Mendlesham airfield opened in 1943, and was transferred to the US Army Air Force in March 1944. It was occupied by three Squadrons of the 34th Bomb Group – the 4th, 7th, 18th and 391st – who flew B-24 Liberators around the time of D-Day. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group’s squadrons made a raid on the French city of Caen, which was to have a pivotal role in the fighting in Normandy. However heavy cloud made accurate attacks impossible, and the aircraft returned to base with their bombs on board.
Personnel and aircraft from the United States Army Air Force began arriving in Britain in early 1942, soon after the United States entered the war. American bombers, flying from bases in East Anglia, joined RAF Bomber Command in attacking industrial targets in Germany, which helped to wear down German military production prior to the D-Day operations. The US bombers were accompanied by long-range fighter aircraft, which engaged the German Air Force’s defending fighters. These battles led to a gradual reduction of the strength of the German fighter aircraft forces, which contributed to the Allied air superiority on 6 June 1944. Closer to D-Day, American bombers also took part in raids on transportation targets in Normandy in order to disrupt the German Army’s ability to move reinforcements, and also attacked enemy coastal defences on and near the landing beaches.
|Address||Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 5NA, UK|
|Site Ownership and Access Information||Mostly private land, but there is a small museum that can be visited by the public. The airfield was sold in 1954. The south west corner of the airfield is now an industrial estate. The outline of the runways are identifiable.|
|Contact details||See Mendlesham Airfield Association website.|
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