Picauville Airfield

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Picauville Airfield
Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) A-8/A-8N
Manche, Basse-Normandie Region, France
250px
Picauville Airfield (A-8N) after dismantling by the IX Engineering Command
Picauville Airfield is located in France
Picauville Airfield
Picauville Airfield
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
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 June–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
  • 405th Fighter Group
  • 264 and 604 squadrons (RAF)
Airfield information
Runways
Direction Length and surface
07/25 5,000 feet (1,520 m) SMT/PSP
One runway, 4 alert pads, 50 hardstands[1]
File:405th Fighter Group - P-47D 42-25507.jpg
405th Fighter Group - P-47D 42-25507 at Picauville Airfield (A-8), France

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

Located just outside Picauville, the United States Army Air Force established a temporary airfield shortly after D-Day on 20 June 1944, shortly after the Allied landings in France The airfield was one of the first established in the liberated area of Normandy, being constructed by the IX Engineering Command, 826th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

History

Known as Advanced Landing Ground "A-8", the airfield consisted of a single Prefabricated Hessian Surfacing runway. In addition, with 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 was home to the P-47D-equipped 405th Fighter GroupThe 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 when spotted.During July, the Group flew 300 missions. During those missions they had 11 pilots listed as MIA (Missing In Action) and another 4 as KIA (Killed In Action).

When German nightly incursions and attacks became more than a nuisance, RAF Mosquito night fighters were brought into Picauville. It made the airfield a major installation, because now it featured night landing equipment (hence the extra 'N' in the designation). Two squadrons of 2nd Tactical Air Force, 604 and 264 Squadron, equipped with Mosquito XII and XIII respectively, arrived on 6 and 11 August at Picauville. Both RAF squadrons served at Picauville until the first week of September, when both squadrons returned to England (604 Sqn via ALG B-6).

After the Americans and British moved east into Central France with the advancing Allied Armies, the airfield was left un-garrissoned and used for resupply and casualty evacuation. It was closed on 15 September 1944 and the land returned to agricultural use.[3]

Major units assigned

509th (G9), 510th (2Z), 511th (K4) Fighter Squadrons (P-47D)[4]
  • 264 and 604 squadrons (RAF), 6 and 11 August - 7 September 1944

Current use

Today the airfield is a mixture of various agricultural fields. A memorial to the men and units that were stationed at Picauville was placed at the site of the former airfield. It is located by the Holy Mother Church. Take the D 15 towards Saint Sauveur le Vicomte. Arriving at Picauville, turn right onto the D 69 towards Gourbesville. The monument is about 1 km on the right.

See also

References

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

  1. Picauville Airfield
  2. IX Engineer Command ETO Airfields, Airfield Layout
  3. 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. 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