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5th AF October 24, 1942
38th BG May 13, 1943
43rd BG May 21, 1943
5th AF Sept 9, 1943
90th BG Nov 21, 1943
December 13, 1943
Ray Fairfield 1972
Brian Bennett 1981
John Douglas 1996
World War II Pacific Theatre History
On February 11, 1942 four A5M4 Claude fighters from the Chitose Kokutai (soon afterwards renamed the 4th Kokutai) arrived as the first Japanese fighters based at Gasmata Airfield. That same day, the four Claudes intercepted three RAAF Hudsons attacking ships in Gasmata Harbor and shot down Hudson A16-126 and Hudson A16-91.
Allied missions against Gasmata Airfield
The Japanese never stationed aircraft at Gasmata on any permanent basis, but fighters often staged or landed at the airfield, or were based there for short periods.
Japanese units based at Gasmata
During March 1943, Gasmata Airfield was developed as a staging base tp support "Operation 81" that resulted in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
From May 1943 onward, Gasmata was subjected to heavy bombing and not used thereafter for by the Japanese for flight operations. Instead, the Japanese built Hoskins Airfield on north coast of New Britain as an alternative airfield. During the middle of 1943, Gasmata Airfield was abandoned by the Japanese.
As of October 23, 1943 the single runway was 3,200' with taxiways to the side of the strip, defended by light anti-aircraft guns. Two nearby jetties serviced the strip from the north and west sides of the peninsula. On January 13, 1944 photograph intelligence showed nine light anti-aircraft guns in Ring Ring village to the northeast and 50 fighter dispersal revetments.
On March 17, 1944 PT-143 entered nearby Thilenius Harbor and tied up to the jetty at the airfield and inspect the area, finding it abandoned by the Japanese. On March 28, 1944 Australian Army patrols reached Gasmata Airfield. American reconnaissance patrols visited Gasmata Airfield during the middle of April 1944, and removed mines from the runway. The Allies never used Gasmata Airfield.
Japanese aircraft wreckage captured at Gasmata
Brian Bennett adds:
Douglas Hubbard, Jr. adds:
John Douglas adds:
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