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World War II

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These landing mats were used on Hollesley Heath during the war.

Steel Landing Mats*

The portable steel landing mat, used in all theaters, has been one of the outstanding developments of the war. After experimentation with other types, our Allied forces now use the pierced steel plank type of landing mat developed in America. Today's production is concentrated on this type mat. To date approximately 175,000,000 square feet of the pierced steel type mat has been sent to the combat theaters, and 300,000,000 square feet is on order for the calendar year 1944. Studies are under way for the use of magnesium or aluminum, to provide equally strong mats weighing half as much. Some conception of the logistics problems of modern war can be gained from the fact that some 60,000 pierced steel sheets 15 inches by 10 feet are required for a 150 by 5,000 feet runway, weighing nearly 2,000 tons, requiring 35,000 cubic feet of cargo space to be shipped overseas perhaps ten or twelve thousand miles. However, portable steel landing mats have proved to be worth many times their cost.

*This report was prepared by the Army Air Forces and is dated 4 January 1944


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