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42-100415

B-24 Liberator

B-24 "My Peach" Serial 42-100415 encountered little to no Flak up to the point of the target area [Primary target for the Squadron: the airfield at La Perthe, NE of the other target for the Group, the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine.]

Engineer Frank Schaeffer recalled that: "While on the bomb run, with the bomb bay doors open, the #2 engine began to speed up and the synchronizing switch would not slow it down. We had a runaway prop that was turning over at 4500 RPMs. Our Co-Pilot [2nd Lt Winfield S. Gippert] operated the feathering button and closed the throttles, but the propeller would not feather."

Despite Schaeffer's turning off the fuel selector valve and booster pump switch to that failing engine, it continued to run wild and the oIl pressure went to zero. The engine continued to howl and shake violently and Schaeffer was afraid the propeller would come off and fly right through the fuselage.

By that time, the plane had reached its target and the Bombardier, 2nd Lt Charles H. Lain had released the bombs. On the return flight, the B-17 was ultimately put on automatic pilot before all 10 crew members left the burning plane and landed in France.

Eight crew mem managed to evade, helped by French patriots : the Pilot, 2nd Lt Bernard J. Komasinski; the Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt Winfield S. Gippert; the Navigator, 2nd Lt Edgar W. Michaels; the Bombardier, 2nd Lt Charles H. Lain; the Engineer/Top Turret Gunner S/Sgt Frank N. Schaeffer; the Right Waist Gunner, Sgt Nelson E. Brott; the Left Waist Gunner, Sgt Walter E. Bohenko and the Tail Gunner, Sgt Stanley J. Hulewicz Jr.

Two were made Prisoner of War (POW) : the Radio Operator, Sgt John H. McKee and the Ball Turret Gunner, S/Sgt Coley W. Richardson (who was a substitute for the Komasinski crew that day). Missing Air Crew Report : MACR 8080.

Service

Units

  • 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...

  • 506th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Walter Bohenko

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner/Armorer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Walter Bohenko was a graduate of McKeesport High School, Class of 1940 and worked as an electrical apprentice before enlisting in the Air Corps in August 1942. Sent overseas after training as an aerial gunner, he was ssigned to the 44th Bomb Group...

  • Nelson Brott

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    On his 6th mission, Nelson Brott was Top Turret Gunner on B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. He and seven other crew members...

  • Winfield Gippert

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    On his 6th mission, Winfield Gippert was Co-Pilot of B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. He and seven other crew members...

  • Stanley Hulewicz

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    A machinist when he enlisted in the Air Corps in August 1943, Stanley Hulewicz was sent overseas in 1944 and was assigned to the 44th Bomb Group/506th Bomb Squadron in Shipdham, England. On his 4th mission, he was Tail Gunner on B-24 # 42-100415 when...

  • Bernard Komasinski

    Civilian | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Bernard Komasinski was on his 6th mission, piloting B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. He and seven other crew members...

  • Charles Lain

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    On his 6th mission, Charles Lain was Bombardier of B-24 # 42-100415 when it ran into mechanical trouble on return in the afternoon from the 8 August 1944 mission to bomb the airfield at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. Cut over his left eye by his parachute...

  • John McKee

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator/Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Born and raised in Illinois, John McKee moved to Michigan City in 1941 and worked in the refrigeration service industry. He enlisted in the Air Corps in July 1942. After training, he was sent overseas and assigned to the 44th Bomb Group/506th Bomb...

  • Edgar Michaels

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Edgar Michaels enlisted in the Air Corps in September 1942. He trained as an aerial navigator on B-24s at Ellington Field, Texas, in San Marcos, Texas, Harlingen, Texas and Pueblo, Colorado. Sent overseas,...

  • Coley Richardson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Coley Richardson wasn’t a regular member of the Bernard Komasinski crew. As the usual Ball Turret Gunner of the crew, Sgt Frank LaFazia, had been assigned guard duty that day, 8 August 1944, Richardson volunteered to take his position on board B-24 #...

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    S/Sgt Frank N. Schaeffer was Engineer/Top Turret Gunner on B-24 "My Peach", Serial 42-100415. On a mission to bomb the La Perthe airfield in France on 8 August 1944, he bailed out of the burning plane and landed near Orbais-L'Abbaye (Marne Department),...

Missions

  • 530

    8 August 1944

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...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Gélannes, France 8 August 1944

Mechanical failure, 1 motor on fire, plane evacuated, flew on its own on automatic, on fire, exploded in flight. Crashed near Gélannes, Aube, France.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
14 September 2015 15:52:30 ED-BB Changes to description
Sources

Corrected B-24 instead of B-17

Date Contributor Update
14 September 2015 14:02:44 ED-BB Changes to nicknames, markings, description, events, place associations and mission associations
Sources

MACR 8080
Détails from the late Frank N. Schaeffer, engineer on board

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:08 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 8080 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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