World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pompeii Airfield

Article Id: WHEBN0024034547
Reproduction Date:

Title: Pompeii Airfield  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 340th Flying Training Group, Termini Airfield, Dar el Koudia Airfield, Nettuno Airfield, Pignataro Maggiore Airfield
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pompeii Airfield

Pompeii Airfield
Part of Twelfth Air Force
An unidentified B-25C Mitchell of the 340th Bombardment Group, damaged after the March 18, 1944 Mount Vesuvius eruption. The volcano erupted, showering nearby airfields with tons of hot volcanic ash and brimstone and severely damaged a significant number of Allied aircraft. Aside from losing many of its B-25s, the group also suffered significant damage to its maintenance and accommodation facilities.
Coordinates (Approximate)
Type Military airfield
Site information
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces
Site history
Built 1943
In use 1943-1944
Pompeii Airfield is located in Italy
Pompeii Airfield
Pompeii Airfield
Location of Pompeii Airfield, Italy

Pompeii Airfield is an abandoned World War II military airfield in Italy, located approximately 1 km south of Terzigno, a few kilometers east of the base of Mount Vesuvius, and approximately 20 km east-southeast of Naples.

The airfield was an all-weather temporary field built by the XII Engineering Command of the United States Army Twelfth Air Force using a graded earth compacted surface with a prefabricated hessian (burlap) surfacing known as PHS. PHS was made of an asphalt-impregnated jute which was rolled out over the compacted surface over a square mesh track (SMT) grid of wire joined in 3-inch squares. Pierced Steel Planking was also used for parking areas and dispersal sites when it was available. Dumps for supplies, bombs, ammunition, gasoline drums, drinking water, and an electrical grid for communications and lighting were also constructed. Tents were used for billeting and support facilities, and an access road was built to connect the airfield facilities with existing roads.

The Twelfth's 340th Bombardment Group with their North American B-25 Mitchell medium bombers occupied the airfield on January 2, 1944. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in March 1944, the B-25s were covered with hot ash that burned the fabric control surfaces, glazed, melted, or cracked the Plexiglas, and even tipped some B-25s onto their tails from the weight of the ash and tephra. The eruption destroyed the base and nearly all of the 340th's planes. Estimates vary from 70-90 aircraft. No lives were lost at Pompeii Airfield and the only casualties in the 340th were a sprained wrist and a few cuts, but the effects of the volcano on the aircraft proved insurmountable despite a major effort by the 12th Air Force to repair and salvage the damaged planes.[1][2] The airfield was dismantled and the 340th relocated to Paestum Airfield on March 23, 1944.

Now overgrown with vegetation, Pompeii Airfield's main runway can still be detected in aerial photographs.


  1. ^ Casper, Jack and Ver Keljik, Eds., 489th Bomb Squadron, 1947.
  2. ^


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.