Kahili Airfield

Type   Airfield
Historical Name of Location   Buin, Bougainville, British Western Pacific Territories


ww2dbaseKahili Airfield, also known as Buin Airfield, was an airfield located near Buin on the southern coast of Bougainville Island of the Solomon Islands. It was built by the Japanese Navy in Nov 1942. The airfield hosted mainly fighter squadrons, but although it also serviced carrier-based fighters and dive bombers. Starting in mid-1943, the Americans targeted this airfield repeatedly until it was effectively neutralized. The airfield was abandoned after WW2.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Update: Sep 2014

Kahili Airfield Interactive Map

Kahili Airfield Timeline

16 Jul 1943 More than 30 B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress bombers of the US Thirteenth Air Force attacked Kahili Airfield on Bougainville, Solomon Islands.
18 Jul 1943 21 USAAF Thirteenth Air Force B-24 bombers escorted by 20 fighters, together with 35 US Navy and US Marine Corps dive bombers escorted by 134 fighters, attacked the Kahili Airfield and surrounding areas on Bougainville Island, Solomon Islands. The Americans claimed destroying or damaging two destroyers, a light vessel, and 12 fighters. 10 American aircraft were lost.
19 Jul 1943 US B-17 aircraft bombed Kahili Airfield on Bougainville in the Solomon Islands.
20 Jul 1943 In the Solomon Islands, US 13th Air Force launched 18 B-24 bombers against Kahili Airfield, Bougainville Island and other targets on Ballale Island.
15 Aug 1943 8 Corsair fighters of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214 strafed Kahili Airfield on Bougainville island in the Solomon Islands just before sunset. The Americans claimed 3 Japanese aircraft shot down and several more damaged on the ground.
28 Aug 1943 Two US Corsair fighter squadrons attacked Kahili Airfield in Buin, Bougainville in the Solomon Islands. Lieutenant Al Jensen of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214, flying a Corsair fighter, was credited with destroying 24 Japanese planes on the ground during this mission.
14 Sep 1943 Corsair fighters of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214 attacked Kahili Airfield on Bougainville, meeting no opposition.
4 Oct 1943 Gregory Boyington led 8 US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214 F4U fighters to escort USAAF bombers over Kahili Airfield on Bougainville island; US Army Air Forces also launched P-38 fighters for escort duty. Boyington claimed 3 Japanese shot down while the USAAF claimed 4 more. Japanese records would later reveal that only 1 fighter was shot down and 2 were written off from heavy damage.
15 Oct 1943 Originally given the task of escorting US Army Air Force bombers to attack Kahili Airfield on Bougainville island, the US Marine Corps F4U fighters arrived earlier than the bombers, thus the mission became a fighter sweep of the Japanese airfield. 22 Japanese A6M fighters rose to defend. USMC pilot Bill Case claimed 2 victories, Tom Emrich 2, Burney Tucker 1, and Gregory Boyington 1. Japanese records would later reveal that only 1 fighter was destroyed on this day.
17 Oct 1943 US Marine Corps squadrons VMF-214 and VMF-221 conducted a fighter sweep over Kahili Airfield on Bougainville island in the morning. More than 30 A6M fighters of Japanese Navy Air Group 201 rose to defend. VMF-214 pilots would claim 9 Japanese aircraft shot down, while VMF-221 claimed 2; Japanese records would later reveal that only 2 aircraft were lost on this day. The Japanese pilots claimed 3 US aircraft shot down, but the Americans only suffered 2 aircraft lightly damaged and 1 aircraft heavily damaged and written off after its return.
18 Oct 1943 3 divisions of US Marine Corps squadron VMF-214, led by Gregory Boyington, attacked Ballale Airfield in the Shortland Islands. Later in the day, the same 3 divisions joined VMF-221 in the attack of Kahili Airfield on Bougainville island. 22 Japanese fighters rose to defend Kahili. US airmen claimed 14 Japanese aircraft shot down with 6 probables. Japanese records later revealed the loss of 4 aircraft in combat, 1 heavily damaged and written off, and 3 lightly damaged.
27 Sep 1944 Four TDR-1 drones, controlled from TBM-1c aircraft, were launched against beached Japanese freighter used as antiaircraft emplacement off Kahili airstrip, Bougainville. Two drones hit the ship, one crashed just short (bomb did not explode) and one was lost enroute.
23 Oct 1944 Six TDR drones were flown against beached Japanese ships in Moisuru Bay, Bougainville and off the south end of the Kahili airstrip. Two TDRs scored a direct hits on a beached Japanese freighter serving as an antiaircraft gun platform at Kahili, and one hit another beached merchantman in Moisuru Bay.


A6M Model 22 Zero fighters of Zuikaku

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Modern Day Location
WW2-Era Place Name Buin, Bougainville, British Western Pacific Territories
Lat/Long -6.7880, 155.7782
Kahili Airfield Photo Gallery
A6M Model 22 Zero fighters of Zuikaku

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