Located on the southern coast of Bougainville, near Kahili (Kihili) village. To the east of Kagua and Buin. The Japanese referred to this entire area as "Buin". To the west is Tonolei Harbor. Prewar this area was a coconut plantation.
This area was occupied by the Japanese during the middle of 1942. During late August 1982, they began construction of a 4,700' x 300' runway surfaced with crushed coral and tar.
This airfield was known to the Japanese as "Buin Airfield". Allies called this airfield "Kahili Airfield". To add to the confusion, after the war, Kara (Toripoil) Airfield was and used until 1989 and was known as "Buin Airport", but was not this airfield.
Osamu Tagaya adds:
"The Japanese sources during the war, when they spoke of "Buin", they were referring to what the Allies called "Kahili". The Japanese report that their "Buin" was next to a river and the end of the runway faced out to sea. Both Japanese and Allied sources indicate that there was only this one airstrip until Toripoil (Allied Kara, postwar Buin) was built later."
Units based at Kahili (Buin)
Navy 11th Air Fleet
201th Kokutai (A6M Zero)
204th Kokutai (A6M Zeros detachment)
582nd Kokutai (D3A Val detachment)
Hiyo (A6M detachment) until December 15, 1942
This airfield became the primary airfield supporting fighter operations over the Southern Solomons, and defense of Bougainville, until additional airfield were constructed. On April 6, 1943 during "Operation I-Go" Allied
intelligence observed 114 aircraft at Kahili, when there
had only been 40 observed previously. On May 13, 1943 there
were 98 fighters and 32 bombers observed. On October 1, 1943 Allied reconnaissance spotted 27 Zero fighters at the airfield, including 7 Val dive bombers.
American missions against Kahili (Buin)
February 4, 1943 - September 27, 1944
Since the war, the airfield is abandoned.
A memorial to Australian and Japanese servicemen located
at the overgrown airstrip.
G4M1 Betty Manufacture
Abandoned Kahili Airfield
A6M3 Zero Manufacture
in 1969, AWM sold to Fantasy of Flight
Zero Manufacture 5451 Tail W1-150
in 1969, several owners and used
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November 6, 2012