CAF Attended the re-opening of the Bottisham Airfield Museum-
Museum volunteers have spend thousands of hours re-furbishing and re-building the original RAF Bottisham WW2 Buildings, and creating a fantastic museum, to commemorate the various roles Bottisham played throughout WW2 and in the immediate post war period. Bottisham is the only airfield in the UK that commemorates RAF/USAAF and Belgian Airforce heritage, having been used at various points in its history by all three Airforces.
Check them out at:-
Station 374 (United States Army Air Forces use
With the arrival of large numbers of USAAF fighter groups in 1943, Bottisham was allocated to the Americans and assigned designation as Station 374 (IM). The airfield was enlarged and areas of steel matting were laid.
USAAF Station Units assigned to RAF Bottisham were:
50th Service Group (VIII Air Force Service Command)
468th and 469th Services Squadrons; HHS 50th Service Group
18th Weather Squadron
66th Station Complement Squadron
1073rd Quartermaster Company
1097th Signal Company
1184th Military Police Company
1598th Ordnance Supply & Maintenance Company
2118th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon
361st Fighter Group
P-47D-11-RE Thunderbolt aircraft Serial 42-75452 of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, based at Bottisham Airfield, England.
P-51 Mustangs, including (E9-S, serial number 42-106707) nicknamed "Sleepytime Gal", (B7-E, serial number 42-106839) nicknamed "Bald Eagle III" and (E9-K) nicknamed "Vi" opf the 361st Fighter Group line up for take off on D-Day at Bottisham.
"The Bottisham Four", four USAAF North American P-51 Mustang fighters from the 375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, from RAF Bottisham, Cambridgeshire (UK), in flight on 26 July 1944. All four aircraft were lost or crashed by the end of the war in Europe.
The airfield was first used by the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force 361st Fighter Group, arriving from Richmond AAF, Virginia on 30 November 1943. The group was under the command of the 65th Fighter Wing of the VIII Fighter Command. Aircraft of the group were identified by yellow around their cowlings and tails.
The group consisted of the following squadrons:
374th Fighter Squadron (B7)
375th Fighter Squadron (E2)
376th Fighter Squadron (E9)
The 361st FG entered combat with Republic P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft on 21 January 1944 and converted to North American P-51 Mustang's in May 1944. The unit served primarily as an escort organisation, covering the penetration, attack, and withdrawal of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress/Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber formations that the USAAF sent against targets on the Continent.
The group also engaged in counter-air patrols, fighter sweeps, and strafing and dive-bombing missions. It attacked such targets as airdromes, marshaling yards, missile sites, industrial areas, ordnance depots, oil refineries, trains, and highways. It participated in the assault against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944; the Normandy invasion, June 1944 and the Saint-Lô breakthrough in July.
The weight of the heavy P-47 fighters soon began to tell on the wet surface making take-offs tricky. A team of American engineers were called in during January 1944 and, in three days, they constructed a 1,470-yard-long runway with pierced-steel planking. This feat was considered a record for laying this type of prefabricated surfacing. The runway, which was aligned NE-SW, became the main at Bottisham the other also being constructed of PSP.
In September 1944 the 361st FG moved to RAF Little Walden when it became available after the departure of the 409th Bombardment Group (Light) for France. Little Walden was a Class A airfield with concrete runways and much better facilities than were available at Bottisham.
Bottisham Airfield Museum on the web:-
Find out more from the great team of Volonteers at Bottisham
Bottisham Airfield Museum on the web:-
For more information about the team at Vintage Flying and their amazing warbirds, and the opportunity to fly in them in UK.
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The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is a 501 (c) 3 Texas non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. The organization's headquarters offices are based in Dallas, Texas, at Dallas Executive Airport. At this time the organization has more than 11,000 members and has a fleet of more than 175 World War II aircraft. CAF United Kingdom is a UK based branch of the Worldwide CAF organisation.
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