Motoyama No. 1 Airfield (Airfield No. 1) was located on the Motoyama plateau in the southern corner of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands in Ogasawara Subprefecture in Japan. Borders Mount Surabachi to the southwest. Also known to the Japanese as "Chidori" or "Central Field'. On February 19, 1945 the invasion beach where the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) landed was to the southeast.
When occupied by the Americans, known as "South Filed" or "Southern Airfield".
Motoyama No. 1 Airfield was built by the Japanese and expanded to include three intersceting runways in a triangular layout with turnaround aprons on the edges of the two north oriented runways. One runway was oriented northeast to southwest. The second runway was oriented roughly north to south with a circular turnarounds at the each end. The third runway was oriented roughly northwest to southeast with circular turnaround areas at each end.
Motoyama No. 1 Airfield was used by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) for fighters and as a transit point for aircraft flying southward or northward to Japan.
Japanese units based at Iwo Jima
301 Kokutai (A6M Zero) June - July 1944
Starting in the middle of 1944 until February 1945 attacked by American aircraft and neutralized as a landing ground by bombing raids.
American missions against Iwo Jima
July 4, 1944 - February 27, 1945
On February 19, 1945 the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) made an amphibious landing on the invasion beach to the southeast of the airfield. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, this location became a battlefield. The wreckage of several Japanese aircraft were abandoned and captured in the area including a Ki-46-III Dinah.
Once captured, with fighting still raging to the west and north the Americans began repairing the northeast to southwest runway. C-47 Dakotas performing air drops until completed. On February 26, 1945 the first American aircraft to land on the runway was OY-1 Sentinel piloted by Lt. Harvey Olson of Marine Observation Squadron 4. By March 2, 1945 the runway had been graded to 4,000'. On March 4, 1945 with fighting still raging nearby, a damaged B-29 "Dinah Might" 42-65280 landed with damage and low on fuel. This was the first of 2,400 emergency landings by American aircraft on Iwo Jima.
Operational, known to the Americans as "South Filed" or "Southern Airfield", or simply as Iwo Jima Airfield as it was the only operative airfield, until the others were repaired and built. A large apron area with revetments encompassed the other two runways. When completed, the northeast to southwest runway measured 6,000' x 200'. The control tower was code named "Maple". Later, a taxiway at the northern end of the runway connected to Central Field and another taxiway connected to North Field.
American units based at South Field
21st FG, 72nd FS (P-51) Mokuleia March 26, 1945
21st FG, 531st FS (P-51) Mokuleia March 26, 1945
21st FG, HQ Mokuleia March 26, 1945
American units based at Iwo Jima
7th FC HQ Hawaii March 1, 1945 - ?
15th FG, 78th FS (P-51) March 1, 1945 - ?
15th FG HQ Hawaii March 6, 1945 - ?
548th NFS (P-61) Saipan March 6, 1945 - ?
NFS (P-61) from Hawaii/Saipan March 14-20, 1945
433d TCG, 67th TCS (C-46) Clark Field Aug 27, 1945 - ?
548th NFS (P-61) Saipan Mar 6 - June 8, 1945 Ie Shima
After the Pacific War, North Field was abandoned.
The southwest end of the runway is still visible.
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December 18, 2018