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RAF Glatton: Wikis

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Royal Air Force Station Glatton
USAAF Station 130

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

Located Near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England
Glatton-16-oct-1945.jpg
Aerial Photo of Glatton Airfield - 16 Oct 1945
Type Military Airfield
Coordinates 52°27′58.23″N 000°15′07.27″W / 52.466175°N 0.2520194°W / 52.466175; -0.2520194
Location code GT
Built 1943
In use 1943-1948
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
Garrison Eighth Air Force
RAF Bomber Command
Occupants 457th Bombardment Group
No. 3 Group
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
RAF Glatton is located in Cambridgeshire
RAF Glatton, shown within Cambridgeshire
B-17s of the 457th Bomb Group attacking a target. Aircraft in forgeround is Boeing B-17G-40-BO Fortress Serial 42-97075 "Flak Dodger" of the 750th Bomb Squadron. This plane survived the war and returned to the USA in June 1945.
Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-25-DL Fortress Serial 42-38056 "Queen Bea" of the 751st Bomb Squadron. Queen Bea was returning from a mission to Rouen, France on Jun 22nd, 1944 and was badly shot up from flak with no hydraulic system. After landing, the plane swerved out of control and collided with another aircraft on landing.

RAF Glatton is a former World War II airfield in England. The field is located 10 miles N of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

Contents

USAAF use

Glatton was constructed in 1943 and was assigned to the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force as a heavy bomber airfield. Its layout was unique in that the three runways surrounded Rose Court Farm which continued to operate in the center of the airfield. Glatton was assigned USAAF designation Station 130.

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457th Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The airfield was first used by the 457th Bombardment Group (Heavy), arriving from Wendover AAF, Utah on 21 January 1944. The 457th was assigned to the 94th Combat Bombardment Wing of the 1st Bombardment Division. Its tail code was Triangle-U.

The 457th Bomb Group consisted of the following operational squadrons flying B-17s :

  • 748th Bomb Squadron
  • 749th Bomb Squadron
  • 750th Bomb Squadron
  • 751st Bomb Squadron

The 457th Bomb Group flew its first mission on 21 February 1944 during Big Week, taking part in the concentrated attacks of heavy bombers on the German aircraft industry. Until June 1944, the Group engaged primarily in bombardment of strategic targets, such as ball-bearing plants, aircraft factories, and oil refineries in Germany.

The Group bombed targets in France during the first week of June 1944 in preparation for the Normandy invasion, and attacked coastal defenses along the Cherbourg peninsula on D-Day. Struck airfields, railroads, fuel depots, and other interdictory targets behind the invasion beaches throughout the remainder of the month.

Beginning in July 1944, the 457th resumed bombardment of strategic objectives and engaged chiefly in such operations until April 1945. Sometimes flew support and interdictory missions, aiding the advance of ground forces during the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July 1944 and the landing of British 1st Airborne Division during the airborne attack on Holland in September 1944; and participating in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 - January 1945, and the assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

The Group flew its last combat mission on 20 April 1945. The unit had carried out 237 missions. Total number of sorties was 7.086 with nearly 17.000 tuns of bombs and 142 tons of leaflets being dropped.

After V-E Day, the 457th transported prisoners of war from Austria to France, and returned to Sioux Falls AAF, South Dakota during June 1945.

On Saturday, 28 July. Lieutenant Colonel William F. Smith lost his way while ferrying a B-25 Mitchell bomber from Bedford, Massachusetts to Sioux Falls AAF via Newark Airport. Emerging from low cloud at about 9000 ft. the 457th pilot found himself among the skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan. The aircraft crashed headlong into the 79th floor level of the Empire State Building killing Lieutenant Colonel Smith, two passengers and eleven office workers. The B-25 exploded on impact spraying burning fuel into West 34th Street below, one of the engines completely passing through the building and out the other side.

The 457th was inactivated on 18 August 1945.

RAF Bomber Command use

After the war, Glatton was used by the RAF No. 3 Group Bomber Command with Lancasters and Liberators flying to the Middle East. It was closed and sold in 1948.

Civil Use

With the end of military control, Glatton airfield was largely returned to agriculture however parts of two runways have been retained and Glatton now operates as Conington Airport. The 457th Bomb Group has a memorial dedicated to the men who lost their lives flying from Glatton in Conington churchyard.

Gallery

See also

References

External links


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