Kimbolton Airfield was the home of the 379th Bomb Group during WW2. The 379th Bomb
Group flew B-17s and the group was signified by the letter K within a triangle on its tail.
During all of its 330 bombing missions, it dropped 26,640 tons of bombs, shot down 315
enemy aircraft and lost 141 of its B-17s to enemy action.
The 379th Bomb Group was the only unit ever awarded the 8th Air Force Grand Slam, a very
unique honour in recognition of its achievements. They also received two Presidential Unit
Citations. The Group flew its last combat mission on April 25, 1945 and was finally deactivated
on July 25, 1945.
The airfield at Kimbolton was originally a fighter base for the RAF. When it became evident Germany
was not going to invade England, the RAF decided it didn’t need many inland fighter bases and was
happy to lease most of them to the United States as airfields for heavy bombers. The runways and
perimeter ramps were too thin to accommodate the weight of the Flying Fortresses and Liberators,
so the runways were repaired and replaced to meet necessary specifications.
The Kimbolton kart circuit is laid out on one of the few existing parts of the airfield. The original
circuit was laid out direct on the concrete dispersal area. Many parts of this can still be seen today
around the track and paddock. If you look very carefully, inscriptions from the Americans who
strengthened the airfield for the B-17s can still be seen.
Link from Youtube.com and shows a video of a B17: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmMZBYUYTko
In July the new display for the 379th Bomb Group was unveiled and throughout the weekend the display attracted a lot of interest.
The display is being done as a tribute to the aircrews and personnel that were stationed herein World War 2, and information has been gathered by a couple of the marshals in their sparetime over the last 18 months.
The folder is information & articles found purely on the internet, and many many hours havebeen spent trying to find as much as possible about the 379th BG. Please feel free to browsethrough it.
As well as the articles, there are also items that have been found around the circuit and surroundingarea, such as bullets, a bomb shackle and cockpit instruments. More and more things are beingfound and the area is likely to grow in both info and relics from the war.
If anybody can help with any information please contact:firstname.lastname@example.org
Ariel shot of Airfield showing the standing areas (& the basis for our track -can you see it?)
Circled area is the basis of our track
.... & the site as in 2003
Just outside Kimbolton a war memorial is sited in
the small industrial estate that has grown up on
part of the old airfield complex. The site is just
visable from the paddock and the US and British
flags can often be seem fluttering in the light
breeze that Kimbolton is noted for.
A royal visit by the King and Queen and of course the future Queen Elizabeth II to Kimbolton airfield in 1944.
For further information....
Reproduce by kind permission of
Extracts from the book "THE MIGHTY EIGHTH"
The colour record by ROGER A. FREEMAN
TO order or further enquires, contact
Cassell & Co., Willington House, 125 Strand, London WC2R OBB
Copyright Roger A. Freeman 1991-2001 Ref: ISBN 0-304-35708-1
THE MIGHTY EIGHTH
The colour record by ROGER A. FREEMAN
KIMBOLTON Huntingdonshire Station 117
A favourite subject for nose art was the female form. The young lady oTop o
The Mark appears quite unsuited for the 40 below temperatures at which the bomber operated, to say nothing of the chill January day on which this picture was taken. Crew 22, 754th Bomb Squadron, all wear electrically heated flying suits. The two pilots have back-pack parachutes, the other seven members the quick-hitch chest type. The white scarves are made of parachute silk and serve to give warmth and stop chafing at the neck. (Richard M. Eselgroth).
Take-off on runway 23, looking west towards the Cromer road. The winter of 1944-45 was unusually severe for England, prolonged periods of snow and frost making the servicing of aircraft in the open an extremely unpleasant task.
(Richard M. Eselgroth).
The 755th Bomb Squadrons Hookem Cow photographed in August 1944 on hardstand 11, looking north towards Horsham St Faith village and church. The aircraft crashed on take-off on 14 April 1945. (USAAF K2469).
Firing up the engines of Ragin Red II on a bitter January day in 1945. The original Ragin Red was lost on the first Schweinfurt raid, 17 August 1943. Ragin Red II, its replacement B-17F, was a 525th Bomb Squadron leadship during the Autumn of 1943, Major Rohr, the Group Operations Officer using it to head the Kimbolton formation on the second Schweinfurt mission, 14 October 1943. Retired from combat in the spring of 1944, Ragin Red II was used to convert B-24 pilots on to the B-17 at Lavenham in July that year and in October it was assigned to the 67th Fighter Wing for use as a staff aircraft. (W.D. Pulliam).
In the morning sunlight above the clouds B-17G 42-107175/FR:Z heads for a target. Received at Kimbolton as a replacement on the same day as Mairzy Doats, this Fortress was shot down by flak over France on 13 August 1944. Seven of the crew perished, one was made prisoner and the ninth evaded capture. (Edmund Lutz)
Members of the 1/Lt Edmund H. Lutzs crew with the ground men who maintained Mairzy Doats, a name derived from a popular song of the time. Received at Kimbolton on 11 April 1944 it went down in the North Sea on 26 August 1944 with another crew, only two of whom were rescued. (Edmund Lutz).
In the darkest days of the 8th Air Forces bomber offensive there were individual aircraft that inspired confidence in their crews. One was the 524th Bomb Squadrons Paddy Gremlin, received by the Squadron in June 1943 and apparently named by the ground crew. By August, when taken over by Lt. Arvid O. Dahls crew, this B-17F had already survived a few costly missions. The going was to get even tougher, for Paddy Gremlin took the Dahl crew to Schweinfurt and back safely on 17 August and again to the same target on the infamous 14 October mission. That day, when 60 B-17s were lost, Paddy Gremlin was one of only two 379th Bomb Group aircraft that landed back at Kimbolton even if it was down-wind. As its navigator, Lt. Connie Anszperger, remarked After that we all felt the plane had a charmed life. Paddy Gremlin continued to evade the work of flak and fighters. Then, on 30 January 1944, in the hands of Lt. Kenneth Daviss crew, it was struck by a bomb dropped by an aircraft higher in the formation. With the No. 3 engine crippled, and despite efforts to keep up with the formation, the bomber lost height and was eventually forced to crash-land near the Belgian border. The crew were unharmed until an enemy fighter strafed the aircraft, wounding two men seriously and six slightly. The reason for this action was, the survivors believed, to prevent them setting fire to the wrecked aircraft. The photograph shows the navigator, Lt. Constant Anszperger, with an A-2 jacket displaying fifteen missions in Paddy Gremlin. (Constant Anszperger).
B-17F Paddy Gremlin on hardstanding No. 3 on the first loop cluster to the east of runway 21 bordering the railway line at Kimbolton. WA identified the 524th Bomb Squadron: Y was the individual plane-in-squadron letter and radio call (Y-Yoke); 23325 was the concise version of the serial number, 42-3325; and the triangle was the 1st Bomb Division symbol and the blue K therein the identification letter of the 379th Bomb Group. (Constant Anszperger).
The novelty of being one of the first Fortresses in natural metal finish to be received by the 379th (in March 1944) is reflected in the name of this B-17, Hi Ho Silver. A few weeks after this photograph was taken, on 12th September 1944, the bomber received extensive damage as a result of a mid-air collision and had to be scrapped. (Robert Astrella).
The Wish Bone flew 88 missions with the 526th Bomb Squadron before wear and tear forced its retirement. Operational training duties followed, and by the end of the war its Olive drab camouflage had faded to a light purplish brown shade, contrasting with the green applied to re-worked areas. (Arnold N. Delmonico).