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42-40371

B-24 Liberator

Departed target Ploesti, with part of a wing shot off, A/C emerged into a crisscrossing of ships, was unable to catch up with any of the improvised formations ahead and so was a tempting target. Me 109s pounced and shot away most of the tail turret, but George Van Son later crawled out of the debris alive. The attackers incapacitated waist gunners Alfred A. Mash and Robert Wolfe. The radioman, Russell Huntley, gave them both first aid. The fighters then left this bomber they had mangled but could not shoot down. Engineer Frank D. Garrett reported, "Gas was pouring out of a hole near #3 engine; the tunnel was a wreck; the tail turret was hanging by a thread. The left vertical and horizontal stabilizers were almost shot off; the left aileron was practically gone. And there was a big hole behind #1 with oil streaming out." The crew put on their parachutes as the plane heaved and quivered from nose to tail.
Reinhart managed to coax 3,500 feet from his struggling craft but disintegration was at hand. Eighty miles from the target, he turned on the automatic pilot and hit the bail out button.
1 KIA [co-pilot, Charles L. Starr] 8 POW. MACR 2412

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs

    Group
    The 44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 15-January-1942 at McDill Field, Florida and equipped with B-24Cs. The Group moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana and acted as a training unit for the 90th 93rd and 98th Bomb Groups and flew anti...

  • 67th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Frank Garrett

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Prisoner of War (POW). Crashed on 8/1/43 while TDY to 9th AF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371.

  • Russell Huntley

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Prisoner of War (POW). Crashed on 8/1/43 while TDY to 9th AF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371.

  • Alfred Mash

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Assistant Engineer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9th AF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371 1-Aug-43; Shot down. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2412 Awards: DFC, AM (OLC),PH, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Richard Pendleton

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Prisoner of War (POW). Crashed on 8/1/43 while TDY to 9th AF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371.

  • Elmer Reinhart

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Prisoner of War (POW). Crashed on 8/1/43 while TDY to 9th AF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371.

  • Charles Starr

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Enlisted with RCAF, training with them, joined RAF in UK, subsequently transferred to USAAF. Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9th AF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371 1-Aug-43; Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 2412 ...

  • Gerald Totten

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9th AF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371 1-Aug-43; A/C crashed. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2412 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • George Van Son

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 67BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9th AF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371 1-Aug-43; Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 2412 Awards: DFC, AM, POW, WWII Victory, EAME, Korean and UN medals.

  • Robert Wolfe

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Prisoner of War (POW). Crashed on 8/1/43 while TDY to 9th AF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'G. I. Gal' 42-40371.

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B24D Liberators attack the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The bombers flew low to avoid radar detection and dropped time delayed bombs. Out of the 177 B-24s that took part in the raid 167 managed to attack their targets. 57 B...

Places

  • Shipdham

    Military site : airfield
    Shipdham was built in 1941-1942, the first US heavy bomber airfield in the English county of Norfolk. It was a standard design, with T2-type hangars and a domestic site dispersed to the south east. Improvements were carried out to increase the number...

  • Benina

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Rumania 1 August 1943

Departed target with part of wing shot off, mauled by ME109's, aircraft abandoned, crew bailed out. 1 KIA [co-pilot, Charles L. Starr] 8 POW. MACR 2412

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
21 April 2020 09:50:09 general ira snapsorter Changes to description
Sources

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 44th Bomb Group

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2015 19:11:10 Al_Skiff Changes to person associations
Sources

AAM Database.

Date Contributor Update
18 March 2015 19:07:27 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, nicknames, description, events, unit associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

AAM Database.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:52 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 2412 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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