May 21, 1944:
Operation Chattanooga Choo-Choo is launched

On this day in 1944, U.S. and British aircraft begin a systematic bombing raid on railroads in Germany and other parts of northern Europe, called Operation Chattanooga Choo-Choo. The operation is a success; Germany is forced to scramble for laborers, including foreign slave laborers, to repair the widespread damage exacted on its railway network.

"Ce jour-là, en 1944, des avions américains et britanniques commencent un bombardement systématique sur les chemins de fer en Allemagne et d'autres parties de l'Europe du Nord, appelée Opération Chattanooga Choo-Choo. L'opération est un succès; l’Allemagne est obligée de se démener pour mobiliser un grand nombre de travailleurs, y compris les travailleurs forcés étrangers, pour réparer les dégâts qu’a subi son réseau ferroviaire."

Re:Searching for more information: Major Richard T. Deabler 08/23/2008 02:00:13 AM (permalink)

I just talked with my 89 year old father, Robert Davis, who remembers a little bit about Major Deabler. They were in Ainsworth,Nebraska together before heading over to Kingsnorth and France. It was in France, perhaps on one of their first missions after arriving , that Major Deabler became the units first casualty. My father remembers the flight surgeon coming into their tent, shouting that "We lost Major Deabler!" His recollection is that Major Deabler was on a strafing run on a train that was loaded with ammunition. He scored a direct hit and the train blew up, sending fragments into his plane, causing it to crash.

The USAAF Ninth Air Force required several temporary Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) along the channel coast prior to the June 1944 Normandy invasion to provide tactical air support for the ground forces landing in France. Kingsnorth airfield was selected in July 1942 and given the final go-ahead for construction in December with a completion date of 1 March 1943.
The Kingsnorth site required the cutting down of several acres of woodland to give clearance at the north-cast end of the main runway. The main was aligned 04-22 and was 4,725ft long, with one secondary runway aligned 13-31 of 4,151 ft. Both were surfaced with metal wire Sommerfield Track, as were the perimeter and the aircraft standings. Three minor roads were closed because they were crossed by the runways. The landing ground was ready by mid-March but the airfield was not opened until 1 July 1943 by which time two Blister hangars, a 74,000-gallon fuel store, and other facilities were in place. Two more Blisters were added later.
The first signs locally that the USAAF would operate from this ALG was when a US engineer battalion arrived to carry out additional work with Pierced Steel Planking, increasing the number of hardstands and erecting an additional combat hangar. A little excitement occurred on 18 March when a 44th Bomb Group B-24 from RAF Shipdham landed but the runway was unable to support it and caused the landing gear to collapse. The Liberator was a write-off and after its removal the runway had to be repaired.
The availability date of 1 April 1944 was achieved and between the 4th and 6th of that month approximately 1,500 men of the 36th Fighter Group arrived at Kingsnorth airfield from Scribner Army Airfield, Nebraska. Operational fighter squadrons and fuselage codes were:
22d Fighter Squadron (3T)
23d Fighter Squadron (7U)
53d Fighter Squadron (6V)
The 36th Fighter Group was part of the 303d Fighter Wing, XIX Tactical Air Command.
As the low group number suggests the 36th was a pre-war USAAF organisation and had spent much of the early 1940s in Puerto Rico. Being returned to the Continental United States and being retrained on P-47s, the group personnel crossed the Atlantic in March 1944, the last of 18 fighter groups of the Ninth Air Force to arrive at its combat base, albeit by only one day. As latecomers, the 36th received mostly aircraft with a natural metal finish which gave Kingsnorth a silver sheen on a sunny day.
Movement to the Continent commenced during the first week of July when the 53rd Fighter Squadron transferred to its Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Brucheville, France (ALG A-16) as a forward base. The other two squadrons continued to operate from Kingsnorth until early August, the main body of the group preparing to move on the 2nd. Within a few days all personnel were gone and the airfield was deserted.
With the facility released from military control, the former airfield was returned rapidly to agricultural use and within a very short period there was little to indicate that RAF Kingsnorth had ever been host to nearly a hundred warplanes.

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2 Juin 2014 -- Révisé le 4-jui-14 . -- © Wallonia asbl
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Remarques/Remarks : Charbin

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