Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Italy, Apulia Foggia

This collection of airfields is © 2010-2013 by RonaldV
(Disclaimer).

 

San Nicola di Varano Added 26 November 2011

The Foggia Airfield Complex:

Castelluccio Updated 2 Feb 2013 - Celone/San Nicola d'Arpi Updated 7 Aug 2011

Cerignola (Removed 3 Feb 2013) - Giulia Updated 2 Feb 2013 - Ortanova Added 6 Jun 2011

Lesina Updated 2 Feb 2013 - Lucera Updated 2 Feb 2013 - Triolo Updated 3 Feb 2013

San Severo Added 31 Mar 2011 - Salsola Updated 7 Aug 2011 - Stornara Updated 2 Feb 2013

San Giovanni Updated 2 Feb 2013 - Sterparone Updated 2 Feb 2013 - Tortorella Updated 3 Feb 2013

Torretta Updated 3 Feb 2013 - Torre dei Junchi Updated 3 Feb 2013- Foggia Satellite #4 Added 24 Sep 2011

Santa Giusta Added 10 Jul 2012 - Morin Added 7 Aug 2012


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San Nicola di Varano

41°52'32"N015°41'17"E

 

runway: n/a - water (CLOSED)

 

San Nicola di Varano airfield (Italian: l'idroscalo San Nicola di Varano, also known as Idroscalo 'Ivo Monti') is a disused seaplane airfield located 47 kilometers (30 miles) north-northeast of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

The air field was built from 1913 as a support base and flying training center for seaplane pilots.

The airfield was named after nearby San Nicola, a community just off the base.

Strategically located halfway between the airbases at Bari and Ancona and a hundred miles from the Austro-Hungarian base at Kotor (Yugoslavia).

This also made it very suitable for the defense against enemy attacks over the lower and middle Adriatic Sea.

The base was constructed in a colonial style, with majestic multi-storey buildings, well aligned, an d with large windows.

They were located mostly along the Viale Irene (Irene Avenue), with buildings having names such as 'il Commandante' (the Captain) or 'il Principe' (The Prince).

The complex inclused a former monestary and a hospital along with sanitary facilities, stables and ice production.

Construction of the complex was part of a larger effort to set up anti-aircraft guns along the coast and Tremiti island.

On the civilian side of the project the Gargano area got new roads and a railway line in order to improve the local economy.

 

In September 1915 station commander Alberto Ghè was denied to pay his men incentives for their hard work.

In response to the denied request he ordered his station to be functional, yet elegant.

He ordered a piano to cheer up his men during the long evenings in this abandoned corder of Italy.

He also called upon the services of a renowned doctor (Donatacci) to cure his men from malaria.

The base grew rapidly, and by the end of 1915 it was ready for the first operations.

While aircraft were operating the base became more and more self sufficient.

In 1917 the station was operating Macchi L3 seaplanes.

It was visited by Admiral Thaon de Revel, and alledgeldly by King Vittoria Emanuelle III.

On 2 June 1918 Regia Marina pilot Lt. Ivo Monti did not return from his mission to Lastovo island.

His mission was to bomb Lastovo island, the origin of the bombing of Vieste by Austria a year and a half earlier.

With the end of the 'Great War' operations at the base came to a slower pace.

Between 1919 and 1920 the church dedicated to Santa Barbara was built to allow airmen to pray to their guardian.

On 23 June 1921, by order of the Italian Navy, the base was renamed after its missing comrade 'Ivo Monti'.

A plaque to cemmemorate his name was fixed on the marble wall of 'il Commandante'.

 

A Regia Marina Macchi L3 landing on Lake Varano near San Nicola

 

Many building projects on the base ended when World War I was over.

The base was refurbished a little in 1936, when it lost its hangars.

During World War II the base operated a section of two Cant Z506 Airone (Heron).

The unit was tasked with reconnaissance, search and rescue, but did not have a large impact on the war.

Captain Ciro Fanelli of San Severo, former commander of the base during the war, recalled only one one incident worthy of note: a German fighter squadron strafed the base (hastily and without major consequences) while retreating after the armistice of September 1943.

 

After the war the air station fell into oblivion.

What two wars could not achieve, occurred in only a few years: it lost most of its former glory.

The base was considered to be of quarry of sorts, from which many felt they could could freely harvest marble, windows, wood, decorations and other building materials.

It was disposed of by the Military to the Ministry of Finance.

Several government plans to reuse the base as a fishing village, a tourist center, a sailing center, a drug rehabilitation center and even a nuclear facility came to nothing.

Plans to develop the site for economic purposes clashed with those with plans te redevelop nature at the site.

Relatively recently the state was allowed to hand over the facility to the local authorities at no cost.

Eventually it was sold to STU for 6.25billion Lira (3.225.000 EUR).

In 2003 STU (Società di Trasformazione Urbana), made an attempt to restore one of the buildings to its former glory.

Their idea was to build a new tourist village out of the base.

The project stoped however, and currently there are no plans to restart.

 

One of the abandoned buildings at the former airfield. Even in this state it is obvious the base must once have been an impressive site.

San Nicola dia Varano in 2003 (Google Earth).

 

A great set of recently shot images of the former air station can be viewed at www.lifelog.it/.
'Mille grazie!' to Antonio Pignatiello for pointing out this airfield!

 

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Foggia Airfield Complex

 

The Foggia Airfield Complex was not an airfield but a range of about 30 airfields on the Tavoliere plain around Foggia, Apulia, Italy

The area had already been of strategic importance during World War I, but it became even more so during the Albanian and Greek campaigns of 1940-1941.

When the Germans took over these campaigns they also took over operations at the areas airfields, because of their proximity to Greece and Albania, both just across the Adriatic Sea.

The bases in the area were also used to refine experimental weapons like the SD Ruhrstahl 1400, better known to the Allies as the 'Fritz X-1'.

When the Armistice between the Allies and the Italians came into effect in September 1943 the area was completely taken over by the Germans and the "Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana" (National Republican Air Force, or ANR) remaining loyal to the Mussollini government.

The airfields were severely bombed by the USAAF and RAF in 1943 before the British 8th Army conquered the region during the Italian campaign.

The US Army Corps of Engineers then repaired the captured airfields for use by heavy bombers and built new ones for operations against Nazi-occupied Europe and Germany.

The airfields were used by 12th and 15th Air Force units, as well as the RAF.

The complex did not just stretch out in the province of Foggia, but also well into Bari, Molise and Basilicata.

Albert Speer, Hitler's Minister for Armaments, commented in his memoirs: "I could see omens of the war's end almost every day in the blue southern sky when, flying provocatively low, the bombers of the American Fifteenth Air Force crossed the Alps from their Italian bases to attack German Industrial targets."

This is one indication of the importance of the Foggia Airfield Complex.


Although they were never accurately counted, the complex is believed to have consisted of the following airfields (in alphabetical order):.

Amendola
now: Amendola Air Base (ICAO: LIBA), of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (Italian Air Force).

Bari
now: Bari International Airport (Italian: Aeroporto di Bari, ICAO: LIBD)

Canne.

Castelluccio dei Sauri.

Celone/San Nicola d'Arpi (Foggia Satellite #1).

Cerignola (stricken from my list).

Foggia Satellite #4.

Gino Lisa
now: Foggia-Gino Lisa Airport (Italian: Aeroporto di Foggia, ICAO: LIBF)

Giulia (Cerignola satellite #1).

Giuliani.

Lesina.

Lucera.

Lupara.

Madna.

Morin (Foggia Satellite #5).

Ortanova.

Palata.

Palmori.

Pantanella.

Ramitelli.

Salsola (Foggia Satellite #3).

San Giovanni.

Santa Giusta.

San Severo.

Schifata.

Spinazzola.

Stornara.

Sterparone.

Torre dei Junchi.

Toretta (Cerignola satellite #3).

Tortorella (Foggia Satellite #2).

Trinitapoli.

Triolo (Foggia Satellite #7 and #9).

Venosa.

Vincenzo (Foggia Satellite #11).

I have managed to trace about three quarters of them, although of some I know little more than their name and precise location.

If you have any information on units, times, stories or photos, please contact me so I can add the information.


Per gli Italiani:

Questa sezione riguarda i campi di aviazione di Foggia (Foggia Airfield Complex).

Se avete informazioni su unità, storie o foto di aerodromi quello appena menzionato, vi prego di contattarmi così posso aggiungere tutte le informazioni e complementare più verosimilmente la storia di questi luoghi.

Non c'è bisogno di tradurre in inglese, posso organizzarmi per questo.


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Castelluccio

41°19'11"N 015°32'43"E

 

runway: 11/29 - ...x..m - PSP

 

Castelluccio Airfield was a semi-permanent airfield located approximately 15km south of Foggia, Apulia, Italy

The airfield was built in early 1944 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers with one PSP runway.

It was part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

It had extensive taxiways and hardstand parking areas and a steel control tower.

Castelluccio opened on 15 March 1944 and became home to the 451st Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the US 15th Air Force, flying B-24 Liberators.

The 451th BG (Heavy) engaged in very long range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece.

The unit received three Distinguished Unit Citations, flew interdiction missions, participated in the invasion of Southern France and transported supplies to troops in Italy.

They also supported the final advances in Northern Italy in April 1945.

 

451BG ground crews preparing special 'easter eggs' for Germany

 

Castellucci on 29 April 1945. On the original photo many aircraft can still be seen on the dispresals.
(photo via Michael Seager Thomas)

 

The last combat missions were flown in April 1945, the Group left on 25 September 1945 and the airfield closed in October.

 

Castelluccio was still clearly visible in aerial photography in 1954, 10 years after the Americans had left the airfield
(photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo)

 

Today the airfield is completely gone, although faint scarring in the landscape make its location very visible from the air.

A Google Earth photo suggests the construction of the airbase changed the earth surface so much that different crops are planted on the former runways, taxitracks and hardstands.

 

location of the airstrip in 2006

 

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Celone

 

Celone airfield was merged with:

 

San Nicola d'Arpi (Foggia Satellite #1)

41°32'59"N 015°33'40"E

runway: 14/32 - 1750x..m - PSP

 

Celone airfield (also known as San Nicola(-d'Arpi) airfield or Foggia Satellite #1), was a semi-permanent airfield located approximately 10km north of Foggia, Apulia, Italy

The airfield was located 3.5km northeast of a farm called San Nicola d'Arpi on the banks of the Celone River and formed part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

It was likely built by the Italian Air force, but it is not known exactly when.

At the time it had a flying field of 2400x4125ft (800x1400meter).

In the summer of 1943 it was in use by the Luftwaffe, because 51 Ju-52 transports and a single He111 were spotted at the airfield on 6 Aug 1943 by Allied reconaissance aircraft.

The airfield was taken by the Allies in September/October 1943, and construction of a new PSP runway by the United States Army Corps of Engineers began almost immediately.

According to a report on aerodromes in Italy dated 24 October 1943 the airfield was expected to be completed on 7 Nov. 1943 with one 6,000 feet PSP runway.

It also received extensive taxiway and hardstand parking areas and a steel control tower.

 

Crew using a Ju88 tail as a workbench at Celone/San Nicola. In the background a Handley Page Halifax

 

San Nicola on a September 1943 map assessing the airfield for Allied use (AFHRC, via Reid Waltman)

 

San Nicola relative to Foggia and other cities on a September 1943 map assessing the airfield for Allied use (AFHRC, via Reid Waltman)

 

The completely rebuilt airfield opened on 15 February 1944.

B-17s of the 463rd Bombardment Group and Liberator Mk.VI's of 2 (SAAF) Wing (31 (SAAF) Sqn and 34 (SAAF) Sqn) were based at the airfield between 9 March 1944 and 25 September 1945.

The 463rd went to combat on March 30, 1944 and operated mainly against strategic objectives..

They attackedg targets like marshaling yards, oil refineries, and aircraft factories in Italy, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

The group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for bombing oil refineries in Ploesti on May 18, 1944.

A second one was received for leading the wing through three damaging enemy attacks to bomb tank factories in Berlin on March 24, 1945.

They also engaged in interdiction and support missions, bombed bridges during May and June 1944 in the campaign for the liberation of Rome.

They participated in the invasion of Southern France in August 1944 by striking bridges, gun positions, hit communications such as railroad bridges, marshalling yards and airdromes in the Balkans.

But primarily they operated against communications in northern Italy during March and April 1945.

After V-E Day, the group transported personnel from Italy to Casablanca for return to the US, until they were inactivated in Italy on September 25, 1945.

2 (SAAF) Wing distinguished itself by flying support missions to the uprising of Warsaw, known as 'the Warsaw Concerto'.

The flights to Warsaw took place from 13 August to 22 September and represented a round trip of 2,815km, flying over enemy territory and in broad daylight for the larger part of the mission, although they were timed to reach the city in the dark.

An extensive report can be found at this site.

The last combat operations were flown in late April 1945, and the airfield closed in October 1945.

 

Wreckage of a Ju88 makes for a good bench to rest on

 

Celone/San Nicola d'Arpi airfield on aerial photography taken on 29 April 1945. On the original photo many fighters can still be seen on the dispresals.
(photo via Michael Seager Thomas)

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war, although it remained clearly visible for a long time.

Today it is an agricultural area.

Moderate scarring of the land in aerial photography such as Google Earth is the only evidence left.

 

Celone/San Nicola d'Arpi airfield on aerial photography taken on 20 September 1954

 

Celone/San Nicola d'Arpi airfield was still visible from the air as late as 2010 (Google Earth)

 

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Cerignola

 

Although Cerignola, southeast of Foggia, was headquarters for 304 Bomb Wing, there was no Cerignola air field.

References to Cerignola airfield are believed to be referring to Torretta, San Giovanni, Giulia or Stornara.

This airfield is therefore struck from my list of abandoned airfields.

 

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Giulia

 

41°18'01"N 015°50'57"E

 

Runway: ../.. - ...meters/7000x100feet (+2x500feet overrun) - PSP

 

Air field Giulia (also known as Cerignola satellite #1)was a semi-permanent air base located approximately 6km northwest of Cerignola, Apulia, Italy.

The airfield was built from late 1943 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers on what had been a rough German airfield.

It was constructed with one PSP runway, as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

Giulia airfield was situated on what was the Pavoncelli Estate, of olive and fig groves and vineyards.

It was commonly known as Torre Giulia, which exists to this day.

The ancient winery was commandeered as group headquarters and the base commander used the adjoining residence for housing.

Other buildings were used as seemed fit.

Giulia had 67 all-weather hardstands and 11 dry-weather hardstands, extensive taxiways and a wooden control tower (named 'the coffee tower', after it's callsign 'Coffee Tower').

For a long time the airfield was made of dirt and rocks, but this was eventually changed into gravel and oil and occasionally PSP.

The airfield opened in January 1944, and became home to the 459st Bombardment Group (Heavy) of the US 15th Air Force, flying B-24 Liberators

The 459th BG (Heavy) engaged in very long range strategic bombing missions to enemy military, industrial and transportation targets in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and Greece.

The unit flew support and interdiction missions, participated in the invasion of Southern France and struck communications lines and other targets during March and April 1945 to support the advance of British Eighth Army and American Fifth Army in northern Italy.

 

USAAF photo of Giulia airfield, ca. 1944

 

In August 2011 veteran Stan Kolbe recalled: There were on site medical facilities and larger military hospitals at Foggia and Cerignola.

My hometown doctor was a staff physician at Cerignola.

The 459th consisted of 4 squadrons, 756th, 757th, 758th and 759th.

Each squadron had its own area, complete with officers mess/club and showers.

The enlisted men had the same but all squadrons were in their own area.

We each also had our own tent area.

'Permanent housing', as the Air Force called it.

Our main job was to get to the headquarters for briefing, and then mess before each mission, and then be taken to the flight line, so we had to be in a fairly compact area.

All this time the owner of the land was allowed to use all the other land for his business and we often saw women and children stomp grapes in huge vats.

They went about their business as if we weren't there but it must have been difficult.

We didn't do as well during briefing, ignoring the odor of fermenting grapes.

 

The former Giulia (in the lower left quarter) photographed in 1953 (photo: Pinuccio d'Angelo, via e-mail).

 

Today the location is an agricultural area with only the farm of Torre Giulia remaining.

There is next to no evidence of its presence in aerial photography.

Many photos of the past as well as today can be found at 459BG.com however

Thanks to Mr. Stan Kolbe for adding information on this airfield!

 

The former Giulia headquarters in 2007, today an exclusive residence (Panoramio).

 

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Lesina

 

41°51'41"N 015°18'07"E

 

Runway: 04/22 - ...meters/...feet - PSP

 

Air field Lesina was a semi-permanent airfield located approximately 1mi/1,5km west of the Lesina exit on Autostrada A14, Apulia, Italy

The airfield was built early in 1944 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers with a single PSP runway, as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

It had extensive taxiways and hardstand parking areas to the east of the runway, a large personnel area and a wooden control tower.

Additionally it had a small platform, capable of holding 3 C-47 Skytrains, immediately west of the runway.

The airfield opened in February 1944, and became home to many Fighter Groups of the 15th Air Force.

A unit with C-47 Skytrains was also stationed at the airfield, with parkings to the southern and extreme eastern dispersals.

One of the fighter groups, the 1st Fighter Group, received two YP-80A jet fighters (serials 44-83028 and 44-83029) sent to the theater for a brief operational testing ("Project Extraversion") in early 1945.

Although the jets were marked for combat operations with easily identifiable tail stripes and the letters 'A' and 'B' on their noses, and flown on two non-operational sorties by the 94th FS, neither saw combat before the end of the war.

The last combat operations were flown in September 1945 and the airfield closed soon after.

 

Lesina airfield looking south in 1945

 

Lesina tower (Ace1945.com).

 

Lesina airfield and the surrounding area in 1945 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo)

 

This overview shows the dispersals of Lesina with a total of 60 P-51s and 15 C-47s parked on them,
as well as the wreckage of an unidentified multi-engine aircraft near the southernmost C-47.
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS)

 

Two YP-80As were sent to Italy as part of Project 'EXTRAVERSION'. One (44-83028 or 029) is seen here
at Lesina, while attached to the 1st FG. The aircraft were in Italy for a field evaluation only and flew no operational
sorties. Both aircraft returned to the USA (USAF photo).

 

Today the former airfield is an agricultural area with little or no evidence of its existence.

The location given on Wikipedia is incorrect, as is the claim that the main runways is now used as a local farm road.

The correct location and how it was found can be read here.

A wonderful photobook from one of the Lesina pilots can be viewed at Ace1945.com.

 

Lesina was still clearly visible in September 1954 (Ace1945.com).

 

Lesina in 2003.
Notice the dispersal area immediately north and south of the A14 Autostrada (highway).
The runway is faintly recognisable (Google Earth).

 

Lesina 2008.
The outlines of the dispersal north of the Autostrada are overgrown, but a whole new area has shown up to the south.
The runway is faintly recognisable (Google Earth).

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Lucera

 

41°29'52"N 015°25'29"E

 

Runway: 13/31 - ...meters/...feet - PSP

 

Air field Lucera was a semi-permanent airfield located approximately 13km west-northwest of Foggia, Apulia, Italy

The airfield was built late in 1943 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers with a single PSP runway, as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

It had extensive taxiways and hardstand parking areas, a large personnel area and a steel control tower.

The airfield opened in February 1944, and supported B-17 operations as well as Fighter Groups and Command and Control headquarters of the 15th Air Force.

 

Overview of Lucera in 1944 (photo via Mark Boyd)

 

B-17G of 301st BG preparing at Lucera for another mission (USAF, via Wikipedia)

 

B-17 taking off for another mission from Lucera
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS)

 

Life in the tent city at Lucera in 1945 varied: either snow...
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS)

 

...or rain...
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS)

 

..or shiny weather. In the background a B-17 and the mountains of the Gargano are visible.
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS)

 

Crew having a chat over the tailguns of a B-17 at Lucera.
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS)

 

The tent city at Lucera in 1945.
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS)

 

Lt. E. Boyd receiving the DFC during ceremonies at Lucera.
(Mark Boyd, from the photo album of his father, Lt. Emmett W. Boyd, 301st BG - 32nd BS))

 

The B-17s of 301st BG (Heavy) directed most of their attacks against European Theatre of World War II strategic targets such as oil centers, communications and industrial areas.

They received a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission to Germany on February 25, 1944 when, in spite of vicious encounters with enemy fighters, the group bombed aircraft production centers at Regensburg.

In 1944-1945, they supported ground forces in the Anzio and Cassino areas during the invasion of Southern France, knocked out targets to assist the Russian advance in the Balkans, and aided the Allied drive through the Po Valley.

Last combat operations were flown in late April 1945, and the airfield closed in October that same year.

During that final period Lucera was home of the P-51 Mustang equipped 332d Fighter Group "Tuskegee Airmen" while they were awaiting return to United States after war ended.

 

The remains of Lucera air field were still clearly visible in 1954 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo)

 

Today the area has been returned to agricultural use with no structures or any facilities still in existence.

Light evidence of land scarring still is visible in aerial photography such as Google Earth however.

 

The location of Lucera air field in 2007

 

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Triolo

 

41°37'38"N 015°26'38"E

 

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - ...

 

Triolo airfield was a captured Regia Aeronautica fighter airfield located approximately 8km southeast of San Severo in Apulia, Italy.

Triolo actually consisted of two airfields: Satellite #7 (Zanotti-Triolo) and Satellite #9 (Amendola-Triolo).

Satellite #7 on the north bank of the Triolo River became the new Allied airfield, whilst the airfield on the south bank was abandoned.

Zanotti Triolo was repaired by the Corps of Engineers in September 1943 and put into use as Triolo by Twelfth Air Force fighter units immediately.

Known units to operate from the field were:

14th Fighter Group, flying the P-38 Lightning, from 12 September 1943 until 9 September 1944.

31st Fighter Group, flying the P-51 Mustang, from 15 July-August 1945.

It remained in operational use until August 1945 when USAAF turned over the facility to Allied Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force (Aviazione Cobelligerante Italiana, or ACI).

 

Triolo as photographed in 1945 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo).

 

The Allied airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

Slight scarring of land under former main runway and some taxiways/revetments visible in aerial photography such as Google Earth .

Wikipedia claims the airfield disappeard under a light industrial area.

Photographic evidence from 2002 indicates however that the airfield was located between the industrial area and the Autostrada Adriatica (Adriatic highway) A-14.

 

Actual location of the airstrip in 2002, the red pin indicates the position according to Wikipedia (Google Earth)

 

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San Severo

 

41°41'17"N 015°22'46"E (estimated)

 

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - ...

 

No photographic evidence of the airfield from the air was located

 

San Severo airfield was a temporary airfield located approximately 40km north of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

It was built by the US Amry Corps Of Enigineers in late September 1943.

Known units to operate from the field were:

90th Reconnaissance Wing (USAAF), flying mostly the recce P-38 Lightning (F-4 and F-5), from 1 December 1943 until 4 April 1945.

3rd Reconnaissance Group (USAAF), flying mostly the recce P-38 Lightning (F-4 and F-5), from 8 December 1943 until 4 January 1944.

5th Reconnaissance Group (USAAF), flying mostly the recce P-38 Lightning (F-4 and F-5), from 8 December 1943 until 11 October 1944.

31st Fighter Group (USAAF), flying the P-51 Mustang, from 2 April 1944 until 3 March 1945.

'A' Flight, 680 Sqn (RAF), flying the Mosquito PR XVI.

The last combat missions were flown in March 1945 and the airfield closed in September 1945.

 

Mosquito PR XVI

Mosquito PR XVI's of 'A' Flight, 680 Sqn. at San Savero in 1944. The red and white fin stripes served as an
identity marking for American pilots who often mistook them for German M E 410's (Etiennedup, on Flickr)

 

P-51s of 31FG at San Severo airfield in 1944 (USAF photo via Wikipedia)

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

There is little, if any, evidence left in aerial photography like Google Earth .

 

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Salsola (Foggia Satellite #3)

 

41°32'47"N 015°27'25"E

 

flying field: NW/SE - 630x1700m/1900x5100ft - grass/dirt

 

Salsola Airfield (also known as Schifara or Foggia Satellite #3) was a temporary airfield located approximately 17km (10mi) north of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

It was built by Italian Air Force on the south bank of a small river, the Salsola.

The airfield had dispersal areas to the north and southwest of the flying field.10 fighters were spotted at the airfield on 30 July 1943.

As many as 39 Ju-88 were spotted on the airfield a week later, indicating the airfield was in use by the Luftwaffe.

 

Salsola on a September 1943 map assessing the airfield for Allied use (AFHRC, via Reid Waltman)

 

Salsola relative to Foggia and other cities on a September 1943 map assessing the airfield for Allied use (AFHRC, via Reid Waltman)

 

Salsola as reconnaissance aircraft saw it on 30 July 1943 (AFHRC, via Reid Waltman)

It was rebuilt by the US Army Corps Of Enigineers in late 1943.

The only known unit to operate from the field is 1st Fighter Group, flying P-38 Lightnings between 8 January 1944 and 8 January 1945

After a brief deployment elsewhere they returned from 21 February 1945 until March 1945.

The last combat missions were flown in March 1945 and the airfield closed in April.

Salsola photographed on 23 May 1945. On the original photo there are no aircraft visible at all and the base seems to have been dismantled already
(photo via Michael Seager Thomas)

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

There is little, if any, evidence left in aerial photography like Google Earth .

 

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Stornara

 

41°17'23"N 015°44'30"E

 

runway: 12/30 - 1800m/5757ft - PSP

 

Stornara Airfield was a semi-permanent heavy bomber airfield located approximately 14km (10mi) west of Cerignola in Apulia, Italy.

Its single PSP runway with extensive taxiway and hardstand parking areas and steel control tower were built by the US Army Corps Of Enigineers in September 1943.

The air field opened in January 1944.

The only known unit to operate from the field was the 456th Bombardment Group, from January 1944 until July 1945.

456BG consisted of 744, 745, 746 and 747 Bomb Squadrons, flying B-24 Liberators.

The airfield remained operational until the end of the war and the airfield closed in August 1945.

 

Stornara, and the locations of the different subordinate units at the field (photo via GoogleEarthHacks.com)

 

Photo above, orientated to the true North (photo via Google EarthHacks.com)

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

Faint scarring of the land in aerial photography like Google Earth is the only evidence left.

 

The remains of Stornara (upper left) were photographed in 1953 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo)

 

Mild coloration of the outlines of the airfield is visible from the air (Google Earth)

 

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Tortorella

 

41°29'20"N 015°39'05"E

 

runway: 16/35 - ...x..m/6000x100ft - most likely PSP

runway: 16/35 - ...x..m/6000x100ft - grass/dirt, emergency use

 

Tortorella Airfield was a semi-permanent heavy bomber airfield located approximately 9km (5mi) west of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

Its runway with extensive taxiway and hardstand parking areas and wooden control tower were built by the US Army Corps Of Enigineers in September 1943/.

The airfield was part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

A second (unfinished) runway east of the main runway was used as a crash strip.

The air field was capable of handling heavy B-17 Flying Fortress strategic bombers, and opened in December 1943.

The only known units to operate from the field are the 99th Bombardment Group, from 11 December 1943 until 27 October 1945.

The RAF used the entire west side for the HQ and operations of 205 Group and 231 Wing, with LB-30s, Wellingtons and either Stirlings or Lancasters.

Living conditions at Tortorella were very harsh.

The summers were hot and dusty, the winters cold and wet.

Buildings were few, and airplane maintenance crews worked out in the open.

 

Map of Tortorella airfield, presumed 1944. By 1945 the inside parking area on the northeast side of the runway was
replaced by a new area east of the southern threshold (Wikipedia.org).

 

Tortorella airfield tower, 1944.

 

99th Bomb Group B-17s parked at Tortorella airfield, 1944, with the runway on the left side of the photo.

 

Unit crest of 205 Group RAF, which was headquartered at
Tortorella airfield. 205 Group was unique, in that it was the
only RAF Bomber Group in history to be under operational
command of another nation (the US).

 

A 37 Sqn Wellington Mk.X waiting to take off at Tortorella airfield holds, while a 99 Bombardment Group
B-17 Flying Fortress comes in to land (natureonline.com).

 

Wellington LN798/"D", flown by F/Sgt. James MacIsaac on the night of 31 August - 1 September 1944
during operations against the marshalling yards at Ferrara. Painted under the cockpit is the name of the
aircraft - "BLOCK BUSTER II" - along with a single bomb for each operation is has successfully completed.
(natureonline.com)

 

The men lived in tents using homemade gasoline stoves for heat, and constantly had to struggle through mud and water, snow and ice, or choking dust, depending on the season.

An old locomotive boiler, stoked by an Italian, was used to supply hot water for showers, laying alongside the railroad at the west end of the tent area.

The airfield remained operational until the end of the war and the airfield closed in late October 1945.

 

99th Bomb Group B-17 making an emergency landing at Tortorella airfield, 1944 (United States Army Air Forces via National Archives via Wikipedia).

 

99BG headquarters off base in nearby Tavernola.

 

Tortorella as an active airfield with several bombers on the dispersals in 1945 (photo via Mike Seager Thomas).

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

Scarring of the land, especially at the former runways, in aerial photography like Google Earth is the only evidence left.

 

The outlines of Tortorella were clearly visible from the air in 2002 (Google Earth)

 

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San Giovanni

 

41°14'21"N 015°48'06"E

 

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - ...

 

San Giovanni airfield was a semi-permanent heavy bomber airfield located approximately 9km (5mi) west-southwest of Cerignola in Apulia, Italy.

Its double PSP runway with extensive taxiway and hardstand parking areas and steel control tower were built by the US Army Corps Of Enigineers in late 1943, as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

The air field opened in January 1944.

The only known units to operate from the very large and expansive field are the 454th and 455th Bombardment Group, flying a total of six squadrons of B-24 Liberators, from January 1944 until September 1945.

The airfield remained operational until the end of the war and the airfield closed in October 1945.

 

San Giovanni from the air in 1945

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

In 2009 some ruins of the former airfield were photograhed as the only evidence left.

One of them was a rusty and almost collapsing steel plated shed.

 

San Giovanni was still visible from the air in 1953 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo)

 

Parts of the airfield were still visible from the air in 2002 (Google Earth)

 

Slowly rotting away, this shed is almost all that remains of the former airfield (Panoramio).

 

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Foggia Satellite #4

 

41°26'30"N015°38'25"E

 

runway: NW/SE - 1100x200m/3150x600ft - grass/dirt

 

Foggia Satellite airfield #4 semi-permanent fighter airfield located approximately 5km (5mi) east-southeast of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

It was built by the Italian Air Force as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

It is not known when the airfield was opened.

It was mainly used by fighters, of which up to 18 were observed at the airfield during reconnaissance missions.

The airfield remained operational until the Allied forces took control of the Foggia plain.

 

The airfield on a September 1943 map assessing the airfield for Allied use (AFHRC, via Reid Waltman)

The airfield relative to Foggia and other cities on a September 1943 map assessing the airfield for Allied use (AFHRC, via Reid Waltman)

 

Today the airfield is an agricultural area.

No traces of the former airfield are visible.

 

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Sterparone

 

41°36'02"N015°18'48"E (estimated)

 

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - PSP

 

Sterparone airfield was a semi-permanent heavy bomber airfield located approximately 10km (6mi) south-southeast of Torre Maggiorea in Apulia, Italy.

Its single PSP runway with extensive taxiway and hardstand parking areas and steel control tower were built by the US Army Corps Of Enigineers in September 1943.

The air field opened in early 1944.

The only known unit to operate from the field is the 483rd Bombardment Group, flying B-17s, from 22 April 1944 until 25 September 1944.

It is not known until when the airfield remained operational.

 

483BG B-17s preparing for landing at Sterparone (United States Army Air Force via National Archives, via Wikipedia

 

Colour photo of a 483BG B-17, stationed at Sterparone.

 

Sterparone photographed in 1945 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo).

 

B-17G 44-8591 leads a number of 817th Bombardment Squadron bombers along one of the numerous taxiways at Sterparone Airfield, Italy, in January 1945.
Delivered to the squadron on 3 January 1945, this aircraft survived the war and was used by Air Transport Command as
a passenger transport between Pisa and Port Lyautey Airfield, French Morocco returning personnel to the United States after the war.
(United States Army Air Force via National Archives, via Wikipedia

 

The remains of Sterparone (upper left quadrant) photographed in 1954 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo).

 

Sterparone today. Move your mouse over the picture to see the runway and some of the taxiways.

(You need to have Javascript enabled)

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

Faint scarring of the land in aerial photography like Google Earth is the only evidence left.

 

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Torretta

 

41°17'24"N015°44'26"E

 

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - PSP

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - PSP

 

Torretta airfield (also known as Cerignola #3) was a semi-permanent heavy bomber airfield located approximately 14km (9mi) southwest of Cerignola in Apulia, Italy.

The air field opened in December 1943 with a single runway.

The airfield was initially used by 205 Group.

When the other squadrons left 142Sqn and 150Sqn remained at the muddy field until February 1944.

When 330Wing left the airfield was handed over to the USAAF, who improved the aerodrome to be used as an affective bomber base.

Its double PSP runway with extensive taxiway and hardstand parking areas and steel control tower were built by the US Army Corps Of Enigineers in early 1944, as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

The only known USAAF units to operate from the very large and expansive field are the 461th and 484th Bombardment Group, flying a total of six squadrons of B-24 Liberators, from February 1944 until September 1945.

The airfield remained operational until the end of the war and the airfield closed in August 1945.

 

Torretta airfield from the air in 1944

 

The remains of Torretta airfield were photographed from the air in 1953. The dispersal-like areas north of
the airfield are actually small farms. Today, the river south of the airfield is dammed about 4km/2.4mi to the
southeast, creating a reservoir that almost reaches the former airfield (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo).

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

Moderate scarring of the land in aerial photography like Google Earth is the only evidence left.

The A16 Autostrada bisects the former airfield.

 

The airfield was still visible from the air in 2002, with the A16 motorway bisecting the airfield (Google Earth)

 

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Torre dei Junchi

 

41°42'29"N 015°25'28"E

 

runway: ../.. - ...x..m - PSP

 

Torre dei Junchi (Torre dei Giunchi) airfield was a semi-permanent airfield located approximately 4.5km (2.5mi) northeast of San Severo in Apulia, Italy.

It is unknown when the air field opened.

The airfield was located on a farm by the same name

The airfield remained operational until the end of the war and closed in the summer of 1945.

 

Torre dei Junchi airfield, photographed in 1945 (photo via Pinuccio d'Angelo)

 

The airfield was dismantled after the war and today it is an agricultural area.

After the war, the A14 Autostrada was built over the western tip of the former airfield.

Moderate scarring of the land in aerial photography such as Google Earth is the only evidence left.

 

Torre dei Junchi airfield's runway and dispersals were still visible from the air in 2007 (Google Earth)

 

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Ortanova

 

41°24'10"N015°44'04"E

 

runway: 10/28 - 2997x30m - asphalt (CLOSED)

 

Ortanova airfield (Aeroporto militare di Ortanova/Borgo Mezzanone, or Ortenova military airport, ICAO: LIBO ) is a disused airfield located approximately 15kilometrs (8.9mi) south of Amendola Air Base and 16 kilometers east-southeast of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

It is unknown when the air field opened.

The airfield was named after nearby Orta Nova, a town 8.5 kilometers to the south.

The airfield remained operational until the end of the war and the airfield closed in the summer of 1945.

 

Under Italian control the airfield became an annex to Amendola Air Base.

It was used for flying training by FIAT G-91T jets, of which Amendola had over 60 examples.

The G-91 was withdrawn from Amendola in 1995, and the base was prepared for the new AMX ground attack/trainer aircraft.

When Amendola became involved in the 1999 Kosovo war much of its ground and logistical units were moved to Ortenova, to make room for Royal Netherlands Air Force and Belgian Air Force F-16s.

Amongst the ground units was at least one SAM battery, but it is not known whether this was a HAWK unit or a SPADA unit.

A lot of talk has been going on about using the airfield as an alternate for Foggias congested Gino Lisa airfield.

However, given the extreme proximity of Amendola this is unlikely to occur, especially because Amendola and its surroundings provide an excellent location for the Italian Air Forces flight school.

Although still a military area, Ortanova airfield is currently mainly used for storage and the processing of illegal aliens, mostly from North-African origin.

 

Ortanova airfield was clearly visible from the air in 2006,
although what appear to be a row of barracks had been placed on the runway somewhere prior to 2002 (Google Earth)

 

'Mille grazie' to Archeologi dell'Aria for helping me identify this airfield!.

 

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Santa Giusta

 

41°24'49"N 015°27'05"E

 

runway: 06/24 - 1100x..m - unk (estimate)

 

Santa Giusta air field name was an airfield airfield was a semi-permanent airfield located approximately 9.5km west of Foggia in Apulia, Italy.

It was built by the Italian Air Force as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

Like most of the airfields of the Foggia Airfield Complex it was likely used during the Italian offensive against Albania and Greece.

The airfield was photographed by Allied reconnaissance aircraft on 10 april 1943.

The airfield was captured by Allied forces along with the rest of the region.

The Allies upgraded it and it remained in use until the end of the war.

 

Santa Giusta photographed complete only weeks after VE-Day on 24 May 1945 (photo via Mike Seager Thomas, UK)

 

At some point after World War II the airfield was dismantled.

Today it is unrecognisable from other agricultural fields in the area.

 

Thank you to Mike Seager Thomas for locating this airfield.

 

The area of the former airfield in Nov 2007 (Google Earth)

 

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Morin

 

41°24'47"N 015°54'40"E

 

runway: n/a - flying field - grass

 

Morin airfield (aerodroma di Morin, also known as La Vangelese and -incorrectly- Lupara) was an airfield 15 kilometers north of Cerignola.

It was built by the Italian Air Force as part of the Foggia Airfield Complex, a series of World War II military airfields located within a 25 mile (40 km) radius of Foggia.

Like most of the airfields of the Foggia Airfield Complex it was likely used during the Italian offensive against Albania and Greece.

The airfield was photographed by Allied reconnaissance aircraft on 15 August 1943.

At the time only four aircraft were visible.

The aircraft resemble Heinkel 101s, suggesting the airfield was in use by the Luftwaffe at the time.

The airfield was captured by Allied forces along with the rest of the region.

 

RAF reconnaissance photo, showing the airfield north of the canal. Lupara airfield actually is located some 3 kilometers to the south.
(via Michael Seager Thomas)
.

 

crop and enlargement of above photo, with the four aircraft marked in red.

 

It is not known what happened to the airfield after the Allies captured it.

It was possibly immediately returned to agricultural use.

Today nothing visible remains of the airfield.

 

The location of the former airfield in 2005 (Google Earth)

 

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If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in Foggia, email RonaldV.

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