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41-11819

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D Liberator, Raunchy, 41-11819, was in the 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based at Benghazi, Libya, North Africa, in early 1943.

Raunchy, was flown by Lt. Sam Neeley, in Flight 1, of the B-24Ds in the 98th Bomb Group's planes on Operation Tidal Wave, over Ploesti, Romania. Raunchy, was destroyed, and 8 of it's crew, including Pilot Lt. Sam Neeley and his copilot, Lt. Herman Henslee, were killed in action. KIA, with 2 exceptions, the plane's radio operator, Sgt. William Schiffmacher and waist gunner, Nick Allen, both of whom survived the airplane's crash, though badly burned, and were captured - 2 WIA-POW. Operation Tidal Wave, the mission to destroy the German held oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, was one of the most daring and desperate bombing missions of WW II. The 98th Bomb Group took 67 percent casualties over their refinery targets. Lt. Samuel Neely, close friends with both Col. John Kane and Lt. John Young, who were flying the Element Lead B-24D, Hail Columbia, off to Neeley's right side, in the center of Flight 1, was one the one hundred, or so, airmen killed on the Ploesti mission. Raunchy : 8 KIA - 2 WIA-POW. 1 Aug 1943

Lt. Neeley, and his crew, flew in Flight 1, the 1st wave (Flight 1) of the 98th Bomb Group's bombers attacking White IV. Command Pilot Lt. Neeley was flying at tree top level on the far left side of Flight 1. Raunchy, had already been heavily hit by the AA flak guns when the plane flew into a smoke column and hit a barrage balloon cable immediately after his bomb release. One of Raunchy's wings struck, but did not break the cable, and pulled down an explosive charge attached to it's cable, onto the airplane's wing. The explosive charge detonated when it hit the wing, partially folding it and sending the bomber crashing down to the ground, killing Lt. Neeley and most of his crew, who died instantly. Somehow, and by some kind of miracle, Sam Neely's radio operator, Lt. Bill Shiffmacher, and one of Neeley's waist gunners, Sgt. Nick Allen, were badly burned, but survived the crash and were rescued to became POWs at Ploesti. Most of the dead crew members' remains were never found, recovered, or identified because of the extensive fire having totally burned up, Raunchy, the airplane, and the crewmen inside. 1 Aug 1943. MACR 169.
B-24D, Raunchy - 41-11819 - Lost on the low level mission to Ploesti, Romania, and Failed To Return (FTR). Lt. Sam Neeley hit a barrage balloon cable over his target, White IV, and was impacted by an explosive charge attached to the balloon cable, which exploded and partially blew, Raunchy's, wing off, crashing the plane flying from an altitude of 150 feet. Raunchy, crashed into a field killing Lt. Neeley, Copilot Lt. Herman Henslee, and most of the rest of his crew in the crash and fire, except two. The only two survivors of the crash were the radio operator, SSgt. William W. Schiffmacher and waist gunner, SSgt. Nick Allen, who both survived the crash, along with the other Americans taken prisoners.

B-24D Raunchy's Crew Over Ploesti:

1st Lt. Samuel R. Neeley - Pilot - KIA
2nd Lt. Herman H. Henslee - Copilot - KIA
1st Lt. Joel I. Corn - Navigator - KIA
2nd Lt. Eugene L. Rodgen - Bombardier - KIA
TSgt. Karl T. Edelen - Engineer/Top Turret Gunner - KIA
SSgt. Robert P. Schultz - Gunner - KIA
SSgt. William W. Schiffmacher - Radio Operator - WIA-POW
SSgt. Alfred D. Cason - Gunner - KIA
Sgt. Nick A. Allen - Gunner - WIA-POW

- Note : The surviving Ploesti airmen prisoners in Romania were rescued by U.S. Army and U.S. Army Air Corps personnel and were flown out of Romania, and back to safety, some months later, in a special operation (Operation Gunn) by U.S. Army Air Force B-17s sent to rescue them from the approaching Russian army. 31 Aug 1944.

Service

Aircraft

  • 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,...

  • 41-11819 - Raunchy

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, Raunchy, 41-11819, was in the 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 9th Air Force, based at Benghazi, Libya, North Africa, in early 1943. ...

  • 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...

  • 41-11768 - Kickapoo

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, 41-11768, named, Kickapoo, was Lt. John S. Young's regularly assigned B-24D, after his 98th Bombardment Group moved out of Egypt, to the air bases at Benghazi, Libya. John Young was from Dallas, Texas, like so many of the men...

  • 42-40629 - The Scorpion

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, 42-40629, The Scorpion, in the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bombardment Group, and the 565th Bomb Squadron, flew on Operation Tidal Wave, the bombing mission on the oil refineries, piloted by Lt. Kenneth M. Caldwell and Col. Jack Wood...

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Units

  • 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

  • Alfred Cason

    Military | Staff Sergeant (3rd Grade) | B-24 Gunner | 98th Bomb Group
    Sgt. Alfred David Cason was a gunner on the B-24D, Raunchy, flown on Operation Tidal Wave by Lt. Sam Neeley. Both Lt. Neeley and Sgt. Cason were Killed In Action (KIA) over Ploesti when their B-24D, Raunchy, hit a barrage balloon cable explosive. 1...

  • 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. ...

  • 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 flew in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying as a Waist Gunner and Radio...

  • 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...

  • James Lindsey

    Military | Flight Officer | Co-Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    2nd Lt. James Rex Lindsey was Lt. Gilbert Hadley's co-pilot on Hadley's B-24D, Hadley's Harem, in North Africa. He participated in, and had completed his part of the bombing mission, Operation Tidal Wave. But, Lt. Lindsey and Lt. "Gib" Hadley were...

  • 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,...

  • 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

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
FTR Failed To Return 1 August 1943

Lost on the Ploesti oil refinery bombing mission. Immediately after bomb release the A/C struck an AA barrage balloon cable with an attached explosive device, which, upon detonation, heavily damaged one of it's wings. 8 KIA, including Sam Neeley. 2 POW. The radio operator and a gunner survived the crash and became prisoners. 2 POW. Pilot Samuel R. Neeley KIA Ploesti. 1 Aug 43. MACR 169.

Assigned

In the 344th Bomb Squadron, the 98th Bomb Group, "The Pyramiders", in the 9th Air Force, "The Force For Freedom".

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
15 May 2022 17:45:39 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

AAM Database.

Date Contributor Update
20 March 2022 23:43:35 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Valor : Operation Gunn - Air Force Magazine

Date Contributor Update
20 March 2022 23:40:25 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Valor : Operation Gunn - Air Force Magazine

Date Contributor Update
20 March 2022 23:29:03 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz - p. 151, 152, 225.

Date Contributor Update
20 March 2022 23:04:09 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz - p. 151, 152, 225.

Date Contributor Update
11 March 2022 20:45:41 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Into The Fire-Ploesti - Duane Schultz ----- Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
24 January 2022 09:59:08 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Details added, spelling, word spacing changes. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 December 2021 22:31:29 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - Raunchy

Date Contributor Update
11 October 2021 09:08:50 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Added details. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
10 September 2021 22:02:05 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Revised "Markings". - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 11:49:57 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 11:44:32 Kickapoo Changes to description and person associations
Sources

Details and wording additions. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 11:35:26 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Word changes and additions. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 11:28:55 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Word additions and changes. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 August 2021 11:05:48 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Spelling, word spacing. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
17 August 2021 13:07:35 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
16 August 2021 21:31:07 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

Detail, wording, and spacing changes for clarity and accuracy - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
14 August 2021 10:33:47 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Details, wording, and spelling changes. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
11 June 2021 15:52:20 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Wording changes for clarity - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
07 June 2021 14:24:42 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Spelling corrected in biography - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
07 June 2021 14:20:18 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Punctuation changed for clarity - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
07 June 2021 14:18:10 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Wording and punctuation altered for clarity - John S Young Jr

Date Contributor Update
06 June 2021 18:39:20 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Puctuation for clarity.

Date Contributor Update
06 June 2021 18:37:01 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

American Air museum In Britain

Date Contributor Update
06 June 2021 17:07:50 Kickapoo Changes to markings
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 'Raunchy'

Date Contributor Update
06 June 2021 17:06:11 Kickapoo Changes to production block number, markings, description and place associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill The Great Ground-Air battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart Best Web - B-24 - 'Raunchy'

Date Contributor Update
18 May 2021 19:24:26 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

Added punctuation in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:50:07 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:48:18 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:44:48 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

The Great Ground-Air Battle Of 1 August 1943 - James Dugan & Carroll Stewart ---- Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:41:45 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:39:40 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:34:41 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:31:28 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and aircraft associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
02 February 2021 03:29:45 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations, unit associations and person associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
15 December 2020 12:10:59 Kickapoo Changes to description and person associations
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date Contributor Update
02 December 2020 10:27:14 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
17 October 2020 14:06:38 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday -- Michael Hill ---- Into The Fire -- Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
17 October 2020 14:04:01 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday -- Michael Hill ---- Into The Fire -- Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
17 October 2020 13:55:29 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Black Sunday -- Michael Hill ---- Into The Fire -- Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
21 November 2016 04:46:16 466thHistorian Changes to nicknames and place associations
Sources

http://www.taracopp.com/98th-Bombardment-Group-WWII

Date Contributor Update
13 March 2015 16:58:03 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, description, events, unit associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

AAM Database.

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