Tsili Tsili Airfield
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Tsili Tsili Airfield
|Part of Fifth Air Force|
Located in Morobe Province, Paupa New Guinea
|Controlled by||United States Army Air Forces|
Tsili Tsili (Tsile-Tsile) Airfield is a former World War II airfield in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The airfield was abandoned after the war and today has almost totally returned to its natural state.
The area was occupied by Allied forces in the middle of June 1943. The field was hastily constructed by the United States Army 871st Airborne Engineers. All supplies, food, fuel and equipment had to be flown into the base via C-47s from Port Moresby. The first fighters were based at the airfield from the 26 July. This forward base allowed fighters to escort longer-range bombers in attacks on targets as far away as Japan's major new airbases at Wewak.
The Japanese command at Wewak discovered the Tsili-Tsili airfield and launched preemptive attacks on 15 and 16 August 1943, inflicting casualties, but little damage to the airfield. On 17 and 18 August, Allied forces launched a series of large attacks that first bombed and then strafed all four Japanese airfields at Wewak, heavily damaging many aircraft and facilities. As a result, Japan finally lost air superiority over New Guinea.
Major USAAF units assigned
- 35th Fighter Group (15 August – 5 October 1943)
- 8th Fighter Squadron, (49th Fighter Group), (30 August – 29 October 1943), P-40 Warhawk
- 65th Troop Carrier Squadron, (54th Troop Carrier Wing), (18 September – 31 October 1943), C-47 Skytrain
- 433d Troop Carrier Group, (???? - 2 June 1944)
Other known units at Tsili Tsili were the USAAF 2nd Air Task Force, which was formed for operations around Lae (5 August 1943) and the RAAF 24 Squadron (Vultee Vengeance) in November 1943 and 4 Squadron (Boomerang) September 1943 - January 1944.
- Gamble, Bruce (2013). Target: Rabaul: The Allied Siege of Japan’s Most Infamous Stronghold, March 1943–August 1945. Minneapolis: Zenith Press. ISBN 978-0760344071
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.