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13th AF c1943
13th AF August 9, 1943
13th AF October 11, 1943
13th AF November 1943
13th AF Nov 18, 1943
AWM Sept 10, 1945
Kahili Airfield was located near Kahili (Kihili) on southern Bougainville. To the southwest is Lamuai, Jakohina Mission (Buin Mission), Kagua and Kangua Hill (Mount Buin). To the northeast is the Moliko River (Muliko River), Moisuru and the Moisuru Bay. Further to the east is Pupukuna Point, Tonolei Harbor and East Point. Offshore to the southeast are Erventa Island, Popatala Island and Alasina Island.
During the Pacific War, the Japanese referred to this airfield as "Buin Airfield" code named "RXP". The Allies referred to this airfield as "Kahili Airfield" or "Kahilli Airfield" for the nearby village of the same name. Pronounced "Key-lee" by local people. Postwar, Kara Airfield (Toripoil) remained in use and was known as "Buin Airport".
During the middle of 1942, this area was occupied by the Japanese. In late August 1942, they began construction of a single 4,700' x 300' runway surfaced with crushed coral and tar. A large rectangular area was located at the southern e d of the runway with taxiways off the inland northwest side of the runway and the southeast side inland from the coast.
World War II Pacific Theatre History
Used by the Imperial Japanese Navy as a forward airfield for fighters and bombers. During the Solomon Islands campaign, this airfield became the primary airfield supporting fighter operations over the southern Solomons then the defense of Bougainville.
On April 6, 1943 during "Operation I-Go" Allied intelligence observed 114 aircraft at Kahili, when there had only been 40 observed previously. On May 13, 1943 there were 98 fighters and 32 bombers observed. On October 1, 1943 Allied reconnaissance spotted 27 Zero fighters at the airfield, including 7 Val dive bombers.
Japanese units based at Kahili (Buin)
American missions against Kahili (Buin)
Targeted by American bombers and fighters starting in early February 1943 with attacks heightening in September to October 1943 to neutralize the airfield before the U. S. landing at Torokina. Allied missions against Kahili continued until late September 1944. By late 1943, the runway was unservicable. Bypassed, the Japanese garrison began farming to sustain themselves and continued to defend the area until the official surrender of Japan in September 1945.
On September 9, 1945 Australian Army, 2 Corps led by Major E. C. Taylor "Buin Liaison Group" landed at Kahili to meet with Japanese representatives to arrange the surrender of the Japanese forces in the area. On September 10, 1945 "storpedoes" filled with supplies were dropped onto the runway at Kahili Airfield by a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Beaufort.
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