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sumter
21-03-2009, 16:41
I am trying to find out more about the USAAF's ordnance storage areas in WWII - and AAF526 (Bures) in particular.

A local chap's already done a great deal of work about this widely-dispersed site and the way it operated in conjunction with the rail network. It had a Ninth Air Force APO address, and I suspect it exclusively served IX Bomber Command's Essex airfields; plus perhaps the handful of Ninth AF fighter groups temporarily based in the north Essex area in late 1943.

But stories persist that it also served Ridgewell as well as airfields in south Suffolk - i.e., Eighth AF bases. Logistically, I'd have thought 8AF and 9AF supply systems would have been separate.

So what I'd like to find out is how, and from where, the 8AF's three air divisions were served with ordnance. Would I be right in thinking Sharnbrook was for the 1AD, Earsham for the 2AD and Barnham for the 3AD?

The dates of tenure for the various ordnance units at Bures would seem to coincide with 9AF operations in Essex (i.e. Nov 43 to Aug 44) - which, again, would suggest the site never had a remit to supply any 8AF units.

I look forward to your comments! Sorry if this is in the wrong topic...

PETERTHEEATER
22-03-2009, 07:52
MODS, suggest that you transfer this query to Non-airfield sites.

My notes indicate that Bures was a Forward depot (as opposed to a Main Depot) and that it was manned by 2108 Ordnance Battalion (Aviation) Sp(?).

So, it would have been supplying to USAAF airfields in the region. You say that logistically, you would havethought 8AF and 9AF supply systems would have been separate. To me it would have made sense to have one supply system for both to avoid duplication of effort but, I accept that 60 odd years ago the inefficient 'them and us' system prevailed.

So, looking at how the 8th AF was supplied (from my notes). The US Army Services of Supply arranged with the British Government to establish muntions storage sites in 1942. The first site was at Barnham in June 1942 and in July 1942 Sharnbrook. These sites supplied the 8th's initial operations. Next came Braybrooke, Melton Mowbray(?) and Wortley (aka Scouts Dyke) in July 1943 but the the last two became truck depots. Earsham was next in Aug/Sep 1943.

Records indicate that generally 1AD was supplied by Sharnbrook, 2AD by Earsham and 3AD by Warren Wood (at Barnham) as you thought.

Bures was setup sometime in 1943 and supplied 9th AF Bomb Groups. After the departure to France of B26 and A20 bomber units this site then supplied local B17 units with 'remaining munitions' (implies Bures was not restocked). Presumably 8AF bases were also supplied.

The next note that I have I don't fully understand, it was written a long time ago and the cross reference (sources) is not to hand. But, it indicates that the USSTAF (United States Tactical Air Force), early in 1944, took over the 8th AF Service Command HQ and BADAs and assumed control of all munition stores. The 8th AF still got their ordnance from these stores but no longer controlled the manpower.

Hope this helps.

Carnaby
22-03-2009, 09:59
Bures was also known as Wakes Colne. I haven't got very much info on this site Peter but will have a look in a few days.

Graham

Carnaby
22-03-2009, 10:19
Sumter - in my notes re USAAF depots I have:

Forward Depots, each serving 10-15 airfields - typically:

Sharnbrook 17.5kT - Nuthampstead, Podington, Duxford, Thurleigh, Bovingdon

Braybrooke 17.5kT - Goxhill, Atcham, Molesworth, Alconbury, Grafton Underwood.

Bures 16.5kT - Andrewsfield, Ridgewell, Boxted, Framlingham, 9th AF bases.

Earsham 17.5kT - Shipdham, Hardwick, Bungay, Horsham St Faith

Barnham 20kT - Snetterton, Horham, Halesworth, Knettishall, Great Ashfield

Graham

sumter
22-03-2009, 10:47
Gentlemen,

Thanks very much for the information. There seems to be a contradiction, in that Peter's sources tend to confirm my theory that Bures was, primarily, a 9AF unit serving 9AF bomber fields - with "remaining munitions" going to local 8AF B17 groups after the 9AF left for France (in July/Aug 44). That doesn't fit with Carnaby's notes on forward depots serving airfields on a geographical basis, regardless of whether they were 8AF or 9AF.

I wonder, too, if the handover to the new US Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAFE) organisation in 1944 affected Bures - which was part of the tactical, not strategic, 9AF.

sumter
22-03-2009, 19:10
Peter (quote: USSTAF (United States Tactical Air Force) - I've not heard of that organisation; do you have any more details about it?

Thanks,
sumter

PETERTHEEATER
24-03-2009, 07:25
Peter (quote: USSTAF (United States Tactical Air Force) - I've not heard of that organisation; do you have any more details about it?

Thanks,
sumter

Sorry 'sumter'. PC problems yesterday.

Organisations are not my strength (or interest) and I assumed that the abbreviation from my notes, USSTAF meant United States Tactical Air Force when (according to Wikepedia) it stands for United States Strategic Air Force. Here's the Wiki opener:

The United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF) was the command and control authority of the United States Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II. It was established as a result of the redesignation of Eighth Air Force on 22 February 1944.

USSTAF exercised operational control of VIII Bomber Command (redesignated Eighth Air Force); Ninth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations and to an extent, the operations of Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. USSTAF was the functional equivalent in Europe of U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ... Air_Forces

Note: The 'Europe' suffix makes sense to me yet my abbreviation reads USSTAF not USSTAFE so maybe I missed off the 'E' when I wrote it.

PETERTHEEATER
24-03-2009, 07:30
Bures was also known as Wakes Colne. I haven't got very much info on this site Peter but will have a look in a few days.

Graham

Me too Graham; I am busy on another topic but a quick look at my records show that I don't have much on Bures yet in the back of my mind I have a feeling I have more than I can find right now!

sumter
24-03-2009, 11:23
Peter,
Thanks for your replies. The 'E' suffix appeared in Roger Freeman's original Mighty Eighth book - but I now note he dropped it in some of his later titles to plain 'USSTAF'.

Research on AAF526 Bures by a local historian has revealed some interesting stories about how black GIs from the ordnance and transport units lived under canvas. There were also the inevitable scraps between them and white GIs in local pubs.

Any more info would be gratefully received.

sumter

canberra
27-03-2009, 22:42
There was a large American camp near Preston, in a small town called Bamber Bridge to be exact. One night the black GIs rioted over the treatment of some of their colleagues by the American MPs. I beleive that some people were killed in the riot.

PNK
28-03-2009, 12:32
I think there was an After The Battle Magazine article on that incident. I can't recall the outcome.

canberra
28-03-2009, 16:49
There was indeed an "after the battle" magazine article on the riot. My eldest sister lived on a house built on the site of the American camp.