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World War II Pacific Theatre History
On December 28, 1942 the 117th Airfield Survey and Construction Battalion began upgrading the civilian airfield for use by military aircraft, expanding the runway, facilities and adding a taxiway loop and dispersal area.
On January 17, 1943 the first Japanese aircraft to arrive at Wewak Airfield was a detachment from the Junyō consisting of twenty-three A6M2 Zeros and six B5N2 Kates commanded by Lt Cdr Takashi Hashiguch supporting the aircraft were 120 ground personnel. These aircraft were part of Operation MV to provide convoy protection as part of Hei I. While operating from Wewak, the airfield was still in civilian configuration. While based at Wewak, the detachment claimed four B-24s shot down, one B-24 damaged and three B-24 probables plus uncertain results against submarines. They suffered two planes (possibly B5N2 Kates) lost, two Zeros missing and ten Zeros damaged before departing on January 24, 1943 to Kavieng Airfield.
On February 19, 1943, a detachment from the Zuihō arrived from Kavieng Airfield including twenty A6M2 A6M2 and eight B5N2 Kates under the command of Lt Cdr Hideo Matsuda to provide convoy protection. On February 28, 1943 the detachment withdrew to Kavieng Airfield then on March 1-3, 1943 to Truk.
Japanese Navy units based
at Wewak Airfield (Wirui, Wewak Central)
As of October 19, 1943 the runway measured 4,000' in length with over a hundred revetments: fifteen for bombers to the northwest towards the Wewak Point and 88 revetments to the southeast for fighters.
missions against Wewak Airfield (Wirui, Wewak Central)
Tetsuo Watanabe Naval
Land Unit, page 56:
During May 1945, the Australian Army occupied the Wewak area. This airfield was repaired and used by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) until the end of the war.
On September 13, 1945 Japanese Army Lt General Hatazo Adachi, commander of the 18th Army with Captain Iwama, civilian interpreter and three officers were flown aboard C-47 Dakota from 36 Squadron from Hayfield Airfield to Wewak Airfield. Next, the Japanese were transported by jeep to Cape Wom for the official surrender ceremony at 10am at Cape Wom Airfield. Adachi signed the instrument of surrender and handed over his sword in the presence of 3,000 troops drawn from various units of the Australian Army 6th Division. Afterwards, he attended meetings with Australian Army staff to discuss arrangements related to the surrender.
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