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Airfield Matting
The Allies and Japanese both devised ways to quickly build airfields and overcome the rough conditions of forward airfields in the Pacific and tropics, that were constantly plagued by enemies other than the enemy: torrential rains, drainage problems and soft or unstable ground.

Click For EnllargementAllied: "Marston Mat" / PSP (Pierced Steel Planking)
U. S. Army "Pierced Steel Plank" (PSP) or "Marston Matt" or "Marston Matting" was developed during World War II and was widely used in every theater of operations. Each matt can be connected with tabs to the adjacent pieces using a sledgehammer to link the pieces together. Known as "Marston Mat" or "Marston Matting" for Marston, North Carolina near Camp Mackall Airfield where it was first used. Also misspelled as "Marsden Mat".

It was rigid enough to bridge over small surface inequalities of the ground, it was mainly used to stabilized sub grade ground, and create taxiways, surface a runway or road. Some conception of the logistics problems of 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. A runway this size can could be put down in 175 hours by 100 unskilled laborers.

Nearly every American airfield in the Pacific used "marston matt". Even at larger and more established bases with concrete runways, marston matting was often used on taxiways or even for extra traction on roads.

Marston matting was also used in the Korean War. Even today, numerous examples of Marston Matt can be found all over the pacific, often still in use to this day for the same purpose, or a variety of other 'new' uses, including: fences, truck bed lining, pig-pens or foot bridges.

Japanese: "Landing Mat" (Tetsuban)
Research by Yoji Sakaida

Click For EnllargementA construction experiment was done at Mobara City, Chiba Prefecture during 1942 - 1943, testing landing matt. There were several types: one was called "iron plate paving" another "concrete paving", and a third "iron net paving". During testing, many iron plates couldn't be connected properly ,and deformation by bombing couldn't be solved and the Japanese were short on materials.

Click For EnlargementTherefore, the Navy and Army did not use it very much, and no improvements were made.  But, the "Iron Net Paving" did not have these problems. No record of its actual usage has been found. Very few examples are know to this day.  The lighter Japanese landing matt appears to corrode much quicker, and any examples left today are flimsy and rusted.

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