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Thread: Question related to grass airfields

  1. #1
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    Default Question related to grass airfields

    Hi all,
    here's a stupid question :
    with all the grass airfield during WW2, what did they used to cut the grass ?
    I never saw any picture of a giant lawnmower or heard anything about it.

    any clue ?

    thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: question related to grass airfields

    tough one isnt it ?

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    Default Re: question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by windrider View Post
    tough one isnt it ?
    Yeah, but interesting.

    One of those things I don't think about until someone points it out and then I wonder.

    I'm guessing it'll be a slasher or sickle bar on a tractor, unless they had a huge reel mower which is possible if the fields were very flat.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Yeah, but interesting.

    One of those things I don't think about until someone points it out and then I wonder.

    I'm guessing it'll be a slasher or sickle bar on a tractor, unless they had a huge reel mower which is possible if the fields were very flat.
    I'm thinking it was a tractor towing a reel mower rig...


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    Default Re: question related to grass airfields

    I've been looking for a picture of something like it... with no succes so far.
    amazing, considering the quantity of ww2 era airfields pictures.
    There must have been a quantity of people doing that work, as a plane like a spitfire can't takeoff or land in grass fore than 12 inch or so ?

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    Default Re: question related to grass airfields

    I would assume that after the air strip is cut that the army engineers would put some chemical down to negate any further grass or vegetation from growing, followed by tar?
    Wiki is ok. History Channel is ok.
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    Default Re: question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    I would assume that after the air strip is cut that the army engineers would put some chemical down to negate any further grass or vegetation from growing, followed by tar?
    Never! You WANT some grass and weeds on an open field to reduce mud and erosion and to soak up rainfall. Grass is often replanted in construction projects using "contractors mix," which is low quality, but tough grass and weed plants you wouldn't want on your lawn...

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    Default Re: question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    I would assume that after the air strip is cut that the army engineers would put some chemical down to negate any further grass or vegetation from growing, followed by tar?
    Not on a grass airfield - with those, the aircraft would use the grass surface as the runway. If they were to make a hard runway that would require deep(ish) foundations, which in turn require digging.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    There is also the "engineer's groundskeeper", a mixture of diesel fuel, and sundry chemicals, sprayed onto the grass at regular intervals, the idea being that the grass growth should be retarded to a manageable level, but not prevented entirely.

    It is also of note that for the majority of WW2 grass runways were a necessity as part of braking the aircraft as it landed, it being that most main-wheel brakes were of the drum type, wherein an abrasive shoe either expands into or contracts upon a metal drum that is part of the wheel hub.
    This was by no means as efficient a method of slowing the aircraft as the later (and nowadays common) disk-brake.
    Wherefore, the grass surface was to a large degree relied upon as part of slowing the landing aircraft.
    Thus the need to regulate the growth of the grass, but not prevent it entirely.

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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Actual grass airfields are pretty limited in use.

    Bigger planes are really heavy and require hard packed or paved strips.

    Even light aircraft have problems in rain softened conditions.

    Grass alongside strips can be left unmowed in reality.

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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Yes, but in ww2 ?

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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by windrider View Post
    Hi all,
    here's a stupid question :
    with all the grass airfield during WW2, what did they used to cut the grass ?
    I never saw any picture of a giant lawnmower or heard anything about it.

    any clue ?

    thanks
    Well, I understand that US Army Aviation Engineer battalions during WW II were normally equipped with two tractors which had mowers mounted on them like the roadside mowers some highway maintenance departments operate today. These were specifically to be used to maintain grass airfields.

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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Well, I understand that US Army Aviation Engineer battalions during WW II were normally equipped with two tractors which had mowers mounted on them like the roadside mowers some highway maintenance departments operate today. These were specifically to be used to maintain grass airfields.
    My mistake; the TO&E of a WW II Engineer Aviation Battalion had only one tractor driven mower listed.

    See; http://www.skydozer.com/Reference/TO.html

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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Thanks on this information! I have yet to see a picture of this...
    I guess It wasn't considered picture-worthy at the time...

    What did you do during the war ?
    I worked on an airfield
    Did you loaded ammo or bombs, repaired damaged aircrafts ?
    euh no, I just mowed the lawn !

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by windrider View Post
    Thanks on this information! I have yet to see a picture of this...
    I guess It wasn't considered picture-worthy at the time...

    What did you do during the war ?
    I worked on an airfield
    Did you loaded ammo or bombs, repaired damaged aircrafts ?
    euh no, I just mowed the lawn !
    You're welcome!

    I know I've seen a WW II picture of an airfield tractor-mower, but damned if I can find it now. They are not exactly as photogenic as a tank or a B-17, but I'll keep looking, and if I get lucky and find a picture I'll post it.

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