October 14, 1943
January 25, 1944
January 25, 1944
March 5, 1944
March 23, 1944
David Paulley 1982
Jeff Hutchingson 2003
Located at the eastern side of Los Negros Island in a coconut grove, The airfield spanned from Hyane Harbor in the north to the Bismarck Sea to the south. To the west is jungle and mangrove swamps. Known to the Japanese as 'Hyane Airfield".
Japanese built single runway running roughly NNW to SSE. The airfield
4,100' x 300' with three
taxiways, and twelve ravetments under construction (as of October 14, 1943).
Japanese Units Based at Momote
63rd Sentai, 3rd Chutai (Ki-43) January 44 Hollandia
(Lost twelve fighters on the ground on January 24, 1944)
14th Sentai (Ki-21) 1943
American Missions Against Momote
January 25 - March 2, 1944
American Occupation, Repair & Development
occupation on March 2, 1944. By
16 March 1944, Momote airstrip was in use and the airdrome
well on its way to completion. The airstrip was quickly repaired so that by
May 18th, fighters could
operate from it. Momote Airdrome was surfaced
with coral and equipped with taxiways, hard stands,
and storage areas. By the
end of the campaign over 7,000 barrels of
bulk petroleum fuel were stored at at Momote for operations. Also, a causeway was built spanning a swampy area, linking the airfield on Los Negros with Manus Island. In 1945, the runway was 7,000' in length.
The airfield based 5th AF, 13th AF aircraft. 7th AF B-24 taking off from Kwajalein attack Guam and land at Los Negros to refuel and arm, then return to Kwajalein.
American Units based at Momote
VR-13 (R4D) spring 1945
In 1945, NATS (Naval Air Transport Service) operated R4D's and C-54s at the center of the airfield, with flights to Southern Philippines.
Wrecks Evaluated at Momote
Wrecks were found on Negros there
included Ki-43 Oscars Manufacture Numbers: Ki-43
5807 (5907), 6132, 6139, 6145,
6150, 6153, 6155, 6150 (had old style leak proofing).
The others had more modern self-sealing tanks.
Richard Dunn adds:
documents contradict this evidence somewhat. They show 6131 left
at Hyane but 6132 turned into the
Branch Depot at Hollandia. Looks like either the Americans or
Japanese made a typo. Ki-43 6136 being turned into the 209
Branch Depot salvage dump "completely damaged" in Jan
44. Another interesting tidbit the 28 (apparently) fighters arrived
by January 44 were equipped with one "fixed machine cannon model
3" and one 'experimental 12.7mm'.
Units Based at Momote
USAAF 13th Air Force (13th Air Task Force)
5th BG HQ Guadalcanal / Munda April 12, 1944 - Aug 17, 44 Wakde
5th BG, 72nd BS (B-24s) Munda April 15 - Aug 19, 44 to Wakde
5th BG, 23rd, 31st BS (B-24s) Munda Apr 16 - Aug 20, 44 to Wakde
5th BG, 394th BS (B-24s) Guadalcanal April 13 - Aug 25, 44 to Wakde
79 Squadron (Spitfires) Kiriwina March 16 - Nov 24, 44 Darwin
19 Squadron (F4Us) ? - mid July 45 to Jacquinot Bay
VR-13 (R4D) NAAS Oakland, CA Spril 1945 - ?
Units Based at Los Negros (Unsure which: Momote or Mokerang)
403rd TCG, 63rd TCS, 70th TCS (C-47) ? - Oct 1, 1944 Hollandia
403rd TCG HQ (C-47) Espiritu Santo Aug 30 - Oct 4, 1944 Biak
403rd TCG, 13th TCS (C-47) Espiritu Santo Aug 16 - Oct 4, 1944 Wakde
13th AF, 868th BS Munda (B-24 snooper) March 20, 1944 - Aug 29, 44 Noemfoor
18th FG, 419th NFS (P-61 det) Guadalcanal June 27, 44 - Aug 18, 44 Guadalcanal
Momote is still in use today as Manus Province's airport.
1st Calvary Division Memorial
Located near the airfield is a simple white monument with a brass plaque and inscription made of 50 caliber shell casings built during the war.
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
December 1, 2011
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