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    Lautem Airfield (Lautem West Airfield)  East Timor
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Australian Army 1945

Lat 8° 25' 0" Long 126° 49' 0" Located on the coast roughly 3.5 miles WSW of Lautem. Known to the Japanese as "Lautem Airfield". Known to the Allies as "Lautem West Airfield".

Built by the Japanese during late 1942. In operation by early January 1943.

Wartime History
Used by the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as a base for bombers and reconnaissance aircraft for mission over Darwin, the Northern Territory and Western Australia portions of Australia. Also used by the Japanese Navy.

By the middle of 1944, Allied bombing had rendered the airfield unusable and the remaining aircraft were moved to Kendari Airfield and other locations.

Following the official surrender of Japanese forces on Timor, they destroyed most stores at the airfield and disabled their surviving aircraft before the arrival of Allied occupation forces.

Japanese units based at Lautem
75th Sentai (Ki-48)
5th Sentai (Ki-45) 1943-1944
70th Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutai (Independent Command Squadron) (Ki-46) c1943

American missions against Lautem
March 12, 1943 - July 17, 1944

On September 11, 1945 the Japanese on Timor officially surrendered. During late September, Australian Army forces occupied the Lautem area and visited the airfield, where they discovered extensive stores, equipment and the wreckage of several aircraft including a L2D Tabby Tail ??-911, Ki-45 Nick and Ki-48 Lily. Possibly, all three aircraft and stores were deliberately destroyed or disabled by the Japanese to prevent them from being used by the Allies.

Repaired, this airfield remained in use into the early 1980s servicing the Lautem area.

No trace of the airfield is visible today. Apparently closed or developed as real estate, as no landing ground is visible in the area reported.

JAAF 3rd Air Army Flying Regulations for Air Fields, March 1943
Joint Army-Navy Agreement on Defensive Communications, East Indies Area, 5 October 1943
Index to Air Bases - Research Report No. 85, I.G. No 9185 - July 30, 1944
Indonesia pilot, Volume 2 page 193, 384
Japanese Army Fighter Aces, 1931-45 page 107
Thanks to Richard Dunn for additional information

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018



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