RAF Sudbury

Infobox Military Structure
name= Royal Air Force Station Sudbury
Royal Air Force Station Acton
USAAF Station 174
location= Located Near Sudbury, Suffolk, United Kingdom

caption= Sudbury Airfield - 8 July 1945
type= Military Airfield
controlledby=United States Army Air Forces
garrison=Eighth Air Force
occupants=486th Bombardment Group
battles= European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945 Location map|Suffolk
caption= RAF Sudbury, shown within Suffolk
lat= 52.062
long= 0.756
width= 200

RAF Sudbury (also known as Acton) is a former World War II airfield in England. The field is located between the villages Acton, Great Waldingfield and Chilton, around 2 miles east of Sudbury in Suffolk.


Sudbury airfield was opened in 1944 and was built to the standard Class A heavy bomber base with three intersecting concrete runways of standard lengths with Fifty hardstands and two T2 hangars to meet the USAAF bomber requirements. The airfield had a slight gradient towards the north-east and was constructed on what had been farmland. Most of the temporary building accommodation for some 3,000 men was situated around the village street of Great Waldingfield to the east of the airfield and accessible by crossing the B1115 road from Sudbury to Lavenham. The facility was used by the United States Army Air Force Eighth Air Force. Sudbury was given USAAF designation Station 174 (SU).

486th Bombardment Group (Heavy)

The 486th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrived from Davis-Monthan AAF Arizona during March 1944. the 486th was assigned to the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, and the group tail code initially was a "Square-O". When the group converted from B-24s to B-17s during the summer of 1944, the Group ID was changed to "Square-W", perhaps to avoid confusion with the Square-D on B-17s of the 100th Bomb Group. The 486th was the only group to change its ID.

Its operational squadrons were:
* 832d Bomb Squadron (3R)
* 833d Bomb Squadron (4N)
* 834th Bomb Squadron (2S)
* 835th Bomb Squadron (H8)

The group flew both the B-24 Liberator and the B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the Eighth Air Force's strategic bombing campaign and operated chiefly against strategic objectives in Germany until May 1945. Targets included marshalling yards in Stuttgart, Cologne, and Mainz; airfields in Kassel and Münster; oil refineries and storage plants in Merseburg, Dollbergen, and Hamburg; harbours in Bremen and Kiel; and factories in Mannheim and Weimar.

Other missions included bombing airfields, gun positions, V-weapon sites (total of nine "No Ball" missions beginning June 20), [Albanese, John "Doodlebugs and Rockets (V-1 and V-2)" [http://www.486th.org/photos/Letters/doodlebugs.htm] ] and railway bridges in France in preparation for or in support of the invasion of Normandy in June 1944; striking road junctions and troop concentrations in support of ground forces pushing across France, Jul-Aug 1944; hitting gun emplacements near Arnheim to minimize transport and glider losses during the airborne invasion of Holland in September 1944; and bombing enemy installations in support of ground troops during the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944-Jan 1945) and the assault across the Rhine (Mar-Apr 1945).

The 468th Bomb Group returned to the Drew AAF Florida during August 1945 and was deactivated on 7 November.

After the war, the field was closed in 1945.

Civil Use

With the end of military control, Sudbury airfield was returned to agriculture and was covered in vegetation or been dug up in sections so as to plant crops. Sections of the runways and hardstands have long been removed (though some still remain) and piles of concrete sit in dumps.

The hangars are now used for grain storage, but only the base of the control tower remains.

ee also

* List of RAF stations
* USAAF Eighth Air Force - World War II
* 486th Air Expeditionary Wing



* 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/S/Sudbury.htm Sudbury]
* [http://mighty8thaf.preller.us/php/1Loc.php?Base=Sudbury mighty8thaf.preller.us Sudbury]
* [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/usafserials.html USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present]

External links

* [http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/mollpa/davidmollww2.html Webpage of 2Lt. David Moll]
* [http://www.486th.org/index3.htm 486th Bomb Group Website]
* [http://mighty8thaf.preller.us/gallery/Sudbury Sudbury Airfield photo website]
* [http://www.geocities.com/llcamp_to/photos.html Sudbury Airfield today]
* [http://www.multimap.com/maps/?hloc=GB|Sudbury#t=l&
16|8&loc=GB:52.03333:0.73333:14|Sudbury|Sudbury,%20Suffolk Aerial photo of RAF Sudbury from Multimap.Com

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