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Abandoned, Forgotten and Little Known Airfields of World War II

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Abandoned, Forgotten and Little Known Airfields in Europe

 

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/

 

A rather big looking website. Here are a couple of examples that might be relevant. Lots to look at and I don't know my way around Europe so if people felt like posting the links to the relevant stuff they find that

 

might be good.

 

Also as a topic it might be nice if people added further information about their local World War 2 era air bases or airfields. If they have any or any available info.

 

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/belgium/limburg/asch-y-29-s101.html

 

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/netherlands/gelderland/deelen-s453.html

 

8b9f87c5-7104-b231-99d5-8a761eac4229.jpg1-Fw-190A-JG1-Deelen-1943-01.jpg

 

 

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Wellesbourne airfield, near Stratford upon Avon in the UK. My Granddad helped build it in 1941/42 and met my Grandmother in the naafi there. Bomber training command airfield, with Wellingtons. Sqn Leader Dingy Young of Dambusters fame trained here. It's not abandoned though, now in use as a civil aviation field. 
nZdLyFP.jpg

Edited by 6./ZG76_Archie
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meucon_Airport

 

This airport is less than a 1 hour drive from my home. It notably hosted JG2's Focke Wulves, and was bombed to crap by the Allies before being taken over. Today a small aeroclub occupies it.

Not many pictures of the airfield itself, but here are the planes.

FW190-A4-JG2-(W10+I)-France-1942-8.jpgFW190-A3-JG2-Black1-WrkN734-France-Febru

Edited by Frenchy56
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I just assumed that the majority of German fighter bases in early 1940s were in France/Holland. Did the Germans operate many bomber aircraft from France (noting above link in Frenchy's post was an airfield used by He-111s)or were they mainly based in Germany as it must have been a nightmare coordinating bomber fighter escort missions during BoB.

 

Regards

Edited by Haza

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European airfields of WW2, http://www.ww2.dk/lwairfields.html

 

Vannes  (FR)  (Vannes-Meuçon) – (47 43 20 N – 02 43 30 W)     General:   airfield in NW France 100 km NW of Nantes, 7.5 km NNE of Vannes and 3.25 km E of Meuçon.

 

History:  a small and unimportant French military landing ground until the Germans took it over in Jun 40.   The Luftwaffe developed it into a well equipped bomber base between Aug 40 and Jul 41 and it actively served this purpose until Jul 42.   The level of activity then fell off and it was subsequently used mainly by fighters until summer 1944.   Vannes was not paved until after the Americans captured it in August 1944. Dimensions:  approx. 1000 x 1465 meters (1100 x 1600 yards).

 

Surface and Runways:  grass and scrub.   Had 2 prepared runways neither of which was paved – (1) approx. 1235 meters (1350 yards) near the SW boundary; (2) approx. 1325 meters (1450 yards) laid across the E side of the airfield.   Equipped with permanent runway illumination, a blind landing system and a visual Lorenz system.

 

Fuel and Ammunition:  there were 6 large fuel tanks on and off the N, NE, E, S, NW and distant N sides of the airfield with a refueling loop on the NE side. A large ammunition dump was located 2 km NE of the airfield and connected to it by road.   The dump was also served by a special branch rail line off the main line running from Vannes to Locminé.

 

Infrastructure:  had 1 medium hangar and 2 small hangars in the Northwest dispersal area and 1 hangar in the Northeast dispersal.   The hangars were used mainly for repair work.   Station HQ, admin offices and workshops were off the N boundary along with a small group of hospital buildings, motor pool and garages, airfield fire station, messes and billeting for officers.   Nonofficer personnel were accommodated in Barrack-type buildings (huts?) adjacent to the Northwest and Northeast dispersal areas and off the SE corner of the airfield.   Air crew and some senior officers from the base were quartered in hotels in Vannes.

 

Dispersal:  the 4 dispersal areas – Northeast, East, Southwest and Northwest – had a total of 41 large and 21 small aircraft shelters.   Most of the shelters had revetments and were in wooded areas adjacent to the airfield.

 

Defenses:  there were 2 heavy and 10 light Flak positions around the airfield out to a radius of approx. 3 km.   Only a few machine gun positions were available for ground defense.

 

Vannes – Grand-Champ

 

Operational Units:   KGr. 100 (Aug 40 – Jun 41); detachment of Sonderkdo. Mausi (Feb 42); Stab, III./KG 77 (Jun 42); III./JG 2 (Nov 42 – Oct 43); 1./MSGr. 1 (1943-44); Erprobungsstaffel d.Lw. 188 (4./KG 66) (Jun-Nov 43); 2./ZG 1 (Jan-Jun 44); II./KG 2 (Mar 44)?; Wekusta 51 (May-Jun 44); I./JG 27 (Jun 44); II./JG 53 (Jun 44).

 

Reserve Training & Replacement Units:   1./Erg.Gr. JG 51 (Oct 41 – Jan 42); IV./JG 1 (Jan 42).

 

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Anson-A4-26-Clare-1.66KOM.jpg  Anson-W1953-Brinkworth-1.66KOM.jpg

 

This is my local and not very exciting World War II airfield it is a glider airstrip now and the best parts were built over unfortunately.

Gawler and Mallala Airfield History

http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au/Gawler_and_Mallala_Airfield_History

 

And radio communications bunker http://www.ozatwar.com/bunkers/gawlerbunker.htm

 

....and up until the late 1960's (before my time) there used to be Avro Ansons and Airspeed Oxfords lying around everywhere....

 

http://www.goodall.com.au/australian-aviation/ansonsonfarms/ansonsonfarms.html

 

I used to have a nice wooden propellor from one......

 

gawler02.jpg

 

Edited by Pail

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One of our local abandoned airfields - RAF Upottery.  This photo is about ten years old now but nothing much has changed.  This is about ten miles from from where I live.

 

Nannys_Surprise_Birthday008-3.jpg

 

It was one of three airfields constructed within five miles of each other.  The other two are RAF Dunkeswell and RAF Culmhead.  Pity the Americans who were stationed here in the latter part of the war.  They nicknamed it mudville heights. :)

 

Really good website here;

 

http://www.southwestairfields.co.uk/index.html

 

RAF Culmhead was briefly the allies first operational jet fighter airfield,  the 101st Airborne took off from RAF Upottery to be dropped on Normandy and JFK's elder brother Joe Jr. was stationed at RAF Dunkeswell flying anti-submarine operations in US Navy Liberators.  After he completed his tour he volunteered to fly Operation Aphrodite missions and was vapourised shortly afterwards when the twenty one tons of Torpex packed into the converted Liberator exploded prematurely over Suffolk :o:.

 

Such was the extent of airfield building in the UK during WWII, if you live in England you are never more than twenty-five miles from somesort of airfield. 

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if you live in England you are never more than twenty-five miles from somesort of airfield.

 

True but it's just as much about the information that is out there.....and the people who know stories of what is around them to some extent as well. And I like those funny little websites about local history and wanted to show off the decaying Anson atrocities. :scratch_one-s_head:

 

One of my favourite books that interested me in planes as a kid and I borrowed about twenty times from the local library..... https://www.pacificwrecks.com/reviews/darby.html

 

9780858800359-us.jpg

 

zombie plane porn

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Florennes / Juzaine

i can't seem to find this one here for some reason http://www.forgottenairfields.com/belgium/

 

Maybe because it is not abandoned. There are some videos at the site below though.

 

http://www.criticalpast.com/stock-footage-video/Florennes+Belgium+1945

 

 

 

 

Hangar-D21_A.jpg19654.jpg

 

http://www.belgian-wings.be/Webpages/Navigator/News/Special%20Features/FS%2060%20Years/60%20years%20FS.htm

 

media-19790.jpeg?itok=mpoQSKDq

 

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/place/172484

 

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Stoughton airfield, Leicestershire. Used by Short Stirlings during WWII. 

Still in use today, it's where I did all my flying training on the Cessna :)

 

Picture_012.jpg

 

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Marinevliegkamp Valkenburg

 

Construction of the airfield started in 1939 in preparation for war and was still continuing when Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. The German invasion airfleet (some 50 Ju-52s) that landed there to capture the airfield sustained heavy losses when their aircraft, stuck in the soft and wet soil, were destroyed by Netherlands fighters and artillery.
During the war the airfields construction was continued by the Germans, who renamed it Fliegerhorst Katwijk.

 

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/netherlands/zuid-holland/valkenburg-s795.html

 

 

536537f9-1114-7f38-533b-3a375890d272.jpg8fcfe3e5-acd3-7c20-1ee8-48fba206bce5.jpgMaaldrift_Junker_Buitenlijner.jpg

 

 

Vliegveld Ockenburg

 

"A short while later German fighters attacked the airfield, followed by Fallschirmjaeger and 28 Ju-52 transports. Soldiers stepping out of the aircraft immediately opened fire. At 7am the battle was over; of the 96 defenders 24 were killed, another 18 were wounded. Soldiers that were garrisoned nearby (mostly non-combat personel) counter-attacked, but they were poorly organised. A Fokker T-V bomber however managed to destroy 4 Ju-52s, but was lost after the attack, shot down by no less than 5 fighters. Another 3 T-V bombers bombed the field a little later.
Artillery fire from nearby Poeldijk began at 8am, and with the assistance of a battalion of the army they managed to defeat the German troops. Ultimately they still lost the war after 5 days."

 

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/netherlands/zuid-holland/ockenburg-s910.html

Edited by Pail

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Florennes / Juzaine

 

post-83223-0-28492100-1518469547_thumb.png

 

From >> Yearbook SPG - 485th Tactical Missile Wing http://www.485tmw.com/images/docs/documents/485SPGyearbook.pdf

 

"But more important is to know Florennes was not a bomber base. The first (medium) bomber group, the 344th Bombardment Group (M) was based there from April 6-May 5, 1945. Prior to that, it was occupied by the 422 Night Fighter Squadron (Sept. 18, 1944 to April 3, 1945), the 370th Fighter Group (Sept. 26, 1944 to Jan. 26, 1945), the 474 Fighter Group (Oct. 3, 1944 to March 30, 1945) and the 365 Fighter Group (Jan. 26-March 15, 1945). At the end of World War II, the field was retained by the U.S. Air Force."

 

From here >> https://www.stripes.com/opinion/a-bit-of-air-base-history-1.99857

 

"Unfortunately there is no US-Report, but Florennes is covered in Crashed Enemy Aircraft Report No. 260:

 

1 Bf 109

1 Bf 110

1 Me 410

4 Fw 190

3 Do 217 (only one Werknummer: 712 185)

3 Ju 88 (one nightfighter)

 

All listed as "destroyed"."

 

from here >> http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/archive/index.php?t-40555.html

 

A modern aerial view of Florennes Air Base >> https://mapcarta.com/24938664

 

Accident reports for Florennes >> http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbaloc.asp?Loc=fl&offset=6875

 

370th Fighter Group http://abmc.nomadmobileguides.com/Cambridge.php?page=narrative&id=cont-2957

https://www.abebooks.fr/rechercher-livre/titre/florennes-air-base/auteur/challe-j-p/

 

florennes_nov_1947.jpg

 

Florennes Airbase 1947

 

2704248469.2.jpghttp://www.belgian-wings.be/Webpages/Navigator/News/Special%20Features/Demo%202012%20Presentation/Demo%202012%20presentation.html

 

Présentation Musée La Base de Florennes

 

https://www.museespitfire-florennes.be/m%C3%A9dias/

 

http://www.hangarflying.eu/fr/content/naissance-et-d%C3%A9veloppement-de-la-base-a%C3%A9rienne-de-florennes-1943-1955

 

6764160704094927.jpghttps://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/85015/Where-is-Florennes-Air-Base.htm

 

Florennes AB History >> http://www.giorgiociarini.com/70_years_florenn_000002.htm

 

http://www.belgian-wings.be/Webpages/Navigator/Photos/MilltaryPics/airfields/Florennes/florennes.htm

 

Florennes-airbase_dbx_02bis.jpg

 

Florennes-airbase_dbx_01.jpg

 

air_lightning77.jpg

 

jugsoverthe-battleofthe-bulge-28-728.jpg

jugsoverthe-battleofthe-bulge-47-728.jpg

 

Filmed at A-78 Florennes/Juzaine, Belgium, when P-61s flew day ground attack missions during the Battle of the Bulge. 422nd Night Fighter Squadron received P-61s in England in June 1944 and was in action against V-1 bombs in July. In early August 1944 422nd NFS was transferred to Maupertus, France (with sister 425th NFS).

 

header.pnghttp://www.hellhawks.org/history.html

 

http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/USAAF/344th_Bombardment_Group.html#4

 

344th Bombardment Group

https://www.uakron.edu/libraries/archives/collections/finding-aids/b26/bombgroup-detail.dot?id=1396558

 

Soon, Florennes was taken over by the American Forces and the USAF and a first Consolidated B-24v Liberator landed on September 11th, 1944. Followed by the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron equipped with the Northrop P-61 Black Widow; the 370th and the 474th Fighter Groups, both flying the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. On January 30, 1945, the base saw the arrival of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt with the 365th Fighter Group and, on April 5, the last American unit at Florennes, the 344th Bomber Group with Martin B-26 Marauder.

 

http://www.sbap.be/events/2017/042ebfs70y2017/042ebfs70y2017.htm

 

http://www.cieldegloire.com/fg_365.php

Edited by Pail
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be.pngSchaffen Belgium
 
Schaffen-Diest airfield
It was originally built in World War I by the German army occupying Belgium.

On the eve of World War II about 50 per cent of the entire Belgian Air Force had gathered at the airfield. Although Schaffen had been on general alert from 7 May 1940, there was a standdown on 9 May 10.30AM. Most of the pilots took the opportunity to relax in nearby Diest. 
At 3AM in the morning of 10 May 1940 the alarm went off. All aircraft were prepared for takeoff around 4AM, and lined up in front of the hangars. A witness described the entire procedure to be like an exercise, in order and without any stress. Just after 4AM formations of aircraft were observed flying west, and it was assumed there was some kind of battle going on between the British and the Germans over the English Channel. As Belgium had been declared neutral for the past 5 years, the pilots did not worry too much.
At 4.32AM, 3 two-engined bombers attacked the airfield, strafing the lined up Belgian aircraft. They were followed almost immediately by fighterbombers, shooting at will. Within minutes the aircraft of the Belgian Air Force were decimated and the airfield was on fire. Ten minutes after the first wave a second wave followed, bombers from 6,000 feet dropped ther bombs to finish off what the earlier wave had left standing. At 5.30AM, a third attacked the airfield.
Only 5 aircraft survived the attacks: two Hurricanes and three Glosters.
 
hur100.jpg
 

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be.pngGrimbergen (B-60)
 
Built by the Belgian military in 1939 in anticipation of World War II.
During the German invasion the airfield was in use, although it's Fairy Fox and Fiat CR42 proved inadequate against the much more modern German aircraft. The airfield fell in German hands on 18 May 1940
The Germans almost immediately began expanding the airfield, and based two squadrons at the airfield: weather reconnaissance squadron Wekusta26 and elite fighter squadron JG.26 flying the FW.190. 
On 3 September 1944 the airfield was liberated by the British. Three days later an advanced party of 122Wing came to inspect the airfield, which they coded as B-60. Three 122Wing Mustang squadrons were ordered to use the airfield to disrupt German supply lines. Additionally the airfield was used to support C-47 (RAF name 'Dakota') operations in the Arnhem area.
By 28 September 1944 New Zealand Tempest squadrons took charge of the airfield. A week later (6 October) the 'Norwegian' 132Wing with Spitfires relieved the New Zealanders, they stayed until just before Christmas.
 
9N-Y-Grimbergen-1-776562.jpgPV181_5.jpg
 
 
IWM_CL_4311.sized.jpgIWM_CL_4313.sized.jpg
 
 
IWM_CL_1386.sized.jpgTyphoon_JN877.sized.jpg
 
 
 
PV181_1.jpgPV181_2.jpg
Edited by Pail

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On 2/12/2018 at 4:18 PM, Pail said:

 

jugsoverthe-battleofthe-bulge-28-728.jpg

 

 

  Thank you for the thread, and especially this photo, very nice!

 

  With the discussion about the P-38 in the upcoming "IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Bodenplatte", I had decided to look at the airfields of the USAAF Ninth Air Force's three P-38 Fighter Groups during this time frame.  Along with the two Fighter Groups at Florennes in Belgium, there was one at Juvincourt airfield in northern France, http://www.forgottenairfields.com/france/picardy/aisne/juvincourt-a-68-s1123.html.

  •     367th Fighter Group (392nd, 393rd, and 394th Fighter Squadrons):  Juvincourt, France
  •     370th Fighter Group (401st, 402nd, and 485th Fighter Squadrons):  Florennes / Juzaine, Belgium
  •     474th Fighter Group (428th, 429th, and 430th Fighter Squadrons):  Florennes / Juzaine, Belgium      

  To help me visualize the situation, I went ahead and approximated the locations, based on GPS references on Google maps, to a map of the area during the timeframe of the operation ... the fact that Florennes was not on the target list for Operation Bodenplatte, especially since by the time Bodenplatte was launched the ground assault towards Florennes had been stopped, makes me wonder if the target list had not been adequately updated, based on the delayed start from 16 December 1944 to 1 January 1945?  Perhaps the expectation was that ground forces would overrun the Florennes airfield?  The 15 miles on the caption for the above photo does appear to be accurate!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Bodenplatte#Targets_and_order_of_battle

 

Ardennes_Offensive_P38.thumb.jpg.b375a2ff9e553db9cffb54d4c40deee0.jpg

 

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On 3/12/2018 at 6:39 PM, Falkenstein said:

Thank you for the thread, and especially this photo, very nice!

Thanks I was kind of a bit lost as to which airfields to look for next. Any suggestions or input is most welcome. BoBp is still an unknown quantity to some degree.

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