Roll Out the Burlap!

We roll out the red carpet for dignitaries and celebrities, but what about World War II fighters plane that need to land in battlefields without airstrips? For them, the Army rolled out the burlap:

A FACTOR in Allied victories on the Western Front has been the availability of airstrips for our fighters directly behind the battle lines.

Thanks to a new type of mat which resembles tar paper, Army engineers have been able to lay these emergency fields in record- breaking time. When a location suitable for an airfield has been rolled and graded, a device known as a “stamplicker,” towed by a truck, rolls over it strips of burlap material called “Hessian Mat.” These rolls are 100 yards long and 36 inches wide. As they pass through the rollers of the stamplicker, which is towed at a speed between 2-1/2 and 4 miles per hour, they are coated with a 50-50 solution of gasoline and asphalt, called “RC-3 cutback.”

The strips are laid with a 50 percent overlap and their seams are sealed with a special tar compound, the resultant surface having about the same non-skid properties as an asphalt highway.

Modern Mechanix has more on this modern marvel, as published in the Jun 1945 issue of Mechanix Illustrated: Link


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