Finschafen Airfield is located about
three miles north of Finschafen.
Built prewar by
Lutheran missionaries based at Finschafen. The runway was a single strip roughly 600m long.
World War II Pacific Theatre History
In middle 1942 single runway was
800 x 75 x 20 yards with poor approaches. Facilities included housing, food & water, medical supplies possibly at mission.
It is unclear if the Japanese ever used this strip during
the war. At the
time of the Australian invasion in late September 1943, the
official history seems to indicate that it was not in use
at that time, [no aircraft or facilities recorded] but it
may have had ELS equivalent status. The same WWII maps do
not show any other airfields at Finschafen, as the other airfield
was built by the Americans.
John Douglas adds:
"The strip was
put in by the missionaries to service their facilities in that
area, They had about 80 Missionaries there at about early war
time, several missions, schools, a port and a large radio station
in the town. I think they had at least one Junkers W34 [probably
more], that survived the war as a wreck and disappeared out of
Lae about 10 years ago. This plane I think is different to the
Ex Missionary W34 that is restored in Western Australia. There's
a great story about a German Mission Pilot who stole a plane
in the late 1930s ex Finschafen, flew it to Dutch New Guinea
and eventually made his way to Germany and joined the Luftwaffe."
Notes about New Guinea airfields, recorded circa May - July, 1942 by Oliver C. Doan via Jean Doan research Edward Rogers
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
May 22, 2017