Advanced Landing Ground - Construction

Construction

The mission for constructing ALGs was placed in the hands of USAAF's Ninth Air Force and its specially created engineering arm, the IX Engineer Command. Each aviation engineer battalion in the command (of a total of sixteen) was composed of sufficient men and equipment to quickly construct an airfield or landing ground for a single tactical fighter or bomb group unit.

ALGs were selected in two ways. First, existing enemy military or civilian airfields which were captured as the ground forces advanced were noted by engineers assigned to ground units. Second, engineers noted areas in grid locations where an airfield was desired, that had flat terrain, good land drainage, and where an airfield could be constructed quickly.

Captured airfields could be restored for use as advanced landing field in one to three days depending upon the amount of drainage and the number of mines and booby traps encountered.

Dry-weather advanced landing fields were constructed by a single battalion at a favorable site in flat terrain in from one to three days, including time for reconnaissance. At less favorable sites, where more clearing and grading were required, or all-weather fields which also needed additional infrastructure, the time varied from three to ten days.

ALGs were equipped with an access road that was connected to the existing road infrastructure; a dump for supplies, ammunition, and gasoline drums, along with a drinkable water and a minimal electrical grid for communications and station lighting. Tents were used for billeting and also for support facilities. Time was the all-important factor and ALGs serve its purpose if available for only a few days. As the forward area became the rear area, an advanced landing field could be improved for medium bomber use, but initially they primarily served fighter and transport groups.

Based on the experience obtained in the North African and Italian Campaigns, fighter groups required an airfield 120 feet x 3600 feet long, and fighter-bomber groups required fields 120 feet x 5000 feet long. Medium bomb groups required 120 feet x 6000 feet runways.

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