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42-40127

B-24 Liberator

The B-24D Liberator, 42-40127, was flown on Operation Tidal Wave to Ploesti by Lt. Charles T. Merrill and his crew, with the 329th Bomb Squadron, the 93rd Bomb Group, TDY to the 9th Air Force, to Ploesti, supposedly, returning to Benghazi, Libya, safe but not unscathed. 1 Aug 1943. - See note at the end of this biography.
- The 1 Aug 43, damage report for A/C [42-40127] : "Bulkhead in fuselage badly damaged by [a 40mm flak round]. Elevator control cables damaged. AFCE rudder, elevator, and trim tab control cables damaged. Left vertical stabilizer damaged by light flak. Leading edge left wing damaged by barrage balloon cable."
On another mission the A/C [42-40127] took a direct 88mm hit in the [ball] turret well aft of the bomb bay. No ball turrets were carried [on the Ploesti mission], so the crew used this space to store their heavy flying clothes and other supplies. The shell detonated in those clothes, and the concussion knocked all the gunners to the floor and knocked the tail gunner from his tail turret.

After its return to the ETO, the B-24D, 42-40127, was given a new crew and the name, Bucket of Bolts, and was also given further missions. Later, the airplane was declared "War Weary", and renamed, First Sergeant, and became a high visibility assembly ship for the 458th Bomb Group.
On, 27 May 44, while preparing for a mission, 42-40127, was destroyed by a fire on the ground at Horsham St. Faith/Sta 123, England, caused by a radio operator accidently discharging a flare gun at his station. Four crew members on board escaped the fire via the open bomb bay, with the pilot and engineer suffering 2nd degree facial burns.

Note : "Literally every book on [Operation] Tidal Wave claims the B-24D-30-CO, 42-40127, a verified Ploesti participant, was named either, Thar She Blows, or, Thar She Blows Again. The confusion comes, initially, from the 93rd Bomb Group’s, 1 Jul 1943, letter listing the nicknames for all 93rd Bomb Group ships in the [Libyan] desert, which states, "42-40127, was named, Thar She Blows." Further confusion has arisen, since it is conclusively documented that Capt. Chuck Merrill flew, 42-40127, to Ploesti, and that he had previously flown a ship named, Thar She Blows. "Official" letter and all that, right ? " - Dave Klause

"But the [aircraft's] name [Thar She Blows, and, Thar She Blows Again] is not correct, and here’s why. The actual [photographic] proof [of the airplane in question, 42-40127], is immutable, but there are still some open questions at the bottom of this article. It is now very clear that neither, Thar She Blows, nor, Thar She Blows Again, were ever the same ship as, 42-40127." - Contributor : Col. David H. Klause, USAF, Ret.

Service

Aircraft

  • 42-40127 - Bucket Of Bolts - First Sergeant

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator, 42-40127, was flown on Operation Tidal Wave to Ploesti by Lt. Charles T. Merrill and his crew, with the 329th Bomb Squadron, the 93rd Bomb Group, TDY to the 9th Air Force, to Ploesti, supposedly, returning to Benghazi, Libya, safe...

  • 41-24130 - Thar She Blows Again

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, 41-24130, named, Thar She Blows Again, was assigned to the 8th Air Force, the 93rd Bomb Group, and the 329th Bomb Squadron. It was transferred to the 409th Bomb Squadron, the 93rd Bomb Group, in the 8th Air Force, USAAF. It was, then,...

  • 41-23658 - Thar She Blows

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, 42-23658, was assigned to the 93rd Bomb Group, the 329th Bomb Squadron, in the 8th Air Force at Alconbury, UK. The aircraft, piloted by Maj. William Cowert, sustained battle damage on a mission to Rouen, France, and made a crash landing at...

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Units

  • 458th Bomb Group

    458th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 458th Bomb Group (H) entered combat with the 8th Air Force in February 1944. Based at Horsham St. Faith in England, the combat crews participated in the decisive Campaigns 'Big Week', 'Big B', D-Day and the assault on Germany's oil industry waged...

  • 93rd Bomb Group

    93rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated 1 Mar 42 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. On 15 May 42. the Group moved to Ft. Myers, Florida, to continue advanced flight training and also to fly antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Mexico. They...

  • 329th Bomb Squadron
  • 330th Bomb Squadron
  • 754th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Frederick Angeloch

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 458th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 754BS, 458BG, 8AF USAAF. 35 x combat missions. Lt Melvin Watson crew. ETD Awards: DFC, AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • William Butt

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 458th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 754BS, 458BG, 8AF USAAF. 35 x combat missions. Lt Melvin Watson crew. Flight crew for B-24 assembly ship 'First Sergeant', when flares set A/C ablaze. 27-May-44. Awards: DFC, AM, PH, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Jefferson Chadwick

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 93rd Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40127.

  • Gasper DeSimone

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 458th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 755BS, 458BG, 8AF USAAF. Lt Neil Peters crew. 5 x combat missions. Survived ditching in B-24H 41-29331 'Blondie's Folly'; Mission to Friedrichshafen, 16-Mar-44; Forced to ditch in the Channel after fighters severely damaged A/C. Rescued by...

  • Paul Faggioli

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner; Flight Engineer | 458th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 754BS, 458BG, 8AF USAAF. 35 x combat missions. Lt Melvin Watson crew. Flight crew for B-24 assembly ship 'First Sergeant', when flares set A/C ablaze, along with pilot received facial burns in the ensuing fire 27-May-44. ...

  • Whitney Gregory

    Military | Lieutenant | Navigator | 93rd Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40127.

  • Donald Grimes

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator, Engineer | 93rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 40BS, 93BG, 8AF USAAF. On TDY to 9th AF. Flew as engineer of B-24 42-40127 on 1-Aug-43 Ploesti raid, returning to Libya. ...

  • Walter Landers

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 458th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 752BS, 458BG, 8AF USAAF. Co-pilot aboard B-24 assembly ship 'First Sergeant'. Shot down by flak and crashed at Waldrach on 9-Aug-44 in B-24 41-28942. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 7890 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Acy Marchand

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 458th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 754BS, 458BG, 8AF USAAF. 35 x combat missions. Lt Melvin Watson crew. Flight crew for B-24 assembly ship 'First Sergeant', when flares set A/C ablaze. 27-May-44. Awards: DFC, AM, PH, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Charles Merrill

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 93rd Bomb Group
    Took part in Operation Tidal Wave, the raid on Ploesti on 1 August 1943, flying B-24 Liberator 42-40127.

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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

  • Hardwick

    Military site : airfield
    Planned as an RAF bomber airfield, Hardwick was used first by the 310th Bomb Group, equipped with B-25 Mitchells. B-24 Liberators of the 93rd Bomb Group moved in briefly in March 1943, then returned in June 1943 remaining until the end of the war and...

  • Horsham St Faith

    Military site : airfield
    Horsham St Faith was an RAF Bomber Command Station opened in June 1940. It was home to Bristol Blenheim medium-bombers, and was for a time occupied by fighters, including those of No. 19 Squadron and No. 264 Squadron. From September 1942 the airfield...

Events

Event Location Date
2nd Career 27 February 1944

Declared as War Weary and renamed, First Sergeant. It became a high visibility assembly ship for the 458th Bomb Group in England. 27 Feb 1944.

Destroyed RAF Horsham Saint Faith, Norwich, Norfolk, UK 27 May 1944

While preparing for a mission, aircraft was destroyed by a fire on the ground at Horsham St Faith/Sta 123, England. The fire was caused by a radio operator accidently discharging a flare gun at his station. Four crew members on board escaped the inferno via the bomb bay, with the pilot and engineer suffering 2nd degree facial burns. 27 May 44

Assigned RAF Hardwick, Norwich, Norfolk NR15, UK

330th BS, 93rd BG, 8th AF.

Assigned Benghazi, Libya

329th BS, 93rd BG, 8th AF. TDY 9th AF.

Assigned RAF Horsham Saint Faith, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

754th BS, 458th BG, 8th AF.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 May 2022 10:29:23 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

http://www.458bg.com / http://www.aviationarchaeology.com

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2022 07:22:31 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40127 - Bucket Of Bolts - First Sergeant

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2022 06:21:46 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell at Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date Contributor Update
09 February 2022 06:07:36 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth Of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date Contributor Update
08 February 2022 13:39:34 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Aircraft added. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
08 February 2022 13:24:05 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date Contributor Update
08 February 2022 13:20:27 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date Contributor Update
08 February 2022 13:16:52 Kickapoo Changes to description and events
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date Contributor Update
08 February 2022 12:41:30 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date Contributor Update
08 February 2022 12:30:33 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - Dave Klause

Date Contributor Update
08 February 2022 12:28:05 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, markings and description
Sources

Dragged Through The Mouth of Hell At Ploesti - David Klause

Date Contributor Update
15 April 2015 20:26:53 Al_Skiff Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, description, events, unit associations, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

http://www.458bg.com / http://www.aviationarchaeology.com

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