During WWII the German Luftwaffe first used Fliegerhorst Volkel as an alternate aerodrome for night operations at Eindhoven and Gilze Rijen. In August 1943 Volkel was upgraded by hardening the runways and infrastructure and went into more permanent flying operations.
On 17 september 1944 operation Market Garden commenced. Volkel was bombed heavily by the Allied air forces, as you can see in the photo to the left.
After capture by Allied ground forces, Volkel was used as an airfield by the RAF and RCAF until September 1945.
After the departure of the RAF and RCAF from Volkel the airfield was left to Mother Nature with no military activities. Not until 1946.
In the last months of 1946 Volkel became a training centre for the Royal Dutch Marines.These Marines were being trained for operations in the former Dutch East Indies.
The First Tactical Air Base
In 1951 Volkel was an air base once again and was designated as the first tactical air base in the Netherlands. Between 1951 and 1952 four flying squadrons saw the light of day, 311 Sqn, 312 Sqn, 327 Sqn and 328 Sqn. The two latter were deployed to other air bases. In 1952 313 Sqn was established and 1953 saw the birth of the 306 photorecon squadron.
Fighter aircraft types at Volkel
1952 - 1962: Republic F-84E Thunderjet, the Lockheed T-33 T-Bird ,the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and the Republic RF-84F Thunderflash (306).
In 1965 the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter and for 306 the Lockheed RF-104 and for training purposes one sqn with the dual seat Lockheed TF-104
1982 saw the introduction of the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. Because of the multi purpose tasking and abilities of the Viper a photo recon designated airframe for 306 was no longer needed.
Security became more and more importand and in the 1970's Volkel saw the construction of hardend a/c shelters and command bunkers.
F-35 in the Netherlands
In 2019 the first F-35, Lightning II arrived in the Netherlands. This 5th generation fighter will replace the F-16