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INVASION AIRFIELDS THEN AND NOW

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INVASION AIRFIELDS THEN AND NOW — by Winston Ramsey

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In his 1945 report to the Combined Chiefs-of-Staff on the success of Operation ‘Overlord’, the Supreme Commander General Eisenhower wrote that ‘on the morning of June 9 I was able to announce that for the first time since 1940, Allied air forces were operating from France, and that within three weeks of D-Day, 31 Allied squadrons were operating from the ­beach-head bases’.

In their forecasts for the first three months following D-Day, the planners plotted the number of the advanced landing grounds that would be required in Normandy to support the Allied air forces up to September 1944. Using maps and aerial photographs, individual sites were surveyed and plans drawn up so that when each location was captured, either US Aviation Engineers, the Royal Engineers or RAF Airfield Construction Wings, could move in without delay to begin work to build them.

This book tells the story of every airfield that became operational by D+90, explaining the methods used to construct them and the units that flew from them. The vast majority of the temporary airstrips have now been returned to the farmland from which they came, but by using engineers’ plans from the period and modern aerial photographs, we have portrayed the sites in true After the Battle fashion: as they were then and as they are today.

The airfields covered are listed in order of the date they were declared operational, i.e. the date on which the first aircraft landed. During the first 90 days following D-Day, 74 airfields and airstrips were in use or being constructed.

 

JUNE
7th ELS-1 Pouppeville, B-1 Asnelles-sur-Mer, A-21C St Laurent-sur-Mer
15th B-3 Ste Croix-sur-Mer
16th A-3 Cardonville, B-2 Bazenville
17th A-1 St Pierre-du-Mont, A-2 Cricqueville, A-6 Beuzeville
18th B-4 Bény-sur-Mer, A-4 Deux-Jumeaux
20th B-6 Coulombs
24th B-5 Camilly, A-10 Carentan
25th B-7 Martragny, B-11 Longues-sur-Mer
27th B-10 Plumetot, B-9 Lantheuil, A-7 Azeville
29th B-8 Sommervieu, A-8 Picauville
 
JULY
3rd A-14 Cretteville, A-15 Maupertus
5th A-9   Le Molay, A-5 Chippelle
7th A-12 Lignerolles, A-16 Brucheville
8th B-15 Ryes
13th A-22C Colleville
16th B-12 Ellon
17th A-24C Biniville
19th A-13 Tour-en-Bessin
25th B-17 Carpiquet
29th A-23C Querqueville
 
AUGUST
6th A-11 St Lambert
7th B-14 Amblie, A-25C Bolleville
8th B-18 Cristot
10th A-27 Rennes
11th A-31 Gaël
13th B-19 Lingèvres, A-30C Courtils
14th A-28 Pontorson, B-21 Ste Honorine-de-Ducy
15th A-19 La Vieille
16th A-17 Méautis
18th A-33N Vannes
20th B-16 Villons-les-Buissons, A-29 St James
23rd A-40D Chartres
24th A-41 Dreux
26th A-20 Lessay
28th B-24 St André-de-l’Eure, B-26 Illiers-l’Évêque, A-36 St Léonard, B-30 Créton,
A-39 Châteaudun, A-48 Brétigny
29th B-28 Évreux, A-35 Le Mans, A42D Villacoublay, A-46 Toussus-le-Noble
30th A-26 Gorges
31st A-18 St Jean-de-Daye
 
SEPTEMBER
1st B-27 Boisney, B-33 Campneuseville, B-34 Avrilly
2nd B-29 Valailles, B-40/A-61 Beauvais/Tillé, A-43 St Marceau
3rd B-23 La Rue Huguenot, B-48 Amiens/Glisy, A-34 Gorron
4th A-44 Peray

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