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St Trond

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

Air Base Brustem/Sint-Truiden (Dutch: vliegveld Brustem/St.-Truiden, also known as Air Base St.Trond and ALG A-92 St.-Trond, ICAO: EBST) was a military airfield operated by the Belgian Air Force. Starting from 1936 and being nothing more than a grass field, it served as an emergency airfield for the 3rd and 4th squadrons of the Second Fighter Regiment, stationed at Nivelles (Nijvel).
Occupied by the Germans on 12 May 1940, major construction works took place in 1941 and 1942. During World War II, Brustem was the home base for one of the most famous Luftwaffe Nightfighter Wings, NJG1, with units II/NJG1 (6 March 1942 - March 1944) and IV/NJG1 (March 1944 - September 1944) operating predominantly Messerschmitt Bf110 night fighters. Its most highest scoring German night fighter pilot, Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer (121 air victories) was referred to as "the Ghost of St. Trond" by British Bomber crews that flew over Germany on night bombing raids.
After the war, the population of the area told a story about the "Spook" Pilot of Brustem, a story that supposedly really happened. The story (as told in a war time poem (in Dutch)) tells of an Allied pilot that wreaked havoc at Brustem. In a PS at the end of the poem lies the clue: the Spook was not one, but two pilots, actually twin pilots from Poland, both flying with the RAF. In reality the airbase was a regular target for RAF intruder missions.
Major allied bombing attacks on the airfield took place on 25 February 1944, 09 May 1944 and 14 June 1944 while the largest bombing attack occurred on 15 August 1944 when the airbase was bombed by 100 Lancasters from No.3 Group (RAF), following the marking by 9 Lancasters of 582 Squadron (No.8 Group Pathfinder Force, RAF).

Sint-Truiden (St.-Trond) was liberated by the US First Army on 8 September 1944. The 834th Aviation Engineer Battalion arrived at the airbase on 15 September 1944. On 30 September 1944 they declared the airbase operational as Advanced Landing Ground A-92. A-92 St.-Trond served as a homebase for:
404th Fighter Group, 30 September 1944 - 04 April 1945, equipped with P-47 Thunderbolt.
48th Fighter Group, 02 October 1944 - 30 March 1945, equipped with P-47 Thunderbolt.
386th Bombardment Group, 05 April - 15 July 1945, equipped with A-26 Invader.
305th Bombardment Group, 20 July 1945 - 15 December 1945, equipped with B-17/F-9C for photo mapping operations ("Casey Jones Project").

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 404th Fighter Group

    404th Fighter Group

    Group
    A unit history of the 404th Fighter Group is available online as a pdf: http://www.winkton.net/Leap%20Off/LeapOffPdf3.pdf

  • 48th Fighter Group

    48th Fighter Group

    Group
    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). ...

  • 386th Bomb Group

    386th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 386th Bomb Group flew B-26 Marauders for the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. Whilst with the Eighth, the Group developed the formation release procedure for the B-26 on missions that targeted aerodromes, marshalling yards and V-weapon sites along the...

People

  • William Abraham

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group

  • Wayne Anacker

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group

  • John Boland

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

  • Edward Brooks

    Military | Major | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    MAJ EDWARD H. BROOKS JR. USMA JAN 1943 Cullum No. 13425-1943JAN | September 22, 1945 | Died in St. Trond, Belgium American Military Cemetery of Margraten, Holland ...

  • Henry Brown

    Military | Major | Pilot | 386th Bomb Group
    Henry Brown was the first of his family to be born in the US, January 8, 1919. He lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his family owned Western Meatpackers. He graduated from the University of Arkansas where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. The...

  • Harold Buelow

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot | 404th Fighter Group

  • Barton Christopher

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

  • Robert Colwell

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

  • William Donohoe

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

  • Edward Dziadzio

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

Show more

Aircraft

  • 42-25852 Snortin' Bull

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-27234 Elsie

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 43-25540 "Flight of the Bumble Bee"

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Hit by Flak during a sweep on the Koblenz airfield, oil and water systems out; crash-landed 22 Februry 1945 near Anhausen, 10km NE of Neuwied (North of Koblenz), Germany. Pilot George R. Knittle safe, captured the same day. Interned in Germany. Missing...

  • 44-83395

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Hunter 20/2/45; Grenier 2/3/45; Assigned 8AF 7/3/45; Salvaged 9AF Germany 24/12/46; re-ass 30/4/47; Recl Comp 19/11/47.

  • 42-29140

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 43-22509

    A-26 Invader

  • 44-19776 Sigma Nu Girl

    P-47 Thunderbolt

  • 42-76371

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 464FS, 48FG, 9AF USAAF.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 February 2022 13:09:04 Hendrik Schoebrechts Changes to known as
Sources

Histor Center Airbase Brustem

Date Contributor Update
13 February 2022 13:08:31 Hendrik Schoebrechts Changes to name, known as, usaaf from date and history
Sources

Histor Center Airbase Brustem

Date Contributor Update
24 November 2016 12:02:28 Lucy May Changes to media associations
Sources

Associated photos captioned 'St Trond'

Date Contributor Update
10 September 2016 02:52:38 466thHistorian Changes to name and history
Sources

http://www.forgottenairfields.com/belgium/limburg/st-truiden-s99.html

Date Contributor Update
08 November 2015 13:28:28 Hendrik Schoebrechts Created entry with name, number, known as, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date and usaaf to date
Sources

Histor Center Airbase Brustem

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