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    Nadzab (Nadzad) Morobe Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

USAAF September 1943



USAAF Sept 5, 1943
Location
Lat 6° 32' 60S Long 146° 41' 60E  Nadzab is located in the Markham Valley in New Guinea. Also spelled Nadzad. To the south is the Markham River and beyond to the southeast is Lae. Between 1884 until September 1914 part of Deutsch Neu Guinea (German New Guinea). Prewar and during the Pacific War located in the Morobe District in the Territory of New Guinea. Today located in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Prewar
During 1910, the German administration established a Lutheran mission station at Nadzab.

Wartime History
During March 1942 after the occupation of Lae, the Nadzab area was occupied by the Japanese but was never developed into a base or airfield. The Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) regularly patrolled the area. In late March 1943 targeted by Allied bombers and fighters and remained in Japanese territory until early September 1943.

American missions against Nadzab
March 23, 1943–September 5, 1943

On September 5, 1943 in the morning, A-20 Havocs laid a thick white smoke screen to hide the arrival of C-47 Skytrains that released U.S. Army 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment (503rd PIR) with the Australian Army 2/4th Field Regiment with short barrel 25 pounder guns made a paratrooper jump over Nadzab. The parachute drop was successful and met little Japanese resistance in the area. This was the first paratrooper assault in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and the only Allied paratrooper jump over the New Guinea mainland.

Immediately, the flat area with kunai grass was quickly developed into a major airfield and base area for future operations in the region. Afterwards, Nadzab, was targeted by Japanese bombers and fighters targeting the airfields.

Japanese missions against Nadzab
November 6, 1943–January 16, 1944

The Nadzab airfield complex included five separate airstrips: Nadzab Airfield No. 1 in the middle, with Nadzab No. 2 to the south, closest to the Markham River. No. 3 strip was located on the northern side of the complex, while No. 4 Strip "Newton Strip" was located to the east and No. 5 Strip furthest to the north. The entire area was designated APO 713 (Nadzab).

Nadzab No. 1 Airfield (No. 1 Strip, East Base, Nadzab Airport)
Built by the U.S. Army, still in use today as Nadzab Airport / Nadzab Lae Airport

Nadzab No. 2 Airfield (No. 2 Strip, East Base, Nadzab Airport)
Built by the U.S. Army, still in use today as Nadzab Airport / Nadzab Lae Airport

Nadzab No. 3 Airfield (No. 3 Strip, Fighter Strip, Texter Field)
Single runway bordering the Erap River, furthest north in the Nadzab airfield complex.

Nadzab No. 4 Airfield (No. 4 Strip, Newton Field)
Located nearest to Nadzab north of the Markham River primarily used by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Nadzab No. 5 Airfield (No. 5 Strip)
Two parallel runways located to the north of "East Base" and No. 3 Strip to the north.

Narakapor Airfield
Prewar airfield at Narakapor Plantation.

117th Station Hospital
US Army hospital, at its height in 1944 Mayo as the chief surgeon.

A-20G "Crap Shooter" Serial Number 42-54155
Pilot Adroetti crashed October 1, 1944

A-20G Havoc Serial Number 42-86717
Pilot Campagna crashed October 1, 1944

Vultee Vengeance Serial Number A27-83
Pilot Pike force landed February 27, 1944

B-25D "How's Your Ole' Tomato" 41-30664
Pilot Finnegan crashed March 13, 1944

P-47D Thunderbolt Serial Number 42-22949
Pilot Wurtz crashed May 5, 1945

Nadzab Cemetery
During late 1943, established by the U.S. Army. Postwar burials were moved to the Philippines or United States.

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Last Updated
April 28, 2023

 

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