Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Telerghma Airfield

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

Built by the French Colonial government prior to World War II, the small airport was seized by American Forces in the initial aftermath of the Operation Torch landings on 2 December 1942. By 13 December, French troops and United States Army Engineers had improved the runway sufficiently for 17th Bombardment Group B-26 Marauder medium bombers to begin using the facility, now known as "Telerghma Airfield."

Major Twelfth Air Force units assigned to the airfield during the North African Campaign were:
17th Bombardment Group, 13 December 1942 – 10 May 1943, B-26 Marauder
310th Bombardment Group, 21 December 1942 – 1 January 1943, B-25 Mitchell
319th Bombardment Group, 12 December 1942 – 3 March 1943, B-26 Marauder
14th Fighter Group, 5 May-13 June 1943, P-38 Lightning
33d Fighter Group, 24 December 1942 – 7 January 1943; 20 February-2 March 1943, P-40 Warhawk
52d Fighter Group, 17 January-9 March 1943, Spitfire
82d Fighter Group, January-28 March 1943, P-38 Lightning

After the Battle of North Africa ended, Telerghma Airfield was converted into a Bombardment Training Center, used to instruct French Air Force ground and bomber crews in safe and effective tactical operation and maintenance of American fighter and bomber aircraft. The training center closed at the end of October 1944, and the airfield was returned to civil authorities.

On 17 August 1943, aircraft from the 385th Bomb Group landed at Telerghma after bombing targets at Regensburg. According to their Bomb Group history 'conditions and support facilities in North Africa left much to be desired. Shuttle logistics were a nightmare. Not enough material or correct personnel were available to properly service the aircraft. Shuttle missions were never repeated.'

There were photographers with the 385th Bomb Group airmen while they were at Telerghma and their photos capture not only the Americans' first experiences of North Africa but also some aspects of daily life - from dress to culture - of the people who lived there, and their reactions to the arrival of American men and machines. See: https://www.americanairmuseum.com/media?search=385th+%23+&type=&collecti...

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 14th Fighter Group

    14th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 14th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a P-38 Lightning Group that fought in Tunisia and the Italian campaign, as well as providing bomber escorts for attacks across southern Europe. ...

  • 52nd Fighter Group

    52nd Fighter Group

    Group
    Two of the Squadrons of the 52nd Fighter Group flew Spitfires with RAF Fighter Command in August and early September 1942 from northern Ireland. After these preparatory missions, the Group joined the Twelfth and then Fifteenth Air Force in the...

  • 82nd Fighter Group

    82nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 82nd Fighter Group flew training missions from bases in Northern Ireland with the Eighth Air Force between October and December 1942. They then joined the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa, supporting the ground invasion of Tunisia, Sicily and...

People

  • William Houston

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot | 52nd Fighter Group
    Squadron Commander 4th FS / 52nd FG. Later Deputy Commander of 52nd FG. Confirmed victory 24 February 1943. Died in action / aircraft crash on 25 May 1960.

  • Clarence Johnson

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot-1055 single engine | 352nd Fighter Group
    3rd combat tour flight leader 487th FS 352 FG KIA Sept. 23, 1944. ...

  • Norman McDonald

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Squadron Commander | 52nd Fighter Group
    11.5 Victory Ace (7.5 with the 52nd FG & 4.0 with the 325th FG)

  • Gerald Rounds

    Military | Major | Fighter pilot | 82nd Fighter Group
    Gerald Rounds served as a fighter pilot with the 97th Fighter Squadron of the 82nd Fighter Group, flying P-38s in the Mediterranean Theater.

Aircraft

  • 42-30187 Lulu Belle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 24/4/43; Gore 6/5/43; Kearney 30/5/43; Dow Fd 15/6/43; Assigned 551BS/385BG [HR-K] Gt Ashfield 16/6/43; Missing in Action Evreux 24/8/43 with Maj Preston Piper, Co-pilot: Vince Masters, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Luther...

  • 42-5913 Shack Bunny

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 5 May 1943; Kearney 30 May 1943; Dow Field 19 June 1943; Assigned 551BS/385BG Great Ashfield 20 June 1943; Missing in Action Duren 20 October 1943 with Pilot Lyle V. Fryer; Co-pilot: Clifford G. McIlveen; Navigator: John S. Durakov...

  • 43-2517 Kay

    P-38 Lightning

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2018 14:35:10 Lucy May Changes to history and media associations
Sources

http://www.385thbga.com/records/index-mission-number-to-date-and-target-...
https://www.americanairmuseum.com/media?search=385th+%23+&type=&collecti...

Date Contributor Update
23 November 2016 01:19:56 466thHistorian Created entry with name, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date and history
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telergma_Airport

Share