USAAF Station AAF-412
|Located Near Headcorn, Kent, United Kingdom|
Headcorn ALG airfield, 11 May 1944
RAF Headcorn, shown within Kent
|Controlled by||Royal Air Force (1943-1944)
United States Army Air Forces (1944)
|Battles/wars||European Theatre of World War II
Air Offensive, Europe July 1942 - May 1945
|Occupants||No. 11 Group
362d Fighter Group
Opened in 1943, Headcorn was a prototype for the temporary Advanced Landing Ground airfields to be built in France after D-Day, when the need for advanced landing fields became urgent as the Allied forces moved east across France and Germany. It was used by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces. It was closed in September 1944.
Today the airfield is a mixture of agricultural fields with no recognisable remains, however the shape of the runways can still be seen on satellite images.
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.
Headcorn was known as USAAF Station AAF-412 for security reasons by the USAAF during the war, and by which it was referred to instead of location. It's USAAF Station Code was "HC".
362d Fighter Group
The 362nd Fighter Group with some 75 Republic P-47 Thunderbolts moved in from RAF Wormingford on 13 April as part of the movement of groups of the Ninth Air Force's 100th Fighter Wing from the Colchester area that month. The group consisted of the following squadrons:
- 377th Fighter Squadron (E4)
- 378th Fighter Squadron (G8)
- 379th Fighter Squadron (B8)
The 362nd Fighter Group began its move to Normandy on 2 July, relocating to Lignerolles, France (ALG A-12) with Headcorn continuing to be used for operations until the 7th. Two days later the last of the group's personnel had departed.
With the facility released from military control, the land was returned to agricultural uses.
In 1983, Headcorn was selected for the erection of a memorial and plaque which was dedicated in September of that year. Confusingly, the former ALG at RAF Lashenden, which continues to be used for private flying, has also been called Headcorn since the 1960s. The airfield today is unrecognizable as a former airfield, fully returned to agriculture. The only way it can be positively located is by aligning the secondary roads in the area with those on aerial photographs of the airfield when it was active.
That said, the land shows the outline of the south end of the 18 runway as a single lane farm road with the edges of what would have been the taxiway visible as a disturbed area of landscape. No buildings or any other evidence of the airfield remains.
- Freeman, Roger A. (1994) UK Airfields of the Ninth: Then and Now 1994. After the Battle ISBN 0-900913-80-0
- Freeman, Roger A. (1996) The Ninth Air Force in Colour: UK and the Continent-World War Two. After the Battle ISBN 1-85409-272-3
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
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