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Military site : airfield

Detailed history

The search for a suitable site for an airfield started in 1909. [1] On 1 August 1910 geography improvement of the swamp started and on 22 October 1910 the first airshow was held on the Airfield Dübendorf. Since 1914 Dübendorf has been used as an air base by the Swiss Air Force.[2] From 1919 on Dübendorf was also an airport for civil airlines, first for the predecessor of the Swissair, the Ad Astra Aero, and from 1932 on for Swissair.

During World War II there was virtually no civil flight activity. Any foreign military aircraft that was interned by Switzerland was held at Dübendorf, including about 120 US B-17s and B-24s, together with one German Me 262. From 1943 Switzerland shot down American and British aircraft, mainly bombers, overflying Switzerland during World War II: six aircraft by Swiss Air Force fighters and nine by anti-aircraft cannons; 36 American and British airmen were killed. Besides, there were 137 emergency landings to May 1945 resulting in about 120 US aircraft that were interned at the Dübendorf airfield. The officers were interned in Davos, airmen in Adelboden. Although US military attaché Barnwell Legge instructed the soldiers not to flee, many soldiers ignored his warning; after their escape from the internment camps, the airmen usually were detained in the Wauwilermoos penal camp near Luzern.[3][4] Repaired by USAF technicians, on 7 September 1945 around 60 US aircraft started from Dübendorf to return to their bases,[3] where they were scrapped.[5] The Swiss Air Force used in this time Me-109E, Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 and so on.

After World War II, civil aviation moved to the new Zurich Airport, opened in 1948, and Dübendorf became a purely military airfield. Dübendorf had been considered for expansion as Switzerland's primary international airport, but the Federal government reportedly preferred the development of a new Zurich airport for dedicated civil use for technical reasons including the difficulties inherent in a shared military and civil facility.[6]

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known



  • Byron Long

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    INT Had mechanical failure and landed in Switzerland on 7/12/44 in B-17 'Gloria' #42102457

  • Michael Rodman

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 94th Bomb Group
    INT Had mechanical failure and landed in Switzerland on 7/12/44 in B-17 'Gloria' #42102457

  • Tazwell Wingfield

    Military | Flight Officer | Navigator | 94th Bomb Group
    INT Had mechanical failure and landed in Switzerland on 7/12/44 in B-17 'Gloria' #42102457 ...


  • 41-28629 Blondes Away

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 733BS, 453BG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 734, 453BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) mission 13-Apr-44. Last seen 12 miles past IP heading across lake near Friedrickshafen in direction of Switzerland. Oil leak on #4 engine and oxygen...

  • 41-28692 Hell's Wagon

    B-24 Liberator
    Assigned to 576BS, 392BG, 8AF USAAF. 10 x Missions. Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Friedrichshafen, attacked by Bf109's and Fw190's after breaking formation 18-Mar-44, landed in Dubendorf, Switzerland. 10 x Interned. MACR 3318.

  • 41-29127 Li'l Gypsy

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-100284

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-100330

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-100400

    B-24 Liberator

  • 42-106438

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Lost 19-Jul-44 on bomber escort to Munich, suffered glycol leak, aborted and forced landed at Ems, Switzerland pilot Lt Curtis Simpson Interned. A/C was subsequently dismantled by Swiss air force mechanics and...

  • 42-107021

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Tulsa 31/1/44; Kearney 5/2/44; Assigned 710BS/447BG [IJ-L] Rattlesden 3/3/44; Missing in Action Augsburg 13/4/44 with Joe Thornbury, Co-pilot: Albt Cowey, Navigator: Dominick Padula, Bombardier: George Filush, Flight engineer/top turret...

  • 42-29127

    P-47 Thunderbolt

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Date Contributor Update
17 November 2016 22:35:39 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations

"Strangers In A Strange Land - Volume II" - Hans-Heiri Stapfer/Gino Kunzle

Date Contributor Update
17 November 2016 18:24:47 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations

Date Contributor Update
17 November 2016 18:23:36 466thHistorian Created entry with name, latitude, longitude, construction date, history and media associations