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20th CMS April 1, 1944
U. S. Army 1944
Lat 6° 35' 60S Long 147° 50' 60E Finschafen is located on the Huon Peninsula on the north coast of New Guinea. Borders Dregerhaffen Harbor (Dreger Haffen Harbor) to the south. Located 50 miles east of Lae. There are several variations in the spelling of this Finschafen during different historical periods. During the German colonial era, spelled "Finschhafen". During the Pacific War, spelled Finschafen, Finschaffen or Finchhaven and today spelled "Finschhafen". Today located in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Founded in 1885, the town was established by the Deutsch-Neuguinea Kompagnie (German New Guinea Company) as their first settlement in New Guinea, which was unsuccessful due to malaria and tropical diseases. In 1892, many German colonists moved west to Stephansort (Bogadjim). Prior to the Pacific War, a Lutheran mission was established with 80 missionaries that ran several missions, schools, a port and a radio station.
On March 10, 1942 the Japanese Army occupied the area and used the Lutheran Mission buildings as their headquarters. The Allies thought the area was lightly defended, but in fact based the fresh Japanese 20th Division (less 78th Regiment) and a Special Naval Landing Force and Naval Base Unit occupied the area.
Allied and Japanese mission against Finschafen
December 21, 1942 - January 5, 1944
On September 22, 1943 at dawn U. S. Navy (USN) Rear Admiral Daniel E. Barbey's Task Force 76 (TF-76) landed the Australian Army, 20th Brigade under the command of Brigadier J. V. Windeyer at Scarlet Beach near Finschhafen. Simultaneously the 22nd Australian Militia approached from the coast. After a week of hard fighting, the Australians captured the town of Finschhafen and Finschafen Airfield (Prewar) by October 2, 1943. During the battle, the Japanese lost roughly 1,500 troops. But the victory was, in a sense, a hollow one, for the bulk of the Japanese garrison, 4,000 men retreated Sattleberg, a peak that dominated Finschhafen and the surrounding area.
Afterwards, Finschafen was developed into a major Allied base known by the U. S. Army as "Base F (Finschafen)". The U. S. Army built Finschafen Airfield (Dreger Field) and developed the facilities at Dreger Haffen Harbor. Finschafen became an important base to support Allied island hopping operations and for training and support.
African American (Negro) soldiers at Finschafen
2026th Quartermaster Co.
466th Quartermaster Co.
467th Quartermaster Co.
469th Quartermaster Co.
466th Antiaircraft Artillery AW Battalion
742nd Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion
49th Coast Artillery Battalion, 155mm Howitzer
772nd Engineer Dump Truck
579th Motor Ambulance Co.
637th 638th, 639th Port Co.
248th Quartermaster Depot Co.
437th Aviation Squadron
97th Engineer Service Regiment
570th, 557th Quartermaster Battalion
986th Quartermaster Co.
985th Quartermaster Co.
Post war, much of the wartime gear was abandoned, buried or otherwise disposed. Little of the prewar town, remains except for one old Lutheran building, used by missionaries to this day. After WWII the town was moved from its original site. A Lutheran building is used by holidaying missionaries. Its tower was a WWII lookout.
Finschafen Airfield (Dreger Field)
Finschafen Airfield (Prewar Airfield)
119th Station Hospital
Hubner, 1st Marine Division recalls:
American Cemetery at Finschafen (Finschaffen Cemetery)
American units based in Finschafen
U. S. Army Road Grater
C-47A Dakota 43-30746
P-38H Lightning 42-66547
Unknown Shipwreck at Finschafen
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