Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Axis Warplane Survivors, Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, China, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma

Axis Warplane Survivors,

Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, China, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma

Data current to 24 Sep 2018.

Empire of Japan Puppet State Air Forces of Manchukuo (Manchuria), Mengjiang (Inner Mongolia), the Re-organized National Government of China, the Philippines (Second Republic), India (Provisional Government of Free India), Vietnam (Empire of Vietnam), Cambodia, Laos, and Burma (Baw Maw Regime)

The government of the Empire of Japan viewed all the lands of Asia to be the rightful property of the Imperial Japanese Government and the Emperor.  The land invasion of Korea, China and parts of Russia, which had begun at the turn of the 20th century, had been taking an upswing.  The Japanese had been kept from realizing their goal of unifying or dominating the Asian lands by the presence of foreign military forces in the Philippines (United States), Hong Kong, Malaysia (United Kingdom) and the Dutch East Indies.  Japan had hoped that they could strike fast and hold off reinforcements long enough to broker a peace accord from a position of strength such as they had done during the Russo Japanese War.

Central to the Japanese goals was the taking of all Asian lands.  To be successful US, UK, and Dutch forces were to be attacked simultaneously to prevent their ability to reinforce and aid their Asian possessions.  Pivotal to the Japanese decision to attack was a tremendous need for crude oil as a result of economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands which was weakening the Japanese economy.  The Japanese leaders were faced with a choice: end the war in China and their plans for Asian conquest, so as to end the sanctions, or declare war on three large military forces.  The current war against Britain, and Holland, and the strain of providing aid by the United States to these countries was seen as an opportunity by the Japanese to extend their “rightful” place as a ruler in Asia.

The Japanese government decided to seize resources under the control of Britain, the United States and the Netherlands. Japan had already placed over ten divisions in Formosa (Taiwan). Japanese military planners argued that the British (and the USSR should they decide to declare war), would be unable to effectively respond to a Japanese attack, given the threat posed by the Third Reich.[29]

Manchukuo (Manchuria)

Before the Second World War, the Japanese colonized Manchukuo and used it as a base from which to invade China. I n the summer of 1939 a border dispute between Manchukuo and the Mongolian People’s Republic resulted in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol.  During this battle, a combined Soviet-Mongolian force defeated the Japanese KwantungArmy supported by limited Manchukuoan forces.

On 8 August 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, in accordance with the agreement at the Yalta Conference, and invaded Manchukuo from outer Manchuria and Outer Mongolia.  This was called the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.[30]

The Manchukuo Imperial Air Force was established in February 1937, initially with 30 men selected from the Manchukuo Imperial Army and trained at the Japanese Kwantung Army aircraft arsenal in Harbin.  The official air force’s predecessor was the Manchukuo Air Transport Company (later renamed the Manchukuo National Airways) a paramilitary airline formed in 1931, which undertook transport and reconnaissance missions for the Japanese military.

The first air unit of the Manchukuo Air Force was established at the airfield in Xinjing, under the command of 1st Lieutenant Uta, and initially had only one aircraft: a French-built Nieuport-Delage NiD 29 biplane.  Kawasaki Type 88 (KDA-2) light bombers and Nakajima Type 91 fighters were later supplied from Japan.  A second air unit was established in Fengtien and the third air unit in Harbin from 1938-1939. In July 1940, an Air Defense HQ was created in Xinjing.

Initially, only Japanese pilots and ground crews were also deployed.  After 1940, the Japanese allowed native ethnic Manchus to receive pilot training.  On 30 August 1940, a flight school was established in Fengtien to teach both military and civil pilots.  The training program received a severe setback in January 1941 when approximately 100 pilot cadets rebelled, and fled to join to anti-Japanese guerillas after killing their instructors.  During September to October 1942 the school received more than twenty training aircraft, including Tachikawa Ki-9 “Spruce”, Tachikawa Ki-55 “Ida” and Mansy? Ki-79 advanced trainers. 

In addition, a transport section with three Nakajima Ki-34 passenger aircraft was established to serve the needs of the imperial court.  Additional Junkers Ju-86Z-2, Tachikawa Ki-54 “Hickory” and Mansh? Hayabusa provided for government transportation needs.  From 1944, the Manchukuo Imperial Air Force came under the command of the Japanese 2nd Air Army.  At that point, it had around 100 to 120 combat aircraft. 

From 1941 to the end of the Second World War, the main equipment of the Manchukuo Air Force was the Nakajima Ki-27b “Nate” light fighter.  Money to pay for these fighters was “donated” by various Japanese companies based in Manchukuo.  Primarily a fighter force, the only tactical bomber in Manchukuo service during the war was the Kawasaki Ki-32.

The Manchukuo Air Force requested Type 1 Nakajima Ki-43 IIa Hayabusa “Oscar” and Type 2 Nakajima Ki-44 IIb Shoki “Tojo” fighter/interceptors from Japan in early 1945.   However, these more advanced aircraft were supplied in only small numbers. 

As American air raids against Manchukuo increased in frequency towards the end of the war, the Manchukuo Air Force resorted to Kamikaze tactics, with the first successful ramming attack (by a Ki-27) on a USAAF Boeing B-29 Superfortress strategic bomber occurring in December 1944.  The Manchukuo Air Force also suffered from a chronic shortage of fuel, as Japanese military aviation had first claim to supplies.

In 1945, the American air raids against Manchuria decreased and the threat of the Soviet invasion increased.  The Manchukuo Air Force changed its training from interception to emphasize ground attack against armored vehicles.  During the Soviet Union‘s invasion of Manchukuo, the Japanese 2nd Air Army ordered the Manchukuo Air Force to train for suicide attacks against Soviet tanks.  However, the war ended before attack plans could be executed.[31]

From 1945 to 1948, Manchuria (Inner Manchuria) served as a base area for the People’s Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War against the Kuomintang (KMT).  With Soviet encouragement, the Chinese Communists used Manchuria as a staging ground until the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.  Many Manchukuo army and Japanese Kantogun personnel served with the communist troops during the Chinese Civil War against the Nationalist forces.  Most of the 1.5 million Japanese who had been left in Manchukuo at the end of the Second World War were sent back to their homeland in 1946-1948 by US Navy ships in an operation now known as the Japanese repatriation from Huludao.[32]

Mengjiang (Inner Mongolia)

Mengjiang was a Japanese puppet state in Inner Mongolia.  It was nominally ruled by Prince Demchugdongrub, a Mongol nobleman descended from Genghis Khan, but was in fact controlled by the Japanese military.  Mengjiang’s independence was proclaimed on 18 February 1936, following the Japanese occupation of the region.  The Inner Mongolians had several grievances against the central Chinese government in Nanking, including their policy of allowing unlimited migration of Han Chinese to the region.  Several of the young princes of Inner Mongolia began to agitate for greater freedom from the central government, and it was through these men that Japanese saw their best chance of exploiting Pan-Mongol nationalism and eventually seizing control of Outer Mongolia from the Soviet Union.

Japan created Mengjiang to exploit tensions between ethnic Mongolians and the central government of China, which in theory ruled Inner Mongolia.  When the various puppet governments of China were unified under the Wang Jingwei government in March 1940, Mengjiang retained its separate identity as an autonomous federation.  Although under the firm control of the Japanese Imperial Army, which occupied its territory, Prince Demchugdongrub had his own independent army.

Mengjiang vanished in 1945 following Japan’s defeat in the Second World War.  As Soviet forces advanced into Inner Mongolia, they met limited resistance from small detachments of Mongolian cavalry, which, like the rest of the army, were quickly overwhelmed.[33]

Re-organised National Government of China

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan advanced from its bases in Manchuria to occupy much of East and Central China.  Several Japanese puppet states were organized in areas occupied by the Japanese Army, including the Provisional Government of the Republic of China at Beijing, which was formed in 1937, and the Reformed Government of the Republic of China at Nanjing, which was formed in 1938.  These governments were merged into the Reorganized National Government of China at Nanjing on 29 March 1940.  Wang Jingwei became head of state.  The government was to be run along the same lines as the Nationalist regime and adopted its symbols.

The Nanjing Government had no real power; its main role was to act as a propaganda tool for the Japanese.  The Nanjing Government concluded agreements with Japan and Manchukuo, authorising Japanese occupation of China and recognising the independence of Manchukuo under Japanese protection.  The Nanjing Government signed the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1941 and declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom on 9 January 1943.

The government had a strained relationship with the Japanese from the beginning.  Wang’s insistence on his regime being the true Nationalist government of China and in replicating all the symbols of the Kuomintang led to frequent conflicts with the Japanese, the most prominent being the issue of the regime’s flag, which was identical to that of the Republic of China.

The worsening situation for Japan from 1943 onwards meant that the Nanking Army was given a more substantial role in the defence of occupied China than the Japanese had initially envisaged.  The army was almost continuously employed against the communist New Fourth Army.

Wang Jingwei died on 10 November 1944, and was succeeded by his deputy, Chen Gongbo.  Chen had little influence; the real power behind the regime was Zhou Fohai, the mayor of Shanghai.  Wang’s death dispelled what little legitimacy the regime had.  The state stuttered on for another year and continued the display and show of a fascist regime.

On 9 September 1945, following the defeat of Japan, the area was surrendered to General He Yingqin, a nationalist general loyal to Chiang Kai-shek.  The Nanking Army generals quickly declared their alliance to the Generalissimo, and were subsequently ordered to resist Communist attempts to fill the vacuum left by the Japanese surrender.  Chen Gongbo was tried and executed in 1946.[34]

Aviation Museums in China

Oriental Green Boat Park, 6,888, Hu-Qing-Ping Expressway, Anzhuang, Shanghai, 201713.

Beijing Aviation Museum/Beihang University (BUAA), Xue Yuan Road No. 37, Hai Dian District, Beijing, 100083.

China Civil Aviation Museum, Zhongguo Minhang Bowuguan, Xiedao, Beijing.

Chinese People`s Revolution Military Museum, No. 9, Fuxing Road, Haldian District, Beijing.  (Tachikawa Ki-36 (103/2)).

Chinese Space Museum, South Dahongmen Road, Box No. 1, Beijing Fengtai District, Beijing 100076.

Qingdao Naval Museum, 8 Laiyang Road, Shi Nan District, Hui Quan Bay Area (Lu Xun Park), Qingdao, Shandong Province, 266071.

China Aviation Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo 2010, Nancun, Shanghai.

Museum and the Exhibition Hall of Shanghai Aerospace, No. 22 Caoxi Road, Caohejing High-Tech Area, Shanghai.

Xinjiang Army Reclamation Museum, Shihezi.

China Aviation Museum, Shahezhen Air Force Base, Datangshan, Xiaotangshan, Chang Ping County, Beijing.  (Kawasaki Ki-48-II replica).

Philippines (Second Philippine Republic)

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was invaded by the Empire of Japan in December 1941 shortly after Japan’s declaration of war upon the United States of America, which controlled the Philippines at the time and possessed important military bases there.  The Philippine Army Air Corps engaged the Japanese on their invasion of the Philippines in 1941-1942.  Many of the officers of the Philippine Army and Philippine Army Air Corps came from the members of the Philippine Constabulary and Air Constabulary.  Most of their aircraft were withdrawn after the combined American-Filipino army was defeated by April 1942.  Guerrilla resistance against the Japanese continued throughout the war.  Filipino army units that had not been captured as well as a communist insurgency and supporting American agents all played a role in the resistance.  Due to the huge number of islands, the Japanese did not occupy them all.  Japanese control over the countryside and smaller towns was often tenuous at best.  Allied forces liberated the islands from Japanese control in 1944, in a naval invasion.[35]

The Second Philippine Republic, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Tagalog: Repúbliká ng Pilipinas), was a state in the Philippines established on 14 October 1943 under Japanese occupation.  President Manuel L. Quezon declared Manila, the capital, an “open city” and left it under the rule of Jorge B. Vargas, as mayor.  The Japanese entered the city on 2 January 1942 and established it as the capital.  Japan fully captured the Philippines on 6 May 1942, after the Battle of Corregidor.

General Masaharu Homma dissolved the Commonwealth of the Philippines and established the Philippine Executive Commission, a caretaker government, with Vargas as its first chairman.  All political parties were banned and replaced by the non-partisan, authoritarian KALIBAPI– Kapisanan sa Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas (Tagalog for the “Organization in the Service of the New Philippines”).  KALIBAPI’s director-general was Benigno S. Aquino.

A constitution was formed by the Preparatory Commission for Independence, consisting of 20 members from the KALIBAPI.  The Preparatory Commission, led by José P. Laurel, presented its draft Constitution on 4 September 1943 and three days later, the KALIBAPI general assembly ratified the draft Constitution.

In September 1944, Laurel officially declared war against the United States and United Kingdom.   Following the return of American-led Allied forces, the government of the Second Republic evacuated from Manila and moved to Baguio.  Laurel then placed the Republic under Martial Law on 22 March 1945 after the joint American and Filipino troops liberated Manila.  The republic was formally dissolved by Laurel in Tokyo on 17 August 1945.[36]

Aviation Museums in the Philippines

Air Force City Park, Clark Field.

Philippine Air Force Museum, Pasay 1309, Villamor Air Base, Ninoy Aquino International, Manila. 

India (Provisional Government of Free India)

The Provisional Government of Free India was a government in exile led by Subhas Chandra Bose, an Indian nationalist who rejected Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent methods for achieving independence.  One of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement of the time and former president of the Indian National Congress, Bose was arrested by British authorities at the outset of the Second World War.  In January 1941 he escaped from house arrest, eventually reaching Germany.  He arrived in 1942 in Singapore, base of the Indian National Army, made up largely from Indian prisoners of war and Indian residents in South East Asia who joined their own initiative.

Bose and local leader A.M. Sahay received ideological support from Mitsuru Toyama, chief of the Dark Ocean Society, along with Japanese Army advisers.  Other Indian thinkers in favour of the Axis cause were Asit Krishna Mukherji, a friend of Bose, and Mukherji’s wife, Savitri Devi, a French writer who admired Hitler.  Bose was helped by Rash Behari Bose, founder of the Indian Independence League in Japan.  Bose declared India’s independence on 21 October 1943.  The Japanese Army assigned to the Indian National Army a number of military advisors, among them Hideo Iwakuro and Saburo Isoda.

The provisional government formally controlled the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; these islands had fallen to the Japanese and been handed over by Japan in November 1943.  The government created its own currency, postage stamps, and national anthem.  The government would last two more years, until 18 August 1945, when it officially became defunct.  During its existence it received recognition from nine governments: Germany, Japan, Italy, Croatia, Manchukuo, China (under the Nanking Government of Wang Jingwei), Thailand, Burma (under the regime of Burmese nationalist leader Ba Maw), and the Philippines under de facto (and later de jure) President José Laurel.[37]

Aviation Museums in India

The Indian Air Force Museum, Palam Air Force Station, Palam, New Delhi, 110010.,_Palam; and

Naval Aviation Museum (India), Bogmalo, Vasco da Gama, Goa.

HAL Heritage Centre and Aero Space Museum, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bangalore.

Vietnam (Empire of Vietnam)

The Empire of Vietnam was a short-lived Japanese puppet state that lasted from March 11 to 23 August 1945.  When the Japanese seized control of French Indochina, they allowed Vichy French administrators to remain in nominal control.  This ruling ended on 9 March 1945, when the Japanese officially took control of the government.  Soon after, Emperor B?o ??i voided the 1884 treaty with France and Tr?n Tr?ng Kim, a historian, became prime minister.  The state suffered through the Vietnamese Famine of 1945 and replaced French-speaking schools with Vietnamese language schools, taught by Vietnamese scholars.[38]

Aviation Museums of Vietnam

Bao Tang Phong Khon – Khong Quan, Vietnam Air Force Museum, Truong Chinh Street, Hanoi.

Viet Nam Military History Museum, 28A Dien Bien Phu Road, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.

Tan Son Nhut Air Force Museum, Thang Long, Ho Chi Minh City.

War Remnants Museum, Nha Trung Bay Toi Ac Chien Tranh, 28 Vo Van Tan St, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.


The Kingdom of Cambodia was a short-lived Japanese puppet state that lasted from 9 March 1945 to 15 April 1945.  The Japanese entered Cambodia in mid-1941, but allowed Vichy French officials to remain in administrative posts.  The Japanese calls for an “Asia for the Asiatics” won over many Cambodian nationalists.  This policy changed during the last months of the war.  The Japanese wanted to gain local support, so they dissolved French colonial rule and pressured Cambodia to declare its independence within the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.  Four days later, King Sihanouk declared Kampuchea (the original Khmer pronunciation of Cambodia) independent.  Co-editor of the Nagaravatta, Son Ngoc Thanh, returned from Tokyo in May and was appointed foreign minister.

On the date of Japanese surrender, a new government was proclaimed with Son Ngoc Thah as prime minister.  When the Allies occupied Phnom Penh in October, Son Ngoc Thanh was arrested for collaborating with the Japanese and was exiled to France.  Some of his supporters went to northwestern Cambodia, which had been under Thai control since the French-Thai War of 1940, where they banded together as one faction in the Khmer Issarak movement, originally formed with Thai encouragement in the 1940s.[39]

Aviation Museums in Cambodia

Siem Reap War Museum, Siem Reap.


Fears of Thai irredentism led to the formation of the first Lao nationalist organization, the Movement for National Renovation, in January 1941.  The group was led by Prince Phetxar?t and supported by local French officials, though not by the Vichy authorities in Hanoi.  This group wrote the current Lao national anthem and designed the current Lao flag, while paradoxically pledging support for France.  The country declared its independence in 1945.

The liberation of France in 1944, bringing Charles de Gaulle to power, meant the end of the alliance between Japan and the Vichy French administration in Indochina.  The Japanese had no intention of allowing the Gaullists to take over, and in late 1944 they staged a military coup in Hanoi.  Some French units fled over the mountains to Laos, pursued by the Japanese, who occupied Viang Chan in March 1945 and Luang Phrab?ng in April.

 King S?sav?ngvong was detained by the Japanese, but his son Crown Prince Sav?ngvatthan? called on all Lao to assist the French, and many Lao died fighting against the Japanese occupiers.  Prince Phetxar?t opposed this position.  He thought that Lao independence could be gained by siding with the Japanese, who made him Prime Minister of Luang Phrab?ng, though not of Laos as a whole.  The country was in chaos, and Phetxar?t’s government had no real authority.  Another Lao group, the Lao S?ri (Free Lao), received unofficial support from the Free Thai movement in the Isan region.[40]

Aviation Museums of Laos

Lao People`s Army History Museum, Vientiane.

Burma (Baw Maw Regime)

The Japanese Army and Burma nationalists, led by Aung San, seized control of Burma from the United Kingdom during 1942.  A State of Burma was formed on 1 August 1942 under the Burmese nationalist leader Ba Maw.  The Ba Maw regime established the Burma Defence Army (later renamed the Burma National Army), which was commanded by Aung San.[41]