Building 1301, Dover Air Force Base is a single- story, World War II era aircraft hanger and support facility located in Dover, Delaware. Built in 1944 as an experimental station, it is one of the few remaining buildings that have survived from the early years of the Dover Air Force Base (AFB). Building 1301 was constructed during World War II when Dover AFB was used to test and develop rocket-equipped fighters for use in warfare. The facilities constructed for the 4146th Base Unit at Dover consisted of this experimental station (hangar, power plant and shop) as well as an administrative building, barracks area, ammunition magazine and a range area.
Building 1301 consists of three connected sections--hanger, heating plant and shop. The hangar is visible from much of the Air Base, it is much larger than the other two sections, measuring 155 feet wide and 160 feet deep. The curved roof with no internal columns provides a clear height of 42 feet. The hangar was constructed with seven-inch thick, reinforced concrete slab. Aside from the bulk of the hangar, one of the principle architectural features of the building is the set of main hangar doors at each end. The doors consist of a wooden superstructure and a set of sliding doors that provide a clear opening of 28 feet when open and form a solid surface when closed. The interior of the hangar is a vast open space. Attached to the north side of the hangar is the power plant, which was designed as part of the hangar complex. It is a two-story, gable-front cinder-block building. North of the power plant is the shop, connected to the hangar by a long, narrow corridor that forms part of the east wall of the power plant. The shop is a rectangular, wood-frame, single-story, gable-roofed building.
The 4146th also practiced with rockets later used against the Germans with great success. The work in air-launched rockets conducted by the 4146th Base Unit was the beginning of a new type of air combat experience for American pilots and for combat pilots around the world. Inexpensive and efficient rockets made it easier for smaller combat aircraft such as the early jets of the Korean Conflict to move against ground targets that would not have been accessible to traditional bombers. Also, the use of air-launched rockets in aerial combat meant that aircraft could stand off from each other during the engagement and fire at each other using electronic means to lock onto the target instead of using close visual sightings.
Building 1301, Dover Air Force Base is located at 1301 Heritage Rd. in Dover, Delaware, and is now the Air Mobility Command Museum. The entrance to the museum is located south of Dover Air Force Base off DE Rte. 9, one half mile from its intersection U.S. Rte. 113. It is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Please call 302-677-5938 or visit the museum's website for further information.
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