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Royal New Zealand Air Force



The airfield at Munda, which was the prime objective of the central Solomons campaign, was almost midway between the Japanese airfields in southern Bougainville and the Allies' advanced landing strips on the Russell Islands. Both sides had approximately the same number of fighter aircraft, and the existence of a landing ground close to the centre of operations would enable the Allies to maintain greater fighter strength over the area. As a prelude to the invasion of Munda, two companies of the 4th Raider Battalion, US Marines, landed at Segi in the south-east corner of New Georgia on 20 June. Suitable land was available there for an airfield, and there was a good deep-water approach for bringing in supplies by sea.

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The Raider Battalion landed unopposed and undetected by the enemy, and two days later was joined by two infantry companies which constructed defensive positions. Construction troops were then brought in, and by 10 July an emergency fighter strip had been built and was ready for operation.