The effect of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on aviation in Europe is on many minds at the moment, but it isn't the first time that a volcano has had an effect on European aviation. Italy's Mount Vesuvius also took aim at aviation in Europe. Not during the famous eruption of 79 AD, of course, but during the primary explosive phase of its most recent eruption in 1944. Up to 88 B-25 Mitchell bombers of the US Army Air Force (USAAF) 340th Bombardment Group were destroyed at nearby Pompeii Airfield.
Fabric control surfaces and Plexiglass windscreens of B-25s based at Pompeii Airfield were damaged by pyroclastic products of the volcano, damaging many of the aircraft beyond repair as seen in this photo (from the National Archives via War Wings Art):
For much more about the 1944 eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its effect on Pompeii Airfield see the following pages:
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Karl L. Swartz.
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