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US Army 1944
3rd BG May 24, 1944
US Army July 3, 1944
American missions against Kamiri Airfield
On July 2, 1944 at dawn a Naval and aerial bombardment the U. S. Army 158th RCT (Arizona National Guard) began landing from LCT and LCM landing craft at 5:00am on "Yellow beach" parallel to the western end of Kamiri Airfield over an area of 800 yards long at roughly 8:00am. As the landing progressed, Japanese mortar and artillery fire from further inland happened sporatically for two hours, destroying a DUKW and an ammunition truck.
At the eastern end of the runway, the 2nd Battalion encountered the first Japanese resistance 500 yards from the eastern end of Kamiri Drome, when roughly forty Japanese ran out of a cave and were killed by rifle fire and support fire from LVT(A). In the same area, lightly manned caves and positions were mopped up. Tanks from the 603d Tank Company assisted the troops.
At the western end of the runway, the 1st Battalion encountered little opposition and secured the area including a low hill to the southwest and reached the Kamiri River. The 3rd Battalion joined in mopping up operations. Many positions were found unmanned. By the end of the day the perimeter secured was 3,000 x 800 yards, short of their objective due to the difficult jungle terrain. On the first day, the U. S. suffered 3 KIA (1 accidentally), 19 wounded and 2 injured.
On July 3, 1944, the U. S. Army 503rd Parachute Regiment made a paratrooper jump and landed unopposed at the Kamiri Airfield and occupied Kamiri village. The same day, the first Allied aircraft to land at the captured airfield was a RAAF 78 Squadron P-40 Kittyhawk piloted by Wing Commander L. D. Jackson and the second plane was his wingman, F/L Roger Kimpton.
As soon as U. S. Army troops liberated the airfield, construction began to repair the runway for Allied use. Immediately on July 2, 1944 elements of the 27th Engineers used improvised rollers towed by 6x6 trucks to regrade the runway. At the airfield, at least four wrecked Japanese aircraft were captured and evaluated by intelligence: Ki-21 Sally 6233, Ki-21 Sally 6519, Ki-48 Lily 2094 and Ki-46 Dinah 2793.
Repair and expansion of Kamiri Airfield was overseen by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Group Captain W. A. C. Dale. Kamiri Airfield was deemed ready to received a limited number of aircraft by July 4, 1944 but bad weather and scheduled paratrooper jumps delayed the first Allied use until July 6, 1944 when RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks arrived. By July 16, 1944 facilities were completed to support an entire fighter group.
Meanwhile, the U. S. Army 1874th Engineer Aviation Battalion and RAAF No. 5 Mobile Works Squadron from the No. 62 Works Wing extended the runway to 5,400' and built taxiways and revetments for two fighter groups. By September 9, 1944 the airfield was completed with only ongoing maintenance work to be done.
Allied units based at Kamiri
By July 1945, the airfield was listed as abandoned.
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