Jump to Navigation

National and State Registers of Historic Places

Norden Bombsight Storage Vaults

Picture of property 305 Flint Road
Pratt (Pratt County)
Listed in National Register Sep 25, 2012

Architect: US Army Corps of Engineers
Category: air-related
Thematic Nomination: World War II-Era Aviation-Related Resources of Kansas

The Norden Bombsight Storage Vaults located at Pratt Army Airfield were built between 1942 and 1943 and provided a secure space to store, maintain, and issue the Norden Bombsights, which were classified as secret during most of World War II. Developed in the 1920s by American engineer Carl L. Norden for the US Navy, these instruments were key in conducting precision strategic bombings during the war. Pratt AAF's original mission was to process crews for overseas service with the 21st Bombardment Wing formed under the Second Air Force. In 1943, the field was re-assigned the mission of providing expedited training to the B-29 combat training program, becoming a base and temporary home for bombardment groups headed overseas. Under this new mission, the base expanded its physical plant and number of personnel. The first two-vault building was built to support a squadron with 12 aircraft, and when the mission was changed to support a bomb group of four squadrons, the second five-vault building was erected. Although the historic integrity of the surrounding airfield has diminished with the construction of modern warehouses to adapt to changing uses, these vaults are an important remnant of the broader air defense strategy during World War II.

New Search