AERODROME - VILANI
- 1941 - 1944 (German Occupation) - (Luftwaffe units based in Vilani during the German occupation)
- A correspondent recently contacted me regarding this airfield with the following information:
"I have a relative (my father-in-law's mother) who was a young girl at the time. She remembers participating in the
construction of the airfield. It can't have been just for temporary forward field use because they did extensive
digging with the help of Latvian women and children."
Later, after visiting the site, he had this to add:
Originally the military airfield in Vilani was constructed by the Soviet forces in 1940 on a field between the
villages Taukuli (with several properties belonging to the Latvian family Bondar) and Antoniski, about 1.5 km south of the
Vilani-Rezekne road. In 1941 German forces arrived (in the first weeks of July 1941) and began operating the
airfield; the German staff was housed in houses in Antonishki along with the local inhabitants. The airfield was used
all the time during the German occupation, and with a considerable number of machines (unfortunately my source is
not able to describe types of aircrafts).
The area between Rezekne and Vilani was lost by the Germans during the autumn of 1944 as the Soviet advance
continued. When the Germans withdrew from the Vilani airfield they destroyed it with plows. However with the
arrival of Soviet troops the field was restored through forced labour from surrounding villages, and operated for a
couple of years thereafter.
The local historical museum in Vilani mistakenly points to the former aerodrome at Ornicanu north of Vilani as the
site of the WWII airfield, but this is incorrect. The Ornicanu field was constructed much later, for agricultural purposes."
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