Shipdham airfield

AddressShipdham, Thetford, Norfolk IP25 7NQ, UK
Location typeAirfield
Site Ownership and Access InformationPart of the site is now a private airfield, and the rest is used for agriculture.
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Shipham airfield was opened by the RAF in 1942, and transferred to the US Army Air Force upon completion. From October 1942 It was occupied by the 66th, 67th, 68th and 506th Squadrons of the 44th Bomb Group, who flew B-24 Liberators. Before D-Day, the Group had many missions to attack the French rail network, to prevent the Germans using it to move reinforcements to Normandy after the Allied ground troops had landed there. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group’s squadrons bombed the area of the beaches shortly before US forces came ashore, and then carried out two further missions later that day.

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.

View on the D-Day On Your Doorstep map