Cretteville Airfield

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Cretteville Airfield
Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) A-14
Manche, Basse-Normandie Region, France
250px
Remains of Cretteville Airfield (A-14) after dismantling by the IX Engineering Command
Tour-en-Bessin Airfield is located in France
Tour-en-Bessin Airfield
Tour-en-Bessin Airfield
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Type Military Airfield
Site information
Controlled by US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg  United States Army Air Forces
Site history
Built by IX Engineering Command
In use July–September 1944
Materials Prefabricated Hessian Surfacing (PHS)
Battles/wars 150px
World War II - EAME Theater
  • Normandy Campaign
  • Northern France Campaign
Garrison information
Garrison Patch9thusaaf.png  Ninth Air Force
Occupants
  • 358th Fighter Group
  • 406th Fighter Group
Airfield information
Runways
Direction Length and surface
04/22 3,600 feet (1,100 m) SMT/PSP
One runway, 4 alert pads, 50 hardstands[1]
File:358th Fighter Group P-47D Starting.jpg
Ground personnel of the 358th Fighter Group prepare to start the engine of a P-47 Thunderbolt nicknamed "Chunky".

Cretteville Airfield is an abandoned World War II military airfield, which is located near the commune of Cretteville in the Basse-Normandie region of northern France.

Located to the southeast of Cretteville, the United States Army Air Force established a temporary airfield on 23 July 1944, shortly after the Allied landings in France The airfield was constructed by the IX Engineering Command, 819th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

History

Known as Advanced Landing Ground "A-14", the airfield consisted of a single Prefabricated Hessian Surfacing runway. In addition, tents were used for billeting and also for support facilities; an access road was built to the existing road infrastructure; a dump for supplies, ammunition, and gasoline drums, along with a drinkable water and minimal electrical grid for communications and station lighting.[2]

The airfield hosted the 358th and 406th Fighter Groups, both equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts. The fighter planes flew support missions during the Allied invasion of Normandy, patrolling roads in front of the beachhead; strafing German military vehicles and dropping bombs on gun emplacements, anti-aircraft artillery and concentrations of German troops in Normandy and Brittany when spotted. On 5 July the Group, benefiting from milder weather, was sent to support a large-scale attack in the region of Sainteny - Périers. Very heavy fighting between the American ground forces and Germans reinforced by the arrival of the 2nd SS Panzer without Périers area went fairly slowly. Regarding the aviation cooperation work system with ground troops becoming more effective despite a very aggressive flak causing many casualties.

After the Americans moved east into Central France with the advancing Allied armies, the airfield was used as a resupply and casualty evacuation airfield, before being closed on 5 September 1944. . The land returned to agricultural use.[3]

Major units assigned

  • 365th (CH), 366th (IA), 367th (CP) Fighter Squadrons (P-47)[4]
  • 406th Fighter Group 17 August - 4 September 1944
512th (L3), 513th (4P), 514th (O7) Fighter Squadrons (P-47)[4]

Current use

Today there is little or no physical evidence of the airfield's existence, with the land being a mixture of grass meadows, agricultural fields and what appears to be a racetrack to the southeast of Cretteville . The outline of the wartime airfield is very evident by the shape of the fields and meadows.[3]

A memorial to the men and units that were stationed at Cretteville Airfield was placed on the entrance wall of the castle of Franquetot along the D 223.

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. Cretteville Airfield
  2. IX Engineer Command ETO Airfields, Airfield Layout
  3. 3.0 3.1 Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.

External links