Decimomannu air base with six runways for multiple takeoff in 1944

In the course of the war, the base suffered numerous bomb attacks that caused a large number of casualties among the soldiers stationed there. The first air attack was carried out by American bomber aircraft on 17 February 1943.In addition to the wings mentioned before, during the three years of the war, from 1940 to 1943, other units of the Royal Italian Air Force (equipped with Stukas (Picchiatello), series 200/202/205 Macchis, various Reggianes FOTO 2 and Piaggios) and of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), such as the famous 26th Combat Wing with torpedo aircraft, equipped with the Heinkel HE-111 and other aircraft (including some Ju-87 Stukas) were deployed in Decimomannu.

Following the armistice on 8 September 1943, Decimomannu saw the deployment of the Allied air forces from North Africa. Some major work on the runways were effected; already at the end of the same month, the first "B26 Marauders" of 319th/320th Bomb Group of the American NAAF (North African Air Force) landed on the airfield of Decimomannu.On 12 November 1943, the first air attack with bombers was carried out in support of the Allied amphibious landing in central Italy. In February 1944, work to expand the airfield began; the objective of the American soldiers was ambitious and led to the installation of a take-off system that had never been tested before and was unique in the world: A runway with parallel strips was built, with a length of 2,000 meters and a width of over 300 meters and consisting of six aircraft take-off lanes and another six alternating ones in between. The strips were treated with used oil to prevent the dust stirred up during take-off and landing from causing technical malfunctions and visibility problems. This system permitted the simultaneous take-off of six aircraft. In this way, over one hundred B-26 were able to be airborne within a few minutes, with a positive impact upon both their operational range and a reduction of the take-off and landing times. The tremendous activity of the American bombers operating from the Sardinian bases and especially Decimomannu, contributed to the liberation of France and Italy from National Socialist occupation.

The establishing of the current military base, one of the largest in Italy, at a distance of some 22 kilometers from Cagliari in the area of the district of Villasor, started in late 1954 on the same terrain where the old military airfield had been located during World War II, which was decommissioned in late 1944.


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