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41-23778

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-23778, was, first, named, Jenny. when it was in the 8th Air Force, the 44th Bomb Group, and the 66th Bombing Squadron in Britain, in 1942. It was temporarily detached (TDY) to the 9th Air Force and sent to Benghazi, Libya, in North Africa, for Operation Tidal Wave, the August 1, 1943, Ploesti oil refinery mission. Lt. Rocco Curelli renamed, 41-23778, Lady Luck, after he and his crew flew it on Operation Tidal Wave over Ploesti, after Lt. Curelli and all of his crew returned safely to Benghazi, Libya. 10 RTB. 1 Aug 1943.

Sadly, on 16 Oct 43, after surviving the dangerous mission to Ploesti, Lt. Curelli and his crew flew, Lady Luck, on a mission, over the German airfields at Foggia, Italy, and were shot down by enemy fighters near Ruoti, Italy. Curelli and the aircraft Failed To Return (FTR) - Lost on the mission over the enemy airfields, at Foggia, while still on TDY to the 9th Air Force. Pilot Rocco A. Curelli, and all but one of his crew, his Radio Operator, Lt. Wesley Zimmerman, were killed in action (KIA), and the plane was lost on this mission. Lt. Wesley Zimmerman later escaped from captivity and returned to his Bomb Group. (POW-ITA-RTD). 9 KIA. 1 POW-ITA-RTD. 16 Oct 43. MACR 2141-3150.

Members of the Curelli crew on the B-24D, Lady Luck, 41-23778

2Lt. Rocco A. Curelli, Pilot, KIA.
2Lt. John Gust Papadopulos, Co-Pilot, KIA.
2Lt. Walter Rossi, Jr., Navigator, KIA.
Victor T. Torrou, Bombardier, KIA.
TSgt. John H. Grinde, Engineer, KIA.
SSgt. Wesley Lee Zimmerman, Radio Operator, POW.
SSgt. Deforest L. Ela, Radio Operator/Gunner, KIA.
SSgt. Raymond Clifford Shafer, Engineer/Gunner, KIA.
SSgt. John R. Hughes, Waist Gunner, KIA.
SSgt. Harper Filer Zoller, Jr. Tail Gunner, KIA.

Service

Aircraft

  • 41-29128 - Lady Luck

    B-24 Liberator
    Note - This B-24H, 41-29128, was in the 8th Air Force, the 446th Bomb Group, and the 704th Bomb Squadron, in the U.K. in 1944, and should not be mistaken for another older B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-23778, also named, Lady Luck, also in the 8th Air...

  • 42-110070 - Lady Luck - Elmer

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24J, 42-110070, was assigned to the 754th Bomb Squadron, the 458th Bomb Group, in the 8th Air Force, USAAF. The airplane crashed or was force landed on the European Continent. 10 Jan 45. Salvaged 13 Mar 45.

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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...

  • 66th Bomb Squadron

People

  • John Altman

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator;Top Turret Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 66BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1-Aug-43, flying B-24 Liberator 41-23778. 29 x combat missions. ETD. Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • John Barcus

    Military | Staff Sergeant | B-24 Waist Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to the 66th Bomb Squadron, the 44th Bomb Group (the Flying 8 Balls), in the 8th Air Force, USAAF. Shot down over Foggia, Italy 16-Aug-43 in the B-24D, 41-23778, Lady Luck. ...

  • James Corrigan

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator; Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 41-23778. Completed 28 missions.

  • Rocco Curelli

    Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Pilot 2ndLt. Rocco A. Curelli - KIA - Foggia, Italy ...

  • Deforest Ela

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 66BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Attack on Foggia airfields under TDY to the 9th AAF. KIA in 41-23778 'Lady Luck' Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 2141/3150 Awards: AM,PH.

  • Robert Felber

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 66BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1-Aug-43, flying B-24 Liberator 41-23778 'Lady Luck'. 25 x combat missions. Moved up to Group Operations. ETD. Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Gola Gibby

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Flight Engineer - Top Turret Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    SSgt. Gola G. Gibby took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1-Aug-43, as engineer and top turret gunner on the B-24, 41-24229, named, Buzzin' Bear. 1-Aug-43. ...

  • John Grinde

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 66BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Attack on Foggia airfields under TDY to the 9th AAF. KIA in 41-23778 'Lady Luck' Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 2141/3150 Awards: PH.

  • George Honeyman

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 66BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 41-23778. 10 x combat missions. Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME, UN and Korean medals.

  • John Hughes

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 44th Bomb Group The Flying Eightballs
    Assigned to 66BS, 44BG, 8AF USAAF. Attack on Foggia airfields under TDY to the 9th AAF. POW in 41-23778 'Lady Luck' Killed in Action (KIA). MACR 2141/3150 Awards: PH.

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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

  • 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...

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Manufactured willow run, Ypsilanti, ME 1943

Built by Consolidated.

Assigned Benghzi, Libya 1 August 1943

Temporary detached to the 9th Air Force for the Ploesti oil refinery mission. Returned safely to Libya. RTB. Renamed, Lady Luck. 1 Aug 43.

Failed to Return (FTR) 85056 Ruoti PZ, Italy 16 August 1943

Failed to Return - Lost on attack on Foggia airfields while on TDY to the 9th Air Force. Pilot Rocco A. Curelli and all but one crewmen were KIA. 9 KIA, 1 POW-RTS. A/C shot down by enemy fighters near Ruoti, Italy, 16 Aug 1943. MACR 2141-3150.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 May 2022 11:03:56 Al_Skiff Changes to description and unit associations
Sources

http://www.amervets.com/replacement/tidal.htm
http://www.greenharbor.com/ROHPDF/ROH.pdf

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2022 09:33:54 Kickapoo Changes to description and aircraft associations
Sources

Added aircraft to connections. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
30 January 2022 05:28:36 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2022 08:24:31 Kickapoo Changes to description, events and place associations
Sources

Additional facts and places. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2022 08:03:01 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Detail changes added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
29 January 2022 07:28:28 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
08 January 2022 08:30:37 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Added Details. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
08 January 2022 08:28:27 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 41-123778 - Lady Luck - Jenny

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2022 11:07:22 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2022 10:46:39 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2022 10:43:23 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2022 19:42:57 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings, description and events
Sources

Detail changes. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
04 January 2022 07:15:10 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24D - 41-12778 - Jenny - Lady Luck

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2022 23:13:14 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Best Web - B-24D - 41-23778 - Jenny - Lady luck

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2022 13:22:27 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Best Web - B-24D - 41-23778 - Jenny - Lady Luck

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2022 04:56:00 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Find-A-Grave Memorials - Wesley Lee Zimmerman

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2022 04:45:32 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Find-A-Grave Memorials - TSgt. John H. Grinde

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2022 04:38:36 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and description
Sources

Find-A-Grave memorials - TSgt. John H. Grinde

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 04:20:34 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations
Sources

Bomb Squadron - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 04:16:14 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations and place associations
Sources

Places change. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 04:13:20 Kickapoo Changes to unit associations, person associations and place associations
Sources

Places addition - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 04:10:02 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Bomb Squadron number change. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 03:51:00 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 41-23778 - Jenny - Lucky Lady

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 03:44:58 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 41-23778 - Jenny - Lucky lady

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 03:37:38 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 41-23778 - Jenny - Lucky Lady

Date Contributor Update
21 August 2021 03:09:45 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 41-23778 - Jenny - Lady Luck

Date Contributor Update
20 August 2021 16:54:51 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Name spelling - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
20 August 2021 16:43:45 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - Lady Luck

Date Contributor Update
03 March 2021 20:40:06 Kickapoo Changes to production block number, nicknames, markings and description
Sources

B-24 - Best Web - #41-23778 - 'Jenny' - 'Lady Luck'

Date Contributor Update
22 February 2021 01:53:47 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

B-24 - Best Web - 'Lady luck' - SN # 41-23778

Date Contributor Update
22 February 2021 01:10:12 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and description
Sources

B-24 - Best Web - 'Lady luck' - SN # 41-23778

Date Contributor Update
22 February 2021 01:04:03 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

B-24 - Best Web - 'Lady luck' - SN # 41-23778

Date Contributor Update
22 December 2020 09:42:49 Al_Skiff Changes to description and events
Sources

http://www.amervets.com/replacement/tidal.htm
http://www.greenharbor.com/ROHPDF/ROH.pdf

Date Contributor Update
09 December 2020 12:16:30 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor and Casualties

Date Contributor Update
09 December 2020 12:12:52 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor and Casualties

Date Contributor Update
09 December 2020 12:04:03 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

44th Bomb Group Roll of Honor and Casualties

Date Contributor Update
12 February 2020 15:06:43 general ira snapsorter Changes to description
Sources

Ploesti Sortie Reports, 44th Bomb Group

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2015 17:03:41 Al_Skiff Changes to description and events
Sources

http://www.findagrave.com

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2015 16:58:47 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, nicknames, description, events, unit associations, person associations and mission associations
Sources

AAM Database / http://www.aviationarchaeology.com / http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:01 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 3150 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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