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    Biak Island Biak Numfor Regency | Papua Province Indonesia
Click For Enlargement
5th AF Assoc 1990

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MHLW 1999

Location
Lat 1° 0' 0S Long 136° 0' 0E  Biak Island is the located in the Schouten Island Group (Schouten Archipelago) off the north coast of western New Guinea. Borders Geelvink Bay (Cenderawasih Bay) and Yapen Strait (Japen Strait) to the south and the northern coast of western New Guinea. Prewar and during the Pacific War, located in Dutch New Guinea (DNG) in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Today located in Biak Numfor Regency in Papua Province in Indonesia.

Wartime History
During 1942, occupied by the Japanese Army who constructed three runways on the south coast: Mokmer Drome, Sorido Drome and Borokoe Airfield. During early 1944, the Japanese began strengthening their defensive positions on Biak in anticipation of an American landing at this location.

In late April 1944 after the U. S. Army occupation of the Hollandia area, engineers discovered the soil in the area was too soft for heavy bomber operations and Biak Island was targeted for the coral surfaced runways and deemed better for U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) operations. Starting in late April 1944, Biak was targeted by American bombers and fighters.

American and Japanese missions against Biak
April 28, 1944–July 9, 1944

On May 27, 1944 the U. S. Army 41st Infantry Division "Jungleers" made an amphibious landing on the southern coast of Biak at Bosnik. A tank versus tank battle occurred on Biak, when Japanese Type 95 Ha Go tanks attempted to attack the beachhead. They were destroyed by M4 Sherman tanks. Defending from natural limestone caves including Japanese Cave (Goa Jepang), the Japanese Army were able to attack American forces and delayed their use of Mokmer Drome.

Afterwards, the Japanese attempted to land reinforcements elsewhere on Biak to bolster the defense. In total, estimated casualties on Biak were 435 Americans KIA and 2,360 WIA.  The Japanese lost an estimated 6,125 KIA with  460 POWs, and 360 Formosan POWs.

After securing the island, the U. S. Army designated Biak Island "Base H (Biak)" and developed the southern portion of the island with airfields and base areas. Biak became U. S. Army Post Office 920 (APO 920). Biak Island supported offensive operations in the rest of Dutch New Guinea and late the liberation of the southern Philippines.

Black GI's
At Biak

245th, 246th, 247th Quartermaster Laundry
50th Ordnance Ammunition Co.
1932nd Quartermaster Truck Co.
745th Sanitary Co.
311th Quartermaster Battalion
325th Gas Supply Co.
603rd Port Co.

436th Aviation Squadron
91st Engineer General Service
85th Engineer Dump Truck Co.
738th Engineer Base Depot Co.
1315th Engineer Construction
993rd Quartermaster Service CO
1518th Engineer Water Supply Co.

Today
Biak Island has a large Indonesian naval base and the island has better infrastructure than in most other places in the province. During the 1980-1990s, Biak was developed as a tourist destination when international flights landed at Mokmer Drome to refuel. Today, many parts of the island are off limits to visitors.

Biak Museum
Small outdoor museum with relics on display including vehicles, guns, equipment, memorials and war relics.

Bosnik (Bosnek, Soriari)
Located on the south coast of Biak site of U. S. Army landing on May 27, 1944.

Borokoe (Boroekoe, Borokoe)
Located on the south coast of Biak includes Borokoe Airfield built by the Japanese and expanded by the American.

Sorido (Sorrido, Insirom, Insrom)
Located on the south coast of Biak includes Sorido Airfield built by the Japanese and expanded by the American.

Mokmer
Located on the south coast of Biak includes Mokmer Airfield built by the Japanese and expanded by Americans.

Parai
Located on the southern coast of Biak.

Ambroben
Japanese caves are located near this village.

Japanese Cave on Biak (Goa Jepang)
Natural cave located on southern Biak known as "Japanese Cave" (Goa Jepang).

P-47D Thunderbolt Serial Number 42-75940
Pilot Frankfort crashed April 27, 1944

Ki 43-II Oscar
Crashed on Biak

Ki-43-II Oscar
Crashed on Biak

Ki-43-II Oscar
Crashed on Biak

P-39 Airacobra
Crashed into the limestone hills in northern Biak

C-47 Dakota Serial Number 00728
Crashed on Biak, full details unknown

C-47A Dakota Serial Number 42-10047
Pilot McDowell crashed January 9, 1945

Ki-48 Lily
Ditched off Biak, attempted salvage in 1990s, accidentally destroyed

Ki-45 Nick
Pilot Takada crashed May 27, 1944 (first 'planned' Kamikaze suicide attack on an enemy ship

PBY Catalina
Sunk off Biak Harbor

References
Hurricane at Biak (2000) by Marc Bernstein covers the history of the Biak Campaign

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Last Updated
July 28, 2019

 

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