RAF Wendling

Infobox Military Structure
name= Royal Air Force Station Wendling
USAAF Station 118
location= Located Near East Dereham, Norfolk, England
coordinates=coord|52|41|55|N|000|50|24|E|


caption= Aerial Photo of Wendling Airfield - 30 March 1946
type= Military Airfield
code=WU
built=1942
builder=
materials=
height=
used=1943-1961
demolished=
condition=
ownership=
controlledby=United States Army Air Forces
garrison=Eighth Air Force
commanders=
occupants=392nd Bombardment Group
battles= European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945 Location map|Norfolk
label =
lat = 52.70
long = 0.84
caption = Map showing the location of RAF Wendling within Norfolk.
float = right
background = white
width = 200

RAF Wendling is a former World War II airfield in England. The field is located convert|4|mi|km SE of East Dereham and north of the A47 trunk road in Norfolk.

Overview

Wendling airfield was originally planned for RAF Bomber Command use, however in 1942 was assigned as a United States Army Air Force heavy bomber installation. It was the most northerly placed of Eighth Air Force heavy bomber fields. Planned originally for RAF bomber use, and built by Taylor-Woodrow Ltd., in 1942, the airfield featured a convert|6000|ft|m|sing=on long main runway angled on a NE-SW as and two intersecting convert|4200|ft|m long secondary runways, all within a perimeter track and constructed in reinforced concrete.

Another twenty hardstands (loop type) were added to the thirty of the frying-pan type when the airfield was re-scheduled as a Eighth Air Force heavy bomber station. Two T2-type hangars were provided plus the usual full technical facilities, Mark II airfield lighting and dispersed accommodation for some 2,900 persons. The domestic sites were in the parish of Beeston to the west of the airfield and the bomb dump and ammunition stores were in Honeypot Wood to the south-east.

USAAF use

Under USAAF control, Wendling was designated as Station 118.

392nd Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The airfield was opened in 1943 and was used by the 392d Bombardment Group (Heavy), arriving from Alamogordo AAF New Mexico on 18 July 1943. The 453d was assigned to the 14th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code was a "Circle-D". Its operational squadrons were:

* 576th Bomb Squadron (CI)
* 577th Bomb Squadron (DC)
* 578th Bomb Squadron (EC)
* 579th Bomb Squadron (GC)

The group flew B-24 Liberators as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign.

The 392d BG entered combat on 9 September 1943 and engaged primarily in bombardment of strategic objectives on the Continent until April 1945. The group attacked such targets as an oil refinery at Gelsenkirchen, a marshalling yard at Osnabruck, a railroad viaduct at Bielefeld, steel plants at Brunswick, a tank factory at Kassel, and gas works at Berlin.

The group took part in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944, being awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing an aircraft and component parts factory at Gotha on 24 February. The unit sometimes supported ground forces or carried out interdictory operations along with bombing airfields and V-weapon sites in France prior to the Normandy invasion in June 1944 and struck coastal defenses and choke points on D-Day.

The group hit enemy positions to assist ground forces at St Lo during the breakthrough in July 1944. Bombed railroads, bridges, and highways to cut off German supply lines during the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Dropped supplies to Allied troops during the air attack on Holland in September 1944 and during the airborne assault across the Rhine in March 1945.

The 392d Bomb Group flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945, then carried food to the Dutch. The unit returned to Charleston AAF South Carolina on 25 June 1945 and was deactivated on 13 September 1945.


RAF Maintenance Command use

When the Americans left, Wendling was transferred to RAF Maintenance Command and was used as a satellite airfield, later becoming an inactive station before being finally closed on 22 November 1961. It was used between June 1960 and April 1964 by the United States Air Force as a radio facility before being finally closed and sold in 1964.

Civil Use

With the end of military control the airfield has become a turkey farm, with large coops built along its runways. Most of the buildings and hardstands have been torn down and the concrete removed. Also much of the perimeter track has been reduced to a single lane road.

A granite obelisk monument to the men of the 392nd Bomb Group was dedicated in September 1945, and stands well maintained and cared for in a small plot just off the airfield on the road to Beeston.

ee also

* List of RAF stations
* USAAF Eighth Air Force - World War II
* 392nd Bombardment Group

References

* Freeman, Roger A. (1978) Airfields of the Eighth: Then and Now. After the Battle ISBN 0900913096
* Freeman, Roger A. (1991) The Mighty Eighth The Colour Record. Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35708-1
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* [http://www.controltowers.co.uk/W-Z/Wendling.htm www.controltowers.co.uk Wendling]
* [http://mighty8thaf.preller.us/php/1Loc.php?Base=Wendling mighty8thaf.preller.us Wendling ]
* [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/usafserials.html USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present]

External links

* [http://mighty8thaf.preller.us/gallery/Wendling Wendling Airfield Photo Gallery]
* [http://www.b24.net/392nd 392d Bomb Group Website]
* [http://www.b24.net/ Wendling @ www.b24.net]
* [http://www.multimap.com/map/photo.cgi?client=public&X=592000&Y=315000&scale=25000&width=700&height=400&gride=592400&gridn=315080&lang=&db=hcgaz&coordsys=gb Aerial Photo of RAF Wendling From Multimap.Com]


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