"FRANCE-Although Ninth Air Force and allied bombing laid waste so much German equipment in France that pictures of knocked out Nazi installations are a dime a dozen nowadays this photo of a Me-410 lying with a broken back in a former Hienie airdrome typifies the complete breaking into pieces of the once dreaded Luftwaffe, now so impotent that a German aircraft in the allied sky is almost a curiosity. "
- A wrecked Me-410A-3 7A+EH (Werke Nbr. 170134) sits inside a collapsed hangar on a Villacoublay airfield, fall of 1944.
It was liberated by Allied ground forces about 27 August 1944 during the Northern France Campaign. Almost immediately, the USAAF IX Engineer Command 818th Engineer Aviation Battalion began clearing the base of mines and destroyed Luftwaffe aircraft; filling bomb craters in the runway with rubble and an asphalt patch along with repairing operational facilities for use by American aircraft. Subsequently, Villacoublay became a USAAF Ninth Air Force combat airfield, designated as "A-42" about 30 August, only a few days after its capture from German forces.
Almost immediately, the 48th Fighter Group moved into the repaired air base, flying P-47 Thunderbolts from 29 August until 15 September 1944. The combat unit moved east along with the advancing Allied forces and Villacoublay became a supply and maintenance base for combat aircraft, becoming the home of the 370th Air Service Group and several Air Materiel squadrons from Air Technical Service Command. It was also given the designation of AAF-180. In addition, numerous C-47 Skytrain squadrons moved in and out, supporting airborne operations, including Operation Varsity, and Allied airborne crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.
After the war ended, Villacoublay remained under American control, designated as AAF Station Villacoublay. It was assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe as a transport base by the C-47 Skytrain-equipped 314th Troop Carrier Group. It remained under USAFE control until 31 August 1946 when it was returned to the French Air Force.
The base has been totally rebuilt since with war. The prewar/wartime runway, 11/29 is now closed and a new east-west 6000' (1800m) runway 09/27 laid down along with expanded aircraft parking areas and multiple hangars as part of an operational NATO air base.
After 1964 for a period, the base was the home to the Military Air Transport Command
English Heritage's record description
Not yet known
The Group moved to England in March 1944 and were stationed at Ibsley where the pilots trained in P-47s in preparation for the Allied invasion of Normandy. The wartime motto was in Latin 'vulneratus non victus' (Unconquered even though wounded).
Civilian | 27th Air Transport Group
Fitje Pitts served with the American Red Cross in England, France and Belgium during World War II. She sailed to England on the Queen Mary; Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy was one of her cabin mates. Upon arriving in the UK she was first assigned to the 95th...
Military | Captain | Pilot | 48th Fighter Group
Enlisting and training