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Nicholas Duprey 1993
Nicolas Duprey 2000
Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield was located at Plaine Des Gaiacs (PDG) near Pouembout (Puembut) 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 airfield was expanded with two massive sealed runways. Expanded by the U.S. Army for military use as a staging and training base for aircraft bound for Australia or north to the New Hebridies (Vanuatu) combat zones.
Used by the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as a military airfield for heavy and medium bombers. Also used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
Allied units based at Plaines Des Gaiacs
U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF)
11th BG, 98th BS (B-17s) Hickam July 21, 1942–Aug 11, 1942 to Espiritu Santo
42nd BG, 69th BS (B-26, B-25s) Hickam arrives June 23, 1942–December 1942 departs Guadalcanal returns Oct 20–Nov 10, 1943 Renard
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF)
No. 9 Squadron (Hudsons) 1942-1943
On July 21, 1942 B-17E Flying Fortresses from the 11th BG, 98th BS led by Colonel Saunders arrived at Plaines des Gaiacs Airfield. The runway was described as covered in red dust high in iron oxide and hacked out of a swamp. The red dust damaged air filters and cylinders that reducing engine life Additional complications were caused by a lack of service and maintenance personnel.
Disused since the war. Overgrown, the runways are still visible and many small traces of the American occupation remain including fuel drums and pieces of metal.
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