Herdla

Validation date: 04 05 2012
Updated on: Never
Views: 2371
See on the interactive map:


60°34'35"N 004°57'21"E

runway: 01/19 - 1000x50m - concrete
runway: 07/25 - 850x50m - concrete

Herdla airfield (German: Fiegerhorst Herdla, Norwegian: flyplass Herdla) was an airfield near Bergen, 330 kilometers west of Oslo.
The airfield was built by the Luftwaffe during the German occupation of Norway between 1940 and 1945. It was intended as a fighter air base protecting the submarine port in Bergen. Herdla was the main airfield between Stavanger-Sola and Trondheim-Varnes.
The Germans built up Herdla quickly, including a torpedo battery, making Herdla being called "Festung Herdla" (Fortress Herdla). As a result of the fortifications the 115 inhabitants of the island were expelled by the Germans. The tower of their church was blown up to avoid it becoming a navigation aid for allied bombers, the church itself was used to store ammunitions and horses. Herdla became home to several Staffeln of Jagdgeschwader 5 (JG5) 'Eismeer'. It also featured a ramp and slipway to facilitate seaplanes.
In 1941 Herdla was attacked in support of Operaton Archery, the Allied commando raid on Vaagsoy. Two Blenheims were lost on the mission, designed to keep the Luftwaffe away from the operational area.


A FW190 can be seen attempting to take off from Herdla in this photo, taken from a RAF 114Sqn Blenheim during Operation Archery in 1941
(photo RAF, via Wikipedia).


Herdla airfield during World War II (herdla.no).


Allied reconnaissance photo showing Herdla in 1943 (luftwaffe.no).


This 7./III./JG5 FW190A-8 (WNr.350185, "Blau 9" of Staffelkapitän Oblt.Karl-Heinz Koch), crashed on 5 April 1945 when the pilot had to make a forced landing at Fliegerhorst Herdla due to oil pressure problems. Both landing gears broke during the rough landing and the aircraft crashed into a quarry before it stopped (ktsorens.tihlde.org).
 
After the war the airfield was dismantled, but the military did not fully leave.
The Norwegian armed forces continued to use parts of the German fortifications until 2000.
Today, only the taxitrack and the slipway still exist.
Although the runways were largely removed, their position could still be located in aerial photography of 2010 (Google Earth).


The taxitracks, a portion of the E-W runway and the slipway are clearly visible in this overview of the former airfield in 2010 (Google Earth).