Flugplatz Audembert (Warcove)
Stp/Verteidigungsunterkunft 177 Paladin

Map number

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Location

This location can hardly be missed. Head for the crossroads of the D238 and the D249 at Warcove. The remaining constructions are mostly situated to the northeast of the crossroads.

Tactical function

Airfield, OT camp, Rekrutenlager, logistics base
Unit(s) (1940-1942) Jagdgeschwader 26
(1943) At this moment the strongpoint was coded Stp 205 Paladin and was commanded by Leutnant Beckfeld.
II Bataillon/Reservegrenadierregiment 26/156 Reservedivision
3 Batterie/leichte Flakabteilung 765

(1944) Pionierbataillon 326
3 Kompanie/I Bataillon/Grenadierregiment 558/331 Infanteriedivision
Troops (1940-1942) Jagdgeschwader 26
(1943) II Bataillon/Reservegrenadierregiment 26/156 Reservedivision: 1/13/231
3 Batterie/leichte Flakabteilung 765: 0/5/16
(1944) Pionierbataillon 326
3 Kompanie/I Bataillon/Grenadierregiment 558/331 Infanteriedivision

Weapons

(1940-1942) Jagdgeschwader 26:  +/- 120 Meeserschmitt/Focke Wulf
(1943) II Bataillon/Reservegrenadierregiment 26/156 Reservedivision: 3x lMG 34, 1x sMG 34, 231x Gewehre, 6x Pistole
3 Batterie/leichte Flakabteilung 765: 1x lMG 26, 3x Maschinepistole 40, 20x Gewehre 98 k, 1x Pistole
(1944) Pionierbataillon 326
3 Kompanie/I Bataillon/Grenadierregiment 558/331 Infanteriedivision

Bunkers

1x Vf3, 2x Vf2a, 11x concrete blast pen, 1x barracks (brick), 1x aircraft hangar, 22+ x barracks (wood), 1x well, 1x water reservoir

Remaining bunkers

1x Vf3, 1x Vf2a, 7x concrete blast pen, 1x barracks (brick), 1x well, 1x water reservoir
Radar -
Comments Jagdgeschwader 26:
Starting on 10 July 1940, an enormous flat terrain of over 200 hectares northwest of Audembert was reconnoitred by the Luftwaffe and considered interesting for the establishment of an airfield. It was assigned number 233. On 15 July 1940 the Stab and the I Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 26 arrived at Audembert. Two other Gruppen touched down at Marquise (II Gruppe) and Caffiers (III Gruppe) on 21 July. The newly-arrived Jagdgeschwader had come to reinforce Jagdgeschwader 51, whose units on 22 July were based at Pihen/St-Inglevert (I Gruppe), Desvres (II Gruppe) and St-Omer-Nord (III Gruppe). Towards the end of August 1940 other units joined those already present: JG 2, 27, 53. All were subordinated to Jagdfliegerführer 2, which had its headquarters at Wissant. Jagdgeschwader 26 would take place in every major phase of the Battle of Britain.
At Audembert the fields were requisitioned, drained and levelled, allowing the Messerschmitt 109 aircraft to take off and land safely. The aircraft themselves were hidden underneath trees, between bales of straw and under camouflage nets. More importantly for us, the farms in the area were occupied by the troops and numerous wooden buildings were erected near them. Thus, one Staffel was based at the Warcove farm. Here too were also large hangars where the aircraft could be serviced and repaired. Flak positions were erected near the les Grares farm and between Warcove and Audembert, while the Geschwaderstab stayed at the Le Colombier farm.
In November 1940 the terrain was found to be no longer suitable for air operations, due to the ever more common rain and wind of late autumn-early winter, so that on 10 November started to withdraw its aircraft towards Abbeville.
In June 1941, however, Jagdgeschwader 26 returned to Audembert, albeit only with its Stab. The Gruppen were stationed at Clairmarais (I Gruppe) , Maldegem (II Gruppe) and Ligescourt (III Gruppe). In 1941 the airfield infrastructure was significantly improved with concrete boxes for the aircraft, concrete taxiways and improved hangars.
During the winter of 1941 only the Stab remained at Audembert. The other units moved to St-Omer, Abbeville and Coquelles.
An important change occured in the spring of 1942, when the Messerschmitts were replaced by Focke-Wulf 190 aircraft. In June 1942 the Jagdgeschwader 26 left Audembert for St-Omer.
On 25 March 1943 the strongpoint, then coded, Stp 205 Paladin, still had one small Luftwaffe unit present: 3 Batterie/leichte Flakabteilung 765, whose duty was the protection of the Rekrutenlager (see below).
Other units:
Concentrating on the history of Stp Paladin at Warcove, other units besides those of the Luftwaffe should also be mentioned. Thus, Warcove was also home to an OT camp and part of the old airfield was used for training the newly-arrived army recruits. Thus, on 25 March 1943 the Stp was called Stp 205 Paladin and was home to the
Rekrutenlager of the II Bataillon/Reservegrenadierregiment 26 of the 156 Reservedivision.
Around this time, the airfield was only used to enable emergency landings of aircraft. On such occasions the obstacles which had been placed on the airfield to ward off glider or paratroop landings had to be moved.
In 1944, Stp 205 Paladin was renamed Verteidigungsunterkunft 177 Paladin, reflecting its logistical function at the time.
From February 1944 Pionierbataillon 326 had its headquarters at Warcove, though the unit no longer appears on the map of 20 May 1944.
Finally, in May 1944, the village of Audembert was occupied by the 3 Kompanie/I Bataillon/Grenadierregiment 558/331 Infanteriedivision. North of Audembert, an RAD camp was also located on the grounds of the Les Grares farm.

 

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The numbers refer to the maps above.
38. Vf3
This Vf3 bunker protected the airfield in all directions with its machine guns
Views of the inside
40. Vf2a
Shelter for the troops was provided by a Vf2a personnel bunker
These pictures show both entrances, as well as the underground crew room.
41-43. Concrete blast pens
Rear views of the 3 concrete blast pens along the D238
(nos.41-43). As their name implies, the pens protected the aircraft against blasts from bombs exploding nearby.
Above we see no. 41 from the front and side, into which the farmer built a hangar.
Pen no. 42 has been rather overgrown.
A little more can be seen of no. 43
44-47. Concrete blast pens
The 2 blast pens closest to the crossroads along the D249 are very well preserved.
Side view of the first (no. 44).
The picture clearly shows the smaller rear of the pen for the aircraft's tail and the bigger front for the wings. The airplane thus stood with its nose towards the front of the pen, ready to roll out.
The entrance of this pen. Eacb pen was covered with a roof in wood and hidden from view with camouflage nets.
The second member of the pair (no. 45)
Views of the inside of the pen. Visible in one of the pictures is a door which was blocked with concrete bricks, possibly during the war. Also visible in one of the pictures is a small gap in the concrete wall, also blocked up here. Maybe this was used to enable the refuelling hose to be puth through the wall?
The view towards the outside.
Next, we proceed to the second pair of pens alongside the D249 (nos. 46-47).
These pens have the same lay-out and are also reasonably well-preserved.
50. Well
Also present was a water well, of which the remains are still visible.
51. Water reservoir
Beside the aircraft boxes along the D238 there was a water reservoir.
Concrete taxiways
In some places parts of the concrete taxiways are still visible.