Vélizy – Villacoublay Air Base
|Vélizy - Villacoublay Air Base|
|Eurocopter AS 332 Super Puma|
|IATA: VIY – ICAO: LFPV|
|Owner||Government of France|
|Operator||Armée de l'air|
|Elevation AMSL||584 ft / 178 m|
Vélizy – Villacoublay Air Base (French: Base aérienne 107 Vélizy-Villacoublay) (ICAO: LFPV) is a French Air Force (French: Armée de l'Air (ALA) base. The base is located approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of Vélizy-Villacoublay; about 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Paris.
The base is the home station for the following units:
- Escadron de transport, d'entraînement et de calibrage 00.065 (ETEC 65 - VIP transport)
- Staffs of the northern area, the command of the air force of projection (COFOG) and of the command air of the monitoring systems, of information and communications (CASSIC).
- Helicopter Squadron 03/067
- Commando Parachute Unit N20
- Other non-French Air Force Units (ALAT, air forces of gendarmerie, Commandement des Opérations Spéciales).
Aircraft assigned to the base are:
- 1 Airbus A330-200 (Presidential plane: Cotam 001) (however, the runways are too short for this plane, which is stationed at Évreux-Fauville Air Base)
- 2 Airbus A319
- 3 Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma
- 1 Dassault Falcon 20 (Mystère 20)
- 8 AS 555UN FENNEC
- 4 Dassault Falcon 50
- 2 Dassault Falcon 900
- 6 TBM700
German use during World War II
Seized by the Germans in June 1940 during the Battle of France, Villacoublay was used as a Luftwaffe military airfield during the occupation. Known units assigned (all from Luftflotte 3, Fliegerkorps IV):
- Kampfgeschwader 55 (KG 55) 21 June 1940-16 June 1941 Heinkel He 111P/H (Fusalage Code: G1+)
- Kampfgeschwader 27 (KG 27) Jun-July 1940 Heinkel He 111P (Fusalage Code: 1G+)
- Aufklärungsgruppe 14 (AFG 14) Nov 1940-May 1941 Junkers Ju 88
- Jagdfliegerschule 5 (JFS 5) Jun 1941-24 February 1943 Messerschmitt Bf 109
- Jagdgeschwader 105 (JG 105) 25 February-31 August 1943 Messerschmitt Bf 109
- Jagdgeschwader 54 (JG 54) 7 June-5 September 1944 Focke-Wulf Fw 190A
KG 55 and KG 27 took part in the Battle of Britain; AFG 14 was a photoreconnaissance organization; JFS 5 was a training unit for Bf 109 pilots; JG 105 and JG 54 were day interceptor units against Eighth Air Force heavy bombers.
It was attacked on several occasions by heavy bombers of both the United States Army Air Force Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces during 1943 and early 1944. Largely due to its use as a base for Bf-109 and Fw-190 interceptors, Villacoublay was attacked by USAAF Ninth Air Force B-26 Marauder medium bombers and P-47 Thunderbolts mostly with 500-pound General-Purpose bombs; unguided rockets and .50 caliber machine gun sweeps when Eighth Air Force heavy bombers (B-17s, B-24s) were within interception range of the Luftwaffe aircraft assigned to the base. The attacks were timed to have the maximum effect possible to keep the interceptors pinned down on the ground and be unable to attack the heavy bombers. Also the P-51 Mustang fighter-escort groups of Eighth Air Force would drop down on their return to England and attack the base with a fighter sweep and attack any target of opportunity to be found at the airfield.
It was liberated by Allied ground forces about 27 August 1944 during the Northern France Campaign. Almost immediately, the USAAF IX Engineer Command 818th Engineer Aviation Battalion began clearing the base of mines and destroyed Luftwaffe aircraft; filling bomb craters in the runway with rubble and an asphalt patch along with repairing operational facilities for use by American aircraft. Subsequently, Villacoublay became a USAAF Ninth Air Force combat airfield, designated as "A-42" about 30 August, only a few days after its capture from German forces.
Almost immediately, the 48th Fighter Group moved into the repaired air base, flying P-47 Thunderbolts from 29 August until 15 September 1944. The combat unit moved east along with the advancing Allied forces and Villacoublay became a supply and maintenance base for combat aircraft, becoming the home of the 370th Air Service Group and several Air Materiel squadrons from Air Technical Service Command. It was also given the designation of AAF-180. In addition, numerous C-47 Skytrain squadrons moved in and out, supporting airborne operations, including Operation Varsity, and Allied airborne crossing of the Rhine in March 1945.
After the war ended, Villacoublay remained under American control, designated as AAF Station Villacoublay. It was assigned to the United States Air Forces in Europe as a transport base by the C-47 Skytrain-equipped 314th Troop Carrier Group. It remained under USAFE control until 31 August 1946 when it was returned to the French Air Force.
The base has been totally rebuilt since with war. The prewar/wartime runway, 11/29 is now closed and a new east-west 6000' (1800m) runway 09/27 laid down along with expanded aircraft parking areas and multiple hangars as part of an operational NATO air base.
- The Luftwaffe, 1933-45
- Identification codes of units of the Luftwaffe 1939 - 1945
- USAFHRA Document 00209390
- USAFHRA Document 00247583
- Derived from information in USAAF Film "Target For Today" (available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkGL7vuC2A4)
- IX Engineer Command ETO Airfields General Construction Information
- 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.
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- USAFHRA Document 00240855
- Airport information for LFPV at Great Circle Mapper.
- Airport information for LFPV at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.