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    Laha Airfield (Ambon West, Pattimura Airport) Maluku (Moluccas) Indonesia
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417th BG c1944
Location
Lat 3° 42' 37S 128° 5' 21E  Laha Airfield is located at 33' above sea level at Laha (Raha) on Ambon Island in the Molucca Islands. Also known as "Laha Drome" or "Ambon West". BPrewar and during the Pacific War part of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Today located in Maluku Province (Provinsi Maluku) in Indonesia.orders Ambon Bay (Bay of Ambon). To the east is Ambon.

Construction
Built prewar by the Dutch as one of two airfields on Ambon. The second was at Liang Airfield. The airfield had two diverging runways No. 1 runway at 40 degrees and No. 2 runway at 0 degrees.

Wartime History
In late 1941, the airfield based one Dutch bomber, two fighters and Hudsons of RAAF No.13 Squadron.

On December 23, 1941 B-17s from the 19th BG landed at the airfield a bombing mission against the Japanese landings at Lingayen Gulf on a 4,600 mile mission that staged from Batchelor Field.

On the night January 6, 1942 seven Japanese flying boats dropped thirty-three bombs on three targets, two Hudson bombers, a Buffalo fighter and workshop facilities at the airfield were damaged with three native civilians killed.

Allied aircraft withdrew on January 16, 1942 in the face of the impending Japanese assault. Prior to the Japanese landings, Dutch & Australians destroyed naval oil reserves, bomb dumps, hangers and other equipment at Laha, and sought to make the airfield unusable. The airfield was defended by 1,100 Australians, 400 Dutchmen and about 5,000 native troops.

On February 1, 1942 Japanese Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) attacked and furious combat lasted nine hours. By mid-morning of February 2, 1942, the surviving Australian waved a white flag to surrender. After they gave up, the Japanese murdered by beheading the 200+ prisoners.

Occupied by the Japanese, they used the airfield for the rest of the war, including as a staging base for Japanes bombing missions against Australia.

Japanese and American missions against Laha Airfield
January 6, 1942–August 11, 1945

Postwar
The No. 1 runway was extended to 6,070' and remained in use as a civilian airport.

Today
Still in use today as Pattimura Airport. Airport codes: ICAO: WAPP IATA: AMQ. The single runway is oriented 22/04 measures 8,202' x 148' surfaced with asphalt.

References
The Carnage at Laha, February 1942 via Wayback Machine October 27, 2009
Pattimura Airport official website

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Last Updated
September 29, 2019

 

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