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Daveg4otu
18-09-2008, 12:01
Slapton Strip , Exercise Tiger

I have found a reference that during Exercise Tiger(D-Day rehearsals) USAAF P-47s used a temporary strip at Slapton.


Can anyone pinpoint the location please?

Colin
18-09-2008, 20:51
Hi Daveg4otu ,

Whats your reference source for this?

The only place that immediately comes to mind could be RAF Bolt Head which would have been only 11km away as the Crow flies. This was a temporary strip in terms of it having sommerfeld track and no permanent hard standings, although it was a permanent wartime station.

Colin

Daveg4otu
18-09-2008, 20:59
Colin- the source is in "Devon at War " by Gerald Wasley.

On Page 159 there is a picture of a P47d apparently from 78FG and "this type of aircraft was used during Exercise Tiger , flying from a temporary airstrip at Slapton".

Whilst that doesn't seem to be an unreasonable statement in itself - the area was essentially closed to civilians for the duration of the training exercises - it seems strange that I've seen no mention of any temporary strips in the training area in any other literature on the area or events.

Peter Kirk
18-09-2008, 21:35
The topography of Slapton doesn't really lend itself to an airstrip. Bolt Head seems the obvious location. Anyway why put an airstrip on the landing area for an exercise when this wouldn't happen in reality.

Peter

Daveg4otu
19-09-2008, 08:27
If you look a t the area that comprised the Battle training area that was totally devoid of civilians it was over 25 square miles - on Google it is bounded by the line from Blackpool Bay to Bugford - then NW along the A3122 to the A381 then SW to a point S of Woodliegh then S to the sea just N of Chillington - a large area with plenty of suitable spots for an airstrip.


Anyway- I have found more in the book ...

Page 157...

"Within the Slapton Battle Area....9th USAAF laid out a temporary airstrip for observation and liason aircraft...while the 36FG flew single engined fighters. The Official history of the Group records the flying of P47 Thunderbolts from this airstrip "


Given the vast amount of US activity not just at Slapton but elsewhere in Devon , I would expect there to have been other "liason strips " in the county - but can find no details so far...........?

Carnaby
19-09-2008, 15:59
I would expect there to have been other "liason strips " in the county - but can find no details so far...........?
Author Ken Wakefield has done some sterling work in this area:

Book - Operation Bolero has an entire chapter on Beggars Bush Field - the US Army airstrip just over the Clifton Suspension Bridge from Bristol.

After the Battle #73 contains an excellent article, 'US Army Airstrips in Britain, 1942-45'.
It lists: Slapton Sands, Devon - On or near beach, used for amphibious assault training. Designated Strip Y821. Various units of US Army.

Graham

Colin
19-09-2008, 21:06
Really interesting, I had no idea that any temporary strips were built in this area, would be really intersted to find out where.The only other 'strip' I know off that is still in existence is at Halwell. This is located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, only suitable for light aircraft, is currently home to South Hams Flying Club. Could it have been this?

Daveg4otu
19-09-2008, 21:31
Colin - in fact there are two strips at Halwell - the South Hams one and another about 700metres farther north - not sure who operates it .Additionally there is a Helipad slightly to the west.

However - No I don't believe this was a WW2 strip...there were several in Devon but AFAIK this was not one- Dartmouth is well outside the battle training area ..according to the reference in Ken Wakefield's book (quoted above by Carnaby) the strip was at Slapton Sands...

Peter Kirk
20-09-2008, 12:52
I think I may have foud a possible location. Looking at the OS maps there are a few possible areas for an LG. Checking these with the aerials from 1946 I come up with a this location near Frittiscombe - SX 805 436.
The aerial shows land cleared an hedges missing but it looks a bit small. The attached photo hopefully shows what I mean. If not was it another B-17 rescue?

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn128/PNK_album/Airfields/Slapton_1946.jpg

Peter

Daveg4otu
20-09-2008, 16:49
The Slapton strip was apparently either on or very close to the road along the beach - if this was so there would be an adequate surface for operating P47s from...

Martin Burney kindly provided a Lat /Long and Ken W said in an eMail that that pretty much ties up with the roadway.

The attached photo hopefully shows what I mean. If not was it another B-17 rescue?

No but there was one in Devon (B17 rescue).....


Dawlish nr Langdon Hospital: 13th Jan 1943 B-17F 41-24606/VK-H of 303BG3/58BS "Werewolf"Pilot Lt George J Oxrider,,flak damage... force landed near the Hospital..the aircraft was stripped and later flown out(27th Jan?) after a temporary runway was cleared .

Richard Flagg
01-05-2012, 16:30
Did anyone ever establish if there was a strip at Slapton? And if so, where exactly it was? Or is PNK's aerial photo above the only possible location of the airstrip?

Thanks

Daveg4otu
02-05-2012, 19:31
I think we can be reasonably certain the strip existed in some form as it was allotted a number "Y821".Where exactly it was is another question entirely . If you go and look at the place , really the only practical locations were the beach or the road.

As said before-there has been mention that P-47s of 36FG operated from there. If that really did happen then I would put my money on the strip being the roadway.

John Anderson
02-05-2012, 21:06
I think we can be reasonably certain the strip existed in some form as it was allotted a number "Y821".Where exactly it was is another question entirely . If you go and look at the place , really the only practical locations were the beach or the road.

As said before-there has been mention that P-47s of 36FG operated from there. If that really did happen then I would put my money on the strip being the roadway.

I believe that the P47 did not have a good take off performance, so go with the view that if they operated in the area it was off the road.

Richard Flagg
04-05-2012, 19:10
Is there a road wide enough and straight enough in the area?

TommyUSA
04-05-2012, 19:47
It took about 2500' of runway for a fully-laden P-47 to clear a 50' obstacle if I recall correctly...

Tommy

TommyUSA
04-05-2012, 19:56
Dang - missed it by 40'...


The takeoff distance on land with zero wind, paved strip, sea level, full load of fuel and ammo for P47D-25 at 14411 pounds was 2540 feet.

:wink:
Tommy

John Anderson
04-05-2012, 20:52
Is there a road wide enough and straight enough in the area?

There is a long straight road running north of Torcross village, roughly north/south on the ridge between Slapton Ley and the beach, but what was there in WW2 i have no idea.