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Vu174 Tillburg and Vu177 Paladin

Luftwaffe fighter bases with Battle of Britain history

Vu174 Tillburg and Vu177 Paladin site overviews

What to see

Following Germany’s occupation of northern France in 1940 a series of airfields were established along the coast in the Pas de Calais region from Calais to Boulogne-sur-Mer.
One of the first to be established in early July 1940 was this site – originally known as Le Colombier but later coded as Vu174 Tillburg - on former farmland near the village of Audermbert.
It was one of two early airfields built along with a neighbouring site Vu177 Paladin situated less than two hundred metres away.
Between them to the east of both sites was a large grass runway area with surrounding taxiways, personnel buildings, defensive structures, and single-aircraft hangars for Luftwaffe fighters. At its height it’s reported that there were over 40 aircraft based here.
From August 1940, the airfield complex was home to already legendary fighter ace Adolf Galland, and his JG26 squadron of Messerschmitt 109 aircraft based here played a role in the Battle of Britain.
Initially, the parked aircraft were hidden between bales of straw and camouflage nets, but the site would evolve to feature to feature individual fighter ‘boxes’ to protect them. Today you can still see seven of them at Paladin and four at the Tillburg site.
There were more of these shelters planned but the airfield’s life was short lived as the grassy runways became waterlogged with surrounding areas becoming too muddy to support an active airfield. In November 1940 the squadrons were relocated to airfields at St Omer to the east and Abbeville to the south.
That wasn’t the end to the location being used by German forces though and before the site was abandoned in August 1944, they would take on roles which included a communications centre – which also saw several defensive Vf3a bunkers constructed – as well as a training camp, a supply depot, and camp for a large pioneer battalion.
Both sites – located on the D238 road between Wissant and Warcove – have been returned to farmland but you can still see the remains of many of the original buildings with permission.


Directions to bunker sites in this area...

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