Cherbourg – Maupertus Airport
|Cherbourg - Maupertus Airport
Aéroport de Cherbourg - Maupertus
(Advanced Landing Ground A-15)
|IATA: CER – ICAO: LFRC|
|Elevation AMSL||459 ft / 140 m|
|Source: French AIP|
Cherbourg – Maupertus Airport or Aéroport de Cherbourg - Maupertus (IATA: CER, ICAO: LFRC) is an airport located 11 km east of Cherbourg-Octeville, between Maupertus-sur-Mer and Gonneville. These are all communes of the Manche département in the Basse-Normandie région of France. The airport is managed by SNC-Lavalin Airports (subsidiary of the large Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin) since 1 October 2009.
It has one runway, Runway 10/28. It is 2440 metres long and is covered in asphalt. There are six bays, numbered N1 to N6. There are currently no scheduled flights operating to or from the airport. Until early 2008 there was one scheduled flight a day from Paris to Jersey via Cherbourg although this has now been withdrawn.
Charter flights occasionally operate to and from the airport.
Airlines and destinations
No destinations served at present, as Twin Jet dropped services to Jersey and Paris Orly followed by Chalair and also Airlinair (who had taken over the service to Paris), which both failed to make links to Paris profitable.
The airport was used as a Luftwaffe airdrome during the German occupation of France. It was captured on June 27, 1944 by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division. The 4th's 22nd Regiment moved on the airport from the south and east at 1100 hours on D+20 (June 26), with the three battalions abreast and a troop of cavalry protecting each flank. Heavy fire from enemy antiaircraft guns held up all three battalions for several hours, but, with the aid of supporting fire from the 44th Field Artillery Battalion, the 1st Battalion took a series of positions south of the airport and captured Gonneville, the 2nd Battalion occupied the western edge of the field, and the 3rd Battalion captured Maupertus and the defenses along the northern side of the field.
The enemy, however, continued to offer determined resistance and not until the following day was the airfield finally taken. Designated ALG (Advanced Landing Ground) A-15, the airport became operational a few days later by the 834th Aviation Engineers, IX Engineer Command. 850th Engineer Aviation Battalion and 877th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion.
Known as Advanced Landing Ground "A-15", the airfield consisted of a 6000' (1800m) Pierced Steel Planking (PSP) runway aligned 11/29. A secondary PSP 5000' (1500m) runway was also laid down aligned 17/35. In addition, tents were used for billeting and also for support facilities; an access road was built to the existing road infrastructure; a dump for supplies, ammunition, and gasoline drums, along with a drinkable water and minimal electrical grid for communications and station lighting.
Planes began taking off and landing despite the fact that stacked along the main runway was a pile of bombs, live shells, duds, and 600 mines lifted from the airfield. Prime Minister Churchill landed at A-15 on July 20 as did General Charles de Gaulle on August 20.
The 363d Fighter Group, based P-38 Lightning fighters at Maupertus from 9 July through August 1944. They were replaced on 22 August by the B-26 Marauder-equipped 387th Bombardment Group until 18 September 1944. In addition to the bombers, Maupertus was used as an air defense field by the 422d Night Fighter Squadron, flying P-61 Black Widow interceptors until the end of August 1944.
The fighter planes flew support missions during the Allied invasion of Normandy, patrolling roads in front of the beachhead; strafing German military vehicles and dropping bombs on gun emplacements, anti-aircraft artillery and concentrations of German troops in Normandy and Brittany when spotted. The bombers also attacked bridges and German-controlled airfields in occupied areas.
After the Americans moved east into Central France with the advancing Allied Armies, the airfield was used as a resupply and causality evacuation airfield for several months, before being closed on 22 December 1944. It was then turned over to French authorities.
In the 1950s, a modern concrete jet runway for NATO aircraft was laid down by the United States using French contractors, along with a circular marguerite system of dispersal hardstands that could be revetted later with earth for added protection. The Cold War air base was never used and was abandoned when France pulled out of the NATO central command structure in 1967.
The remains of the World War II main (11/29) runway are still visible just to the south of the current airport runway. Also a part of the secondary runway was reused as a taxiway to the now aircraft parking area to the south of the runway. The Cold War-era marguerite hardstands appear to be well-maintained, their use being undetermined.
- PDF). AIP from French Service d'information aéronautique, effective 12 Dec 2013. (
- IX Engineer Command ETO Airfields, Airfield Layout
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
- Advanced Landing Ground A-15 Memorial
- Aéroport de Cherbourg - Maupertus (French)
- Aéroport de Cherbourg - Maupertus (Union des Aéroports Français) (French)
- Airport information for LFRC at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.
- Current weather for Cherbourg / Maupertus, France (LFRC) at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for CER at Aviation Safety Network