HISTORY



USAAF Advance Landing Ground A-1
St.-Pierre-du-Mont/St.-Laurent-sur-Mer, France

ALG A-1 was located directly behind Omaha Beach, on the bluffs overlooking the beach itself, between the small villages of St.-Laurent-sur-Mer and St.-Pierre-du-Mont. Construction in earnest started on June 7, and the strip went operational on June 8 (D+2) as an Emergency Landing Strip. It was then upgraded to a Refueling and Re-arming Strip, and then an Advance Landing Ground soon thereafter. By June 11, fighters were operating from it (P-38s). Later in the month it was redesignated ALG A-21. So, when one reads about ELS-1, RRS-1, A-1, or A-21 in regard to USAAF airstrips in the invasion area, all designations refer to the same geographical location.

DIVIDER

A-1 MAP

Plan of A-1 superimposed on map of area behind Omaha Beach between St.-Laurent-sur-Mer and St.-Pierre-du-Mont.

DIVIDER

Airstrip Profile

Designation(s) Country Site(s) of Airstrip 225th Components Assigned
ELS-1, RRS-1
A-1, A-21
FRANCE St.-Laurent-sur-Mer
St.-Pierre-du-Mont
Battery B
Battery C

A-1 PLAN

Plan of A-1 showing such features (from left to right) as a fuel dump, a bomb and ammo dump, the "crash strip" (a feature of an ELS for disabled aircraft), and the approximate locations of German minefields (far right). Compare this plan to the photo at the bottom of the page.

DIVIDER

Airstrip Locator Maps

Province of Normandy
NORMANDY LOCATOR MAP

General Location of A-1
A-1 LOCATOR MAP

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NINTH AF

Airstrip Facts and Chronology

  • Ready as an ELS, suitable for small observation aircraft on June 8, 1944, 1800 hrs
  • ELS characteristics: 3,400 ft. long, 120 ft. wide, untracked
  • Ready as an ALG, June 9, 1944, 1845 hrs
  • General "Hap" Arnold, USAAF commander, returned to the UK from A-1 after his day trip to Normandy on June 12
  • P-38s of an unknown unit begin operating from field as early as June 11, 1944
  • IX TAC 366th Fighter Group begins arriving on June 17, 1944, flying P-47s from Thruxton, UK
  • 390th Fighter Squadron last to move in, June 20, 1944
  • Battery B HQ, 225th AAA S/L Btn arrives June 19, 1944 and departs June 21, 1944
  • Battery C HQ, 225th AAA S/L Btn arrives June 19, 1944 and departs June 26, 1944
  • Battery C, 1st Platoon, 225th AAA S/L Btn arrives June 27, 1944 and departs August 10, 1944

DIVIDER

Photo File

AIRSTRIP BEHIND OMAHA
This U. S. Navy photo, dated June 14, shows a P-38 Lightning parked on the edge of the strip at St.-Laurent-sur-Mer, with the beach just beyond. Several barrage balloons float lazily above the shipping clogging the bay. This strip, originally designated an Emergency Landing Strip (ELS), was simply an untracked surface measuring 3,400 feet long by 120 feet wide. By 1800 hours on D+2 (June 8), it was operational, but able to accommodate only small observation craft. A little over 24 hours later (1845 hours, June 9), it was ready to handle larger planes, including transports like the C-47. Originally designated ALG A-1 on June 14 according to a report by the U. S. IXth Engineer Command, the strip was later redesignated as A-21. (General "Hap" Arnold, USAAF Commander, visited Normandy on June 12 and returned to England from this strip.)

ST. LAURENT SUR MER 1994
50 years after the original photo was taken, the Norman field that was known as A-1 (and later A-21) has been returned to its natural, cultivated state. Same view as above.

Photo reproduced courtesy After the Battle magazine.

AIRSTRIP OPS
This U. S. Signal Corps picture shows Corporal Paul Stock (left) on air traffic control duties at Advance Landing Ground A-1, St.-Laurent-sur-Mer, on June 11, 1944. The P-38 Lightning (Serial No. 268071) is the same one depicted above in the U. S. Navy photo dated June 14. ALG A-1 was later redesignated A-21, and A-1 was the designation given to the Refueling and Re-arming Strip (RRS) constructed at St.-Pierre-du-Mont.

ST. LAURENT SUR MER 1994
50 years after Paul Stock stood on this ground, the airstrip has been returned to farmland. Note that the same treeline appears in the background, without the solitary barrage balloon further down the beach. Same view as above.

Photo reproduced courtesy After the Battle magazine.

AERIAL VIEW OF A-1

This aerial view of A-1 illustrates its proximity to both the sea and the beach.

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