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42-40722

B-24 Liberator

B-24 Liberator #42-40723 'The Little Gramper' 566th BS, 389th BG, 8th AF, flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by Lt Jack W Dieterle, returning safely to Libya. Transferred to the 491st Bomb Group 15 May 44. Noted as War Weary repainted in high visibility paint scheme and became Group's first assembly ship. The overall yellow with red polka dots and trim took many man hours, and replacement aircraft for this duty were less exotically decorated.

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

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

  • 389th Bomb Group

    389th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 389th Bomb Group, known in more familiar terms as "the Sky Scorpions", flew strategic bombing missions in B-24 Liberators from Hethel, England. They also sent detachments to join bases in North Africa at Benghazi No. 10, Libya, between 3 July 1943...

  • 491st Bomb Group

    491st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 491st Bomb Group flew B-24 Liberators in bombing missions over northern France and Germany from June 1944 until April 1945. Missions over Germany included bombing the headquarters of the German General Staff at Zossen. The Group was awarded a DUC...

  • 566th Bomb Squadron

    566th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Constituted 566th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 Dec. 1942. Activated on 24 Dec. 1942. Inactivated on 13 Sept. 1945. Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Air...

  • 852nd Bomb Squadron

People

  • Thomas Baum

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Shot down 5 December 1943 in B-24 #4240738, "The Oklahoman." Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Leonard Boisclair

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Flew Ploesti raid on 1 Aug 43 as the waist gunner on Jack Dieterle's plane, The Little Gramper. One of its engines was hit by ground fire, and it barely made it back to the base at Benghazi, Libya.

  • Thomas Campbell

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 389th Bomb Group
    Flew on famous Ploesti raid of 1 Aug '43. A Romanian historian says, "Si totusi, câtiva dintre pilotii Grupului 389 aveau stagii de zbo stul de îndelungate. Thomas Campbell, copilotul lui Jack Dieterle, ecutase treizeci si cinci ce misiuni cu...

  • Charles Cavage

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Member of the Walsh crew. Picture on page 28 of new unit history shows crew on completion of their 25th mission.

  • Ernest Cox

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Flew as a tail gunner on the famous Ploesti raid of 1 Aug 43. The plane, The Little Gramper, barely made it back to its base at Benghazi, Libya, with one of its engines hit by ground fire.

  • Marcus DeCamp

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Survived the raid on Ploesti for which he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. The plane barely made it back to the base in Benghazi with one engine damaged by ground fire.

  • Jack Dieterle

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    After completing his training as a bomber pilot at Biggs Field in Texas, his squadron, the 566ᵀᴴ BS of the 389ᵀᴴ BG, was established at Hethel Field in Norwich early in 1943. In subsequent action, his ship was the sole survivor of his element of three...

  • Russell Hayes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    He was the waist gunner on Jack Dieterle's ship, The Little Gramper, during the great raid on the Ploesti oil refineries in Romania on Black Sunday, 1 August 1943. The plane returned with its crew intact but with some damage to one of its engines.

  • Robert Hyde

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 389th Bomb Group
    He was the bombardier on The Little Gramper on the attack on the Ploesti oil fields on Black Sunday, 1 August 1943.

  • Arthur Marsh

    Military | Lieutenant | Radio Operator | 389th Bomb Group
    Flew as the radio operator on the Ploesti raid of 1 August 1943. The plane sustained damaged to one of its engines, and barely made it back to the base at Benghazi, Libya.

Show more

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

  • Hethel

    Military site : airfield
    Construction of Hethel airfield began in 1941, and was finished in late 1942. The number of hardstandings was increased from the planned 36 to 50 in 1942, in order to accommodate a full heavy bomb group. The 320th Bomb Group occupied the base for ten...

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

  • Biggs Field

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Origin of Nickname 1943

It most likely was named by its first pilot, Jack Dieterle. Around his family, he sometimes referred to his plane as the "Little Grampus." "Gramper" is the Dutch variant of the word "grampus" which denotes Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus), which is the size of a whale and sometimes confused with a killer whale. The most famous grampus was Pelorus Jack, who was famous for piloting ships through perilous straights around New Zealand. The idea seems to have been that Jack (Dieterle), piloting a whale-like plane, aspired to lead his crew to safety through perilous straights.

His mother Ruby, however, was very reluctant to tell people the name of her son's plane because she thought the obscure word had pornographic connotations.

Assigned Benghazi, Libya 3 July 1943

566th BS, 389th BG, 8th AF. TDY 9th AF.

Survived Ploesti Ploiești, Romania 1 August 1943

Flew on 1st Aug 43 Ploesti oil refinery raid piloted by Lt Jack W Dieterle, returning safely to Libya. "I was the only ship to get back out of my flight and on the way back I didn't think I was going to make it into my home base because of my dwindling gas supply. I thought I was going to have to make a landing in the sea but as luck would have it I set my ship down on the old home grounds with sputtering engines, crew intact, and but one machine gun bullet in my number one engine to show for my efforts in the raid."

Mentioned in Books 1 August 1943

“Aboard Sandwitch, in the fourth wave, no one fell asleep. A gunner one plane over, in The Little Gramper, saw what happened. Some crewmen from Sandwitch were waving at him when an antiaircraft shell struck the bomb bay fuel tank. In an instant, gas poured out of Sandwitch and the plane caught on fire. The pilot, Robert Horton, took the plane up to bombing altitude and dropped their bomb load squarely on the target, but Sandwitch was finished. It took several more hits. The gunner watching from The Little Gramper said, “It was a horrible sight watching the burning plane and knowing that the men in there were fighting for their lives and there was nothing we could do to help.” The Sandwitch, the element leader, eventually crashed.

Assigned Metfield AAF-366, 15 May 1944

Transferred to the 491st Bomb Group 15 May 44. Noted as War Weary repainted in high visibility paint scheme and became Group's first assembly ship.

Struck off Charge SOC England, UK 31 May 1945

Struck off Charge, scrapped, England.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
23 January 2019 21:37:46 Dieterle Changes to place associations
Sources

Richard Dieterle.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 20:20:50 Dieterle Changes to description
Sources

Richard Dieterle, minor type formatting revision.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 09:09:45 Dieterle Changes to markings
Sources

389th Bomb Group (H) Aircraft Roster where the color is described as OD.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 05:31:18 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Richard Dieterle, correcting a formatting error.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 05:23:01 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Standard dictionary meanings, and Dieterle family lore.

Date Contributor Update
21 January 2019 04:22:54 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Richard Dieterle

Date Contributor Update
18 January 2019 19:27:59 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Duane Schultz, Into the Fire: Ploesti the Most Fateful Mission of World War II (Yardley, PA: Westholme Publishing, 2007) 171-172.

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2019 03:47:54 Dieterle Changes to markings
Sources

Richard Dieterle

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2019 03:44:19 Dieterle Changes to media associations
Sources

Information is based upon my (Richard Lewis Dieterle) personal acquaintance as his son, and upon genealogical records, the testimony of his parents and siblings, and a set of letters that he wrote his aunts during the war. Biographical information is found in his obituary in the Novato Advance, Weds., 9 October 1985. Little Gramper 1943 is from World War Photos (https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/usa/aircrafts-2-3/b-24-bomber/b-...); the painting of this ship comes from Warbirds Wiki (http://warbirds.wikia.com/wiki/B-24D_(The_Little_Gramper)_42-40722); the Little Gramper in flight comes ultimately from the National Archives.

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2019 03:35:52 Dieterle Changes to media associations
Sources

Information is based upon my (Richard Lewis Dieterle) personal acquaintance as his son, and upon genealogical records, the testimony of his parents and siblings, and a set of letters that he wrote his aunts during the war. Biographical information is found in his obituary in the Novato Advance, Weds., 9 October 1985. Little Gramper 1943 is from World War Photos (https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/usa/aircrafts-2-3/b-24-bomber/b-...); the painting of this ship comes from Warbirds Wiki (http://warbirds.wikia.com/wiki/B-24D_(The_Little_Gramper)_42-40722); the Little Gramper in flight comes ultimately from the National Archives.

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2019 02:09:51 Dieterle Changes to markings, description and events
Sources

Information is based upon my (Richard Lewis Dieterle) personal acquaintance as his son, and upon genealogical records, the testimony of his parents and siblings, and a set of letters that he wrote his aunts during the war. Little Gramper 1943 is from World War Photos (https://www.worldwarphotos.info/gallery/usa/aircrafts-2-3/b-24-bomber/b-...). Biographical information is found in his obituary in the Novato Advance, Weds., 9 October 1985.

Date Contributor Update
13 January 2019 03:20:36 Dieterle Changes to events
Sources

Lt. Jack Dieterle, from a letter to his aunts dated 12 September 1943.

Date Contributor Update
24 April 2015 23:12:53 Al_Skiff Changes to events
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com / http://www.fold3.com / http://www.freewebs.com

Date Contributor Update
24 April 2015 23:02:30 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, description, events, unit associations, person associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com / http://www.fold3.com / http://www.freewebs.com

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