Preventive archaeological surveys conducted on the outskirts of the village of Châtelet-sur-Retourne, on the southern edge of the Ardennes département in the Retourne Valley, half-way between Reims and Rethel, unearthed a large quantity of ruins: bunkers, munitions depots and a series of trenches indicating the former presence of buildings. These ruins and the objects found in and around them confirmed that this was the site of a WWI German air base.

Châtelet-sur-Retourne is known to have been the site of a major German military base during the Great War. An extract from the artillery map of Warmeriville dated 28th August 1918 confirms the presence of a substantial German military contingent in the area. This document indicates that Châtelet-sur-Retourne possessed a military hospital, various unidentified buildings and an airfield. It should also be noted that in 2001 archaeologists came across a large cache of munitions (almost 8000 shells) which required the evacuation of the village. The geographical position of the village, at a major railway intersection not far from the front, made it a key strategic point in the rear lines.