HISTORY






Advance Landing Ground A-15: Cherbourg-Maupertus Airdrome
    The airfield near Maupertus-sur-Mer, five miles east of Cherbourg (the gold area on the map), was an integral part of Cherbourg's land-side defenses (Cherbourg's outer port breakwater can be seen in the top left of the photo below; the photo was taken on August 3, 1947 from a height of 2,500 feet). The airport — actually a Luftwaffe airdrome — along with strongpoints Osteck and Seadler and the Hamburg Battery are in the center of the photo. The airfield was captured on June 27, 1944 by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. The 4th's 22nd Regiment moved on the airport from the south and east at 1100 hours on D+20 (June 26), with the three battalions abreast and a troop of cavalry protecting each flank. Heavy fire from enemy antiaircraft guns held up all three battalions for several hours, but, with the aid of supporting fire from the 44th Field Artillery Battalion, the 1st Battalion took a series of positions south of the airport and captured Gonneville, the 2nd Battalion occupied the western edge of the field, and the 3rd Battalion captured Maupertus and the defenses along the northern side of the field. The enemy, however, continued to offer determined resistance and not until the following day was the airfield finally taken. Designated ALG (Advanced Landing Ground) A-15, the airport became operational a few days later, after having been rehabilitated by the 834th Aviation Engineers. They laid over 5,000 feet of pierced-steel-plank (PSP) runway in 48 hours. Planes began taking off and landing despite the fact that stacked along the main runway was a pile of bombs, live shells, duds, and 600 mines lifted from the airfield. On June 30, 1944, P-38s from the 9th USAAF's 363rd Fighter Group arrived from Staplehurst and B-26s from the 387th Bomb Group arrived from Stoney Cross. The 225th defended the field in early August when it was the base of operations of the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron. Prime Minister Churchill landed at A-15 on July 20 as did General Charles de Gaulle on August 20.




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