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Military site : airfield

Detailed history

During the Liberation of France, the Luftwaffe abandoned the base airfield at the end of August, sending in demolition teams to blow up hangars, buildings, electrical generators, water treatment and other facilities. It was seized by Allied ground forces in early September, and turned over to the United States Army Air Forces. The IX Engineer Command 820th Engineer Aviation Battalion moved in about 7 September and began a quick rehabilitation of the base so it could be used by American aircraft.[3]

It was declared operationally ready for combat units on 9 September, a few days after its capture from German forces, being designated as Advanced Landing Ground "A-69 Laon/Athies Airfield". Although operationally usable, Athies was a wrecked base from the Allied air attacks and what was blown up by the Germans as they withdrew. The Americans made do with what could be repaired, and moved in what equipment was necessary to conduct combat operations. Many buildings of masonry construction had been made useless, their contents consisting of nothing but wreckage.[4][5]

Under American control, Ninth Air Force used the base for several units from 7 September 1944 until closing the base in July 1945. Known units assigned were:[6]
50th Fighter Group, 15-26 September 1944, P-47 Thunderbolts
368th Fighter Group, 11 September-2 October 1944, P-47 Thunderbolts
323d Bombardment Group, 13 October 1944-February 1945, B-26 Marauders
416th Bombardment Group, February-May 1945, A-26 Invaders

With each combat group having three fully equipped squadrons, the airfield at Laon-Athies became one of the busiest American bases on the continent. With the war ended, Laon/Athies airfield was closed on 23 May 1945 and turned over to the French Air Ministry.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known



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Date Contributor Update
25 July 2015 02:50:13 466thHistorian Changes to usaaf from date, usaaf to date, closure date and history

Date Contributor Update
22 January 2015 02:01:37 Tanks Created entry with name, number, latitude, longitude and media associations

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