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Thread: Underground Hangars To protect war planes

  1. #1
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    Underground Hangars To protect war planes

    Hi All,

    Anyone have any pictures or information on Underground Hangars ? I believe there are four at Manston in Kent (WW1) R.AF.Type 'G' Aircraft Hangar ? 1936 Design. And where they might be contructed. I believe some were of American design with 5ft thick Detonating slabs to explode incoming shells, buried at approx 10-15ft below surface, They were built in Europe for Fighter plane protection in the event of War, 1936 onwards.

    M.

  2. #2
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    I heard that there was/is something underground at West Malling.

    Are these the same?

    Wicked Willip :diablo:

  3. #3
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    Undergound Hangars

    Here is a design picture of the two types Constructed in Europe, any pictures of West Malling ?

    M
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    I have a vague recollection (quite usual nowadays!) of seeing a photograph - probably in the 1970s - of underground hangars - built into the hillside - in a Scandinavian country, which were adjacent to a straight stretch of motorway, which were used/useable for dispersal purposes. Is my memory playing tricks on me or do other have a similar recollection?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizzo View Post
    Here is a design picture of the two types Constructed in Europe, any pictures of West Malling ?
    M
    What about the third type shown on this 1937 ad?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
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    Isn't there photos on here somewhere of some underground hangars in Albania (or somewhere in that area) with Migs in them.

    Or you could try bunkerbernie - he knows the location of some in Oz apparently.

    Cheers Paul
    Facebook: Aussie Cockpits
    www.ozcockpits.com.au

  7. #7
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    There was an old thread about underground hangars
    http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=21093

  8. #8
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    Undergound Hangars

    There is information on the net about the MIG Tunnels in Albania, they are post War and built into sides of the Mountain, now a Museum I believe.

    The Third type was not constructed in Europe and consists of a disguised farmhouse, with airlocks and a aircraft elevator system, this was mainly used for aircraft repairs in the US. In some cases catapults were used to launch the planes from the surface openings of the Hangars, returning planes were towed from a nearby landing field to be hidden, a winch system lowered the aircraft down the 40 degree slopes, possibly a tunnel system for entry of personnel. I suspect the R.A.F may have adopted this system at A.S.U sites in the UK (Aircraft Storage Units) Someone must know..

    Still anyone seen a Type 'G' Hangar ? Listed in Defence Estates Document 'WW2 Hangar Identification Guidebook' Technical Bulletin 02/02 Defence Estates Drawing DE/H1/100/440 - DE/HE/100/441, Earth covered semi undergound Hangar suitable for Fighter Aircraft. Type 'G' is clearly listed there but according to D.E none were constructed ?

    M.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by avion ancien View Post
    I have a vague recollection (quite usual nowadays!) of seeing a photograph - probably in the 1970s - of underground hangars - built into the hillside - in a Scandinavian country, which were adjacent to a straight stretch of motorway, which were used/useable for dispersal purposes. Is my memory playing tricks on me or do other have a similar recollection?
    Could you be thinking of the Swiss Mountain hangers?

    Ex-RAF & Custodian of Hawker Hunter XF382 @ MAM
    Volunteer with The Events Team

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunterxf382 View Post
    Could you be thinking of the Swiss Mountain hangers?
    Now you mention it, yes that could be it!

  11. #11
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    Have you tried asking this question over on Airfield Information Exchange http://airfieldinformationexchange.f...t894.html#4552 ?
    I've never heard of them in the UK, however Type G dosen't generally show up on hanger lists, I haven't even seen them listed on the official MoD DE lists, do you have a link to it?

  12. #12
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    Undergound Hangars

    http://www.defence-estates.mod.uk/pu...s/tb_02-02.pdf

    Here is the link ! last page.

    I have the drawing here of the Hangars ! Im baffled....

    M.

  13. #13
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    Strange I can see the G type listed on last page but can't open the drawings link!
    I do recommend trying AIX for info though, some real airfield experts there.

  14. #14
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    I shall (as I do once or twice a week) tomorrow be giving a guided tour to visitors in the Aeroseum, an underground hangar near Gothenburg the size of 3 football pitches and containing such aircraft as Viggens and Drakens. Is this the only museum that permits people to sit in Draken and Viggen cockpits?
    It was completed in 1955 and initially used to house a squadron of J 39 Tunnans, later Hawker Hunters.
    It is located on the far side of Gothenburg City airport (Säve) to which Ryanair flies from Stansted and Prestwick.
    We are mounting a major air show at Säve on 30-31 August, which will have Swedish Air Force participation (including the Gripen); see the Aeroseum web site, which I have now translated into English.
    (Shameless plug)
    "Aviation is a useless and expensive fad advocated by a few individuals whose ideas are unworthy of attention."
    Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir W. G. Nicholson

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Lima View Post
    I shall (as I do once or twice a week) tomorrow be giving a guided tour to visitors in the Aeroseum, an underground hangar near Gothenburg the size of 3 football pitches and containing such aircraft as Viggens and Drakens. Is this the only museum that permits people to sit in Draken and Viggen cockpits?
    It was completed in 1955 and initially used to house a squadron of J 39 Tunnans, later Hawker Hunters.
    It is located on the far side of Gothenburg City airport (Säve) to which Ryanair flies from Stansted and Prestwick.
    We are mounting a major air show at Säve on 30-31 August, which will have Swedish Air Force participation (including the Gripen); see the Aeroseum web site, which I have now translated into English.
    (Shameless plug)
    So maybe my original recollection was not so vague as I thought! It looks as if there is life in the old dog yet!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizzo View Post
    Here is a design picture of the two types Constructed in Europe, any pictures of West Malling ?

    M
    No pictures or positive information unfortunately.

    Our daughter brought home a new boyfriend a few years ago, whom we only met the once but we understood he was a dog handler, who was going on night duty at West Malling to patrol some kind of underground chambers or series of tunnels.

    The indication was that this was for members of the government to decamp to in the event of an attack against the country.

    Likely story or purely flight of fancy James Bond stuff?

    Wicked Willip :diablo:

  17. #17
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    try this website..
    http://www.subbrit.org.uk/

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    I doubt many of these types of ‘hardened’ hangars were seriously contemplated pre-war, especially in Britain.

    Yes, these vast underground structures would offer fantastic protection but at huge cost, a cost far greater than the aircraft that they were intended to protect. During the Battle-of-Britain at least, the numbers of aircraft destroyed on the ground was quite limited and when aircraft were destroyed in this way the most valuable part, the pilot, usually survived.

    Post-war when anti-airfield weapons had improved, when aircraft were far more expensive and far fewer in number there does seem to have been a trend for elaborate hardened facilities, especially where a nation’s strategies (and terrain) favoured them.

    Stories of ‘vast underground bunkers’ seem to exist wherever there are military sites.
    WA$.

  19. #19
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    Pagen

    Try this link for the drawings

    http://www.defence-estates.mod.uk/pu...02drawings.php
    Last edited by Thunderbird167; 4th August 2008 at 10:15.
    Dave Charles
    Historian 607 (County of Durham) Squadron

  20. #20
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    Undergound Hangars

    So why would they appear on DE drawings and documents and No-one has ever seen one ? Why have they only got doors on the front ? because they are underground for deep long term storage, The information I have suggests three were built at least, slopes down to the doors, they are now in fact completely invisible as the ramps down were filled in with soil in 1953. A Very reliable source. Ex R.A.F.

    Have the wheabouts been lost over time ?? Possible....

    M.

  21. #21
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    Haven’t you misinterpreted the DE drawings of the Type G hangar?

    To me it seems clear that these hangars are certainly not designed to be built underground. Sure they are ‘hardened’ with earth revetments to the sides (and rear?) and have armoured doors but there is no evidence whatsoever of a ramp ‘down’ to the hangar or any deep covering of earth over the top.

    The only way you could ‘bury’ one of these hangars would be under a hill.

    Also, what do you think was (or is?) in ‘deep long term storage’?
    WA$.

  22. #22
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    Undergound Hangars

    They 'G' Type hangars were semi underground at time of construction ! 2 thirds underground, when the Grass runways were removed in the 50s to construct a new concrete runway topsoil was spread to cover the area, the slopes were filled and even a long stretch of peritrack the entire length of the runway was backfilled, Aerial pictures confirm this. Cocooned Fighters were placed inside, 1 week before the ground was levelled. The Aircraft were covered in Spraylat cocooning material and fully inhibited, apparently brand new. I wonder if they are still there ? I am attempting to gain access to the site to enable a Ground Radar survey to see, long process though, but worth a go..you never know until you look..Spitfires Spitfires Spitfires

    May be crazy but lets see, gaining permission is extreamely difficult though anyone got a good connection in DE ?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizzo View Post
    Cocooned Fighters were placed inside, 1 week before the ground was levelled.
    For what purpose?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizzo View Post
    The Aircraft were covered in Spraylat cocooning material and fully inhibited, apparently brand new. I wonder if they are still there?
    Spraylat...on Spitfires...in the mid-fifties! Are you quite sure about that? :diablo:
    WA$.

  24. #24
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    Undergound Hangars

    100% Sure ! They were cocooning in 1953 at this site. 73 in fact !

    M

  25. #25
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    So just so I’ve got this correct...

    You are 100% sure that seventy-three (73!) brand-new Spitfires, inhibited and covered in Spraylat were put in ‘secret’ Type-G hangers a week before those hangars were buried in 1953. You have photographic evidence that this occurred but now the whereabouts of these hangars have been ‘forgotten’ and you are hoping to find them with radar which you surely will given the amount of steel and concrete in their construction.

    Your ‘reliable’ ex-RAF contact didn’t tell you this on the anniversary of the creation of the RAF did he? :diablo:
    WA$.

  26. #26
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    Underground Hangars

    Yes your 100% Correct, apart from one of the EX R.A.F informants told me about 4 Years ago and it took six months to find the other people involved in putting the planes in, he saw an article about Ray Holmes and the discovery of his plane and contacted me. All I am aiming at doing at present is a GPR Survey on the site to determine that the 3 Structures are still there and possible condition of them, the Aerial photograph clearly shows a buried perimeter track the full length of the runway at a slight angle and bulldozer marks around where the Hangars are or were. There is a raised area about 400 feet in length and some 150 feet wide and a perimetre track now passes over them. If the 73 Spitfires are still inside then they will be R.A.F property, I would imagion that they would have suffered from electrolosis damage (excuse spelling if incorrect) probably water damage, previous abandened underground areas discovered have been. This project has been underway for four years and the next step in to gain access to the the site. I need someone in DE who would be interested in taking this further ! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    M.

  27. #27
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    I hope you’re right, I really do, but you’ll have to excuse me if I remain sceptical.....anyway that won’t be any skin off your nose!

    There are some rather expert people who post here but I think you’ll have trouble convincing them too. Good luck!
    WA$.

  28. #28
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    Talking Undergound Hangars

    Sorry I forgot to mention Nitrogen Gas was pumped in also, then the doors sealed.

    I will post a couple of Aerial Pictures later if you wish to view them yourself.

    M.

  29. #29
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    i dought there are 70 odd spitfires buried in a bunker that has been forgotten however i would love 2 be wrong!

    imagen how long the bbmf could be kept going with all those spares!

  30. #30
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    Smile Undergound Hangars

    Interesting ! First picture buried Peri Track which leads directly off Runway perimetre track, 2nd Picture Area where the Hangars are or were located. I would love to Keep the BBMF going for the next 100 years with that lot if they are indeed still there. Be nice to at least preserve the structures should they survive.

    M.
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