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41-11825

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D, 'Hail Columbia', # 41-11825, originally served in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron. It was, first, the 344th Squadron's CO, Col. John R. Kane's, personal aircraft until Kane became the 98th Bomb Group's CO and turned it over to Herman "Big Dog" Lewis. Lewis changed the left side nose art to 'LITTLE-CHIEF BIG-DOG' but retained 'HAIL COLUMBIA' in block letters on the left side. Following Lewis's death in another ship, the airplane was transferred to the 343rd Bomb Squadron where the right side art work was changed to 'GRUMPY' in compliance with the "Snow White Squadron" directive. Wilfred Brann was the crew chief of 'GRUMPY' in the 343rd Squadron. 'LITTLE-CHIEF BIG-DOG' had been removed prior to the Rome mission of July 19, 1943.

Then, for the second time, the B-24D - 'Hail Columbia' was chosen by Col. John "Killer" Kane as his personal plane and his Lead Aircraft for the Ploesti mission. He, then, had the old name, "Grumpy", on the LH forward side of the nose, repainted over with new nose art, a circle of stars around a bald eagle holding a large bat, with the name "Hail Columbia" painted in large red block letters above the eagle. Just prior to the low level Ploesti mission, 98th Bomb Group CO John R. Kane had the airplane returned to his 344th BS where a new form of the original 'HAIL COLUMBIA' nose art quickly replaced 'GRUMPY'. According to Scott Flood, great-nephew of the 41-11825's crew chief, Charles Wilfred Brann, the name 'Grumpy' was chosen for T/Sgt Brann, "reflecting his personality, a short, stocky man, rather gruff and grumpy on the outside." Flood also wrote that, by Col. Kane's directive, "Hail Columbia" in block letters was again repainted over 'Grumpy' on the right side of 'Hail Columbia' for the Ploesti mission. So, the B-24 previously named 'Grumpy', was chosen by Col. John "Killer" Kane, for the second time, as his personal plane and his Lead Aircraft for the Ploesti mission. Kane and the crew of 'Hail Columbia' bombed their target at "White IV" and escaped Ploesti with one engine out, and two propellers damaged, and over 150 counted flak holes in it, with several crewmen WIA, wounded but recovering. They flew all the way south through Turkey to the island of Cyprus. Col. Kane and co-pilot, Lt. John Young crashed "Hail Columbia' upon landing in the dark at Nicosia, Cyprus, after hitting a ditch the British had put a ditch across their runway's threshold, which took out their landing gear when they hit it at high speed. - The aircraft was abandoned at Nicosia, August 1, 1943. The next day, while looking over the plane, Lt. Johnny Young reported that there were tears in "Killer" Kane's eyes, as he surveyed the damage of his crashed and wrecked airplane that he had named 'Hail Columbia'. A lot of pilots felt that way about the airplanes they felt had saved their lives.

The nine crewmen aboard 'Hail Columbia' for the Ploesti mission were: First Lieutenant Norman Whelan (Navigator), Staff Sergeant Neville C. Benson (Waist Gunner), First Lieutenant Raymond B. Hubbard (Radioman), Second Lieutenant Harold F. Korger (Bombardier), Sergeant Joseph W. LaBranche (Gunner), Technical Sergeant Frederick A. Leard (Waist Gunner), Sergeant William Leo (Gunner), Staff Sergeant Harvey L. Treace (Gunner), Technical Sergeant Fred Weckessler (Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner), and First Lieutenant John S. Young (Co-Pilot) – All crewmen received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission, and Lt. Whelan was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. And 1st Lt John Young received another Oak Leaf Cluster to his DFC and Silver Star. Col. John Kane was awarded the Medal Of Honor and another Oak Leaf Cluster to those already on his DFC.

Service

Aircraft

  • 41-24226 'Joisey Bounce' - 'Utah Man'

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D 'Joisey Bounce' was assigned to Pilot Col. Walter T. Stewart of the 330 Bomb Squadron, 93rd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, for the famous mission to bomb the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, Aug 1,1943. Col. Stewart changed his assigned plane...

  • 42-40402 'The Sandman'

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named 'The Sandman' and flown by Lt. Robert Sternfels in the 9th Air force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 345th Bomb Squadron, flew on the famous mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Lt. Sternfels flew in...

  • 41-24198 'THE VULGAR VIRGIN' - 'Hell From Heaven' - 'Shoot You're Faded'

    B-24 Liberator
    - Not to be confused with #42-40608, 'THE VULGAR VIRGIN' of the 8th Air Force - 93rd Bomb Group - 328th Bomb Squadron - It also flew on the Ploesti mission, piloted by Lt. Claude Turner - Interned Turkey Aug 1, 1943 - Lt. Turner escaped from the...

  • 41-24311 'Hadley's Harem'

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, named 'Hadley's Harem' was Lt. Gilbert Hadley's personal airplane and the one he flew on the mission to destroy Hitler's oil refineries at Ploesti Romania in 1943. ...

  • 41-11819 'Raunchy'

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24D-CO Liberator - 'Raunchy' ...

  • 41-11761 'The Squaw'

    B-24 Liberator
    B-24 Liberator #4111761 'The Squaw' flew on the 1st Aug 43 Ploesti raid, recovering to Cyprus, piloted by Royden L Lebrecht. On completion of its tour, returned to Fort Worth, TX, USA for a war bond tour.

  • 41-11768 'KICKAPOO'

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator 41-11768, 'KICKAPOO', was piloted by Lt. John S. Young from Dallas, Texas as part of the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron, which arrived in North Africa in early 1943. This airplane and was Lt...

  • 42-40629 'The Scorpion'

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator 42-40629, 'The Scorpion', with the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bombardment Group, and the 565th Bomb Squadron, flew on the Ploesti oil refinery raid, "Operation Tidal Wave" piloted by Lt. Kenneth M. Caldwell and Col. Jack Wood...

  • 42-40753 'Ole Kickapoo'

    B-24 Liberator
    # 42-40753 - B-24D 'OLE KICKAPOO' - A Consolidated B-24D bomber from the 389th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force, and the 564th Bomb Squadron from England, with it's Command Pilot, 2nd Lt. Lloyd Hughes, and his crew, who flew on "Operation Tidal...

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Units

  • 9th Air Force
  • 376th Bomb Group

    376th Bomb Group

    Group
    Constituted as 376th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 19 Oct 1942 and activated in Palestine on 31 Oct. Began combat immediately, using B-24 aircraft. Operated with Ninth AF from bases in the Middle East, Nov 1942-Sep 1943, and with Twelfth AF from Tunisia...

  • 98th Bomb Group

    98th Bomb Group

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

  • 344th Bomb Squadron

    344th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    The 344th Bombing Squadron was first activated at MacDill Field, Florida as one of the original three squadrons assigned to the 98th Bombardment Group. The 344th soon moved to Barksdale Field, Louisiana, where it began to train as a Consolidated B-24...

People

  • Neville Benson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | 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...

  • 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',...

  • Raymond Hubbard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Radio Operator | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Raymond B. Hubbard was assigned to the 9th Air force, the 98th Bombardment Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron in Libya, North Africa, 1943. He took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying as a Waist Gunner and...

  • Lloyd Hughes

    Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    ...

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer, Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane (January 5, 1907 – May 29, 1996) 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...

  • Harold Korger

    Military | Colonel | Bombardier Navigator | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Harold Korger was a bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force. He flew on the famous mission, Operation Tidal Wave, Aug 1, 1943, to knock out the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. ...

  • Joseph LaBranche

    Military | Sergeant | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 41-11825.

  • Frederick Leard

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Technical Sgt. Frederick A. Leard was a waist gunner assigned to the Element Lead B-24D Liberator bomber, named 'Hail Columbia', SN # 41-11825, flown by Col. John R. "Killer" Kane and Lt. John S. Young on Operation Tidal Wave, the large mission to...

  • Royden LeBrecht

    Military | Captain | B-24 Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Royden Louis LeBrecht was a B-24 Command pilot of the B-24D, #4111761, The 'Squaw' in North Africa in 1942-43. Lt. Lebrecht flew on Operation Tidal Wave, the Aug 1 1943 Ploesti raid, with the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bombardment Group, and the 344th...

  • William Leo

    Military | Sergeant | Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying in B-24 Liberator 41-11825.

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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

  • Mellaha

    Military site : airfield

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Survived Ploesti mission Ploiești, Romania 1 August 1943

A veteran of the low-level Ploesti, Romania mission on August 1,43. She survived the Ploesti mission, though badly damaged with one engine out and two others damaged but running.

Crashed Cyprus 1 August 1943

A veteran of the low-level Ploesti, Romania mission on August 1,43. She crashed on the island of Cyprus returning from the mission and was abandoned.

Assigned Benghazi, Libya

9th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group, "The Pyramiders", 344th Bomb Squadron.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2021 21:27:09 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

Added punctuation to the A/C “Description” to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
10 January 2021 01:07:33 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Personal Archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 09:36:55 Al_Skiff Changes to description
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:50:09 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:45:21 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:13:13 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
23 December 2020 00:10:26 Kickapoo Changes to person associations and place associations
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:49:19 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:37:46 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:31:04 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
18 December 2020 02:02:48 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

personal archives - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
17 December 2020 06:07:00 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
17 December 2020 05:44:30 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
12 February 2020 11:59:01 Emily Changes to nicknames
Sources

Removed tidy symbols from nickname for clarity

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2019 16:23:16 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and markings
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster -- Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Jr. ---- Black Sunday -- Michael Hill ----Into The Fire -- Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young, Jr. -- personal archives

Date Contributor Update
07 November 2019 16:20:36 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster -- Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Jr. ---- Black Sunday -- Michael Hill ----Into The Fire -- Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young, Jr. -- personal archives

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2019 05:58:18 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Together We Served.com ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young - Personal Archive

Date Contributor Update
08 July 2019 05:40:12 Kickapoo Changes to media associations
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Together We Served.com ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz ---- John S. Young - Personal Archive

Date Contributor Update
01 July 2019 13:24:23 Kickapoo Changes to events
Sources

Anatomy Of A Disaster - Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill ---- Together We Served.com ---- Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2018 04:07:40 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Their Finest Hour : Col. John R. Kane and Hail Columbia

Date Contributor Update
25 December 2018 03:55:31 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2018 00:03:18 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations and place associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2018 10:37:50 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations
Sources

U.S. Air Force Archives

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2018 10:35:05 Kickapoo Changes to person associations
Sources

Together We Served - U.S. Air Force Archives

Date Contributor Update
28 February 2018 10:25:36 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations
Sources

Together We Served - Operation Tidal wave

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2018 12:28:19 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

b24bestweb.com ~ 'Little Chief Big Dog'

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2018 12:07:04 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

"Operation Tidal Wave"

Date Contributor Update
03 February 2018 12:02:45 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

"Together We served" "Operation Tidal Wave"

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2018 01:23:14 Kickapoo Changes to manufacturer and person associations
Sources

" Into The Fire " by Duane Cole Part III Chap 6 p. 104

Date Contributor Update
12 December 2017 14:02:30 ED-BB Changes to production block number and description
Sources

Added details about the name "Grumpy" (source 11 November 2003 e-mail from Scott Flood, great-nephew of 41-11825 crew chief Charles Wilfred Brann)

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2015 16:46:55 Al_Skiff Changes to events
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2015 16:20:33 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2015 16:08:47 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, manufacturer, nicknames, description, events and mission associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

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