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    Laha Airfield (Ambon West, Pattimura Airport) Maluku (Moluccas) Indonesia
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417th BG c1944

Location
Lat 3° 42' 0" S Long 128° 5' 0" E  Located near Laha at Amboina Island along Ambon Bay, due west of Ambon. Also known as "Laha Drome" or "Ambon West".

Construction
One of two strips built prior to the war. 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 Marines) 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

Today
Postwar, the main No. 1 runway was extended to 6,070'. Still in use today as Pattimura Airport. Airport code: AMQ.

References
The Carnage at Laha, February 1942 (down as of 2011)

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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