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Comiso Airfield

Military site : airfield

Detailed history

The installation began as an aerodrome that was constructed in southeastern Sicily, at the foot of the Hyblaean Mountains ("Monti iblei") and near the city of Comiso. The airport was designed in 1934 under the fascist regime but building works did not start until 1935 and were finished in 1939. Magliocco Aerodromo was dedicated in 1936 and named in honor of Major General Vincenzo Magliocco, the first Sicilian to become a general officer in the Italian Air Force. Magliocco had been killed in the Ethiopian war in 1936.
It became one of several key aerodromes in southern Sicily during the Second World War. German forces were stationed there in 1941, as part of Italy's Axis Alliance, and the German Luftwaffe in 1943 conducted air operations against Allied positions in Maghreb and Malta after its withdrawal from Tunisia.
Aerial bombardments by the Allies rendered the airfield unserviceable on 26 May and 17 June 1943 in preparation for Operation Husky, the allied landings on Sicily. Just after the landing on the nearby Sicilian beaches two Ju-87 Stuka dive bombers took off from Comiso to bomb the landing beaches, only to be met by United States Army troops at the airfield when they landed for rearming and fuel. Ground assault forces of the II Corps, under the command of (then) Lieutenant General Omar Bradley, captured the base on 11 July 1943. Six days later, after quick repairs to the airfield, Allied air forces began operations at Magliocco, designated Comiso Airfield by the Allies, coming under the USAAF Twelfth Air Force. It was primarily used to support airborne and assault glider operations. Known allied units assigned to the base were:
USAAF:
340th Bombardment Group, 3–27 August 1943 (B-25 Mitchell)
17th Troop Carrier Squadron, 3 September 1943 – 8 July 1944 (C-47 Skytrain)
16th Troop Carrier Squadron, 4 September 1943 – 10 July 1944 (C-47 Skytrain)
35th Troop Carrier Squadron, 7 September 1943 – 9 January 1945 (C-47 Skytrain)
18th Troop Carrier Squadron, 8 September 1943 – 9 January 1945 (C-47 Skytrain)
12th Troop Carrier Squadron, 22 October-9 November 1943 (C-47 Skytrain)
RAF:
No. 43 Squadron, (Supermarine Spitfire)
No. 111 Squadron, (Supermarine Spitfire)
No. 243 Squadron, (Supermarine Spitfire)
No. 3201 Servicing Commando
The airfield remained under Allied control when they left in early 1945.
The airfield and facilities at Magliocco fell into disuse during the postwar years. In 1954 Alitalia, the Italian national airline, began commercial operations there. The facilities were extended, with a runway that was to be 1,740 m (5,710 ft) long, the airport was opened to civil aviation. The airport was also a base for the 41st Storm of Catania (Italian Air Force), until 1973. However, the airport was little used.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

Units

  • 340th Bomb Group

    340th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated on 20 August 1942. The 340th Bombardment Group trained with B-25's for duty overseas. They arrived in the Mediterranean theater in March 1943. Assigned first to the Ninth Air Force and later (in August 1943) to the Twelfth. Served in combat...

People

  • George Bacher

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Aircraft Mechanic | 340th Bomb Group

  • Robert Bachrach

    Military | Major | Pilot/Group Operations Officer/Group Tactical Inspector | 340th Bomb Group

  • Robert Bachtell

    Military | Major | Pilot | 340th Bomb Group

  • Wilbur Bagby

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | Aerial Gunner | 340th Bomb Group

  • Kenneth Bell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 340th Bomb Group

  • Harold Bish

    Military | Private First Class (6th Grade) | 340th Bomb Group

  • Fred Blaney

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 340th Bomb Group

  • Harold Bridges

    Military | Captain | Squadron Armament and Chemical Officer | 340th Bomb Group

  • Oliver Burkholder

    Military | Master Sergeant (1st Grade) | Aircraft Crew Chief | 340th Bomb Group

  • Aaron Butash

    Military | Technical Sergeant (2nd Grade) | Radio Operator/Gunner | 340th Bomb Group

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Aircraft

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Revisions

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2021 02:35:52 466thHistorian Created entry with name, known as, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date and history
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comiso_Airport

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