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    Samarinda II Airfield (Melak) Borneo Indonesia

Location
Located at Samarinda, near the river, between the towns of Longiram and Melak.

Smarinda II (Melak East) was located at: 115° 46' 0" E / 0° 12' 0" S
Smarinda II (Melak West) is located at: 115° 44' 0" E / 0° 13' 0" S

Construction
Two parallel runways built by the Dutch prewar, as a 'secret airfield', to be used in case other airfields were destroyed.

Wartime History
The KNIL garrison at Samarinda II airfield was under command of KNIL Major G. du Rij van Beest Holle and numbered approximately 500 men. The KNIL Air Force at Samarinda II airfield consisted of several Martin bombers, Buffalo fighters, Lockheed Longstars. The Samarinda II airfield commander was KNIL Air Force Major L.C.A van Dam.

Dutch Army Units based at Samarinda II
KNIL Infantry Company
Anti-Aircraft Battery (4 x 40mm guns)
Anti-Aircraft Machine-Gun Platoon (AAMG)
Mobile Auxiliary First Aid Platoon
Militie Detachment with 5 independent squads (approximately 75 men)
NEIAF Units based at Samarinda II
Ie Vliegtuiggroep (1st Group)
1-VI.G.I (Bomber Squadron) 11 WH-3 Glenn Martin bombers, commanded by KNIL Air Force Captain W.F.H. van Rantwijk
Ve Vliegtuiggroep (5th Group)
I- 1.VI.G.V. (Fighter Squadron) 4 B-339D Brewster Buffalo fighters, commanded by KNIL Air Force 1st Lieutenant P.A.C. Benjamins
II-1-VI.G.V (Fighter Squadron) 4 B-339D Brewster Buffalo fighters, commanded by KNIL Air Force 2nd Lieutenant J.N. Droog

Japanese aircraft discovered Samarinda II airfield on January 24, 1942, and A6M2 Zeros attacked over the next two days. Intercepted by 5 Brewster Buffalos, in which 2 Dutch Brewster Buffalos were shot down and both pilots killed. A A6M2 Zero crash landed at the airfield and the pilot survived, allowing the Dutch to inspect the aircraft.

On January 28, 1942 two other Dutch Brewter Buffalos were shot down and the Dutch command agreed to evacuate this air base, but it was decided that the airfield garrison would remained at the airfield

USAAF Usage
On January 1, 1942 B-17D 40-3061 piloted by Captain Edwin B. Broadhurts landed at Samarinda II Airfield, reporting that it had enough fuel and bombs to support USAAF bomber operations.

On January 5, 1942 USAAF B-17s stage through Samarinda during the night of January 4/5 to attack shipping in Davao Bay off Mindanao, using Dutch fuel and bombs.

Japanese Usage
There was no resistance when the Japanese troops arrived at Samarinda II Air Base. The ground commander received orders from the AKH on Java on March 8, 1942 to capitulate the next day, and not to destroy any weapons, equipment, or the airfield. The air commander flew to Samarinda to turn over the airfield to the Japanese on March 9, 1942. The Japanese troops finally arrived at Samarinda II airfield on March 19, 1942.

Some of the Dutch attempted to fight on in the jungle, but they were all overwhelmed and executed by the Japanese or betrayed by Dajaks (native people).

The Japanese did not use the Samarinda II airfield, leaving only a small infantry detachment to keep one landing strip cleared for emergency use.

American Missions Against Samarinda
May 21 - July 9, 1945

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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