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5th AF c1943
38th BG c1943
38th BG Aug 21, 1943
8th PRS Aug 30, 1943
5th AF Sept 8, 1943
38th BG Sept 27, 1943
5th AF Oct 22, 1943
Justin Taylan, 2004
But Airfield is located at But along the north coast of New Guinea. Located to the east is Dagua Airfield (But East) and Wewak. The Japanese referred to this airfield as "But West". The Allied referred to this airfield as "But Drome". Prewar and during the Pacific War located in the Territory of New Guinea. Today located in Wewak District, East Sepik Province (ESP) in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Built by the Japanese Army, construction began on February 6, 1943, and by the end of the month a single runway of hard earth and sand was built parallel to the coast, 1,200 x 80 meters, without any additional facilities.
As of October 19, 1943 the runway was expanded to 5,200' with 29 revetments and the northern bomber dispersal area had 17 revetments for bombers, bordering the coast. southern bomber dispersal area had 12 revetments. The area was defended by 8 heavy and 8 light anti-aircraft guns and two searchlight batteries.
World War II Pacific Theatre History
Used by the Japanese primarily as a base for medium and light bombers. Targeted by Allied bombers and fighters for more than a year, the runway was neutralized and many aircraft wrecked nearby.
Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) units based at But
23rd Sentai (Ki-43, C.O. Lt. Col Yokoyama)
26th Sentai (Ki-51) November 1943 - January 27, 1944
74th Air Company
Allied missions against But
May 9, 1943–August 25, 1944
During April 1945, Australian Army troops captured But Airfield and many wrecked aircraft. The Australians noted the following wrecks at the airfield: 8 Dinah, 1 Helen, 21 Lily, 3 Sally and 10 Sonia. US Army Air Technical Intelligence Unit (ATIU) visited But and observed slightly different numbers: 6 Dinah, 1 Helen, 22 Lily, 3 Sally and 10 Sonia.
The runway was repaired by the Australians to accommodate light aircraft. During May to July 1945 during the fighting around Maprik, Taylorcraft Auster aircraft flew casualties from Hayfield Airfield to But Airfield where they were transported by ambulance to an aid station nearby for treatment.
During the 1970s, according to Charles Darby a cache of experimental 40mm caseless ammunition was discovered.
In the late 1980 - early 1990's Australian expatriate, Tim Mathews recovered several Japanese aircraft radial engine to Australia, with the hopes of reselling them. They are in storage in Australia, and unsold.
Today, the runway is still clearly visible parallel to the road form Wewak to Aitape. Several square "U" shaped revetments are visible on the south side of the strip and bomb craters in the area.
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