Tour-en-Bessin Airfield

Summary

Tour-en-Bessin Airfield is a now-abandoned World War II military airfield near the commune of Tour-en-Bessin in the Normandy region of northern France.

Tour-en-Bessin Airfield
Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) A-13
Basse-Normandie Region, France
406th Fighter Group P-47D refueling Identifiable 44-33057.jpg
Ground personnel of the 406th Fighter Group refuel P-47 Thunderbolts, including (serial number 44-33057) at Tour-en-Bessin Airfield
Tour-en-Bessin Airfield is located in France
Tour-en-Bessin Airfield
Tour-en-Bessin Airfield
Coordinates49°17′45″N 000°45′41″W / 49.29583°N 0.76139°W / 49.29583; -0.76139 (A-13 Tour-en-Bessin)Coordinates: 49°17′45″N 000°45′41″W / 49.29583°N 0.76139°W / 49.29583; -0.76139 (A-13 Tour-en-Bessin)
TypeMilitary Airfield
Site information
Controlled byUs army air corps shield.svg  United States Army Air Forces
Site history
Built byIX Engineering Command
In useJuly–December 1944
MaterialsPrefabricated Hessian Surfacing (PHS)
Battles/warsEuropean-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Streamer.jpg
World War II - EAME Theater
  • Normandy Campaign
  • Northern France Campaign
Garrison information
GarrisonPatch9thusaaf.png  Ninth Air Force
Occupants
  • 373d Fighter Group
  • 406th Fighter Group
  • 394th Bombardment Group
Airfield information
Runways
Direction Length and surface
12/30 5,000 feet (1,520 m) SMT/PSP
01/19 5,000 feet (1,520 m) SMT/PSP
Two Runways, 4 alert pads, 50 hardstands[1]
Tour-en-Bessin Airfield, France, 373d Fighter Group Facilities August 1944 not far from the D-Day beaches

The United States Army Air Force established a temporary airfield on 12 July 1944, shortly after the Allied landings in France. It was constructed by the IX Engineering Command, 833rd and 846th Engineer Aviation Battalions.

HistoryEdit

Known as Advanced Landing Ground "A-13", the airfield consisted of a main 5000 foot long (1500 m) pierced steel planking (PSP) runway aligned 12/30 and a secondary 5000 foot PSP runway aligned 01/19. Tents were used for billeting and support facilities. An access road was built to the existing road infrastructure, as were a dump for supplies, ammunition, and gasoline drums, along with a potable water and electrical power for communications and station lighting.[2]

The 373rd and 406th Fighter Groups flew P-47 Thunderbolts from Tour en Bessin. The fighters flew support missions during the Allied push into France, patrolling roads, strafing German military vehicles and bombing gun emplacements, anti-aircraft artillery, and concentrations of German troops in Normandy and Brittany. The B-26 Marauder 394th Bombardment Group also was assigned to the airfield.

After US forces moved east into central France with the advancing Allied armies, the airfield was used as a resupply and casualty evacuation airfield for several months, before being closed on 2 December 1944. The land returned to agricultural use.[3]

Major units assignedEdit

410th (R3), 411th (U9), 412th (V5) Fighter Squadrons (P-47)[4]
512th (L3), 513th (4P), 514th (O7) Fighter Squadrons (P-47)[4]
584th (K5), 585th (4T), 586th (H9), 587th (SW) Bombardment Squadrons (B-26)[4]

Current useEdit

Today there is little or no physical evidence of the airfield's existence, although the south end of the 01/19 runway is visible by the curvature of some fields, and some slight ground disturbance in a field to the east probably is from the 12/30 runway.[5]

A memorial to the men and units that were stationed at Tour-en-Bessin was placed on the D613 (former N13) between Vaucelles and Tour-en-Bessin.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Tour-en-Bessin 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. ^ a b c Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  5. ^ 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

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External linksEdit

  • Monument to Tour-en-Bessin Airfield
  • A-13 Memorial