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Military site : airfield

Detailed history

Chipelle airfield (aèrodrome Chipelle, also known as Advanced Landing Ground A-5 'Chipelle') was an Allied wartime airfield in Normandy, France.
The airfield was built by 820 Engineer Aviation Battalion, with construction starting on 16 June 1944. The airfield opened on 5 July. As there is no town or village Chipelle, it's name may be a mystery to most. The name was given by the engineers who, after completing A-2 'Cricqueville', came to a halt near some houses with the sign 'Chipel' (meaning Archipelago) near the town of Cartigny-l'Épinay. The airfield was in fact located in two communities, the other one being St Martin de Blagny.
Besides a 1500m runway, 820EAB built tents for accommodation and administration, as well as road access by expanding the existing access road. They also built a supply depot and ammunition, fuel and drinking water and a basic electrical grid in order to illuminate the camp and to ensure radio communications.
On 3 July, the first P-47s of the 404th Fighter Group (506, 507 and 508 Fighter Squadron) were allowed to land on the airfield and the site was declared operational two days later. Their work done here, the 820th went to Balleroy to build A-12 Lignerolles.

In Normandy, the 'razorback' P-47s of 404 FG were not distinguished by a special decoration on the nose or tail. Instead, there was a tradition among them, rarely seen in other units of the 9th Air Force, to paint a name (a person's name or place or even a nickname) in huge letters on the sides of the fuselage, under the cockpit.
On 24 July, the airfield was accidentally hit by 350 bombers of the 8th Air Force during Operation Cobra. Bad weather had caused them to miss their target, Saint-Lô, and have their bombs end up on the friendly side of the bomb line.
By the end of the month, the Group had flown 169 combat missions and lost 12 pilots, 5 of whom were taken prisoner. At the end of the Battle of Normandy, the Group left A-5 for Brétigny (A-48), having lost 22 men in action over Normandy. They are remembered on a church wall in St. Martin de Blagny. The 404th Fighter Group was awarded, in addition to its' U.S. awards, the French Croix de Guerre with palms.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known



  • 404th Fighter Group

    404th Fighter Group

    A unit history of the 404th Fighter Group is available online as a pdf:


  • William Abraham

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group

  • John Barth

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 404th Fighter Group
    Lieutenant John Leo Barth was a member of the 506th Fighter Squadron, 404th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force during WWII. He flew thirty-eight missions in the P-47 and was awarded the Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters. Based first at Winkton in Hampshire,...

  • Edward Botte

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Aircraft Mechanic | 404th Fighter Group

  • George Cuonzo

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Radio operator | 404th Fighter Group
    George was born in Mt Vernon New York and enlisted in 1942. He was a chief radio operator in the 508th 404th and attained the rank of Tech Sergeant. He landed at Utah Beach. He spent time at St Trond in Belgium and fought through the Bulge all the...

  • William Donohoe

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group

  • Edward Dziadzio

    Military | Sergeant (Technician Fourth Grade) | Chief Photo Technician | 404th Fighter Group

  • Raymond Elledge

    Military | Major | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group
    Shot down on his 43rd combat mission

  • Robert Fenstermacher

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group
    Army Air Force 1st Lt. Robert G. Fenstermacher, of Scranton, was a P-47D pilot who crashed in Belgium in December 1944 during an armed-reconnaissance mission against targets in Germany. He was 23. ...

  • Robert Johnson

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group

  • Thomas Leake

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group

Show more



Date Contributor Update
31 July 2015 15:19:07 466thHistorian Changes to usaaf to date

Date Contributor Update
31 July 2015 15:16:28 466thHistorian Created entry with name, number, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, construction date, closure date and history