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    Danip Airfield (Alexishafen II, Alexishafen No 1) Madang Province PNG

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September 8, 1943

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November 30, 1943

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January 12, 1944

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Ray Fairfield 1972

Location
Located at Danip, northwest of Alexishafen, to the west of the the North Coast Road, roughly 21 km north of Madang. Parallel to the SSE is Alexishafen II (Alexishafen Airfield, Alexishafen No 2). Prewar, known as "Alexishafen Airfield". During the war also known as "Alexishafen Fighter Strip".

Construction
Built prewar by the Catholic church to provide air service to the nearby Alexishafen Catholic Mission. Used by Mandated Airlines for the Catholic Mission. Prewar as it was the only landing ground in the area, known as "Alexishafen Airfield".

On August 6, 1939 Fokker Universal VH-UJT piloted by Willy Schafhause crashed on landing. The pilot was killed in the crash and the aircraft was a total loss.

By the middle of 1942 the runway was described as an emergency airfield, the runway measured 800 x 15 x 20 yards.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
During early January 1943, occupied by the Japanese Army and expanded with a single runway with a single taxiway and revetments along the Marrain River, running parallel to the larger Japanese built Alexishafen Airfield. Surfaced with packed earth and crushed coral and granite top cover. In October 30, 1943 the strip was 4,000' x (140) 310'. The strip included 3 bomber and 12 fighter revetments (in October 30, 1943).

During 1943, used by the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as a forward airfield for fighter aircraft and light bombers until bombed by Allied aircraft and bypassed by the US Army landing at Hollandia.

American missions against Danip and Alexishafen
December 18, 1942 - April 15, 1944

Japanese Units Based at Danip (Alexishafen Fighter)
83rd Dokuritsu Chutai (Ki-51)
13th Sentai (Ki-43) Boram October 1943
68th Sentai (Ki-61 detachment) Boram October 15, 1943
77th Sentai (Ki-43) detachment
248th Sentai (Ki-43) late 1943

On April 26, 1944 occupied by the Australian Army's 30th Battalion moving northward along the North Coast Road from Madang to capture the Alexishafen area.

US Army ATAI Visit & Review of Wrecks
The strip was visited by American Air Technical Intelligence unit on June 28 1944.  They discovered a total of 18 wrecks at the strip, most damaged by bombing and strafing including Sonias, Tonys, Oscars and Lilys. They observed the surface of the strip was in poor condition. Holes cut into the sides of the hills provided protection for a fuel truck.

Today
Disused since the war, the airstrip is overgrown but runway visible. There are still traces of the revetments, crudely built around metal drums and soil to build up the walls, and the scattered remains of a trucks, aircraft bits. In the nearby low ridges, there are some tunnels excavated by the Japanese to store things. Today, there are a few huts of squatters living at the village of Danip or in the vicinity. A concrete pad, (built after the war, or by the Allies) was used by the Catholic Mission for storage.

Junkers W33d "The Lady Letti" VH-UIW
Transported to the airfield prewar, abandoned during the war and recovered during 1985

Ki-48-II Lily
Abandoned in a revetment, mostly scrapped

Ki-48-II Lily
Mostly scrapped, main spar and section of tail only

Ki-43 Oscar Manufacture Number 5806
Abandoned at the airfield until 1970s, fate unknown

Ki-43 Oscar

Ki-43 Oscar

References
Notes about New Guinea airfields, recorded circa May - July, 1942 by Oliver C. Doan via Jean Doan research Edward Rogers
Australian Heritage "St. Paulus: A Plane of Many Missions" by Pat Studdy-Clift page 19-20
Thanks to Charles Darby, Ray Fairfield and Richard Dunn for additional information

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Last Updated
December 30, 2013

 

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