Skip to main content
Edit entry 

42-40402

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D Liberator bomber, named, The Sandman, was named, and flown, by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his co-pilot, 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 behind Flight 1 of the 98th Bomb Group's airplanes, and behind the Group Leader, Col John Kane's Lead aircraft, Hail Columbia. 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 Lt. Robert Nespor's place after Lt. Nespor crashed Johnny Young's airplane, the B-24D, Kickapoo, on takeoff for the mission. After Lt. Sternfels bombed his target at, White IV, The Sandman, hit a barrage balloon cable, which struck the prop of Sternfels' #3 engine, the inboard RH wing engine, causing a major tear in the RH side of the plane's fuselage, with scratches and damage to the plane's prop blades. Lt. Sternfels joined up with his group leader, John Kane's crippled airplane, Hail Columbia, and followed him 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, in Hail Columbia, Lt. Royden Lebrecht, in The Squaw, and Lt. Gilbert Hadley, in Hadley's Harem, through Turkey, and across the Mediterranean Sea to the British airbase at Nicosia, Cyprus, where they landed safely, minus Lt. Hadley and his crew, behind Col. Walter Stewart in, Utah Man, and Lt. Royden LeBrecht flying, The Squaw. As they approached Cyprus, Gilbert Hadley turned back to the Turkish coast in the dark, low on gas and engine oil. Col. Kane and his co-pilot, John Young, crash landed and wrote off, Hail Columbia, after landing short in the darkness, and hitting a ditch that the British had dug across the airbase's runway threshold. Lt Hadley tried to ditch his, Hadley's Harem, just off the Turkish coast, but was trapped and drowned in the crushed cockpit of his wrecked bomber as it sank in the ocean, with two more of his flight officers killed by flak over their target. 3 KIA. 7 INT-TURKEY. Lt. Sternfels gave Col. John Kane and Lt. John Young, a ride in, The Sandman, back to their base at Benghazi after the Ploesti mission. 1-Aug-43.

The Sandman was later lost during a mission over Italy. FTR - 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 in the 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...

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

    B-24 Liberator
    - The B-24D, 41-24198, in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bomb Squadron, was one of 2 B-24Ds in the MTO based at Benghazi, Libya, with identical nose art pictures, and both named, The Vulgar Virgin, this one, 41-24198, flown...

  • 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, with his CoPilot, Lt. James Lindsey, on the mission to destroy Hitler's oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania. As Hadley was approaching his target refinery,...

  • 41-11761 - The Squaw - Sleepy

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator bomber, 41-11761, was first named, Sleepy, by the men in the 8th Air Force and the 93rd Bomb Group in the U.K. It was, later, renamed, The Squaw, by it's Command Pilot, Lt. Royden LeBrecht, after being transferred to the 9th Air...

  • 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...

Show more

Units

  • 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, over Ploesti, Romania, on 1 Aug 43. 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 survived...

  • Gilbert Hadley

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24D Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    Gilbert Ben "Gib" Hadley was born and raised in Arkansas City, Kansas. He was the son of Perry Arthur Hadley and Beulah Pearl Bacastow, born 6-May-21. Kansas was his home and enlistment state, and Cowley County was included within the archival record. ...

  • 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, in 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...

  • Harold Korger

    Military | Colonel | B-24 - B-52 Bombardier | 98th Bomb Group
    Lt. Harold Francis Korger was a B-24 bombardier in the 344th Bombardment Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based in Benghazi, Libya, 1943. He flew on the B-24D, Hail Columbia, with the Element Group Leader Col. John R. Kane, on the...

  • 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. Samuel Neeley was a B-24D 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...

  • 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" and ...

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
05 June 2022 15:34:35 Al_Skiff Changes to description and unit associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
31 May 2022 15:53:45 Kickapoo Changes to markings, description and events
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
15 May 2022 17:36:42 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com

Date Contributor Update
24 March 2022 10:30:12 Kickapoo Changes to production block number, markings and description
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
24 March 2022 10:18:59 Kickapoo Changes to description and aircraft associations
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 December 2021 22:00:36 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Into The fire - Dune Schultz

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

Share