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    Buri Airfield (Buro) Leyte Province Philippines
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USAAF c1944

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1945

Location
Buri Airfield was located to the south of Buri on the eastern coast of Leyte in Leyte Province in the Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) of the Philippines. The Japanese referred to this airfield as "Buri Airfield. Also known as Burauen North Airfield or Buro Airfield. Also known as Buro Airfield. To the south beyond roughly 800 yards away was Bayug Airfield (Burouen, Burauen). To the southeast is San Pablo Airfield and San Pablo.

Construction
Built by the Japanese Army with a single 4,500' runway taxiways off both sides but suffered from poor drainage and flooding. The area was only accessible via the Dulag-Burauen Road that ran roughly eastward to the coast.

Wartime History
Used by the Japanese as a military airfield. By late October 1944 when U. S. forces landed on eastern Leyte, the airfield area was defended by the Japanese Army 98th Airfield Battalion and 54th Airfield Company plus other air-ground support units.

American Usage
Liberated after the landings at Leyte, the strip had serious drainage problems that hampered operations and was only used to a small extent by American forces, but then was abandoned in favor of Dulag Airfield.

Pilot John Tilley 431st FS (via Robert Rocker)
"The strip was built on a flood plain and the engineers could not keep the water off the strip and the P-38's were always getting stuck, and the engineers were moving the aircraft around with track machines."

American units based at Buri
866th Anti-Aircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion
475th FG, 431st FS (P-38)

Operation WA: Japanese Paratrooper Attack on Leyte December 6, 1944
On December 6, 1944 at 6:00pm the paratroopers from the Japanese Army First Airborne Brigade with two regiments jumped on San Pabalo Airfield and Buri Airfield. Although the paratroopers caught the Americans by surprise and some managed to destroy airfield installations. Their attack continued until December 7, 1944 but proved to be disorganized and ineffective. When reinforcements arrived the survivng Japanese were eliminated.

George Mendenhall adds:
"I was with a Marine observation unit stationed at Buri, was there when the troopers were dropped and shot them on their way down with my .50 caliber. Our unit (18 of us) held the [Buri] airfield until an army unit relieved us. Been trying to find other members of our outfit without luck."

When Dulag Airstrip was ready, Buri was abandoned, and the 475th FG, 431st FS left about ten P-38 Lightnings as wrecked aircraft that were rendered useless by exploding an explosive charge in the cockpit in case the Japanese captured them. A wartime photo also shows a L-5 abandon there.

Today
Disused as an airfield since the Pacific War.

References
Index to Air Bases - Research Report No. 85, I.G. No 9185 - July 30, 1944
US Army in World War II: Leyte: The Return to the Philippines Chapter XVII Battle of the Airstrips pages 295 (map), 296-297
Engineers of the Southwest Pacific 1941-1945 Volume VI. Airfield and Base Development - Buri Airfield
Operation WA Japanese Paratroopers Attack Leyte Airfields

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December 6, 2019

 

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