World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ponte Olivo Airfield

Article Id: WHEBN0023628627
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ponte Olivo Airfield  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 62d Operations Group, 12th Operations Group, 526th Fighter Squadron, 64th Air Division, 86th Operations Group
Collection: Airfields of the United States Army Air Forces in Italy, Airports in Sicily, Gela
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Ponte Olivo Airfield

Ponte Olivo Airfield
 
Coordinates
Type Military airfield
Site information
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces
Condition Abandoned
Site history
Built Civil airfield prior to World War II
In use 1920s?-1944
Ponte Olivo Airfield is located in Italy
Ponte Olivo Airfield
Ponte Olivo Airfield
Location of Ponte Olivo Airfield, Italy

Ponte Olivo Airfield is an abandoned pre-World War II airport and later wartime military airfield in Sicily, 3 km north of Gela. Its last known use was by the United States Army Air Force Twelfth Air Force in 1944 during the Italian Campaign.

History

Originally built as Ponte Olivo Airport in the 1920s, the airport in September 1939 became base for the 41st Storm of the Italian Regia Aeronautica with 18 Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 that were later transferred (in October 1940) to the Italian bases round Benghazi in Cyrenaica. Together with Comiso Airport it was extensively used for the bombing of the British bases on the Maltese islands. It was the primary objective of the Amphibious Battle of Gela during Operation Husky. On 9 July 1943, the United States Army 82d Airborne Division 505th Regimental Combat Team and the 3d Battalion of the 504th Parachute Regiment was carried by 226 C-47 Skytrains of the 61st, 313th, 314th and 316th Troop Carrier Groups, which departed from Kairouan Airfield, Tunisia. The parachutists mission was to seize the high ground near the airport and to assist the seaborne forces of U.S. II Corps, Seventh Army, in capture of the airfield. Although the parachute drops were widely scattered, the objective was taken. This was the first major airborne operation to be undertaken by Allied forces in World War II.[1] By morning, only 400 of the Regiment’s 1600 soldiers had reached the objective area. The others had been dropped in isolated groups on all parts of the island and carried out demolitions, cut lines of communication, established island roadblocks, ambushed German and Italian motorized columns, and caused so much confusion over such an extensive area that initial German radio reports estimated the number of American parachutists dropped to be over ten times the actual number.

Renamed Ponte Olivo Airfield or Gela Airfield by the Americans, the USAAF Twelfth Air Force 27th Fighter Bomber Group landed A-36 Apache ground support aircraft on the field as soon as it was declared secure for operations, supporting ground forces against the German and Italian forces.

The 27th moved to Capaccio Airfield in southern Italy during September. Other units assigned to the airfield were:

The USAAF closed its facilities at the airfield at the end of September 1944, and returned the airport to Italian authorities.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s it was reused as a private airport by Enrico Mattei and other managers of the Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI) for inspections on the nearby petrochemical refineries. On 27 October 1962 at 07:30, Mattei took off from Ponte Olivo airport for the last time with ENI's private plane, a Morane-Saulnier MS-760, not knowing he would die a few hours later in the skies of northern Italy when the plane exploded.

Today there are little or no remains of the airfield, with some faint land disturbances visible on aerial photography of its former runways. Some buildings in the area may have been reused and adapted for other purposes.

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  1. ^ From: UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, Special Studies: CHRONOLOGY, 1941-1945, compiled by Mary H. Williams, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1960

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.