Gael Airfield

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Gael Airfield
Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) A-31
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Brittany Region, France
Gael Airfield is located in France
Gael Airfield
Gael Airfield
Gael Airfield (France)
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Memorial at the location of the former airfield.
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Plaques dedicated to the 354th Fighter Group and to Dieudonné Costes, Maurice Bellonte, war victims and other french, english, american and german air groups.
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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 August–September 1944
Materials Sod/Compressed Earth
Battles/wars Western Front (World War II)
  Northern France Campaign

Gael Airfield is an abandoned World War II military airfield, which is located near the commune of Gaël in the Brittany region of northern France.

History

The airfield was originally built by the French Air Force in the 1930s. It was used by the French in the 1940 Battle of France by the following units;

  • 31st Bombardment Wing Tours
  • Wing of Observation of Chartres

After the Fall of France, the following German Luftwaffe units used the base:

  • Jagdgeschwader 27
  • Schnellkampfgeschwader 1943 JG 12

As part of the D-Day landings in Normandy, the United States Army Air Force VIII Bomber Command 92d Bombardment Group attacked the airfield with twelve B-17 Flying Fortress bombers on 15 June 1944 (Mission 414) as part of a general bombardment of German airfields in the area.[1] The Gaël area was liberated by Allied Ground Forces around 10 August 1944, and the airfield was repaired by the IX Engineering Command, 850th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

Known as Advanced Landing Ground "A-31", the airfield consisted of a single 4500' (1363m) Sod/Compressed Earth runway aligned 08/26. 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 364th Fighter Group, based P-51 Mustang fighters at Gael from 13 August though 15 September 1944.[3]

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.

After the Americans moved east into Central France with the advancing Allied Armies, the airfield was closed on 28 September 1944. Today the long dismantled airfield is indistinguishable from the agricultural fields in the area.[4]

A plaque is dedicated to the 354th Fighter Group who stayed on A base-31 in 1944.

References

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

  1. USAFHRA Document 00046437
  2. IX Engineer Command ETO Airfields, Airfield Layout
  3. Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  4. 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.


External links