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Royal Air Force Station Deenethorpe
USAAF Station 128

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Patch 8thUSAAF.png

Located Near Kettering, Northamptonshire, England
Deenthorpe-28-may-1947.jpg
Aerial Photo of Deenethorpe Airfield - 28 May 1945
Type Military Airfield
Coordinates 52°30′09″N 000°35′06″W / 52.5025°N 0.585°W / 52.5025; -0.585
Location code DP
Built 1943
In use 1943-1963
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
Garrison Eighth Air Force
Royal Air Force
Occupants 401st Bombardment Group
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945

RAF Deenethorpe is a former World War II airfield in England. The field is located two miles east of Corby in Northamptonshire.

Contents

USAAF use

Deenethorpe was constructed in 1943 and was allocated to the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force. It was assigned USAAF designation Station 128.

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401st Bombardment Group (Heavy)

With the opening of the airfield in October 1943, the 401st Bombardment Group (Heavy), arrived from Great Falls AAB, Montana, in November. The 401st was assigned to the 94th Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bombardment Division. Its tail code was Triangle-S.

The 401st Bomb Group consisted of the following operational squadrons flying B-17s :

  • 612th Bomb Squadron (SC)
  • 613th Bomb Squadron (IN)
  • 614th Bomb Squadron (IW)
  • 615th Bomb Squadron (IY)

The 401st BG operated chiefly against strategic targets, bombing industries, submarine facilities, shipyards, missile sites, marshalling yards, and airfields; beginning in October 1944, concentrated on oil reserves. The Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for striking telling blows against German aircraft production on 11 January and 20 February 1944.

In addition to strategic missions, group operations included attacks on transportation, airfields, and fortifications prior to the Normandy invasion and on D-Day, June 1944; support for ground operations during the breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July, the siege of Brest in August, and the airborne attack on Holland in September 1944.

The Group flew missions against enemy forces during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 - January 1945, by assaulting transportation targets and communications centers in the battle area; and support for the airborne attack across the Rhine in March 1945.

The worst accident occurred in December 1943 when a Fortress which failed to get off the ground careered over farmland and came to rest after crashing into a cottage on the edge of Deenethorpe village. The surviving members of the crew just had time to evacuate the wreckage and warn the villagers of the imminent explosion of the bomb load before it detonated damaging many houses in the village. The blast was felt in Kettering nine miles away.

RAF Deenethorpe is located in Northamptonshire
RAF Deenethorpe shown within Northamptonshire (grid reference SP960900)

After V-E Day, the group departed from Deenethorpe in August 1945 and returned to Sioux Falls AAF where the unit was deactivated, personnel demobilized and B-17 aircraft sent to storage.

The 401st Bombardment Group had flown 255 combat missions from Deenethorpe airfield.

Postwar use

After the war, Deenethorpe was used as a RAF Recruiting Center, and later for several years the control tower was used as a lookout post by the local Royal Observer Corps. It was finally sold in 1963 and largely returned to agriculture. Part of the old main runway is now used as a private airstrip.

See also

References

B-17s of the 615th Bomb Squadron at Deenethorpe. Boeing B-17G-80-BO Flying Fortress Serial 43-338077 is in foreground

External links


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