I hope you have all had nice holidays :)
This topic, including research, photography, etc, took a few months to make, from planning the idea to finding resources and files to reaching out to the right people, local institutions, etc, and taking the pictures and illustrations. So anyways, here is a follow to the ALG A-4 topic I will link below, as you all wanted another one :)
On june 14, 1944, while Operation Overlord was well under way, aircraft coming from Canada, Britain and the US needed places to land and refuel in France, as most local French airports were bombed and taken over by the Nazis.
This called for the construction of many temporary aerodromes, including this one, Criqueville Airfield (ALG A-2).
5 days later, on June 19th, the airport was opened for service and aircraft started flocking to the new strip, made entirely of metal mesh and packed dirt.
Almost 80 years later, I went on a ‘trip’ to see what remained of the historical site!
Doesn’t show much, does it?
Well, here is a diagram I made to show where it used to be:
Red was the runway
Blue were pads and aprons
Yellow is where fuel and ammunition was stored
Disclaimer Because Some People Want To Cause Chaos
These pictures were taken with a DJI Mavic Air 2S.
Yes, I have the license.
Yes, I have taken the course for drone flying.
Yes, this was under 120 meters high.
Yes, the drone has its own registration. I can give it to you via DM if you really care.
Yes, the drone has ADSB.
Yes, I had permission to fly in that airspace.
Yes, I had permission to fly over the land.
Yes, I was tracking all surrounding aircraft on a live map provided by the drone’s ADS-B Antenna.
The diagram above was made thanks to various resources, online and physical, consisting of books and websites that contained runway length, orientation, coordinates, etc. It may not be 100% accurate but I think it is relatively close, especially based on images of the war.
Near the fields that used to be an airstrip, there have been 2 memorials erected in stone. In the first one, the French flag seemed to have been eaten by a dog, and in the second, the US flag flew back to the US with the incredible wind there is right now.
(I hid my bike this time ;)
…then it fell because of the wind :(
While I was in the area, I also decided to lawfully walk in the fields and dir-I mean mud paths to try and remake some pictures I found online.
Here are the pictures, and my replica.
[Scan I found in the national archives]
This one was particularly hard to remake and took almost an entire day of biking to find, but it is pretty much certain as it is exactly where I predicted the ramp to be, and has the only pine trees in the area :)
[Picture from Wikimedia commons Europe]
My replica without the plane, sadly
You may note the vegetation has changed, however, most trees were like that at the time as they were stripped from the base for various reasons.
During my little trip, I found some cool things that showed an insight into the past of this location :)
I found some things such as metal scraps bolted together where hangars used to be, abandoned buildings and metal plates from what used to be the runway.
Here is the building where the fuel used to be kept
Here is what remains of the runway
Here is the TDZ of the runway
Finally, here is another replica of an image I found
Found in the D-Day Archives
Some facts about the airport:
Built: June 9 1944
Built by: 820th EAB
Operational: June 19 1944
IX Engineer Command
9th air force GQG
354th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force/XIX Tactical Air Command/100th Fighter Wing
– 353rd Fighter Squadron
– 355th Fighter Squadron
– 356th Fighter Squadron
367th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force/IX Tactical Air Command/70th Fighter Wing
– 392nd Fighter Squadron
– 393rd Fighter Squadron
– 394th Fighter Squadron
225th AAA Searchlight Battalion/Batterie « B », 49th AAA Brigade/18th AAA Group
70th fighter wing
Abandoned: September 15 1944
Aircraft that operated from the airport:
Any maybe some others I could not find info about
That’s it for this one! If anyone has any info regarding this that they are willing to share, go ahead!
However, after days of rain, wind and mud, I’m going to stop there for this airfield.
Thanks for reading!
Thank you to you for reading and thank you to the thousands of soldiers that helped liberate France!