Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Tortorella Airfield

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

Tortorella Airfield was a temporary wartime facility, built by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Construction was initiated shortly after Allied forces seized control of the Tavoliere plain around Foggia, Apulia, Italy.[1]

The major tenant of the airfield was the 99th Bombardment Group, which arrived from Oudna Airfield, Tunisia on 11 December 1943. It was eqipped with Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers.[2][page needed] Tortorella was shared with the Royal Air Force 205 Group, 37 Squadron. It was equipped with Wellington Mk.X, LB-30 Liberators, Sterlings and Lancaster bombers. Tortorella was one of the few stations that the RAF was in a tenant status to the US Army Air Forces[1]

The 99th Bomb Group consisted of four squadrons:[3][page needed]
346th Bombardment Squadron
347th Bombardment Squadron
348th Bombardment Squadron
416th Bombardment Squadron

The airfield had a single, 6,700' x 100' asphalt runway laid over Pierced Steel Planking, oriented 16/34. A second (unfinished) runway east of the main runway was used as a crash strip. There were two perimeter tracks, and several other loop taxiways each containing about 50 aircraft parking hardstands. The 99th used the west side of the field, and the RAF the east.[1]

There may have been some temporary hangars and buildings, however it appears that personnel were quartered primarily in tents, and most aircraft maintenance took place in the open on hardstands. It also had a steel control tower.[1] Headquarters for the 99th Bomb Group was located in the town of Tavernola, about 3 km east of the airfield.[1]

Both the RAF and the 99th departed after the end of the war, the 99th moving to Marcianise Airfield in late October 1945, where its B-17s were placed into storage[2] Sometime after that departure, the engineers moved in and dismantled the facility.

Today Sterparone airfield has been returned to agriculture, however extensive scarring of the landscape remains, showing various dispersal pads and taxiways and other features.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 99th Bomb Group

    99th Bomb Group

    Group
    Constituted as 99th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Jun 1942. Trained with B-17's. Moved to North Africa, Feb-May 1943, and assigned to Twelfth AF. Entered combat in Mar 1943 and bombed such targets as airdromes, harbor...

  • 483rd Bomb Group

    483rd Bomb Group

    Group
    'As part of the 15th Air Force in WWII, the 483rd Bombardment Group (H) played a significant role in the eventual defeat of Germany's forces. Its four combat squadrons, the 815th, 816th, 817th and 840th flew a total of 5,623 sorties from 12 April 1944...

People

  • Gordon Beese

    Military | Sergeant | B-17 Waist Gunner | 99th Bomb Group

  • Leo Brousseau

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 99th Bomb Group
    Assigned 346BS, 99BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechhammer 2-Dec-44 flak, crashed Ratibor. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10030. Awards: PH.

  • Clarence Burkett

    Military | Sergeant | Assistant Engineer | 99th Bomb Group
    Assigned 346BS, 99BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechhammer 2-Dec-44 flak, crashed Ratibor. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10030. Awards: PH.

  • William Corns

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 99th Bomb Group
    Assigned 346BS, 99BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechhammer 2-Dec-44 flak, crashed Ratibor. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10030. Awards: PH.

  • Forrest Freeman

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 99th Bomb Group
    Assigned 346BS, 99BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechhammer 2-Dec-44 flak, crashed Ratibor. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10030. Awards: PH.

  • Orrin Frye

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Gunner | 483rd Bomb Group
    Bill flew over 27 missions before being shot down by flak. he was held as a POW for over a year. MACR 7107

  • William Hunnewell

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-17 Pilot | 99th Bomb Group

  • John Kempf

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 483rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 815BS, 483BG, 15AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Weiner Neustadt in B-17F 42-29856 flak hit, lost two engines and trailing fuel, crew baled out before aircraft exploded. Prisoner of War (POW). 10-May-44. MACR 4836. ...

  • Robert Manzer

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 99th Bomb Group
    Assigned 346BS, 99BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechhammer 2-Dec-44 flak, crashed Ratibor. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10030. Awards: PH.

  • Donald Monroe

    Military | Sergeant | Engineer | 99th Bomb Group
    Assigned 346BS, 99BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Blechhammer 2-Dec-44 flak, crashed Ratibor. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10030. Awards: PH.

Show more

Aircraft

  • 42-102691

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/3/44; Kearney 13/4/44; Grenier 29/4/44; Assigned 728BS/452BG [9Z- ] Deopham Green 3/5/44; damaged by enemy aircraft at Poltava with Joe Antol 21/6/44; repaired & re-ass 15AF Italy 29/9/44; Assigned 346BS/99BG Tortorella 11/12/44;...

  • 42-102855 Weary Willie

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 10/4/44; Hunter 27/4/44; Dow Fd 10/5/44; Assigned 346BS/99BG Tortorella 19/5/44; in base taxi accident with Dick Schildmeyer 24/2/45; 97m Salvaged 26/4/45; WEARY WILLIE.

  • 42-106991

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 19/1/44; MacDill 29/1/44; Morrison 1/3/44; Assigned 817BS/483BG Sterparone 12/3/44; transferred 347BS/99BG Tortorella 31/3/44; Missing in Action 22m Ploesti 18/5/44 with Herschel McClain, Gilroy, Lindquist, Corcoran, Miaskiewicz,...

  • 42-29513 El Diablo

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 31/12/42; Salina 10/1/43; DeRidder 31/1/43; Morrison 1/2/43; Assigned 346BS/99BG Navarin 23/2/43; Oudna 4/8/43; Tortorella 11/12/43; Ed Karnes’ crew, 114m transferred weather aircraft 304BW Cerignola 28/10/44; Salvaged 23/8/45. El...

  • 42-29526 Bugs

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 31/12/42; Salina 11/1/43; DeRidder 31/1/43; Morrison 1/2/43; Assigned 346BS/99BG Navarin, Alg 3/2/43; Oudna, Tun 4/8/43; Tortorella, It 11/12/43; 100+m transferred 483BG Tortorella, It 31/3/44; 429BS/2BG Amendola, It 4/44; Salvaged 2...

  • 42-29775 Wongo

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 18/2/43; Gt Falls 20/2/43; Salinas 18/3/43; Morrison 29/3/43; Assigned 341BS/97BG Chateau-du-Rhumel 16/4/43; Pont-du-Fahs 1/8/43; Depienne 15/8/43; transferred 346BS/99BG Oudna 14/11/43; Tortorella 11/12/43; 483BG Tortorella 31/3/44;...

  • 42-29790

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 19/2/43; Salina 8/3/43; Smoky Hill 12/3/43; Assigned 348BS/99BG Navarin 6/6/43; Oudna 4/8/43; Tortorella 12/11/43; transferred 122BS/1FG Tunis 8/10/44, then Vincenzo, It.; taxi accident with Ed Clare at Salvaged Sota, It 26/12/44;....

  • 42-29856 'Patches'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 27/2/43; Smoky Hill 22/3/43; Tinker 9/4/43; Nashville 13/4/43; Morrison 18/4/43; Assigned 346BS/99BG Navarin 5/5/43; Oudna 4/8/43; Tortorella 11/12/43; transferred 815BS/483BG Tortorella 31/3/44; Missing in Action Weiner Neustadt 10/5...

  • 42-31473 My Baby

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 5/11/43; Gt Falls 10/11/43; Gr Island 26/11/43; Assigned 347BS/99BG Tortorella 31/12/43 (first G in sqd); 29m transferred 20BS/2BG Amendola 28/3/44; Missing in Action (95m) Moravska Ostrova, Czech. 29/8/44 with Bob McCloskey,...

  • 42-32109 Mizpah

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/1/44; MacDill 5/2/44; Morrison 9/3/44; Assigned 840BS/483BG Tortorella 13/3/44; Missing in Action Budapest 14/7/44 with 1Lt Ewald A Swanson, 2Lt Paul Berndt, Gramenzi, Simonelli, Hish, Bell, Kelley, Tucker (8 Prisoner of War);...

Show more

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
02 November 2016 13:32:35 466thHistorian Created entry with name, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date and history
Sources

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/italy/apulia/foggia/tortorella-s571.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortorella_Airfield

Share