57th BW Mt. Vesuvius and the B-25 Mitchells
One of the most important roles in the Mediterranean theater campaigns was played in aerial warfare by the 57th. Bomb Wing, A command composed of B-25 Mitchell medium bomber. Some of which began their combat history as early as the first landings in North Africa in November 1942. Since that time, the B-25's have participated in every major campaign from Tunisia to the final drive.
A two week long eruption of Mt Vesuvius volcano began on 18th March 1944 with a lava flow from the summit crater. Eruptions changed to explosive activity on 21st March with eight lava fountains. The lava fountains increased with time, and the last one on 22nd March was the most intense, reaching heights of 1000 m. A transition to mixed magmatic–phreatomagmatic activity was marked by emissions of ash columns. The final phase of activity at Vesuvius began on 23rd March with vulcanian activity and nuées ardentes. The eruption finished on 29th march 1944. This ended nearly 300 years of semi persistent activity of Vesuvius.
A shallow and deep magma reservoir was involved in the 1944 eruption of Mt Vesuvius volcano; depths of less than 3 km deep and 11-22 km. The shallow reservoir feeding the 1944 eruption was completely emptied and collapsed during the final phases of the eruption. The eruptions in 1944 and 1906 were similar in terms of rock compositions, eruptive style, and erupted volumes.
The last major eruption was in March 1944. It destroyed the villages of San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, and part of San Giorgio a Cremano. From 6 January to 23 February 1944, lava flows appeared within the rim. There were outflows. The activity paused on 23 February, resuming on 13 March. Small explosions then occurred until the major explosion took place on 18 March 1944.
At the time of the eruption, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) 340th Bombardment Group was based at Pompeii Airfield near Terzigno, Italy, just a few kilometers from the eastern base of the mountain. The tephra and hot ash damaged the fabric control surfaces, the engines, the Plexiglass windshields and the gun turrets of the 340th's B-25 Mitchell medium bombers. Estimates ranged from 78 to 88 aircraft destroyed.
The eruption could be seen from Naples. Different perspectives and the damage caused to the local villages were recorded by USAAF photographers and other personnel based nearer to the volcano.
Owner: Barbi Ennis Connolly
Size: 43 items