|Serves||Wau, Papua New Guinea|
|Location||Papua New Guinea|
|Elevation AMSL||3,475 ft / 1,059 m|
Wau Airport is an airport serving Wau in Papua New Guinea.
Wau is a town in Papua New Guinea, in the province of Morobe. It has a population of approx 5,000 and is situated at an altitude of around 1100 metres. Wau was the site of a gold rush during the 1920s and 30s when prospective gold diggers arrived at the coast at Salamaua and struggled inland along the Black Cat Track.
A grass runway was constructed in 1927 by Cecil Levien with the assistance of native labourers. The first landing at Wau was made on 19 April 1927 by Ernest Mustar in a De Havilland DH.37 owned by Guinea Gold Airways from Lae Airfield. 3,100 feet (940 m) in length with a 12% slope heading directly for Mount Kaindi. Aircraft could approach from the northeast only, landing uphill and taking off downhill. The mountain at the end of the runway prevented second attempts at landing and precluded extension of the strip. Pilots had to manoeuvre Dakotas under clouds and through dangerous passes, "dodging a peak here and cloud there", landing at high speeds. This required good visibility, but the weather over Owen Stanley Range was characterised by frequent storms, down drafts, and mists which rose from the jungle floor.The airfield was extended during the Second World War to 1500 x 100 x 4000 yards as described in 1942. Wau airfield was a rough Kunai grass airstrip
The de Havilland DH.37 was a British three-seat sporting biplane of the 1920s designed and built by de Havilland for Alan Samuel Butler.
Lae Airfield is a former World War II airfield and later, civilian airport located at Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The airport was closed in the 1980s, in favour of Lae Nadzab Airport, which was able to accommodate larger jet aircraft. The airport was known as Lae Drome or Lae Aerodrome
Owen Stanley Range is the south-eastern part of the central mountain-chain in Papua New Guinea.
The Imperial Japanese Army sent 3,000 troops from Salamaua and Mubo along the Black Cat Track to seize Wau Airfield from the Australians. The Japanese force was known as the Okabe Detachment and was commanded by Major General Toru Okabe. The Japanese offensive was stopped by the Australian Army force known as Kanga Force in the battle of Wau.
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Salamaua was a small town situated on the northeastern coastline of Papua New Guinea, part of Morobe province. The settlement was built on a minor isthmus between the coast with mountains on the inland side and a headland. The closest city is Lae, which can be reached only via boat across the gulf.
Mubo is a village located inland from Salamaua, in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea at -7.21667,147.00001. Mubo was occupied by the Imperial Japanese on 14 May 1943 during the Second World War. Australian Army forces liberated the village in July 1943.
A Royal Australian Air Force C-47 Dakota (#A65-92) crashed at the airfield on 22 October 1960 and was written off.
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The Battle of Wau, 29 January – 4 February 1943, was a battle in the New Guinea campaign of World War II. Forces of the Empire of Japan sailed from Rabaul and crossed the Solomon Sea and, despite Allied air attacks, successfully reached Lae, where they disembarked. Japanese troops then advanced overland on Wau, an Australian base that potentially threatened the Japanese positions at Salamaua and Lae. A race developed between the Japanese moving overland, hampered by the terrain, and the Australians, moving by air, hampered by the weather. By the time the Japanese reached the Wau area after a trek over the mountains, the Australian defenders had been greatly reinforced by air. In the battle that followed, despite achieving tactical surprise by approaching from an unexpected direction, the Japanese attackers were unable to capture Wau.
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