Last week I wrote about the 340th Bomb Group on Corsica after its capture during Operation Vesuvius. Well since then it has moved across to Italy and is now flying from an airfield near Naples. The airfield is named after a nearby settlement, which goes by the name of Pompeii.
Towering above Pompeii and Naples is the volcano Vesuvius. With a height of about 1260m above sea level this volcano had been mostly quiet since the 5th of July 1913, emitting a small plume of white smoke from a conelet. This plume of smoke was no more than you might see from a factory chimney. The first indication something was happening was when the conelet collapsed on the 13th of March 1944.
Most people under the cloud were wearing helmets or other head coverings, some even used saucepans to protect their heads from the larger lumps of falling rock. Some were injured when lava entered a water tank causing it to explode, and some were killed when their houses collapsed under the weight of the ash fall.
Reported casualties included some who died of asphyxia in the smog of ash and rock that formed afterwards, but within the 340th Bomb Group injuries were minimal apart from a few cuts and one man suffered a sprained wrist.
All the images came from this website, and the site owner has gotten together a huge collection from the eruption. If you want to see me then head there. I'd recommend you do.