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42-40402

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D Liberator bomber, named, The Sandman, was flown by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his copilot, Lt. Barney Jackson, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 345th Bomb Squadron, on Operation Tidal Wave, the famous mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. The Sandman and it's crew survived the Ploesti mission. Lt. Sternfels was assigned to fly in Flight 4, the fourth line of the 98th Bomb Group's airplanes, behind the Group Leader, Col John Kane's Lead aircraft, Hail Columbia, in the First Wave. But he was, apparently, reassigned, during the mission, to move forward and fly in Flight 1, three planes to the right of Hail Columbia, taking Robert Nespor's place after Lt. Nespor crashed John Young's borrowed B-24, Kickapoo, on takeoff for the mission. After Lt. Sternfels bombed his target, White IV, The Sandman, hit a barrage balloon cable, which struck the prop of Sternfels' #3 engine, the inboard RH wing engine, causing minor scratches on it's prop blades and fuselage side. Sternfels followed his group leader, John Kane's crippled airplane, Hail Columbia, south, as they made their escape away from the flak guns and fighter airplanes of the German and Romanian air defenses south of Ploesti. Sternfels followed Col. Kane and Lt. Royden Lebrecht south through Turkey, across the Aegean Sea to the British airbase at Nicosia, Cyprus, where he landed safely behind Col. Walter Stewart in, Utah Man, and Lt. Royden LeBrecht flying, The Squaw. As they approached Cyprus, Gilbert Hadley had turned back to the Turkish coast in the dark, low on gas and engine oil. Col. Kane and his copilot, Johnny Young, crash landed and wrote off, Hail Columbia, after hitting a ditch the British dug across one of the airbase's runway thresholds. Lt Hadley tried to ditch, Haldey's Harem, just off the Turkish coast, but was trapped in the crushed cockpit of his wrecked bomber as it sank in the ocean, and drowned, with six more of his crew KIA. Lt. Sternfels gave Col. John Kane and Lt. John Young, a ride in, The Sandman, back to their base at Benghazi a day, or so after the Ploesti mission. 1 Aug, 1943.

The Sandman was later lost, ITA. 19 Dec 1943. MACR 1641 - Pilot John W. Viers

Crew of The Sandman on the Ploesti raid:
1st Lt. Robert W. Sternfels - Pilot
2nd Lt. Barney Jackson - CoPilot
2nd Lt. Anthony W. Flesch - Navigator
2nd Lt. David A. Polaschek - Bombadier
T/Sgt. William W. Stout - Flight Engineer/Gunner
T/Sgt. Frank Just - Radio Operator/Gunner
Sgt. Raymond E. Stewart - Gunner
Sgt. Harry Rifkin - Waist Gunner
Sgt. Merle B. Bowen - Waist Gunner
S/Sgt. John T. Weston - Ball Turret Tail Gunner (WIA) - 2nd degree burns on his lower
right leg

Service

Aircraft

  • 41-24226 Joisey Bounce - Utah Man

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, 41-24226, Joisey Bounce, was assigned to Pilot Lt. Walter Travis Stewart of the 330th Bomb Squadron, the 93rd Bomb Group, and the 8th Air Force, for the large mission to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Col. Stewart changed his...

  • 41-24198 - The Vulgar Virgin - Hell From Heaven - Shoot You're Faded

    B-24 Liberator
    - The B-24D, 41-24198, named, The Vulgar Virgin, flown by Capt. Wallace Taylor, was in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombardment Squadron, based at Benghazi, Libya, It should not be confused with Lt. Claude A. Turner's B-24D,...

  • 41-11761 Sleepy - The Squaw

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-11761, was first named, Sleepy, and, later, renamed, The Squaw. It flew on the famous Ploesti bombing mission, returning to Cyprus, piloted by Lt. Royden L. Lebrecht. After Ploesti and and the completion of his combat...

  • 41-11825 Hail Columbia - Little Chief Big Dog - Grumpy

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, Hail Columbia, 41-11825, was assigned to the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron. It was first assigned to the 344th Squadron's CO, Col. John R. Kane's, personal aircraft until Kane became the 98th Bomb Group's...

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Units

  • 9th Air Force
  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 98th trained for bombardment missions with B-24 Liberators during the first half of 1942. ...

  • 345th Bomb Squadron

    345th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Established as a B-24 Liberator heavy bomb squadron and trained by Third Air Force. Deployed to Egypt in June 1942 over South Atlantic Transport Route transiting from Morrison Field, Florida though the Caribbean to Brazil; performed trans-Atlantic...

People

  • Neville Benson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | B-24 Waist Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    SSgt. Neville C. Bensen took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943. He was a waist gunner in the Element Lead B-24D Liberator, 41-11825, Hail Columbia, piloted by Col. John R. "Killer" Kane and Lt. John S. Young. He...

  • Gilbert Hadley

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Name : Gilbert Ben Hadley ...

  • Ronald Helder

    Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24D Co-Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    2nd Lt. Ronald Lee Helder was a B-24 pilot in the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bomb Group, and the 564th Bombing Squadron in WWII. He flew as Co-pilot with his friend, Command Pilot Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes, in the B-24D Lt. Helder called, Ole Kickapoo,...

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Bomb Group Commanding Officer / B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and later the United States Air Force. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor, in World War II, for his leadership, courage, and heroism for...

  • Harold Korger

    Military | Colonel | B-24 Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Harold Francis Korger was a bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based in Benghazi, Libya. He flew on the B-24D, Hail Columbia, with Group Leader Col. John R. Kane, on the famous mission,...

  • Royden LeBrecht

    Military | Captain | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Royden Louis LeBrecht was a B-24D command pilot in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron. He flew his B-24D, he named, The Squaw, on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at...

  • Samuel Neeley

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Pilot Lt. Samual Neeley was a B-24 Bomber pilot in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in WWII. He served in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th bomb Squadron in North Africa, flying bombing and strafing missions, mostly against...

  • Robert Nespor

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    1st Lt. Robert James Nespor, Jr. was a B-24D bomber command pilot in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bombardment Group, "The Pyramiders", and the 330th Bombing Squadron, based at Benghazi, Libya, in North Africa. He was assigned to fly on the huge mission,...

  • Robert Sternfels

    Military | Major | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Robert Sternfels was a B-24D bomber command pilot in WWII in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bombing Group, the Pyramiders, and the 345th Bombing Squadron. Lt. Sternfels flew the famous B-24D bomber, THE SANDMAN, on Operation Tidal Wave, which sought...

  • John Young

    Military | Major | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. John S. Young was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Bored with college at SMU in Dallas, and knowing the country was headed for war, he joined the Army Air Force early in 1941 and began training as an aviation cadet. He was known as "Johnny" or ...

Missions

  • Operation Tidal Wave

    1 August 1943
    Operation TIDAL WAVE. B-24D 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...

Places

  • Benina

    Military site : airfield

  • Mellaha

    Military site : airfield

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Shot Down Augsburg, Germany 19 December 1943

Lost on a mission to Augsburg, Germany on December 19th 1943. Pilot John W Viers, Co-Pilot William Smyser & Navigator Stanley Napierala. MACR 1641.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
12 October 2021 20:29:32 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Black Sunday - Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
04 September 2021 02:53:11 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Added copilot. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
04 September 2021 02:51:33 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Personal archives - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
17 August 2021 13:58:54 Emily Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Changed all instances of aircraft name into sentence case to as per best practice for accessibility.

Date Contributor Update
06 August 2021 19:42:20 Kickapoo Changes to description and media associations
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - THE SANDMAN

Date Contributor Update
06 August 2021 19:14:17 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40406 - THE SANDMAN

Date Contributor Update
06 August 2021 18:04:25 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
23 July 2021 07:07:44 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - THE SANDMAN

Date Contributor Update
23 July 2021 06:29:44 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40402

Date Contributor Update
23 July 2021 05:56:26 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Minor spelling, wording, spacing, and punctuation changes for clarity and accuracy - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
23 July 2021 05:47:54 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Minor wording, spelling, spacing, and punctuation changes to text and aircraft names for uniformity and clarity - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
13 February 2021 07:32:52 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date Contributor Update
13 February 2021 07:29:14 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date Contributor Update
13 February 2021 07:21:22 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date Contributor Update
30 January 2021 11:20:26 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings, description, person associations and place associations
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
25 September 2018 17:06:56 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
25 September 2018 17:05:33 Kickapoo Changes to manufacturer and markings
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
12 March 2018 12:58:27 Kickapoo Changes to person associations and place associations
Sources

Burning Hitler's Black gold by Robert Sternfels

Date Contributor Update
21 November 2016 05:07:19 466thHistorian Changes to nicknames, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_bombers/b24_9.html

Date Contributor Update
17 April 2016 09:24:49 mgs Changes to events
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/28702353?ann=694c3280-38df-11e2-0d37-594e0e6...

Date Contributor Update
11 March 2015 19:13:55 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, description, events, unit associations and mission associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com / Wikipedia commons

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