RAF Langar: Wikis

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Royal Air Force Station Langar Airport
USAAF Station AAF-490
RCAF Langar

Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg Patch9thusaaf.png RCAF-Roundel.svg

Located Near Langar, Nottinghamshire, England
Langar-sep43.jpg
Low oblique photo of Langar airfield, September 1943 looking to the northwest. Noticing the large number of C-47s and Gliders on the grass parts of the field along with the hardstands.
Type Military airport
Coordinates 52°53′30″N 000°54′07″W / 52.89167°N 0.90194°W / 52.89167; -0.90194
Location code LA
Built 1942
In use 1942-Present
Controlled by Royal Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
Royal Canadian Air Force
Garrison RAF Bomber Command
Ninth Air Force
Occupants No. 207 Squadron
435th, 438th, 441st Troop Carrier Groups
Battles/wars European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
RAF Langar is located in Nottinghamshire
RAF Langar, shown within Nottinghamshire

RAF Station Langar is a former military airfield in Nottinghamshire, England. The airfield is located approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) east-southeast of Radcliffe on Trent; about 100 miles (160 km) north-northwest of London

Opened in 1942 during World War II, it was used by both the Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Force. During the war it was used primarily as troop carrier transport airfield. After the war it was provided to the Royal Canadian Air Force which used it as an operational base until 1963.

Today the airfield is the base for the British Parachute Schools, who use the original control tower for their headquarters. The former Avro industrial complex is used by private industry. Local groups of modified car enthusiasts meet for speed tests.

Contents

Overview

Langar airfield was built during the early months of 1942 to Class A airfield specifications, the main feature of which was a set of three converging runways each containing a concrete runway for takeoffs and landings, optimally placed at 60 degree angles to each other in a triangular pattern. The concrete runways were a main of 6,000ft at 01/19, and two secondaries of 4,200 ft at 07/25 and 4,200 ft at 13/31. The original 36 dispersal hardstands were of the pan type but in the summer of 1943 14 loops were added to bring the total to 50 connecting to an enclosing perimeter track, of a standard width of 50 feet.

The ground support station was constructed largely of Nissen huts of various sizes. The support station was where the group and ground station commanders and squadron headquarters and orderly rooms were located. Also on the ground station were where the mess facilities; chapel; hospital; mission briefing and debriefing; armory; life support; parachute rigging; supply warehouses; station and airfield security; motor pool and the other ground support functions necessary to support the air operations of the group. These facilities were all connected by a network of single path support roads.

The technical site, connected to the ground station and airfield originally consisted of two T-2 type hangars but an additional two were added when the airfield was required to hold 32 Horsa gliders in store. In addition, various organizational, component and field maintenance shops along with the crew chiefs and other personnel necessary to keep the aircraft airworthy and to quickly repair light and moderate battle damage. Aircraft severely damaged in combat were sent to repair depots for major structural repair. The Ammunition dump was located outside of the perimeter track surrounded by large dirt mounds and concrete storage pens.

Various domestic accommodation sites were constructed dispersed away from the airfield, but within a mile or so of the technical support site, also using clusters of Maycrete or Nissen huts. The Huts were either connected, set up end-to-end or built singly and made of prefabricated corrugated iron with a door and two small windows at the front and back. They provided accommodation for 2,253 personnel, including communal and a sick quarters.

During airborne operations, when large numbers of airborne parachutists were moved to the airfield, tents would be pitched on the interior grass regions of the airfield, or wherever space could be found to accommodate the airborne forces for the short time they would be bivouacked at the station prior to the operation.

RAF Bomber Command use

The first flying unit arrived in September 1942 when No. 207 Squadron arrived with Lancaster bombers from RAF Bottesford. 207 Squadron was a major RAF Bomber Command unit and participated in major raids on occupied Europe.

Also, in September 1942, A.V. Roe Ltd. prepared to use a large hangar complex on the west side of the Langar/Harby road to carry out major repair and maintenance of Lancasters.

The RAF remained until October 1943 when it moved to RAF Spilsby.

USAAF use

In November 1943 Langar was transferred to the USAAF Ninth Air Force as a troop carrier group base. The airfield was used as a reception base for troop carrier groups flying in from the United States. The 10th Service Group and 27th Mobile Repair Maintenance Squadron was established to support these transitory groups before they moved onto their permanent airfields.

Langar was known as USAAF Station AAF-490 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. It's USAAF Station Code was "LA".

435th Troop Carrier Group

The 435th Troop Carrier Group arrived at Langar on 3 November 1943 from Baer AAF Indiana with four squadrons of 56 C-47s. Operational squadrons of the group were:

The 435th TCW was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing.

The group began operational training at the airfield, however it was moved on 25 January 1944 to RAF Welford to train alongside the 101st Airborne Division.

438th Troop Carrier Group

Langar remained vacant for about a month until the 438th Troop Carrier Group arrived in early February 1944 from Baer AAF, Indiana. Operational squadrons of the group were:

  • 87th Troop Carrier Squadron (3X)
  • 88th Troop Carrier Squadron (M2)
  • 89th Troop Carrier Squadron (4U)
  • 90th Troop Carrier Squadron (Q7)

The 438th TCW was assigned to the 53rd Troop Carrier Wing. Like its predecessor, the group was moved south after a month to a new station at RAF Greenham Common.

441st Troop Carrier Group

The 441st Troop Carrier Group arrived at Langar on 17 March Baer AAF Indiana with four squadrons of 56 C-47s. Those being:

The 441st was a group of Ninth Air Force's 50th Troop Carrier Wing, IX Troop Carrier Command. It was scheduled to be assigned to Langar, however it only remained until 25 April until being moved to RAF Merryfield.

IX Troop Carrier Command depot

Although no further flying combat units were stationed at Langar, the airfield became a major maintenance and supply depot for the IX Troop Carrier Command. In addition, Langar became a center for assembly and modification of CG-4A Waco Gliders, primarily the fitting of reinforced noses for better crew protection in rough landings. During this time several hundred gliders were assembled there.

In August 1944 Langar was released to RAF control for operational use, however the need for forward operating bases in connection with Operation Market-Garden, the 441st Troop Carrier Group using the airfield as part of the operation.

On 17 September 45 C-47s of the 441st TCG dropped paratroops of the 82d Airborne near Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Five aircraft were lost to Flak. On 18 September, 40 C-47s, all towing CG-4A gliders carried out a reinforcement mission without loss or casualties.

No further missions were flown until 23 September when 90 C-47s, all towing gliders to Holland encountered flak that brought down one C-47. This was the last operational mission by the USAAF from Langar, and ended the association of the Ninth Air Force with the airfield

Post D-Day use

In October 1944, RAF Bomber Command returned to Langar moving in with No. 1669 Heavy Conversion Unit with 32 Lancasters which used the station until March 1945. Although retained by the Ministry of Defence. The airfield was used after the war for a short time for prisoners of war and then for displaced persons. Early in 1952 it was taken over by the RCAF Royal Canadian Air Force to become a supply base for their NATO squadrons. The Base was constructed on the old domestic and technical sites with completely new buildings, to a much higher standard than the Air Ministry was used to, by an English design team under the direction of an RCAF officer. For 12 months nearly 1000 men worked constructing the Base, which worked around three two acre warehouses . The first RCAF personnel arrived autumn 1952. The air field was used for eleven years (1952 - 1963) by the Royal Canadian Air Force as 30 Air Materiel Base, RCAF Langar. Langar was the RCAF's primary supply base for No. 1 Air Division RCAF in Europe, a complex of four fighter bases set up in nearby North Luffenham and in France and West Germany by Canada to help meet NATO's European air defence commitments during the Cold War. It was the only Canadian base in the UK.

The RCAF established No. 30 Air Materiel Base (AMB), to handle the transportation of supplies, equipment, aircraft, personnel, and other support essential for the operation of the four NATO air bases and its headquarters. Several units were attached to 30 AMB. No. 137 (Transport) Flight, which was attached to the Movements Unit of 30 AMB, operated several types of aircraft including six Bristol Freighters, one Beechcraft Expeditor, and two Dakotas. No. 312 Supply Depot handled medical supplies and spares for mechanical equipment, including aircraft (e.g. the F-86 Sabre) and vehicles. No. 314 Technical Services Unit was tasked with inspecting all supplies before they were forwarded to operational bases. This unit also assisted with repair contracts and provided technical advice.

Civil Use

With the facility released from military control in 1963, the airfield is the base for the British Parachute Schools, who use the original control tower for their headquarters. The former Avro industrial complex is used by private industry. Local groups of modified car enthusiasts meet for speed tests. There is a go-karting track.

The airfield is relatively intact, with most of its wartime facilities still in use. The main runway (01/19) and NE/SW secondary (07/25) are still active and in use. The original technical site is still in use, along with both wartime T-2 hangars. Additional postwar hangars and a secondary maintenance site built to the northwest, along with many of the loop dispersal hardstands around the wartime perimeter track still exist.

Directions

From Radcliffe on Trent, proceed southwest on Cropwell Road passing though the A46 to Cropwell Butler. Continue on Main Street to Tithby Road, turning left. Proceed to Tythby, turning left (north) at the center of the village then a sharp right remaining on Tithby Road to the intersection of Bingham Road, just outside the town. Turn south on Bingham Road, going about three miles to Langar. Remain on Bingham road and proceed to the south of the village. The airfield will be on your left (east) as you exit the south side of Langar.

See also

References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913800
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • www.controltowers.co.uk RAF Langar
  • British Automobile Association (AA), (1978), Complete Atlas of Britain, ISBN 0-86145-005-1

External links

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