Sansapor - Mar airfield New Guinea WW2

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Oct 28, 2020
Sansapor was a little known place on the northern shore of the Birds Head peninsula of Dutch New Guinea. In July 1944 the Allies landed there to create an airbase as a stepping stone to reach the Philippines (next stop: Morotai). Both on shore of New Guinea as well as on the little island of Middelburg (often spelled as Middleburg) airbases were build, called Sansapor-Mar (on shore) and Middleburg Island.
Another small island, Amsterdam Island, was also used as a base. Maps location: 0°25'08.8"S 132°11'23.8"E · Werur, Sausapor, Tambrauw Regency, West Papua, Indonesia

Middleburg and Sansapor.JPG
Sansapor airfield.JPG
Sansapor - Island 2020.JPG

A friend of mine lives in West Papua, has a diving resort, and is very much interested in the WWII air war over this area of the SWPA. During the 25 years he lives there now, he has collected numerous objects and aircraft parts, most recently this gun blister of a Mitsubishi G4M3 bomber.

In the next few years, he is planning to build a small museum in Sansapor, together with the local Papua people. Both to have a museum on the war in this part of the world and also to have a place to train young people in several trades like metal work, welding, restoration, exhibitions etc etc. The museum will be next to the Sansapor air strip.

He is now searching for more information on the airbases during the war: pictures (there are not that many to be found online), maps, construction information (US Army Engineers? Seabees?), operations etc etc.

Anyone who can help me find this stuff or point out where information might be found, please let me know.
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Way cool! It's on my bucket list to see for myself certain places I've read about. Even places I haven't read about! I do want to see Henderson Field on Guadal Canal although neither place is called that now. Last I read Midway is off limits but I haven't yet read up on Wake Island.
I would like to see that museum on Sansapor one day. Sansapor-Mar is like what, a PBY ferry distance away?
From the Sansapor Mar airfield to the island of Middleburg is some 6 kilometres. You can see it clearly from the shore. Nearby there are five Alligator amphibians still in the jungle.

Alligators at Sansapor.jpg

The Alligators were used in the landing as you can see in the July 1944 picture.
There are many photos of Sansapor-Mar and Middleburg Is airfields in the National Archives (NARA) but they are closed due to the pandemic. Below pics came from




Sansapor US NEI 1944_Moky_200x-1.jpg

Sansapor US NEI 1944_Moky_200x-2.jpg

Sansapor-Mar US NEI 1944_Moky_200x-3.jpg




When NARA opens up again you can get a researcher to obtain hi-res scans of the photos so you can enlarge them for display purposes in the museum.

Absolutely super! I always forget to search Fold3 :oops:
That is of course a great source of material. I'll certainly have someone pull these pictures from NARA after Covid and have them digitised/scanned or printed in high res.

Thanks JEC!
I was just in Sansapor last week with my good friend, Max Ammer. We were searching for the landing crafts sunk off of Amsterdam Island (found them), and also a Catalina that is located somewhere between Sansapor and Middleburg Island. We weren't able to locate that aircraft, but will try again later. In any case, thought you all might be interested in these photos I took...






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