After landing, transport networks must be developed

A fortnight after the landing, the Allies established a solid bridgehead in Normandy. They now have the essential road node that is Carentan and have provided the junction between the two beaches of the American sector, while securing the marsh area. Day after day, the staff is increasing and the material landed is always more important. The two artificial ports of Omaha and Arromanches are used to receive goods and equipment but also to evacuate wounded and prisoners. Slowly, the troops advance in Le Cotentin, towards Cherbourg, the only deep water port in the region and major objective of the Americans.

An aerodrome set up by the Americans in 4 days

The road and the sea are great assets in Normandy but are not enough. All over Normandy, the allies installed a series of airfields, real temporary aerodromes.

In the villages of Catz and Saint-Pellerin, from June 15th, the 826th air engineering battalion, 9th Airforce, began the construction of a huge airfield, a half kilometer lenght runway, with 35 meters wide, and a secondary emergency track “crash strip”, to receive the planes in difficulty, but also a multitude of installations in the surroundings.

4 days later, the new airdrome, called A10 Airfield, was available for the P47 “Thunderbolt” fighter-bombers belonging to the 50th Fighter Group, then to the aircrafts of the 367th Fighter Group, in particular the P38 “Lightning”.

Mechanics on the Carentan A10 Airfield in 1944

And returned to civilian life a few months later

With the advance of the fighting, the aerodrome soon became less used, only a few large aircraft, responsible for managing the rear of the front still use it. And in November 1944, the land was returned to its owners.

The A10 Airfield today

Returned to cultivation at the end of 1944, the A10 Airfield aerodrome left considerable traces for many years, especially for the peasants in the vicinity, who had to reconstitute their plots, remove all the materials left by the Americans in order to restore a correct physiognomy to the land to start working in the fields again. This delicate task is notably to Mr. André Gidon, immediate neighbor of the current Normandy Victory Museum. He reports having very often damaged his tractor or his plow, because of the remains of American fences, still buried in the ground, years later.

Today the track is still officially active. Historically located in front of the museum and along the N13, the 400 meter long runway allows small aircraft to take off there.