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Military site : airfield

Detailed history

41°32'59"N 015°33'40"E

runway: 14/32 - 1750x..m - PSP

Celone airfield (also known as San Nicola-d'Arpi, Capelli or Foggia Satellite #1), was a semi-permanent airfield located approximately 10km north of Foggia, Apulia, Italy
The airfield was located 3.5km northeast of a farm called San Nicola d'Arpi on the banks of the Celone River and formed part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia. It was likely built by the Royal Italian Air Force, but it is not known exactly when. At the time it had a flying field of 2400x4125ft (800x1400meter). In the summer of 1943 it was in use by the Luftwaffe, as suggested by 51 Ju-52 transports and a single He111 that were spotted at the airfield by Allied reconaissance aircraft on 6 Aug 1943.
The airfield was taken by the Allies in September/October 1943, and construction of a new PSP runway by the United States Army Corps of Engineers began almost immediately. According to a report on aerodromes in Italy dated 24 October 1943 the airfield was expected to be completed on 7 Nov. 1943 with one 6,000 feet PSP runway. It also received extensive taxiways and hardstand parking areas and a steel control tower.

The completely rebuilt airfield opened on 15 February 1944. Between 9 March 1944 and 25 September 1945, B-17s of the 463rd Bombardment Group and Liberator Mk.VI's of 2 (SAAF) Wing (31 (SAAF) Sqn and 34 (SAAF) Sqn) were based at the airfield.
The 463rd BG went to combat on March 30, 1944 and operated mainly against strategic objectives. They attacked targets like marshaling yards, oil refineries, and aircraft factories in Italy, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing oil refineries in Ploesti on 18 May 1944. A second one was received for leading the wing through three damaging enemy attacks to bomb tank factories in Berlin on 24 March 1945. They also engaged in interdiction and support missions, bombed bridges during May and June 1944 in the campaign for the liberation of Rome. They participated in the invasion of Southern France in August 1944 by striking bridges, gun positions, hit communications such as railroad bridges, marshalling yards and airdromes in the Balkans. But primarily they operated against communications in northern Italy during March and April 1945. After V-E Day, the group transported personnel from Italy to Casablanca for return to the US, until they were inactivated in Italy on September 25, 1945.
2 (SAAF) Wing distinguished itself by flying support missions to the uprising of Warsaw, known as 'the Warsaw Concerto'. The flights to Warsaw took place from 13 August to 22 September and represented a round trip of 2,815km, flying over enemy territory and in broad daylight for the larger part of the mission, although they were timed to reach the city in the dark. An extensive report can be found at this site.
The last combat operations were flown in late April 1945, and the airfield closed in October 1945.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known



  • 463rd Bomb Group

    463rd Bomb Group

    The 463rd BG entered combat on March 30, 1944. The target was the airdrome at Imoski, Yugoslavia. Thirty-nine planes dropped 117 tons of bombs from 20,000 feet. Although slight flak was encountered, all planes returned safely. The group flew a...


  • Nicholas Adelmann

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Ball-Turret Gunner | 463rd Bomb Group
    Nicholas James Adelmann was a Farmer. His 2C classification as a farmer made him exempt from being drafted, but he wanted to serve his country anyway. He was hit by FLAK in the abdomen on his 10th mission, in which he was hospitalized for 2-3 weeks....

  • Donald Alyea

    Military | Sergeant | Ball turret gunner | 463rd Bomb Group
    Assigned 773BS, 463BG, 15AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Missing in Action Blechhammer 10-Dec-44 Hit by flak crashed Adriatic Sea Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 10689 Awards: AM, PH.

  • Donald Armstrong

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot B-17 (1091) | 463rd Bomb Group

  • Edgar Baker

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Engineer | 463rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 772BS, 463BG, 15AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti 19-Aug-44 flak, crashed Ploesti; Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 9717. Awards: AM, PH.

  • Marvin Bates

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 463rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 772BS, 463BG, 15AF USAAF. ETD Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Leon Berkovsky

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 463rd Bomb Group
    Shotdown by flak on 7/8/44 on mission to Vienna in B-17 #42-31813. A/C crashed near Varazdin, Yugo. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 6866.

  • John Boros

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Flight Engineer / Top Turret Gunner
    John Boros was Flight Engineer/Top Turret gunner in the 463rd Bomb Group / 775th Bomb Squadron (15th Air Force), in Italy. He was killed in the crash of B-17 # 42-31685 on the 10 May 1944 mission to the Wiener Neustadt aircraft factory, Austria....

  • John Boyett

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Left Waist Gunner
    John BOYETT Jr was a Left Waist gunner in the 463rd Bomb Group / 775th Bomb Squadron (15th Air Force), in Italy. He was on board B-17 # 42-31685 on the 10 May 1944 mission to the Wiener Neustadt aircraft factory, Austria. Made a Prisoner of War (POW) -...

  • Hugh Bradley

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner / Flight Engineer | 463rd Bomb Group
    Shotdown on 7/8/44 on a mission to Vienna in B-17 #42-31813. A/C crashed near Varazdin, Yugoslavia. (Evaded, RTD). MACR 6866.

  • Sam Brown

    Military | Captain | Fighter Pilot/Group operations Officer
    Sam joined the Checkertail Clan (318th FS "Green Dragons".325th FG) in Jan '44 flying P-47s as bomber escort. His first aerial victory on the first of three FW-190s took place on the 3rd of March '44 followed by the others on the 18th April and the...

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  • 42-102916

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/4/44; Hunter 29/4/44; Grenier 11/5/44; Assigned 774BS/463BG Celone 17/5/44; Missing in Action Munich 8/7/44 with Alf Bodine, Co-pilot: Bob Bogard, Navigator: Vernon Hill, Bombardier: Ebe Atkins, Radio Operator: Sal Cestaro, Ball...

  • 42-31684 Joker

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 6/12/43; Kearney 24/12/43; Memphis 2/1/44; Drew Fd 4/1/44; Morrison 8/1/44; Assigned 774BS/463BG Celone 9/3/44; Missing in Action Blechhammer 7/7/44 with Don Doran, Co-pilot: Maurice Davis, Navigator: Pat Gaughan, Bombardier: Jim...

  • 42-31685

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 8/12/43; Kingman 21/12/43; Denver 6/1/44; Jackson 11/1/44; Atlanta 12/1/44; Lakeland 13/1/44; Assigned 775BS/463BG Celone 9/3/44. Hit by Flak. Missing in Action Wiener Neustadt 10 May 1944 with Pilot Stanley N. Dwyer, Co-pilot: Manley...

  • 42-31844 The Swoose

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 25/12/43; Gt Falls 27/12/43; Denver 30/12/43; Lakeland 20/1/44; Assigned 772BS/463BG Celone 28/3/44; Salvaged 16/5/45. THE SWOOSE 1944 MODEL. IT FLYS?.

  • 42-38143

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/12/43; Savannah 17/1/44; Assigned 775BS/463BG Celone 9/3/44; loaned to 49BS/2BG Amendola, Missing in Action 19/3/44 with 97BG on familiarization mission with Keith Chambers, Co-pilot: Melvin Wagner, Navigator: Harry Wolquitt ...

  • 42-97550 'Lassie and Her Lads'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 17/12/43; Lincoln 8/1/44; Lakeland 11/1/44; Morrison 13/2/44; Assigned 772BS/463BG Celone 15/2/44; fatal crash destroyed 11/10/44 1 x KIA. LASSIE AND HER LADS.

  • 42-97719 Goddess

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 6/2/44; 1SAG Langley 1/4/44; Morrison 7/5/44; Assigned (PFF) 49BS/2BG Amendola 8/5/44; transferred 774BS/463BG Celone; battle damaged Valence, Fr 15/8/44 with Seymour Florsheim; two engines shot out, another damaged, equipment...

  • 42-97737

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 10/2/44; 1SAG Langley 4/4/44; Morrison 26/4/44; Assigned (PFF) 49BS/2BG Amendola 8/5/44; 774BS/463BG Celone 5/44; Missing in Action Linz 29/11/44 with Pilot: Jerre Atchinson, Co-pilot: Clarry Pratt, Bombardier: Stephen Kennedy, Radio...

  • 44-6110 Hell on Wings

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Available: 2 May 1944 ...

  • 44-6179

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 24/5/44; Hunter 15/6/44; Dow Fd 28/6/44; Assigned 775BS/463BG Celone 2/7/44; crash landed base 18/4/45 with Austin Cragg, crew ?; returning from mission to bomb troops in Charlie area; burned out.

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Date Contributor Update
17 May 2017 15:34:32 Kmschneider73 Changes to aircraft associations


Date Contributor Update
13 November 2016 02:03:42 466thHistorian Created entry with name, known as, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, closure date and history