdn # 72, 9 Curtiss Hawk III
Observation Section #75 Mixed Wing

Pursuit Sqdn # 73 (Sisaket), 9 Curtiss Hawk III
Pursuit Sqdn # 80 (Prachinburi), 9 Curtiss Hawk II
Attack Sqdn # 35 (Prachinburi), 9 Vought V-93

Thailand had two versions of the North American AT-6 Texas (NA-68 fighter, NA-69 light bomber) on order, but the aircraft were impounded in the Philippines (and used by the USAFEAF as the A-27 in the Philippines) and in the US (P-64 advanced fighter trainers).

After being overrun by Japan in early 1942, Thailand became a puppet state under Japanese control. The Japanese added:

See the Vichy vs. Thailand campaign for more information.

The Ki.43 Hayabusa was published in Air Power #37. The Hawk 75N, the Hawk II/III, NA-68 (P-64), NA-69 (A-27), Martin 139W, Ki.30 Ann, and Ki.21 Sally are available from Uncle Ted's.

Pilot Quality: Limited

{short description of image} US Far East Air Force

The US Far East Air Force was based in the Philippines. Although the USAAC was undergoing rapid growth in size and equipment, the USFEAF was at the tail end of that dog. As if that was not bad enough, even hours after the warning of the Pearl Harbor attack, few CAPs were launched and most aircraft in the Philippines were sitting on Clark and Iba Field's runways parked close together in full display when the Japanese attacked from bases in Tainan.

Within a few weeks, the USFEAF was doomed as a force.

The USFEAF was made of some 227 aircraft, including:

Clark (Luzon) 28th & 30th BSqdns (19th BG)
24th PS
17 B17Ds
20 P-40Bs
20 P-40Es
Nichols (Luzon) 2nd Obs Sqdn
17th & 34th Pursuit Sqdns

24 P-35As
Iba (Luzon) 3rd Pursuit Sqdn P-40Es
Del Carmen (Luzon) 21st PS P-35As (starting to change to P-40Es)
Del Monte (Mindinao) 14th & 93rd BSqdns 18 B17Ds

Pilot Quality: Average

The US military presence in the southwest Pacific area was regrown after the Philippines fell, obviously. New US units were in action over New Guinea as soon as April, 1942. But that is another story.

ADCs for the Seversky P-35A, Boeing P-26 Peashooter, and the Boeing B-17D are available on Uncle Ted's.

Additional US Ordnance

Name Type Weight Load points Soft/Hard
Att Strength
Year Avail. User
Mk 13 torp 2000 lb. 7.0 120/100 1943 N
Launch parameters: Height: 0.1, speed: <3.0. Mk. 13 Torp moves two hexes in three turns. Range: 60 hexes.
ASM-2 Bat Glide bomb 1880 lb 8.0 100/50 1945 N
VB-1 Azon Guided bomb 1000 lb 5.0 80/40 1944 A
Tiny Tim Rocket 1300 lb 6.0 20/35 1945 A

Philippine Army Air Corps

Just as there was a Philippine Army operating under US auspices, there was a small Philippine Army Air Corps, established earlier in February, 1941. They were headquartered at Zablan Field on Luzon. In December, 1941, they had three active squadrons that participated in the defense of the Philipines:

6th Pursuit Squadron 12 P-26As
9th Observation Sqdn 2 O-46s
10th Bombardment Sqdn 2 B-10Bs

While not particularly effective, the P-26s shot down a few aircraft and aided with patroling and recon work - not bad for an obsolete aircraft.

The PAAC was going to receive P-35As as the USAFEAF phased them out.

The P-26A, P-35A, and B-10B are available from Uncle Ted's.

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