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    Samarinda II Airfield (Melak) Borneo Indonesia
Samarinda II Airfield was located at Samarinda between Longiram and Melak near the river.

The airbase had two runways. Smarinda II (Melak East) was located at Lat 115° 46' 0" E Long 0° 12' 0" S. Smarinda II (Melak West) is located at Lat 115° 44' 0" E Long 0° 13' 0" S.

Built by the Dutch prewar with two parallel runways as a secret military airfield for use if other airfields were disabled or occupied by the enemy.

Wartime History
The KNIL Air Force at Samarinda II Airfield consisted of several Martin bombers, Buffalo fighters, Lockheed Longstars. The Samarinda II airfield commander was KNIL Air Force Major L.C.A van Dam. Defending the airfield was a KNIL garrison under command of KNIL Major G. du Rij van Beest Holle with approximately 500 men.

Dutch Army Units based at Samarinda II
KNIL Infantry Company
Anti-Aircraft Battery (4 x 40mm guns)
Anti-Aircraft Machine-Gun Platoon (AAMG)
Mobile Auxiliary First Aid Platoon
Militie Detachment with 5 independent squads (approximately 75 men)
NEIAF Units based at Samarinda II
Ie Vliegtuiggroep (1st Group)
1-VI.G.I (Bomber Squadron) 11 WH-3 Glenn Martin bombers, commanded by KNIL Air Force Captain W.F.H. van Rantwijk
Ve Vliegtuiggroep (5th Group)
I- 1.VI.G.V. (Fighter Squadron) 4 B-339D Brewster Buffalo fighters, commanded by KNIL Air Force 1st Lieutenant P.A.C. Benjamins
II-1-VI.G.V (Fighter Squadron) 4 B-339D Brewster Buffalo fighters, commanded by KNIL Air Force 2nd Lieutenant J.N. Droog

On January 24, 1942 Japanese aircraft discovered Samarinda II Airfield and A6M2 Zeros attacked over the next two days. Intercepted by 5 Brewster Buffalos, in which 2 Dutch Brewster Buffalos were shot down and both pilots killed. A A6M2 Zero crash landed at the airfield and the pilot survived, allowing the Dutch to inspect the aircraft.

On January 28, 1942 two other Dutch Brewter Buffalos were shot down and the Dutch command agreed to evacuate this air base, but it was decided that the airfield garrison would remained at the airfield

On January 1, 1942 B-17D 40-3061 piloted by Captain Edwin B. Broadhurts landed at Samarinda II Airfield, reporting that it had enough fuel and bombs to support USAAF bomber operations.

On January 5, 1942 USAAF B-17s stage through Samarinda during the night of January 4-5, 1942 to attack shipping in Davao Bay off Mindanao, using Dutch fuel and bombs.

Japanese Usage
There was no resistance when the Japanese troops occupied Samarinda II Airfield. The ground commander received orders from the AKH on Java on March 8, 1942 to capitulate the next day, and not to destroy any weapons, equipment, or the runway. On March 9, 1942 air commander flew to Samarinda to surrender the installation to the Japanese. On March 19, 1942 the Japanese arrived at Samarinda II Airfield.

Afterwards, some of the Dutch attempted to fight on in the jungle, but they were all overwhelmed and executed by the Japanese or betrayed by Dajaks (native people). Afterwards, the Japanese did not use the Samarinda II airfield, leaving only a small infantry detachment to keep one landing strip cleared for emergency use.

American missions against Samarinda
May 21, 1945–July 9, 1945

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Last Updated
January 3, 2021


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