View Full Version : Can anyone help, where is this airfield?

15th Mar 2010, 08:05
Does anyone have any idea where this is? It was suggested on this thread (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?t=3943) on the AiX forum to post the photo here too as you guys maybe may be able to help!


I think it is somewhere in Europe but really have no idea whatsoever! Any help is greatly appreciated.


15th Mar 2010, 09:26
It's Woodbridge

15th Mar 2010, 09:48
Don't think so; Woodbridge looks nothing like that on Google Earth.

15th Mar 2010, 10:15
...... in 1945, when the photo was taken.

The view is looking east towards Rendlesham Forest and the airfield map in 'British Military Airfields of WWII' confirms the 'footprint'.


15th Mar 2010, 10:49
Definitely not Woodbridge. There's a good aerial view of that in "flying through fire" [the history of FIDO]

15th Mar 2010, 15:39
Woodbridge post modification had a 450ft wide paved surface

15th Mar 2010, 16:40
That's a very unusual pan layout. My guess - Eastern Europe, just over the ex Wall - somewhere. :hmm:

PPRuNe Pop
15th Mar 2010, 17:32
I just googled it and I go for Woodbridge also.

15th Mar 2010, 17:34

"In 1942 the bomber offensive was assuming massive proportions, and it was decided to build three airfields specifically to accommodate aircraft which were damaged, short of fuel or suffering from undercarriage or brake trouble. A crash landing on an airfield to which others were returning could be fatal. So could a return if fog descended on the operating stations. All these factors led to the construction of three specialised airfields, at Carnaby, Manston and Woodbridge, of which the latter proved to be the busiest by day and night.

These three airfields were sited along the East Coast so that crippled bombers could land immediately after crossing the coast. Each had a runway 3,000 yards long and 250 yards wide with an undershoot and an overshoot at each end of 500 yards. The runway at each was laterally divided into three lanes. The south lane lined with green lights at night, white by day, was the emergency lane into which any aircraft could land without first contacting flying control. The centre lane was lined by white lines at night, the northern by yellow. By day the lines of lights clearly defined the three sections of the runway".

So, if we are to believe you, the extra wide runway laid in 1942 was dug up again and camouflaged when the photograph was taken "in 1945" and then susequently re-layed before I got there when I was driving aircraft for Mrs Windsor in the 1960s.

I remember the Woodbridge runway just as it is shown on Google Earth (just like Manston).

Sorry Sir; not Woodbridge.

I would bet on it being a Soviet Bloc airfield.

15th Mar 2010, 17:49
Judging by the landscape its northern europe. And judging by the fully leafed trees, summer (ish). Long shadows say early morning or late evening and lead me to think its approx a 06/24 or 07/25 runway alignment.....

Not sure this helps though. That might be one too many assumptions .....

15th Mar 2010, 18:00
Thanks for the help so far folks, I can't find anything to say it is Woodbridge, all the RSP's and other sources I have show a different layout. Also the proximity to the houses at the left of the photo, just above the airfield would say it is definitely not Woodbridge.

My thoughts are it is in Europe somewhere.

Atcham Tower
15th Mar 2010, 19:56
Certainly not Woodbridge. Looks like a typical Warsaw Pact field, perhaps in East Germany.

16th Mar 2010, 06:41
Looks like Slovakia to me.

16th Mar 2010, 11:53
Looks like Slovakia.

I do believe you could be right, certainly if style and layout of pans is anything to go by. Do a Google Earth search on Sliac, Slovakia. Just North of the town is a huge military air-base which may, just may, be the mystery airfield in an earlier life. See the unusual taxiway at the North end, and several other things. It's possible that the runway lengthening for the Migs made use of hardcore from the original hard standing, lower right. Then again - could be miles out :hmm: What we need is a proven aerial shot of Sliac prior to the mid fifties, when it was called Tri Duby. Quite a famous field.


16th Mar 2010, 22:13
The landscape isn't convincing me on that, the woods at the approach to the runway and the landscape on the left of the photo is different to what shows in google.

The runway orientation is wrong too.

I do think it is an eastern block airfield though.

IFPS man
16th Mar 2010, 22:34
How about RAF Carnaby, SW of Bridlington???

17th Mar 2010, 07:32
Good try, here's a photo.

The Airfields Of East Riding Of Yorkshire Carnaby (http://www.content-delivery.co.uk/aviation/airfields/Carnaby.html)

17th Mar 2010, 10:04
Definitely not Carnaby which, like Woodbridge and Manston, was developed with a triple width paved surface ie 450ft minimum.
In some ways, it resembles Greenham Common, but I don't think it's anywhere in the UK.

17th Mar 2010, 10:10
If not Slovakia then the Czech Republic maybe? I looked at nearly all the Slovak ones and none really fit that well. Sliac is so nearly there but the surrounding landscape doesn't quite fit.

A quick look into Czech airfields was promising but still no Bingo! effect. Dofrany nearly did though.

Saab Dastard
17th Mar 2010, 15:33
REF - do you have any information about the date of the photograph?


17th Mar 2010, 15:43
And while you're there, how do you know that "The runway orientation is wrong" - for Slias.

17th Mar 2010, 20:59
Sliac is 00/18 orientation.

The photo shows clearly summertime and clearly sunset or sunrise.

At 45 North (or so) Summer Sunset is North of West. Sunrise is North of East.

Clearly not a N/S orientation in the picture. I think much closer to directly E/W.

17th Mar 2010, 22:08
The photo shows clearly summertime and clearly sunset or sunrise.

Two too many clearly's in there for my liking. Clearly summertime? There's just as many leaves in late spring, early autumn. With shadows like that where do you get 'clearly' sunrise sunset?

17th Mar 2010, 22:38
Saab Dastard - no date on it I'm afraid. All I have to go on is the photo. There is a suggestion on AiX that it may be East Germany but again, no definite location yet. To be honest I have ruled out a UK location, I am fairly certain it is former Eastern Block / Soviet. I would have no idea if it is still active though.

17th Mar 2010, 22:43
Looking again at the photo, my copy isn't much bigger than what is posted but it looks like the threshold nearest the bottom is 06, which fits in with with what others have already said.

18th Mar 2010, 09:18
Greenham Common in the early days

18th Mar 2010, 11:50
Sorry to be really, really boring but the map in 'British Military Airfields of WWII' clearly matches the profile shown in the photograph for Woodbridge, so my money stays on it, although probably when first constructed and before the widening/lengthening took place. The surrounding countryside also matches a view towards the east.


18th Mar 2010, 12:03
Old-Duffer - the book you mention, is that the Willis & Hollis book? If so the plan in my copy for Woodbridge is different to the layout in the photo above. The taxiways are not right and it was originally built with the 450ft wide runway.

Here is an Aerial I took of Woodbridge last year;

fastjet45 - the early days of Greenham, it was built to a three runway layout before it closed and was re-built for the americans. Woodbridge when it was re built had a taxiway each side of the single main runway as well so I can't see it as being Greenham Common either.

I still think it is Mainland Europe somewhere!

18th Mar 2010, 13:48
Going back to the original picture..there appears to be a line feature (trees) running left to right across the landscape just beyond the far runway end. Any chance that's a road/rail cutting or just an optical illusion? Is the firebreak cut through the trees and seemingly aligned with the runway centreline just coincidence?

(edited to add: Just been browsing Google Earth and found a similar extended centreline firebreak at Golenow in Poland.....more evidence for Warpac airfield perhaps)

As you can tell I really have no idea but don't buy into either Woodbridge or Greenham.

18th Mar 2010, 14:47
Presumably you're referring to what is now Szczecin/Goleniow (runway 13/31 I think). Many airfields in forested areas have these 'firebreaks' on the runway centreline.

18th Mar 2010, 15:07
Yep that's the one, ( I blame Google for the misspelling).

I'd agree that many airfields have these firebreaks but don't recall any at the NATO European airfields being quite as extended - the one at Goleniow for example extends out over 2 km from the runway end. Probably a red herring - it still doesn't give us the answer.:(

barry lloyd
18th Mar 2010, 17:53
Interestingly (perhaps!) I was at Cosford today, and the very same picture is on a panel in the Refuel Cafe at the Museum.
It's a much clearer picture, and the runway orientation at the bottom of the photo appears to be 16.
Someone at Cosford must know about it, so it may be worth a call.

18th Mar 2010, 18:00
Eh? If it is 16 then it's in the Southern Hemisphere. Very unlikely I think.

barry lloyd
18th Mar 2010, 18:21
Eh? If it is 16 then it's in the Southern Hemisphere. Very unlikely I think.

Apologies - a typo - it was 06. That latte must have been stronger than I thought!
I agree that a 16 orientation on a single runway operation in the northern hemisphere would be unusual.

18th Mar 2010, 20:04
SE/NW aligned runways in the Europe aren't that uncommon, just from memory there's Birmingham and Toulouse for starters ( and I hasten to add I don't think it's either of those.........), Peenemunde's another.

18th Mar 2010, 20:14
Going on the Poland chain of thought, I have been bowsing google earth (again!!) and found Smardzko Airfield, 53°47'25.47"N, 15°49'35.49"E. The runway orientation is wrong but the layout is very similar to the unknown airfield.

Still know further with a location though!!

19th Mar 2010, 09:15
Bert Kondruß of Stuttgart runs a fascinating site - Cold War Air Bases (HERE) Military Airfield Directory (http://www.mil-airfields.de/index-en.htm)

I dropped Bert a line and his reply is -

Interesting game you are playing on pprune.org :-) But thanks for asking me! I don't have an idea, after studying it for 1 hour, but here are some of my thoughts, if you are interested:

- my first general impression of it was "Poland"
- but in several details it differs from typical Polish airfield layouts (even though I don't know too much about the 1950s/1960s)

There are some points looking unusual for an eastern bloc airfield:
- The parallel spoon-like parking pads. Yes, they had such parking pads, but these look different somehow. These here would more fit to the Netherlands (even though the rest of the picture doesn't.)

- The good visible runway markings (BTW: there is no rubber on the runway)
- There is no visible earth stopping area beyond the visible end of the runway

But there are other indicators that make the airfield look like an eastern block airfield:

- The large flightline
- The two parallel lanes next to the flightline, parallel to the parking pads. This is either of east block or even of old german origin (see examples Ahlhorn, Cheb or Strausberg)
- Right to the runway end at the bottom of the picture there are white areas at both sides of the taxiway. These could be the prepared position for the typical flood lights used for night operations (also interesting: the white rectangle between the runway and the flightline. Could be a helicopter landing area.
- The aisle through the forest on the opposite side.

Besides Poland, also I checked other countries, but without success: Czech, Bulgaria, Romania.

So my guess is:
- East Block: 75%
- Poland: 40%

Feel free to use this information in any way you like. You may also mention my name or mil-airfields, but you don't have to. Best regards from Stuttgart, Germany. Bert

23rd Mar 2010, 22:33
Thanks alot for posting that up forget, its really useful info. I've been away for a few days and will resume my search on google earth in the next few days. No body anywhere seems to know where this airfield is!!!

barry lloyd
26th Mar 2010, 11:50
I did contact the RAF Museum at Cosford (see previous posting), but no reply as yet...

Dan Winterland
26th Mar 2010, 15:12
IMHO, it's definately Eastern Bloc looking at the layout.

26th Mar 2010, 16:16
Thanks Barry, fingers crossed they will reply but from experience they do take their time!!

2nd Apr 2010, 08:11
This Airfield has now been identified over on the Key Publishing Aviation forums in the Historic Aviation section - I won't steal the thunder from Plough who identified it, but it is an impressive piece of detective work.

2nd Apr 2010, 08:29
Thank goodness for that. This thread has been driving me nuts. Well done to whoever Plough is.

2nd Apr 2010, 09:44
I hope plough does't mind but I thought I'd quote his reply on here;

I've had a very interesting few hours with this database (http://www.locationidentifiers.org/russia/)

I have found several airfields in the former Eastern Bloc which have a similar layout to that in the photograph, but after some hours of searching found this one which looks a very close match to me. What do the rest of you think :confused:




The aptly named Stupino Airfield, Russia.

Thanks alot for everyones help, it really was driving me up the wall and I did wonder if it was ever going to be identified!

2nd Apr 2010, 10:03
Definitely a Bingo!


2nd Apr 2010, 19:40
And judging by the fully leafed trees, summer (ish). Long shadows say early morning or late evening lead me to think its approx a 06/24 or 07/25 runway alignment.....

Corsairoz. 15th March. Spot on! :D

2nd Apr 2010, 19:47

Congratulations on a wonderful piece of research - well done.

2nd Apr 2010, 19:56
Thank heavens somebody sorted that out :D

barry lloyd
2nd Apr 2010, 20:05
Yes, congratulations all round, but stupido in my case, because I know I've been there. It's south of Moscow, and when I was there it was a MiG 29 base. Mind you, it was mid-winter and there was snow everywhere, so not instantly recognisable in normal weather!

28th Mar 2018, 07:03
I landed here in the 70th and I am now making a video of our xc flight.

28th Mar 2018, 15:07
Roughly where was it? South western USA I imagine...

Reminds me a little of Catalina though clearly not.

28th Mar 2018, 15:32
Roughly where was it? South western USA I imagine...

Reminds me a little of Catalina though clearly not.
I thought it could have been Sedona. I mean, it was in the early seventies that I landed there. I looked up Sedona couple of weeks ago and of course it looks different now.

28th Mar 2018, 16:20
It is Sedona - here's a similar view (https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Sedona,+AZ+86336,+USA/@34.8707514,-111.7606186,394a,35y,213.21h,76.47t/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x872da132f942b00d:0x5548c523fa6c8ef d!8m2!3d34.8697395!4d-111.7609896) on Google Maps!

Does look a bit more developed now!