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    Danip Airfield (Alexishafen II, Alexishafen No 1) Madang Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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8th PRS September 8, 1943

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90th BG Nov 30, 1943

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5th AF January 12, 1944

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Ray Fairfield 1972
Located at Danip on the north coast of New Guinea to the northwest of Alexishafen, to the west of the the North Coast Road, roughly 21 km north of Madang. Parallel to the SSE is Alexishafen Airfield (Alexishafen Airfield I, Alexishafen No 2). Prewar, known as "Alexishafen Airfield". During the Pacific War known as Danip Airfield, Alexishafen Fighter Strip, Alexishafen II or Alexishafen No. 1 or Alexishafen Airdrome No. 1. Today located in Madang Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

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".

During the July 1935, Klemm L25-D11 "St. Paulus" HB-XAL was reassembled at Alexishafen Airfield and on July 9, 1935 the aircraft's first flight in New Guinea was a flight over Nake.

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.

During the middle of 1941, the runway was put out of action by placing tree trunks down the length to prevent landings.

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 Airfield Fighter Strip)
83rd Dokuritsu Chutai / 83rd Independent Air Chutai (Ki-51 Sonia)
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 the Australian Army 30th Battalion advanced northward along the North Coast Road from Madang to capture the Alexishafen area, including Danip Airfield (Alexishafen). Found at the airfield was a Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine in a wooden crate addressed to "The Catholic Mission via Madang". This engine was imported by the Catholic Mission prewar and was never installed prior to Japanese occupation in early 1943.

ATIU Survey of Wrecks
On June 28, 1944 a team from Air Technical Intelligence Unit (ATIU) visited Alexishafen and Danip Airfield.  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.

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.

Junker W33d "The Lady Letti" VH-UIW
Abandoned at Danip prior to the Japanese occupation recovered 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
Abandoned at Danip

Ki-43 Oscar
Abandoned in a Danip

Notes about New Guinea airfields, recorded circa May - July, 1942 by Oliver C. Doan via Jean Doan research Edward Rogers
Index to Air Bases - Research Report No. 85, I.G. No 9185 - July 30, 1944 (Alexishafen II)
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
September 16, 2020


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