History of Vaerloese Airport | Historien om Flyvestation Værløse


Punchboard

Photos and history by Mark Dyson:

ABOVE

Punchboard was the name of the B-17 forced to make an emergency landing at Værløse Airbase occupied by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. All members of the aircrew were interned.

BELOW

The three V’s carved into these granite stones placed on the northern slopes overlooking the airbase were carved by the occupying German forces to represent Hitlers V for Vengeance (Vergeltung) as we know from the V-1 and V-2 V-weapons, known in the original German as Vergeltungswaffen

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BELOW

The remains of German Luftwaffe officers mess from the airbase during the occupation era. Built in 1941-42 just south of the airbase overlooking Søndersø lake, the quarters feature the inscriptions made by the builders from unit 103/III whose unit identification is inscribed into the outside south-facing walls.

After the occupatiuon and during the cold war the building was used for hand-to-hand combat training and was known as ‘closecombat house’ (nærkamphuset). The rotting roof was removed in the beginning og the 90’s

The landscaping around the personnel quarters used to hide and camouflage tanks under netting is still intact to this day.

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HISTORY
The Pre-war years

A camp for army recruits was established at the site in 1910. The North Camp (Nordlejren) at Værløse was built in 1912-13. The air field was built in 1934. Over the next few years, hangars and facilities for five squadrons were built. The first of these was a command squadron for the air wing. It was followed by a fighter squadron and a reconnaissance squadron of each of two army divisions.

World War II

The Fokker C.V reconnaissance aircraft and Fokker D.XXI fighters stationed at the air base were tasked with the defense of Copenhagen but many of them were not combat ready when Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany since their locally produced machine guns had not yet been installed. At 05:25 am on 9 April 1940, the air base was attacked by Messerschmitt Bf 110 aircraft of the German Luftwaffe. During the attack, which came in five waves and only lasted about 45 minutes, almost all of the Danish aircraft were destroyed. A reconnaissance aircraft which had just taken off was shot down, killing its crew. The Germans were only aiming for aircraft, leaving the air base infrastructure intact for their own later use. The airfield was used by the German Luftwaffe during the rest of the war, stationing several units there. It was also used for captured Allied aircraft, such as a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress of the United States Army Air Forces in 1944 called ‘Punchboard’.

Towards the end of the war, as the German Eastern Front began to collapse, flights with refugees from East Prussia and the Baltic states began coming to the airfield. At the time of the capitulation, 131 aircraft had accumulated at the base. Immediately after the war, the airfield served as a refugee camp.

Post-war history

The Danish army returned in early 1946. A Flight Mechanics School opened at the base in March 1947.

The Royal Danish Air Force was founded in October 1950 through the merger of Royal Danish Army Air Corps and the Royal Danish Naval Air Services. In January 1951 Værlose became the home of the Danish Air Command (Flyvertaktisk Kommando)and Eastern Command. It also became home to the Royal Danish Air Force Officers School and the Air Force Sergeant and Reserve Officer School. Eskadrille 722, a light transport squadron, was also formed at the base. When it was transformed into a SAR unit, a station flight was established for minor transport duies.

In 1952, a planned upgrade of the runways to handle jet aircraft resulted in a lot of controversy in the Danish media. Copenhagen municipality supported the local parish council since area would stretch all the way to Søndersø Waterworks, which had just been refurbished for many millions. It was proposed to move the air base to the north of Zealand, but the Ministry of Defense deemed it too expensive to move the air base. The new, NATO standard runway was completed in late 1953. Eastern Command moved to Karup after being merged with Western Command in 1955. It was replaced by the Training Command at Vaerlose.

Eskadrille 721 arrived at the airfield in May 1956. In 1974 and 1975 the airfield received another update. A new hangar and 12 concrete shelters were also built in relation with NATOs rapid response plan. A new control tower and a passenger terminal and operations bunker completed the update.

Most of Værløse Air Base was closed down on 1 April 2004. The last flying units moved to Karup, Aalborg and Skalstrup.

Redevelopment

In 2013, the Danish Culture Agency took over most of the North Camp, including two large hangars which will be used for exhibitions and other cultural activities. The Danish Nature Agency took over the central green spaces. The South Camp will be redeveloped into a mixed-use neighbourhood by Freja Ejendomme in collaboration with Furesø municipality.