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    Lake Tondano Seaplane Base (MVK Kalkas) North Sulawesi Province Indonesia

MLD December 25, 1938

Location
Lake Tondano Seaplane Base is located on the southern shore of Lake Tondano near Kalkas (Kakas) on the eastern tip of the Minahassa Peninsula on Sulawesi (Celebes). Lake Tondano is at an elevation of 2,230' and the lake is approximately 50 square kilometers filling the crater of an extinct volcano. Known in Indonesian as Danau Tondano.

Construction
Lake Tondano was used by Dutch flying boats during the late 1930s. Lake Tondano Seaplane Base was built by the Dutch and completed October 1, 1940. The base was designated MVK Kalkas and classified as a support base. The facilities included a "T" shaped concrete dock, repair workshop, ammunition storage and bunkers. Used by MLD for military flying boats and KNILM Airlines for civilian flights. The base could accommodate two squadrons of flying boats.

Wartime History
During October 1, 1940 until early January 1942 used by the Marineluchtvaartdienst (Netherlands Naval Aviation Service) by the Marine-Luchtvaartdienst (MLD).

During December 1941, Kalkas had only a motorboat and two vessels available to arm and fuel the flying boats plus three 37mm guns on trucks to defended the Lake Tondano area. GVT 2 operating the Do 24 was based at Lake Tondano commanded by Liutenant ter zee 2e klasse W. J. Reynierse. During mid December, they were joined by GVT 5 from Sorong.

On December 17, 1941 PBY Catalinas from U. S. Navy (USN) Patrol Wing 10 were to land at Menado to refuel, with PBY Catalina P-23 and two J2F Ducks landing at Menado while the rest of the formation landed at Lake Tondano and spent the night before proceeding to Balikpapan. This was the only use of Lake Tondano by U. S. Navy seaplanes.

On December 23, 1941 at 2:00am Do-24K Flying boats from GVT 2 and GVT 5 took off from Lake Tondano then staged through Talesi Island before bombing Japanese forces at Davao. This air raid caused the Japanese to retaliate three days later against Lake Tondano.

On December 26, 1941 six A6M2 Zeros from the 3rd Kokutai took off from Davao Airfield on an attack against Lake Tondano Seaplane and destroyed four flying boats moored on the lake for refueling and rearming for a mission against the Japanese invasion force off Jolo and a KNILM flying boat. At approximately 7:00am, an air raid alarm was sounded and soon afterwards the six Zeros attacked strafing, setting fire and sinking Do 24K X-11, Do-24K X-12 and Do-24K X-25 from GVT 2 and Do-24K X-26 of GVT 5 plus S-43B Baby Clipper PK-AFT. On the ground, six were killed and seventeen were wounded. One, Sgt Evers died of his wounds on January 4, 1942. Only one Dornier X-30 from GVT.5 survived because it was on patrol during the raid. After the attack, Commandant Bozuwa ordered Lake Tondano abandoned, with only a small staff remaining behind.

On January 11, 1942 the Sasebo 2nd SNLF (Special Naval Landing Force) landed at Kema on the southeast side of the peninsula and advance towards Kalkas (Kakas) and Lake Tondano. At 9:00am, two H6K5 Mavis with twenty two SNLF troops with a 37mm AT gun and medical section landed on Lake Tondano. At 9:30am G3M Nells with twelve paratroopers from the Yokosuka 1st SNLF (Special Naval Landing Force) and cargo containers were dropped from 500' over Langoan Airfield. The 1st and 3nd companies fought at the airfield while the 2nd company would capture Kakas and Lake Tondano Seaplane Base. During the attack, the Dutch personnel at Lake Tondano demolished the base and withdrew to the interior.

Japanese and Allied missions against Tondano
December 26, 1941 - May 16, 1945

Occupied by the Japanese for the duration of the Pacific War. The area was targeted by several Allied air raids during 1945. During early October 1945, occupied by the "Menado Force" comprised of Australian and Dutch forces.

Today
Disused since the war as a seaplane base. The concrete dock, ammunition storage bunker and bunker remain to this day. Munitions and weapons were dumped into the lake off the dock area and have been found in recent years.

Reportedly, during the early or late 1960s the wreckage of three of the Do-24K flying boats were salvaged by Indonesian Navy divers. Reportedly, during the late 1990s, a group of Germans searched Lake Tondano with a magnetometer in an attempt to locate the fourth flying boat, but were unsuccessful.

Do-24K X-11 (Werk Nr. 771, GVT.2)
Sunk December 26, 1941

Do 24K-1 Serial Number X-12
Sunk December 26, 1941

Do-24K-1 Serial Number X-25 (Werk Nr. 695, GVT.2)
Sunk December 26, 1941

Do-24K-1 Serial Number X-26 (Werk Nr. 696, GVT.5)
Sunk December 26, 1941

S-43B Baby Clipper Registration PK-AFT
Purchased by KNILM during 1941. Sunk December 26, 1941

References
Daily summary and G-2 estimate of the enemy situation "Enemy air bases for 31 December 1943 - 79. Lake Tondano (S/P)"
Network54 - Pacific War 1941-1945 - Lake Tondano February 13 2008
Network54 - Pacific War 1941-1945 - USN PBYs At Lake Tondano July 29 2010
The Ex Dutch Seaplane Base / Naval Base in Tasuka, Tondano February 12, 2012
The Dutch Naval Air Force Against Japan page 69-70, 83
In The Hands of Fate: The Story of Patrol Wing 10 pages 76-77
Not Nearly Enough by Lou Dorny
Thanks to Lou Dorney / The Baltic Group for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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