The A10 Airfield at Carentan, an American airfield in 1944
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 were great assets in Normandy but were not enough. All over Normandy, the allies set up a series of airfields, real temporary airfields.
On the communes of Catz and Saint-Pellerin, from 15 June, the 826th Air Engineering Battalion, under the 9th Airforce, began the construction of an imposing one and a half kilometre long runway, more than 35 metres wide, not to mention a secondary emergency runway, a crash strip, to receive aircraft in difficulty, as well as a multitude of facilities in the vicinity.
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”.
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 farming at the end of 1944, the A10 Airfield left considerable traces for many years, particularly for the farmers in the vicinity, who had to reconstitute their plots, remove all the materials left by the Americans in order to restore the land to its proper appearance and resume farming. Mr André Gidon, the immediate neighbour of the current Normandy Victory Museum, was responsible for this delicate task. He reports that he has often damaged his tractor or plough because of the remains of American fences, still buried in the ground, years later.
Today the runway is still officially active. Historically located in front of the museum and along the N13, the 400 metre long runway allows small aircraft to take off.
To find out more, we recommend this beautiful book by Philippe Trombetta and his co-authors: 50 aérodromes pour une victoire Available in our museum shop and online.
Push the door of the Normandy Victory Museum
To discover these treasures of our heritage, the exceptional lives of these famous or unknown heroes and heroines. To pass on to your children… push the door of the Normandy Victory Museum. And so you don’t have to wait, reserve your skip-the-line tickets now (undated tickets – cancellation possible at any time).