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840th Engineer Aviation Battalion

Battalion

The 840th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) was activated on 1 September 1942, at Bradley Field, Connecticut, and assigned to the First Air Force. The unit was alerted for overseas service in April 1943, and set sail for England aboard Aquitania on 10 May 1943. The Battalion landed in Gourock on 17 May 193, before being sent to Matching and attached to the 8th Air Force.

From 26 May 1943 the Battalion assisted the 834th Engineer Aviation Battalion in the completion of Matching.

From 27 May 1943, members of the 840th were assigned additional work at Chipping Ongar, which was completed by 7 July 1943.

From 20 September 1943, the Battalion was assigned to work at Alconbury and continued until December.

On 20 December 1943 the Battalion was assigned to Burtonwood repair depot to carry out second stage construction, members of the Battalion began leaving Alconbury on 23 December and were quartered at Marbury Hall in Cheshire.

Upon completing the work at Burtonwood, the Battalion was relieved from duties with the 8th Air Force on 18 April 1944. They were re-assigned to 9th Air Force Engineer Command on 23 April 1944.

On 30 April 1944, the Battalion were moved to Matlask, Norfolk to carry out equipment repairs. From 7 June 1944 the unit was moved to Great Barrington in Oxford, where they prepared for cross channel shipment. They were transferred to Hiltingbury on 2 July 1944, and on 6 July 1944 personnel moved to the port of Embarkation, the motor convoy followed the next day.

The first echelon of the 840th Engineer Aviation Battalion arrived in Normandy on 7 July 1944, landing on Omaha Beach, while the Battle of St Lo was still ongoing. The battalion was temporarily bivouacked at Catz near Carentan and moved to their first job, constructing Strip A-17 on 27 July 1944.

During the early stages of operation on the continent, the procurement of supplies was quite difficult. Supply dumps were not well established, at that time. In many instances, when vehicles were dispatched for the procurement of supplies, they would arrive at the supply dump and find it in the process of a move. Local supplies were negligible in this area.

The Battalion moved to Poillay on 19 August after completing A-17, and moved on to Dreux to repair A-41 at Dreux the next day. Work on Dreux was sped up following the Liberation of Paris and the 840th were moved to A-80 at Mourmelon-Le-Grande on 9 September 1944 where they constructed a 5,000 landing strip. The airstrip became operational 10 days after work started.

The Battalion were moved to A-90 at Metz on 21 September 1944 to construct a fighter-bomber airfield, marshy conditions proved challenging, but the air base became operational by 1 November 1944, and was completed on 16 November 1944.

On 4 December 1944 the Battalion relieved the 843rd Engineer Aviation Battalion of their duties at Y-1 near Tantonville, their air strip had prematurely been declared operational, but a major operation was needed to complete drainage. Y-1 was completed on 12 January 1945.

The Battalion then applied for maintenance duties and split into companies (A,B and C) who undertook assignments in Reims, Guigncourt, Prosnes and Mourmelon-Le-Grand. Work consisted of general runway, taxiway and hardstand maintenance, temporary drainage ditch construction, and assisting Air Corps personnel in snow removal.

The three companies of the 840th continued to undertake maintenance duties into spring 1945, taking on assignments as the US Third Army advanced into Germany. They regularly encountered fighting and fresh battle damage.

On 25 April 1945 the Battalion was assigned to the captured enemy airfield R-50 at Stuttgart, where they undertook repairs of the base, constructing a dirt runway by 1 May 1945, and the strip became operational on 7 May 1945.

The Battalion received orders to for the repair of more captured airfields on 5 May 1945, and again split into A, B and C companies to carry out the work. On 1 September 1945, VJ Day, the Battalion was ordered to erect tents at Frankfurt, and began their return to the USA.

Structure

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Stations

Station Location Date
Established 1 September 1942
Based Matching 17 May 1943 – 26 May 1943
Based Chipping Ongar 27 May 1943 – 7 July 1943
Based Alconbury 20 September 1943 – 23 December 1943
Based Burtonwood 20 December 1943 – 18 April 1944
Based Matlask 30 April 1944 – June 1944
Based Great Barrington 7 June 1944 – 2 July 1944
Based Dreux 19 August 1944 – 9 September 1944
Based Mourmelon 9 September 1944 – 21 September 1944
Based Metz 21 September 1944 – 19 November 1944

Connections

People

  • Henry Failerius

    Military | Corporal (Technician Fifth Grade) | Topographer
    Built airfields in England and pierced plank runways on Omaha Beach in France and Germany. Member of Air Engineering Group PH/ 2 Battle Stars

Citations

None

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
02 September 2019 16:21:23 Emily Changes to description
Sources

History of the 840th Engineer Aviation Battalion., from Bangor Public Library

Date Contributor Update
11 January 2017 14:37:57 general ira snapsorter Changes to stations
Sources

Official records shared by Aldon Ferguson of the Burtonwood Association.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:42:54 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Units in the UK from ETOUSA Station List, as transcribed by Lt. Col. Philip Grinton (US Army, Retired) and extracted by IWM; air division data from L.D. Underwood, based on the 8th Air Force Strength Report of 6th August 1944, as published in 'The 8th Air Force Yearbook' by Lt. Col. John H Woolnough (1980)

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