Flugplatz Vlamertinge(and Dikkebus)
or Airfield B-59

Updated October 5 2013
All pictures are copyright (c) 2013 T. Cools

Some facts: there is more reading at the end of this page.

-Airfield construction started on August 27 1940.
-Starting from September 18 1940, hangars and shelters were constructed.
-Farmers remained on the airfield.
-During 1941-1942 a ringroad of 4km was constructed.
-22 B-26B Marauders bomb the Vlamertinge Airfield at Ypres, Belgium at 1016 hours.
The bombing mission was executed by the US VIII Air Support Command stationed in England, Mission 25A/25B.
23 aircraft are damaged but there were no casulties.
On the picture below this could have been a result of it but there were other bombing missions as well.

-Destruction of the airfield started with exploding the runway on june 10 1944.
-Destruction of the hangars started on September 2 1944.  They were put on fire.
-In one of the hangars a launch system for V1 was discovered.  This story has never been confirmed.
-After the British 5017 RAF Airfield Construction Squadron took over the airfield it got the B-59 number assignment.
-1/3the of the airfield is on Dikkebus territory.

Picure taken by the UK 7th Photo Group during 1943 or 1944 with a P38 Lightning.

Google Earth map with locations.

Now and then, constructions below.

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The fields are surrounded with unique original German concrete roads.

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NE of the runway a slightly modified aircraft hangar can be found.

A WW1 bunker is located nearby.

Panoramic picture of farmland were the landing strip was located.  Below detail of the air picture.
The flat landscape at this location is ideal for landing airplanes.

One source gives a lenght of the landing strip of 607m x 51m(not including the water pipe of 0.70m)
My measurements with Google Earth gives 598m x 51m.

Above: Here are some nice constructions still visible:

Brick construction and shelter in the background.

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Inside the brick construction.

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Shelter with two entrances and a long concrete tunnel.

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Right and below: Hangar.
The picture above right shows a straight line in the grass, this is an overgrown trench leading to an AA position.
The trench has probably been dumped because this is also a cow field, so this prevents them from falling into the trench.(which has happened in the past.)

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Left: Hangar Right: contrete taxi-road.
It is still a mystery which kind of planes were stationed here.  You should think of a Me109 but according to one source this could be Bf110.
All info is welcome.

Here are two trenches visible.  One has been dumped to protect cows and the other is very well preserved.  On the original air picture you can see both positions.

Behind this farm is a very well preserved trench.

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Concrete traces of an AA gun position.
On the right picture I'm at the same position with Mr Cafmeier who is the owner of the farm and the surroundings.
As a young guy he was allowed to stay at this location working as a farmer.

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The well preserved trench with MG or AA position.

Another position South of the runway.  The remains of the hangar have survived.  Another is gone.
Between the farm and the hangar there's a cross visible on the air picture.  Maybe there was a hospital located here.

Behind this farm you can reach the following position.  Ask permission.

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A water reservoir and concrete equipment dating from WW2.

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The remaining hangar at this position.  Concrete platform is still in place.  Looking in the direction of another demolished hangar.

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Some niches and frontal view with platform barely visible.  In one of these hangars, equipment for a V1 launch ramp was found after liberation.
Construction of a V1 site near Vlamertinge should have begun in the 'Galgenbossen'.  But no proof of this has ever been found.
Although today there are some V1 artifacts visible in this area all V1's were air launched.

Northwest of the airfield you can find a generator building and one hangar.
The roads are well preserved.  Three hangars have been demolished.

The farmer was very friendly to let us visit the artifacts but remember, you have to ask permission !

The well preserved generator building.

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In front there's a brick construction, its purpose is unknown.

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At the backside of the building there's was another entry or exit.  Right: there are three rooms, one which is divided in two.

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The concrete roads and taxiways are well presurved and the bridge as well.  Right: The restored hangar.

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Inside the hanger there's some kind of niche which you can find in the other hangars as well.  Maybe an electricity switchbox.
Left: Two work pits are visible, maybe for repairing or aircraft maintenance.

The backside is well preserved.

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South of the previous location there's the main hangar.  These pictures are shot along the opposite road.

This is the main hangar of the airfield.  There was a road directly leading to the shooting stand.  This road is gone now.
We've got special permission to take one picture on this location.  The farmer had some bad experience with other visitors, so be respectfull.

Nearby hangar.  We could not visit this one.

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Above and below, the shooting stand, on private grounds, we could not visit this one but whith a strong focus lens we could make some pictures.
Do not enter this territory without permission because you can get some trouble !

The shooting stand is huge !
 

If someone has more info about this arfield, all info is welcome.
 



Main links and sources

 http://www.anciens-aerodromes.com/?p=2420

 http://enc.tfode.com/Flugplatz_Vlamertinge

 https://sites.google.com/site/westhoekaeromodelclub/histoiek

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fliegerhorst_Vlamertinge

 http://www.ronaldv.nl/abandoned/airfields/be/airfields_be_wflanders.html#B59

 http://www.asisbiz.com/usaf/USAAF-History-WWII-1943.html

 http://homepage.ntlworld.com/andrew.etherington/1943/08/18.htm

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/24554019@N06/4407757738/lightbox/

 http://www.b24.net/392nd/combat1943.htm

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