Youks-les-Bains Airfield
Youks-les-Bains Airfield is an abandoned military airfield in Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, located about 20 km northwest of Tebessa
Tébessa is the capital city of Tébessa Province, Algeria, 20 kilometers west from the border with Tunisia. Nearby is also a phosphate mine. The city is famous for the traditional Algerian carpets in the region, and is home to over 161,440 people.-History:...

. The airfield today consists of several agricultural fields, with the faint remains of its main runway, parts of a taxiway and a few aircraft dispersal hardstands visible in aerial photography.


The facility was built as a civilian airport, probably during the 1930s. During the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 1940 Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, the French Air Force
French Air Force
The French Air Force , literally Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, a service arm of the French Army, then was made an independent military arm in 1933...

 GB II/11 flew across the Mediterranean with 14 Lioré et Olivier LeO 45 medium bomberrs, arriving on 21 June. From Youks-les-Bains, the squadron attacked Italian forces at Palermo, Sicily on 23 and 24 June, before the Armistice
Armistice with France (Second Compiègne)
The Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed at 18:50 on 22 June 1940 near Compiègne, in the department of Oise, between Nazi Germany and France...

 with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 took place on 25 June. After the armistice, Youks-les-Bains became a base for the limited Vichy French Air Force
Vichy French Air Force
The Vichy French Air Force was the aerial branch of the armed forces of Vichy France - the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers following the defeat of France by Germany in 1940....

  allowed by the Germans.

As part of the North African Campaign
North African campaign
During the Second World War, the North African Campaign took place in North Africa from 10 June 1940 to 13 May 1943. It included campaigns fought in the Libyan and Egyptian deserts and in Morocco and Algeria and Tunisia .The campaign was fought between the Allies and Axis powers, many of whom had...

, on 15 November 1942, thirty-three C-47 Skytrain
C-47 Skytrain
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front line operations through the 1950s with a few remaining in operation to this day.-Design and...

 transports dropped three hundred men of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Regiment on Youks-les-Bains airfield during the initial attacks on occupied Tunisia by the Tunisian Task Force. As the planes carrying the 509th approached the airfield, soldiers were seen in the trenches around the field. There were several anxious moments as the paratroopers started their jump, not knowing whether the troops below were French or German. Upon reaching the ground, the Americans found a poorly equipped, but friendly and helpful, unit of the French Army in possession of the area.

Once in Allied hands, the airfield became a major United States Army Air Force Twelfth Air Force base of operations against the German Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

. Known units assigned to Youks-les-Bains were:
  • 47th Bombardment Group, 7 January-6 March 1943, A-20 Havoc
  • 14th Fighter Group, 22 November 1942-9 January 1943, P-38 Lightning
    P-38 Lightning
    The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament...

  • 31st Fighter Group, 21–25 February 1943, Spitfire
  • 33d Fighter Group, 8–20 February 1943, P-40 Warhawk
  • 52d Fighter Group, 9 March-14 April 1943, Spitfire
  • 81st Fighter Group, 22–24 February 1943, P-39 Aircobra
  • 15th Bombardment Squadron
    15th Bombardment Squadron
    The 15th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Twelfth Air Force, based at Nouvion Airfield, Algeria...

     (Twelfth Air Force), 22 December 1942-February 1943 A-20 Havoc
  • 154th Observation Squadron (68th Observation Group), 21 January-13 March 1943 (F-4 (P-38) Lightning)

By the end of the Battle of Tunisia, the Twelfth Air Force units had moved east and the Allied use of the airfield was reduced to a skeleton stationkeeping unit, being used as an emergency landing field for Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command
Air Transport Command is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its mission was to meet the urgent demand for the speedy reinforcement of the United States' military bases worldwide during World War II, using an air supply system to supplement surface transport...

 units flying between Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 and Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

. It was abandoned by the American forces after the end of the European War
European Theatre of World War II
The European Theatre of World War II was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe from Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until the end of the war with the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945...

during the summer of 1945.
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