Nine Thousand Miles of Concrete: A Review of Second World War Temporary Airfields in England

Author(s): Paul Francis, Richard Flagg, Graham Crisp

This is a review of the legacy of changing military airfield design and massive construction during the Second World War that served British, Commonwealth and American USAAF military aviation. By 1945, the combined length of the runways was said to have been the equivalent of a "9,000-mile-long, 30-foot-wide road from London to Peking". According to the contemporary journal Aeroplane, Britain in 1945 was like "one vast aircraft carrier moored off the north-west coast of Europe". In order to meet the accelerated needs and tactics of the war whilst saving resources as much as possible, construction moved away from the non-dispersed Neo-Georgian style buildings of the pre-war years to more functional dispersed buildings and structures that were austere and originally intended to only last for the duration the war. The Airfield Research Group were commissioned to carry out the research.

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