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5th AF February 28, 1943
5th AF March 31, 1944
5th AF April 28, 1944
U. S. Army May 15, 1944
USAAF June 7, 1944
5th AF c1944
Wakde Airfield is located on Wakde Island, off the northern coast of New Guinea. To the southwest is the smaller Insoemanai Island (Insoemar, Nsoemanai). Possibly, also known as Toem Drome for nearby Toem.
Japanese units based at Wakde
Between early April 1944 until the U. S. landing, attacked by American bombers and fighters.
American and Japanese missions against Wakde
On May 15, 1944 during "Operation Straight Line" the US Army 41st Infantry Division, 163rd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) with the 3rd Engineer Special Brigade, 593d Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment (EBSR) landed on the island. After two days of bitter fighting and moping up, the US Army prevailed at the cost of 40 KIA and 107 WIA. Nearly the entire Japanese force died in the battle: 759 KIA and only 4 POWs were taken alive.
On May 18, 1944 Wakde was declared secured and construction work began to repair the airfield. Repaired, the airfield was put into use by 5th Air Force fighters and bombers as a forward operating base. Departing from Wakde, the first American reconnaissance mission where flown over Mindanao since the U. S. withdrawal in early 1942. Wakde Airfield was known to the U. S. Army as APO 719.
American units based at Wakde
air raids against Wakde
Japanese missions against Wakde
The most successful Japanese air raid was on June 6, 1944 when three G4M Betty bombers of the 732 Kokutai bombed Wakde which was crammed with parked aircraft. The raid destroyed six planes and damaged eighty others. Destroyed were B-24J "Turtle Money" 42-109968, P-38J 43-28839, P-38J 43-28486, P-38J 43-28838, P-47D Thunderbolt, L-4B. Also damaged or lost were PB4Y-1 "Baby Shirley" 32150 from VPB-115, PB4Y-1 32177 from VPB-115, PB4Y-1 32255 from VPB-115, PB4Y-1 38789 from VPB-104 and PB4Y-1 32275 from VPB-104.
Japanese Operations at Wakde
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