Near the French city of Marquise the Germans established two airfields to fight the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 . The first of these, Marquise-Ost, was situated vlose to the village of Hydrequent, while the second, called Marquise-West by the Germans, was constructed near Ledquent. The location of the 2 airfields can be found on the GoogleEarth map below:
We will briefly discuss each of these airfields in more detail.
The airfield Marquise-Ost was established just to the north of the village of Hydrequent, as a simple grass airstrip. Today, nothing remains of the airfield.
The first Luftwaffe unit to arrive at the airfield was the II Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 26, which arrived on 21 July 1940 and stayed until 7 December of the same year. From 20 August 1940 it was joined by the I Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 77. When this unit left the airfield on 21 November 1940, it was replaced from that date by the IV Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 51, which remained until in December.
The airfield Marquise-West was situated between the villages of Ledquent and Marquise, straddling both sides of the current motorway A16. Here too, the airstrip was grass only. However, some sources claim remains of concrete Rollstrasse or taxiways and emplacements for hangars can still be found today.
In 1940 the airfield was used systematically only by the Jagdgeschwader 51. As early as June 1940 the II Gruppe arrived and stayed until September 1940. The airfield was also used in 1941, notably from 16 April until 7 June 1941, by the IV Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 51, which had stayed at Marquise-Ost the year before.
In the period June 1941-1942 the airfield was only used on an irregular basis, for example for emergency landings. However, until September 1942 Luftwaffe troops were stationed in Ledquent, very close to the perimeter, perhaps partly inside the perimeter of Marquise-West. The names of the units involved clearly indicate their connection to the airfield: Fliegerhorstkompanie, Nachrichtenstelle, Flugleitung, Feuerwehr, Wetterstelle, 7. leichte Flakgruppe, Sanitätsstaffel. These units totalled 153 soldiers and were command by Luftwaffe Hauptmann Schueler, with Oberleutnant Fonfara as second-in-command.
After September 1942 the infrastructure was handed over to the Heer. However, many of the bunkers still remain today and explicitly show the close relationshup with the Luftwaffe through the abundant presence of paintings on walls and ceiling. More information on the bunkers of Stp 188 Schlesien can be found here.
In the period June 1940 - September 1943 the airfield installations were governed by the Fliegerhorstkommandantur E 13/VIII. Initially commanded by Hauptmann Karl Hübschle, Hauptmann Felix Peltzner took over in May 1943.