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5th CCU January 5, 1943
5th AF Jan 21, 1943
5th AF c1943
5th AF c1944
AWM Sept 28, 1945
Justin Taylan 2000
By early January 1943 the runway was largely complete.
first documented by the U. S. during the January 5, 1943 mission by B-17s bombing Japanese shipping.
The runway was completed by early January 1943.
Taxiways and revetments were constructed on the east and west sides of the runway plus a flyway at the northern end to the tip of Lesson Point.
By October 1, 1943 the runway measured 4,350' x 670'. At least (90) bomber sized revetments were located on the east and west sides of the runway.
World War II Pacific Theatre History
Used by the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as a base for medium bombers and twin engine aircraft. Operationally, the runway was plagued with drainage problems, that caused the runway to often be muddy.
Rapopo was defended by 29 heavy, 21 medium and 13 light anti-aircraft guns, supported by five searchlights. During 1943, several bomber Sentai were based at this location. The airfield was also used by the Japanese Navy, with a Zero fighters based here at the height of the war.
Japanese units based at Rapopo
During early 1943, Rapopo Airfield was detected by the Allies and repeatedly attacked by American bombers and fighters until the middle of 1944.
missions against Rapopo Airfield
After Japan's surrender, during September 1945 forty tanks were assembled at Rapopo and surrendered to the Australian Army. The armor included medium tanks, light tanks and amphibious tanks. Although most were destroyed, Type 97 Chi-Ha Medium Tank was transported to Australia as a war prize and is displayed at the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Museum.
Brian Bennett adds:
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