Longboat Key in Manatee County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
World War II Bombing Range
During the war years of the 1940s, the Army Air Corps had bombing targets set up near here and pilots in training from many bases in Florida took turns shooting at targets set up near the beach. Later on, they tried skip bombing techniques and unfortunately lost many pilots in the Gulf of Mexico when the planes failed to pull up in time. Shopping became a problem for the families at the north end of the Key since the road on Longboat Key was blocked during target practice and there was no bridge at the north end until 1958.
Beachcombers occasionally find 50-calibre shell casings, and in 1985 a World War II P-40 airplane canopy was washed ashore.
Erected by Town of Longboat Key and Longboat Key Historical Society.
Location. 27° 23.51′ N, 82° 38.551′ W. Marker is in Longboat Key, Florida, in Manatee County. Marker is on Gulf of Mexico Drive (Road 789) 0.2 miles south of Sutton Place, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located in front of a water treatment facility building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4250 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key FL 34228, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Corey's Landing and Farming Community Whitfield Estates on Sarasota Bay (approx. 4.4 miles away); Indian Beach (approx. 5.6 miles away); The Village of Cortez (approx. 5.8 miles away); Whitaker Family/Gateway 2000 Executive Committee (approx. 6.4 miles away); The Twin Motel and Tourism (approx. 6.4 miles away); The Circle at St. Armands (approx. 6.4 miles away); Harding Circle Historic District (approx. 6.5 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. Sarasota County's Bombing Ranges in WWII.
Gunnery, firing and bombing ranges were established in remote sections of Sarasota County and on Longboat Key. Sarasota County also had two U.S. Army air bases established, one located where the present Sarasota-Bradenton Airport is and the present Venice Municipal Airport. The training was dangerous and accidents occurred. In 1943 alone, two planes crashed into Longboat Key, killing three pilots and two pilots were killed in a mid-air collision over the key. (Submitted on December 7, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
2. World War II Bombing Range on Longboat Key.
One aspect of Longboat Key's heritage that is not so well known is the part it played as a military installation during World War II. For a period of time during the war, a mile-long segment near the center of the key was closed to traffic for a number of hours each day so that airplanes could strafe targets. (Submitted on December 7, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Air & Space • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 7, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 457 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 7, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.