Arques (FR) (St-Omer – Arques, St-Omer – Fort Rouge) (c. 50 43 55 N – 02 19 30 E)
General: airfield in NE France 5.25 km ESE of Saint-Omer, 2 km ESE of the village of Arques and lying between a railway line off the N boundary and a canal off the S boundary.
History: Arques was first developed by the Germans in Aug 40 for use as a fighter base. Units were based there until Sep 42 and thereafter it was used mainly as a forward field for staging missions.
Dimensions: approx. 670 x 1370 meters (730 x 1500 yards) and nearly rectangular in shape. The landing area was camouflaged to blend in with the surrounding countryside.
Surface and Runways: grass surface that became water-logged in wet weather. Had 1 concrete runway 670 meters (730 yards) in length and aligned ENE/WSW. Equipped for night landings.
Fuel and Ammunition: there was a single refueling loop in the North dispersal and a bulk fuel dump NE on the fringe of the Clairmarais Forest. Other fuel storage may have been off the NW corner. The main ammunition dump was probably in the Clairmarais Forest with smaller, ready to issue storage in sheds in the North and South dispersal areas.
Infrastructure: had 1 small repair hangar off the NW corner in the dispersal area and another 1.5 km to the NE on the fringe of the Clairmarais Forest that was connected to the airfield by a taxi track. Small huts near the NW and NE corners were most likely workshops. The station HQ was off the NW corner, with offices and barracks of both the NE and NW corners. Station flight control was believed to be on the S boundary. Small buildings in the South dispersal were used as billets and for storage. A number of barrack buildings in the Clairmarais Forest may have housed base personnel, while flying personnel and some officers were quartered in Arques. Railway lines passed close to the W and S boundaries and to the NE corner.
Dispersal: the 2 dispersals – North and South – had a total of 35 medium and 24 small aircraft shelters. Most of the shelters were uncovered and all were camouflaged to look like hillocks and houses. The dispersals were connected to the landing area by taxiways.
Defenses: consisted of 2 heavy and 14 light Flak positions in Apr 43 reduced to 2 heavy and 7 light Flak
Credits: Luftwaffe Airfields 1935-45 France (with Corsica and Channel Islands) By Henry L. de Zeng IV