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Lecce

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

Lecce Airfield is an abandoned World War II military airfield in Italy, which is located approximately 5 km southeast of Lecce in the Salentine Peninsula. Built in 1943 by United States Army Engineers, the airfield was primarily a Fifteenth Air Force B-24 Liberator heavy bomber base used in the strategic bombing of Germany. Lecce was also used by tactical aircraft of Twelfth Air Force in the Italian Campaign.

Known units assigned to the airfield were:
98th Bombardment Group, 17 January 1944-19 April 1945, B-24 Liberator, (15AF)
82d Fighter Group, 10 October 1943-11 January 1944, P-38 Lightning, (12AF)
416th Night Fighter Squadron, 27-30 September 1943, Bristol Beaufighter (12 AF)

Closed after the war, Lecce Airfield today is a collection of agricultural fields, with its main runway clearly visible in aerial photography. Large areas of disturbed land indicate the remains of some wartime features also some of the former taxiways have been reduced to single-lane farm roads, however the vast majority of the airfield and ground station have been redeveloped.

As of 2009, some flying activity has returned to the field through the Vega Aeroclub of Lecce. [1] The A/D should not be confused with Lepore Airport just a few miles to the east, still less with the military Lecce Galatina Air Base to the south of the city.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

  • 82nd Fighter Group

    82nd Fighter Group

    Group
    The 82nd Fighter Group flew training missions from bases in Northern Ireland with the Eighth Air Force between October and December 1942. They then joined the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa, supporting the ground invasion of Tunisia, Sicily and...

People

  • William Ackalusky

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 82nd Fighter Group
    William Ackalusky's P-38F Lightning failed to return to base after all 15th Air Force missions from Italy were recalled due to bad weather. Ackalusky was believed to be on route from Lecce to Athens!

  • Jesse Bowling

    Military | Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Jesse C Bowling named his aircraft Ruth Please! after his wife Ruth. Bowling was shot down on 19 February 1945 on a mission over Vienna. Bowling managed to land the aircraft in Zadar.

  • Isaac Canetti

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group

  • Thomas Cramer

    Military | Major | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Joined Sqd 10 April 1942. ETO/Flight Echelon 2 October 1942. On 15 February 1943, B-24 41-23800 'The Captain and the Kids' was hit by flak at the start of a bomb run putting an engine out of action. FW 109s put out another engine then over the sea a...

  • Clifford Thomas

    Military | Navigator | 98th Bomb Group

Aircraft

  • 41-23656 Rowdy Ann

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 Liberator #41-23656 'Rowdy Ann' 344th BS, 98th BG, 9th AF. Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid, aborting before the target, pilot Allen B Gaston. A/C Renamed from 'Rowdy II' - Transferred to 376th BG / 512th BS. Returned to the States on...

  • 42-51161 Ruth Please!

    B-24 Liberator
    Ruth Please! was named for Ruth Bowling, wife of its Pilot Jesse C Bowling Sr ...

  • 41-7643

    P-38 Lightning
    Failed to return when all missions were recalled due to bad weather. Aircraft and pilot reported as missing in action.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 13:25:15 466thHistorian Created entry with name, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date and history
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecce_Airfield

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