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Gael Airfield

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

When war broke out in 1939, the airfield experienced a resurge in activity. The Armée de l'Air stationed the 31 Bomb squadron 'Tours' and the observation squadron 'Chartres' at the airfield. A year later, during the Battle of France, airmen were ordered to abandon and destroy their aircraft and leave.
The Germans took over the airfield under command of General Alfred Hienz. The airfield was redeveloped. Runways were repaired and lengthened and nine new hangars emerged. Point-Clos became the largest airfield in inland Brittany. Many of the bombers that pounded England originated here. JG27 and Schellkampfgeschwader JG12 are known to have used the airfield. German base commander Alfred Ernst, known for his love of fast cars and beautiful girls, while being liked for his efforts to keep good relations with the local French people, also left an arboreum at the site.
In 1942, 60 bombers and 40 transport aircraft, as well as one hundred gliders were based here, guarded by tanks and SS-troops stationed around the base. Among others, the Germans used the base to develop new low-level parachute techniques and to train Bf-109 pilots for service in Africa. 12./JG2 was stationed at the airfield between November 1943 and March 1944.

From March to August 1944, the base was regularly attacked by the Americans and the British in an affort to drive the Germans off the base. They finally succeeded on 3 August 1944, when American troops commanded by General Patton liberated Gaël. Their 850Engineer Aviation Battalion repaired the base as a fighter/bomber base and renamed the airfield Advaced Landing Ground A-31 'Gael'. The airfield was then used by the 364 Figther Group, operating P-51 Mustangs between 13 August and 15 September 1944. The airfield closed and was released to French control on 28 September.

Around 1960, Gaël suffered the same fate that many other wartime airfields suffered: the lands were converted for other purposes. In this case, long rows were filled with seedlings, and the hangars were removed. The platform in front of the hangars still remained in this 1961 photo, thou

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 354th Fighter Group

    354th Fighter Group

    Group
    The Group moved to England in the autumn of 1943 and was assigned to the Ninth Air Force in December 1943. The Group were the first to fly P-51 Mustangs operationally and in their bomber escort missions pushed to find the long-range limits of the...

People

  • Gus Allen

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot-1055 Single Engine | 354th Fighter Group
    2.5 air kills 4 ground kills

  • William Anderson

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    7 kills plus 2 V-1s

  • Carl Bickel

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    5 kill ace Hub stands for Head Up (his ass) Bickel.

  • Cecil Buchanan

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot-1055 single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    wingman-element leader-flight leader 356th FS 354th FG 1944-45

  • Charles Hawley

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    1921-2017 P-51B/C/D pilot with the 355th FS 354th FG

  • James Howard

    Military | Brigadier General | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Group Commander | 354th Fighter Group
    USN 1939-1941 flew F3Fs with VF-6 USS Enterprise CV-6 ...

  • Edward Hunt

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot-1055 single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    Flight leader 353rd FS 354th FG Flight class 42-I Luke Field May 20, 1943. ...

  • Charles Koenig

    Military | Brigadier General | fighter pilot 1055-single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    Flight leader 353rd FS Dec. 1943 - Sept. 1944 6.5 air kills (3.5 ME-109 + 3 FW-190) P-51D s/n 44-13551 FT+K "Little Horse" renamed "Le Petite Cheval" Brig. Gen. CA ANG

  • George Lamb

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | 1055-Fighter Pilot single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    356th FS 354th FG 7.5 air kills Post war Utah ANG

  • George Lamb

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1055-single engine | 354th Fighter Group
    Flight leader/OPS Officer 356th FS 354th FG Post War HQ 405th FG Occupation Duty Lt Col Utah ANG retired 7.5 air kills, 1 probable, 3.5 damaged in the air plus .5 ground kill

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Aircraft

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
27 July 2015 00:56:59 466thHistorian Created entry with name, number, known as, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date, closure date and history
Sources

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/france/brittany/ille-et-vilaine/gael-p...

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