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    Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield (De Gaiacs)  New Caledonia
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Nicholas Duprey 1993

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Nicolas Duprey 2000

Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield was located at Plaine Des Gaiacs near Pouembout on New Caledonia. Located roughly 300km to the southeast is Nouméa. Also known as simply "De Gaiacs". Named for the Gaiac tree that grow in the area. Also spelled "Plaine de Gaiac" in some wartime references.

Early in the war, Free French we in control of the field.  The airstrip was expanded into two massive sealed runways. Exapanded by by the US Army, it was mainly used as staging and training base for aircraft bound for Australia or north to the New Hebridies (Vanuatu) combat zones.

Colonel Saunders 11th BG, 98th BS set their B-17E's down on Plaines des Gaiacs on 21 July, they found a red dust strip hacked out of a swamp. High in iron oxide, this dust, sifting through the filters, honed out the cylinders, so that shortly the B-17's were fortunate to fly 6 hours with a full load of oil. Additional complications were lack of service and maintenance personnel.

Allied units based at Plaines Des Gaiacs
11th BG, 98th BS (B-17s) Hickam July 21 - Aug 11, 1942 to Espiritu Santo
42nd BG, 69th BS (B-26, B-25s) Hickam June 23, 1942 - ? Guadalcanal returns Oct 20 - Nov 10, 1943 Renard
9 Squadron (Hudsons) 1942-1943

Disused since the war. Overgrown, the runways are still visible and many small traces of the American occupation remain, such as fuel drums, metal, etc.

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Last Updated
April 7, 2020


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