Laon France Liberation Embossed and Floral Engraved US 75mm Trench Art Shell

Laon France Liberation Embossed and Floral Engraved US 75mm Trench Art Shell

205.00

Measures: 10 inches 

Seized by the Germans in June 1940 during the Battle of France, Athies was used as a Luftwaffe military airfield during the occupation. The Germans improved the facility by expanding the support area with numerous maintenance shops, hangars, and laying down two 1600m concrete all-weather runways, aligned 17/35 and 08/26. Numerous taxiways and dispersal aircraft parking areas were also constructed.

In addition, from wartime USAAF records, the Luftwaffe established a maintenance repair and supply depot at Athies. The airfield was initially used as a bomber base for night bomber operations by He 111s and Ju 88s, attacking targets in England until late 1943. With Luftwaffe bomber activities ending, Athies became a night interceptor base against Royal Air Force bombers flying over Occupied France on their way to targets in Germany. It appears that SG 4, a Fw 190F/G unit, was brought to Athies from the Eastern Front, where it was a dive-bomber unit. The airfield was attacked on several occasions by Eighth Air Force heavy bombers in 1943 and 1944.

During the Liberation of France, the Luftwaffe abandoned the base airfield at the end of August, sending in demolition teams to blow up hangars, buildings, electrical generators, water treatment and other facilities. It was seized by Allied ground forces in early September, and turned over to the United States Army Air Forces. The IX Engineer Command 820th Engineer Aviation Battalion moved in about 7 September and began a quick rehabilitation of the base so it could be used by American aircraft. It was declared operationally ready for combat units on 9 September, a few days after its capture from German forces, being designated as Advanced Landing Ground "A-69 Laon/Athies Airfield". Although operationally usable, Athies was a wrecked base from the Allied air attacks and what was blown up by the Germans as they withdrew. The Americans made do with what could be repaired, and moved in what equipment was necessary to conduct combat operations. Many buildings of masonry construction had been made useless, their contents consisting of nothing but wreckage. Under American control, Ninth Air Force used the base for several units from 7 September 1944 until closing the base in July 1945.

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