RCAF Station Grostenquin
RCAF Station Grostenquin, also known as 2 (Fighter) Wing or 2 Wing, was a Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

 (RCAF) station located five km north of the town of Grostenquin
Grostenquin is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.Population : 569.It is situated between Metz and Strasbourg.A Royal Canadian Air Force base, RCAF Station Grostenquin, was located here from 1952-1964....

 in the Moselle
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 department, Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

, northeastern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. It was one of four RCAF wings
Wing (air force unit)
Wing is a term used by different military aviation forces for a unit of command. The terms wing, group or Staffel are used for different-sized units from one country or service to another....

, consisting of three fighter
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 squadrons each, established in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in the early 1950s at the beginning of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. The other three wings were located at RCAF Station Marville
RCAF Station Marville
RCAF Station Marville was a Royal Canadian Air Force station located near Marville in the Meuse department, Lorraine, northeastern France. It was one of four RCAF wings consisting of three fighter squadrons each, established in Europe in the early 1950s to support the goals of NATO in Europe...

 (1 Wing) in France, and RCAF Station Zweibrücken (3 Wing) and RCAF Station Baden-Soellingen
CFB Baden-Soellingen
Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen or CFB Baden-Soellingen was a Canadian Forces base located near the farming community of Söllingen, part of the municipality of Rheinmünster in the West German state of Baden-Württemberg...

 (4 Wing) in the former West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

These wings were part of the RCAF's No. 1 Air Division which was formed as part of Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

's air defence commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO was established to offer a united defence against the increasing threat posed by the Soviet bloc in Europe, and Canada committed to support its European allies with its armed forces.

No. 2 Wing's three squadrons flew from Canada between September 28 and October 11, 1952 during Operation Leapfrog II. They were the first of the Canadian Air Division squadrons to arrive in mainland Europe, and the first RCAF squadrons to be based on the European mainland since March 1946.

All twelve Air Division squadrons flew the Canadair F-86 Sabre day fighter. The squadrons originally based at Grostenquin were 416
No. 416 Squadron RCAF
416 "City of Oshawa" Tactical Fighter Squadron was a unit of the Canadian Forces under Royal Canadian Air Force. The squadron operated the CF-188 Hornet fighter jet from CFB Cold Lake in Alberta, Canada...

, 421
No. 421 Squadron RCAF
No. 421 Squadron RCAF was a unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force, formed during World War II....

 and 430
No. 430 Squadron RCAF
430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron is a unit of the Canadian Forces under Royal Canadian Air Force. It operates Bell CH-146 Griffons from CFB Valcartier, near Quebec City in Quebec, Canada.-History:...

. Beginning in 1956 four all-weather CF-100 squadrons entered service with Air Division. One squadron in each wing was replaced by a CF-100 squadron. No. 416 Squadron was replaced by 423 Squadron
No. 423 Squadron RCAF
423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron is a unit of the Canadian Forces under Royal Canadian Air Force. It currently operates the Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King from CFB Shearwater in Nova Scotia, Canada.-History:...

 at 2 Wing. In 1959 Canada adopted a controversial nuclear strike role in accordance with NATO's doctrine of "limited nuclear warfare" and began re-equipping with the new CF-104 Starfighter that could deliver nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s. This aircraft also had a reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 role. In the fall of 1962 the Sabre squadrons of the Air Division, including 421 and 430 Squadrons at 2 Wing, were re-equipped with the Starfighter. Concurrently, CF-100s ceased operation in the Air Division and 423 Squadron was disbanded.

Pilots from all three Sabre squadrons at 2 Wing flew with 2 Wing's aerobatic team, the Sky Lancers. The team was formed in March 1955 and performed throughout Europe until October 1955. The following year the team was based at 4 Wing.

NATO bases in France, including Grostenquin, were short-lived. In 1963 the Government of France
Government of France
The government of the French Republic is a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic"...

 announced that all nuclear weapons in France were to be placed under French control. This was unacceptable to the RCAF (and other NATO units stationed in France), so the two nuclear strike squadrons at 2 Wing (421 and 430 Squadrons) were hastily relocated; 430 Squadron moved to 3 Wing Zweibrücken and 421 Squadron moved to 4 Wing Baden-Soellingen. RCAF Station Grostenquin closed in 1964.

See also

  • Ouvrage Kerfent
    Ouvrage Kerfent
    Ouvrage Kerfent is a lesser work of the Maginot Line. Located in the Fortified Sector of Faulquemont, the ouvrage consists of three infantry blocks and an observation block, and is located between petits ouvrages Mottemberg and Bambesch, facing Germany...

    , a former Maginot Line
    Maginot Line
    The Maginot Line , named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defences, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I,...

    fortification used as a communications relay station by the RCAF in support of Grostenquin.

External links

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