Kessel

Validation date: 23 12 2014
Updated on: Never
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51°48'48"N 005°24'28"E

Runway: 02/20 - 1200x200m - grass

Kessel airfield (also known as Ausweichplatz Kessel or Schattenplatz Kessel) was an airfield on the floodplains of the Meuse River, 70 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam. It had been a designated emergency landing field of the Netherlands Aviation Brigade before the war, but it were the Germans who turned it into a genuine airfield.
Beacuse of the growing threat of Allied air power in the skies over Western Europe, the German occupation forces built shadow airfields near Kessel, Boxmeer, Keent en De Rips to support their Fliegerhorst at Volkel. In April 1944 the banks of the Meuse were scouted and soon after a grass runway was laid out. A commandeered house served the Luftwaffe as a communications center and for storage. Fuel was stored in the Kessel elementary school. As a result of the Allied invasion and subsequent advances of the Allied armies, the fuel depots were never completed. 


contemporary map of the area overlaid with a hand drawn map of the resistance. Translation:
- Opstelplaats vliegtuigen:  Aircraft parking area
- Startbaan: Runway
- Flakstelling in aanbouw: Flak battery under construction
- Telefooncentrale; Telephone exchange
(BHIC)


In July 1944 six or seven Junkers Ju 88 were stationed at the airfield by day, prepared to operate from Volkel by night. Hidden under camouflage netting, the aircraft were parked against the river dikes on the south side, returning to Volkel every evening. A staff of 15 took care of security, ATC, communications and firewatch. They did not stay at the airfield, but were brought in from Volkel every day. 
The Kessel dispersal field was abandoned on 9 August 1944. Although the resistance had pointed out it's existence to the Allies, the latter never used it.

The airfield does not exist anymore. The entire field was dug out for clay and gravel during the second half of the 20th century. It is now a recreational lake with a marina.
(translated from BHIC)