This day in history, Mt. Vesuvius enters the war 22 March 1944

Discussion in '340th BG' started by 25Kingman49, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    The 340BG, XII AF took the brunt of this assault by mother nature losing from 70 to 90 of their Mitchell's stationed at Pompeii Airfield located near Terzigno, Italy on the southeast flank of the volcano 4 miles from the caldera. Incredibly there were no fatal human causalities in the 340th as a result of this event. At the time of this volcanic activity the 340BG was under new command having lost Lt. Col. Charles D. Jones, shot down 10 March 1944, over the Littorio marshalling yards north of Rome, captured becoming a POW. Replacing Jones was Colonel Willis F. Chapman, who elected to stay put at Pompeii Field. His desire was to keep attacking the Nazis, and avoid tempting Luftwaffe night raiders by crowding nearby fields with his groups evacuated aircraft. Hind sight is always 20/20 but this was not a blink of the eye event, and for Col. Chapman to lose this many aircraft to an obvious threat seems grounds for a Court-Martial but no punitive action was taken as a result of Col. Chapman's inaction. In fact he actually excelled in the USAAF and USAF postwar http://apps.westpointaog.org/Memorials/Article/10305/ attaining the rank of Brigadier General, final resting here https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8778850

    Read more,
    http://57thbombwing.com/340th_History/340th_Diary/15_March1944.pdf
    http://www.warwingsart.com/12thAirForce/Vesuvius.html
    https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/benchmarks-march-17-1944-most-recent-eruption-mount-vesuvius
    http://www.historynet.com/first-mount-vesuvius-then-the-nazis.htm
    Plenty more photos https://www.fold3.com/search/#query=Mt+Vesuvius&ocr=1&offset=120&t=495

    Arial view of Vesuvius eruption
    [1] Mt_Vesuvius_Erupting.jpg

    Aftermath of eruption at Pompeii Airfield and 340th Mitchell's
    [2] 340BG Mt. Vesuvius.jpg

    340BG aircraft recovery and salvage begins by the 19th Service Group
    [3] 340BG, B-25 salvage begins.jpg

    Recovery continues by the 1st, 324th, 303rd Service Squadrons, 19thSG
    [4}324th Service Group recover 340BG, B-25.jpg

    Recovery continues
    [5] 340BG aircraft salvaged by 19th Service Group.jpg

    Off to the recovery and repair area
    [6] Tractors tow 340BG, B-25s to salvage area.jpg

    Col. Limburner, C.O. 19th Service Group thanks his men for the recovery and repair of the 340th Mitchell's making many airworthy again
    [8] Col. Limburner, C.O. 19th Service Group commends men.jpg
    [9] Col. Limburner, C.O. 19th Service Group thanks men.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    Bomber Command and Airwar like this.
  2. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Thanks Scott for the story and the pictures
     

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