Category:Airfields of the United States Army Air Forces in Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In the immediate aftermath of the World War II Japanese victory in the Philippines Campaign (1941–1942), the United States Army Air Forces Fifth Air Force withdrew to military airfields in Australia. From these bases, the USAAF, Australian and British Commenwealth air forces engaged the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies Campaign in 1942. Using RAAF forces and with the aircraft and pilots withdrawn from the Philippines and Singapore, the Allies were again defeated in the Dutch East Indies, and the Allies prepared for the expected Japanese invasion of Australia.

During 1942, with reinforcements arriving from the United States, General Douglas MacArthur took the fight north to Papua New Guinea, with aircraft from these airfields supporting Allied operations. By the beginning of 1943, most fighters and bombers had moved north to airfields in New Guinea, and by 1944 most of these Australian airfields were relegated to a support role for transport aircraft and as maintenance and supply facilities for the Allied forces moving towards the Philippines and in the Central Pacific.

Most of these airfields were closed in late 1944 or early 1945. Some returned to being civil airports; some were redeveloped into other uses, and others were abandoned to the elements leaving the runways and other areas to the ravages of time, sill visible today in aerial imagery.