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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With all of the Army Air Corps training during WW2, and all of the different bases, who built them? I'm sure there were civilian contractors, but who or what branch of service built them. Who came up with the spec for them? Some of these bases were operational in a matter of months. The amount of money and resources in such a short amount of time is astounding!! It's amazing how many major and sub-bases were built, then abandoned after the war or used for a short time after. They all seem to follow a general pattern;



Wendover UT




Marfa TX



Pyote TX



Walker (victoria-pratt) KS



Clovis (cannon AFB) NM You can see the remnants of other(original) runways.



Fort Sumner NM



Walnut Ridge AR



Blytheville AAF/Eaker AFB



Stuttgart Army Airfield, AR



Newport Army Airfield, AR



Epharata Army Air Base/Municipal Airport CA



Daggett MAP Barsto CA



Bishop Army Airfield Eastern Sierra Regional Airport CA

Any ideas?
 

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"We clear the way"? - and here I always thought it was "First we dig them, then we die in them". Combat engineers are good people to have handy in times of trouble.
 

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A good answer would be "anybody they could put to work."

There was more work than troops to do it.

There is an old camp near here, prime farmland more or less confiscated for the duration.
A lot of building and traing was done here, as well as out processiing post war.
One of my teachers worked there summers as a kid.
They also had a lot of POWs who were put to work locally.

Later all was returned to the previuos owners.
They had to deal with a lot of concrete and old structures, though.
 

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Firstly, there was a standard design to suit prevailing Wind Patterns in the area (Right angle strips, or Trianglulated strips, or just a straight strip with side taxi lanes);

IN Australia, US strips were built by a combination of US Army Engineers and the Civil Construction Corps, made up of Locals who were not A-1 for Military service(Age, Other occupation, or Disability). Equipment was a combination of US Army , and Local "surrendered" modern equipment ( Road grading equipment, Agricultural tractors (Mostly tracked Caterpillar type ) etc.

Many Strips were handed over after the war to Local Authorities or the Property Owners in the more remote regions...many smaller strips were converted to Showgrounds, Car racing venues, or simply left listed as possible Emergency landing areas ( even though Regrowth of local vegetation precluded a "safe landing" on most of the Tropical locations.). There were over 100 US Airforce and RAAF sites in Queensland alone by 1944, most capable of landing aircraft from fighters to B17s. These have been listed and researched by a group of enthusiasts in a small booklet. ( 1990s).

The metal strips seen on a lot of "make do" airstrips in the Pacific War can still be found in a lot of Australian Locations from WW II, in fact, when massive earthworks around the current Brisbane Airport Complex was going on, they unearthed tons of Perforated metal Airfield strips from the Subsoil ( all rusty, distorted by equipment, and subsequently scrapped.) On many Pacific Islands, the Locals still use recovered strips for fencing material ( Pig Pens etc on Fiji and New Caledonia).

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
Brisbane Australia
 

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Firstly, there was a standard design to suit prevailing Wind Patterns in the area (Right angle strips, or Trianglulated strips, or just a straight strip with side taxi lanes);

IN Australia, US strips were built by a combination of US Army Engineers and the Civil Construction Corps, made up of Locals who were not A-1 for Military service(Age, Other occupation, or Disability). Equipment was a combination of US Army , and Local "surrendered" modern equipment ( Road grading equipment, Agricultural tractors (Mostly tracked Caterpillar type ) etc.

Many Strips were handed over after the war to Local Authorities or the Property Owners in the more remote regions...many smaller strips were converted to Showgrounds, Car racing venues, or simply left listed as possible Emergency landing areas ( even though Regrowth of local vegetation precluded a "safe landing" on most of the Tropical locations.). There were over 100 US Airforce and RAAF sites in Queensland alone by 1944, most capable of landing aircraft from fighters to B17s. These have been listed and researched by a group of enthusiasts in a small booklet. ( 1990s).

The metal strips seen on a lot of "make do" airstrips in the Pacific War can still be found in a lot of Australian Locations from WW II, in fact, when massive earthworks around the current Brisbane Airport Complex was going on, they unearthed tons of Perforated metal Airfield strips from the Subsoil ( all rusty, distorted by equipment, and subsequently scrapped.) On many Pacific Islands, the Locals still use recovered strips for fencing material ( Pig Pens etc on Fiji and New Caledonia).

Regards,
Doc AV
AV Ballistics.
Brisbane Australia
PSP was still around come Vietnam. We used a lot of it for helipads, hardstand in maintenance facilities and such. Stand it on edge in two rows and fill in with sand bags for revements. Use it to roof a bunker and top it with a few layers of sand bags. Etc. Useful stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
All of these field's were built in about a 2 year period, at the same time all over the country!!!

It's amazing to me the amount of building/manufacturing that went on in the war years...planes, tanks, ships, subs, small arms, trucks, ammo, not to mention all of the raw materials needed to make all of it, while at the same time improving and designing better more effecient stuff. Then, there's all of the facilities that had to be built, like bases and ship yards. People had to be trained, and placed where they were needed while keeping everything within costs and on time...

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we could do the same thing today.
 

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I do not think there is a standard answer but you may be surprised to read that in the late years of the WPA and in particular the CCC were very much turned to constructing military infrastructure (barracks, airbases, arsenals, port facilities, etc). The CCC or the Tree Army as it was sometimes called was responsible for environmental repair projects in remote areas. The bases, roads, wells, latrines, electrical lines, etc were more often than not the basis for the construction of military facilities after the CCC was disbanded.
 

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First airfield constructed with "PSP" was in Marston, North Carolina during the Carolina Manevers by the 21st Aviation Engineer Regiment. Thus during the war and still today it is refered to as "Marston Matting".
 

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Those old Army airfields often had the right angle runways, which met at the end. Some of these are still found in use today, but overall that particular design feature has fallen into disfavor.

If you want to see a really STRANGE old WWII military airfield.....see this pic:


From one side to the other, this field has a diameter of about 1650 feet. It is still in active use today as a civilian field.

Quiz: Why the octagonal shape? Hint: Form follows function.

The Expert
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)

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ok, another hint......ignore the civilian runways that are marked on this massive concrete octagon. The navy used it without any runway markings to land airplanes. So...why octagonal? What can you do at an octagonal runway that you can't do on a linear runway?
 

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Bingo! An octagonal field means that aircraft can always land into the wind, a situation that mimics carrier landings, where the ship always turns into the wind for takeoffs and landings. The 1600 foot runway, longer than a carrier deck, safely allows for touch and go landings.

This particular airport is located at Converse, Indiana and is southeast of the current Grissom AFB, which during WWII was Naval Air Station Bunker Hill, one of the primary flight training fields for Navy and Marine Corps aviators. These octagonal fields served as Outlying Fields (OLF) which freed up space at the primary airport, allowing for the numerous landings required by student pilots. As a bit of trivia, baseball great Ted Williams did his primary flight training at NAS BH, and almost certainly landed on this field.

Below you will see a pic of one of the other OLF's for NAS Bunker Hill, which has had a conventional grass runway added to it after war, and has had all its concrete removed. You will note the RC airplane runway located on the original field. This field is 18 miles west of the one in Converse.

 
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