I was born and raised in the small town of Jhuolan (Takuran) in Miaoli county. As a kid, I heard that there used to be an airfield on the plateau called Lisipin (壢西坪) north of Jhuolan. When I was old enough to go there, much to my disappointment, there was nothing but orchards and orchards. This reconnaissance photo of Lisipin area was taken in March 1944. There is nothing that resembles an airfield. So did the Japanese ever build an airfield there?
In October 1944, the Japanese put into effect their pre-formulated war plan “Operation Victory One” (Sho Ichi Go, 捷一号作戦) for the defense of the Philippines. Japanese troops on Taiwan were also ordered to prepare for the worst. The following Japanese military document lists the air facilities projects called for by Operation Victory One. Item B shows the “secret airfields” built and completed during November of December of 1944, including: Taihoku Matsuyama (Taipei Sungshan), Taihoku South (Taipei South), Ryutan (Lungtan), Koko (Hukou), Byoritsu (Miaoli), Takuran (Jhuolan), Taichu East (Taichung East), Hori (Puli), Sinka (Sinhua), Shoko East (Xiaogang East), Heichosan (Neipu), Choshu (Chaozhou), Kizan (Qishan), Giran West (Ilan West), Riko South and North (Ligang South and North). Among them, construction of Sinka and Riko (South/North) was aborted.
美軍在第二年的1月就從空中偵察照片發現了這座位於卓蘭壢西坪上的機場。以下照片取自1945年7月的情報分析文件《Air Facilities Supplement to Janis 87, Formosa (Taiwan), July 1945》，但照片是攝於半年前的1月24日。不過根據美軍的研判，這座機場極可能是個誘敵用的假機場。我還很小的時候，就聽說壢西坪機場上停的是竹子做的假飛機，儘管美軍情報也做這樣的判斷，然而沒圖沒真相，我暫時還是持保留態度。
No sooner had the Japanese built Takuran Airdrome than the American reconnaissance aircraft photographed it. The annotated photo below was found in the document Air Facilities Supplement to Janis 87, Formosa (Taiwan), July 1945. The photo itself was taken on January 24, 1945. The document pointed out that it might be a dummy airfield. Although I had heard from the elderly that the aircraft parked on the airdrome were made from bamboo, which also suggested it was a dummy airfield, I have some reservations.
Source： Courtesy of Cheng Yu Tu 杜正宇先生提供
A Taiwanese historian wrote that the lands used for Takuran Airdrome had been returned to the owners at the end of the war because the airdrome had never been completed, which contradicts the Japanese document above. Anyway, when the super-secret American satellite CORONA photoed this area in 1966, the airfield had been completely vanished as can be seen in the image below. Actually it looked as if the satellite photo were taken in 1944!
I have made a drawing of Takuran Airdrome on Google Maps. Feel free to explore it:
在較大的地圖上查看卓蘭飛行場 Takuran Airdrome