Beginning in 1942, Penzing Fliegerhorst became an industrial base. From 1942 to 1944, the Dornier aircraft firm operated a flight test center there. Other units assigned to the base were the Aero Medical Research Institute and the Messerschmitt Aircraft Works Experimental and Maintenance Section. In 1944 the Edelweissgeschwader returned with Me 262s and they remained until later in the year. In the waning days of the war most of Germany’s best radar technicians were sent to Penzing Flegerhorst.
Because of all this activity, the air base received almost daily attention from Allied tactical aircraft and suffered severe bomb damage from four B-17 raids (18 March and 24 April 1944, and 16 February and 9 April 1945; additionally, a small force of 6 bombers hit the air field as a secondary target on 21 April 1945). What the Allies didn’t destroy was taken care of by the German Army, who blasted the runways and other facilities as they retreated in 1945.
Units of the U.S. Army’s 12th Armored Division occupied the base on 28 April 1945 (Mussolini was shot that same day and Hitler committed suicide two days later) and renamed it Landsberg Air Ammunition Depot. Company “C” of the 843rd Engineer Aviation Battalion started rehabilitation of the base. A high priority was assigned to runway repair to make the airfield operational again. When the runway was completed, an Air Depot Group moved in and began repairing buildings for living quarters, mess facilities, and so forth. The personnel moved from their tents into the rebuilt quarters as they were completed.
In January 1946 the 862nd Engineer Aviation Battalion arrived to complete the repair of facilities. For security, the first military police platoon was formed here as an interior guard outfit known as the 1953rd Engineer Aviation Company. For a while Landsberg was also the home of an Army redeployment depot.
On 22 March 1946 “The Observer,” first base newspaper, made its initial appearance and by May the first group of dependents had arrived.
Social activities slowly built up, as did recreational activities. By February 1947, the dependent wives had organized a women’s club. The first enlisted men’s club, located in a former mess hall, had been opened two months earlier.
Only four 16mm movies weekly (with an average of 500 people attending each performance) were available until volunteers began conversion of a badly-damaged building to house a theater (later known as the Amerikino) in January 1947. When completed, 35mm films became available.
From the time the base was designated as Landsberg Air Ammunition Depot in April 1945 until it was redesignated Landsberg Air Base (LAB) in 1949, improvements advanced at a high pitch. They then eased off in intensity, as most of the groundwork had been laid. LAB was relieved from the jurisdiction of Erding Air Depot and placed under the 2nd Air Division, whose headquarters was moved from Wiesbaden to LAB on 10 June 1948. Second Air Division’s mission was to organize, equip, and train all United States Air Forces in Europe units, assigned or attached.
In the early 1950s new units continued to be formed at LAB. On 1 May 1950 the 7280th Air Base Group was reorganized under the designation of the 7030th Headquarters Support Group. Twelfth Air Force was activated 21 January 1951 and established it headquarters at LAB. Second Air Division was discontinued on 7 May 1951, but on 2 April 1952 the 4th Allied Tactical Air Force was formed at LAB, with the 12th Air Force commander heading both organizations.
In January 1953 the 7351st Air Base Squadron was activated, with Lieutenant Colonel Glenn B. Riggle commanding. On 27 April 1953 Headquarters 12th Air Force moved to Ramstein, taking the 4th ATAF and the 7030th Headquarters Support Group with it. The 7351st Air Base Squadron assumed operational control of LAB on 1 July 1953.