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Clastres

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

American Ninth Army units moved though the area in early September 1944, heading towards Saint-Quentin. The airfield was seized and turned over to the United States Army Air Force (USAAF). IX Engineer Commands 846th Engineer Aviation Battalion moved in around 7 September 1944 and started a quick rehabilitation of the base to allow use by American aircraft Designated Advanced Landing Ground "A-71 Clastres Airfield" it was declared operationally ready for combat units on 9 September, only a few days after having been captured from German forces. Although operationally usable with one runway, Athies was still a wrecked base from the Allied air attacks and what was blown up by the Germans as they withdrew. The Americans worked with what could be repaired and moved in what equipment was necessary to conduct combat operations, the rest was done with tents.
Under American control, Ninth Air Force used the base for several units. Known units assigned to the base were:
387th Bombardment Group (387BG), from 30 October 1944 until 29 April 1945, flying B-26 Marauders
367th Fighter Group (367FG), from 8 September 1944 until 28 October 1945, flying P-38 Lightnings
One of the early missions of Clastres was to provide much needed fuel for the ground troops fighting on the western front. On September 11, 1944, the 467th Bombardment Group (B-24 Liberators) began a period of ferrying operations to carry gasoline to France, called Operation TRUCKIN'. Men from the Group were assigned to France to perform the necessary duties in connection with TRUCKIN' operations. The first airfield used was Orleans/Bricy south of Paris, but this was soon changed to Clastres, and it was to here that most of the Group's planes flew. In addition to the 467th's own aircraft, a number of war weary aircraft from other groups were also used. Skeleton crews were used, and at first the gasoline was carried in five-gallon cans unloaded by the crew at the destination. Later bomb-bay tanks and P-47 belly tanks were installed in the planes and a pumping station was installed at Clastres.
When the combat units moved out, Clastres was turned over to Air Technical Service Command to become an Air Depot and later, during the summer of 1945, a storage depot for large numbers of surplus aircraft, whose units had returned to the United States by ship. Clastres airfield was closed on 30 November 1945 and turned over to the French Air Ministry.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 323rd Bomb Group

    323rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 323rd Bombardment Group operated with B-26 Marauders, American medium bombers. They were the first Eighth Air Force Group to fly a medium level bombing mission with this aircraft on 16 July 1943. After flying a total of 33 missions with the Eighth,...

  • 367th Fighter Group

    367th Fighter Group

    Group
    367TH FIGHTER GROUP ...

  • 387th Bomb Group

    387th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 387th Bomb Group flew just under thirty missions with the Eighth Air Force before being transferred to the Ninth Air Force in October 1943. The Group remained at Chipping Ongar, Essex after being reassigned and continued to hit targets in France....

  • 2047th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon

People

  • Florenze Ackmann

    Military | 387th Bomb Group

  • Richard Ainsworth

    Military | Pilot | 387th Bomb Group
    Rich Ainsworth told me that he had graduated from all fighter pilot schools, number three in his class. One day soon after graduation the CO called a formation. The CO called out names starting with "A", Ainsworth was called and sent to fly B26s as a...

  • Laurence Blumer

    Military | Major | Fighter pilot | 357th Fighter Group
    Five German Luftwaffe airplanes during World War II were shot down in less than 15 minutes by one pilot who was born and raised in North Dakota. Because of this, Larry "Scrappy" Blumer earned the title Fastest Ace in the West. For his actions during...

  • Pius Kuntz

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Fighter pilot | 367th Fighter Group
    Pius, son of Jacob Kuntz and Theresia Mastel, was born in Napoleon North Dakota in 1920. After high school he attended North Dakota State College for a year until he had an opportunity to work as a machinist in Los Angeles, California. ...

  • Stanley Pacek

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot-1055 single engine | 367th Fighter Group
    Flight leader 393rd FS 367th FG 65 combat missions 2 kills Shot downed by flak while strafing train on March 30, 1945 MACR #13183 POW for 10 days until liberated. P-47D s/n 44-33037 8L+C Lt Col USAF retired

  • Vernon Staub

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bomber pilot | 387th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 559BS, 387BG, 9AF USAAF. 8 x combat missions. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Bastogne. Shot down by Me109's pilot. 2Lt Vernon O Staub hit in face by 20mm cannon shell and killed instantly, went down with aircraft. Crew baled out....

  • Robert Welch

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot/Copilot | 387th Bomb Group
    2Lt. Robert "Bob" W. Welch was credited with flying 33 combat bombing missions over France and Germany between January and May 1945.

Aircraft

  • 41-31657 'Mississippi Mudcat'

    B-26 Marauder
    Assigned to 559BS, 387BG, 9AF USAAF. 149 x combat mission. Failed to Return (FTR) bombing mission to Bastogne. Shot down by Me109's, pilot 2Lt Vernon O Staub hit in face by 20mm cannon shell and killed instantly, went down with A/C. Crew baled out. 6 x...

  • 42-107598 Miss Kam & Blond Rebel

    B-26 Marauder
    9th AF / 387th BG / 559 BS - (ALG Clastres / A-71) ...

  • 42-94952 Shack Rat

    B-24 Liberator
    Crash-landed and caught fire at Clastres, France, 22 Sep 44, while on loan to 458th BG for truckin' operations.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
02 July 2015 01:31:44 466thHistorian Created entry with name, number, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, history and media associations
Sources

466th BG Historian

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