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42-40753

B-24 Liberator

#42-40753 - B-24D 'OLE KICKAPOO' - A Consolidated B-24D bomber from the 389th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force, and the 564th Bomb Squadron from England, with it's Command Pilot, 2nd Lt. Lloyd Hughes, and his crew, who flew on "Operation Tidal Wave" to destroy the Germans' oil refineries at Ploesti, and were lost bombing "Target Red" at Campina, Ploesti, with both pilots and all but two of the crew KIA in the crash of their B-24. Lt. Lloyd "Pete" Hughes was posthumously awarded the Medal Of Honor for his leadership, skill, and determination to continue on to bomb his target after having his airplane hit by two devastating flak rounds that tore open fuel tanks in his bomb bay and left wing. Now, streaming huge geysers of fuel from his wing and fuselage, and knowing that flying through the flames ahead of him in the Campina Refinery area, would set his plane on fire, Hughes elected to continue to fly toward his target, no matter the cost to his safety and his life. Minutes later, as he did fly through the flames of the already burning oil tanks, 'Ole Kickapoo' was "turned into a blowtorch" as described by his friend, General Philip Ardery, flying slightly behind Hughes in his own B-24. Still, Hughes flew on, his friend Gen. Ardery watching from behind, in wonder, as 'Ole Kickapoo' now streaming long sheets of flames from the burning gasoline behind him, "Pete" dropped his bombs spot on his target at the Campina Refinery. Pulling away from the target and still burning fiercely, Ardery saw that Hughes seemed to attempt to pull his plane into a slight climb to allow his crew to bail out, and, then, he appeared to try to slow his burning airplane and bring it down for a crash landing. It looked as if he would be able to land in the dry river bed of the Prahova River ahead of him, when, suddenly, the left wing blew off, and the plane cartwheeled into the ground. Of the ten men aboard the B-24, Pete Hughes and five others were killed instantly, two more who made it out of the burning wreckage, died of their wounds within days and two of those who survived the crash and their injuries, lived on to became prisoners of war. Pete Hughes left a young grieving wife and family for the sacrifice he made for them, and his country, and for freedom. Pete Hughes' crewmen, living and dead, were all awarded the second highest medal their country could give them, the Distinguished Service Cross, for their bravery and the extreme sacrifices they also made for their families and their countrymen.

B-24D 'OLE KICKAPOO' #42-40753 ~ Lt. Lloyd Hughes Command Pilot And Crew 1943:

~ Pilot: 2Lt Lloyd H. Hughes, Jr. KIA; Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously
~ Co-Pilot: 2Lt Ronald L. Helder. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Navigator: 2Lt Sidney A. Pear. KIA (died of wounds August 6, 1943, surgery hospital in Campina, Rumania); Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Bombardier: John A. McLoughlin. KIA (died of wounds on August 3, 1943, surgery hospital in Campina, Rumania; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Engineer/Top Turret Gunner: T/Sgt Joseph E. Mix. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Radio Operator: T/Sgt Louis N. Kase. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Waist Gunner: S/Sgt Malcolm C. Dalton. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously
~ Waist Gunner: S/Sgt Edmond H. Smith. POW; Distinguished Service Cross
~ Tail Gunner: S/Sgt Thomas A. Hoff. POW; Distinguished Service Cross
~ Tunnel Gunner: Sgt Avis K. Wilson. KIA; Distinguished Service Cross posthumously

Service

Aircraft

  • 41-11825 HAIL COLUMBIA, LITTLE CHIEF-BIG DOG, GRUMPY, HAIL COLUMBIA

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D, HAIL COLUMBIA, #41-11825, originally served in the 9th Air Force, the 98th Bomb Group, and the 344th Bombing Squadron. It was, first, the 344th Squadron's CO, Col. John R. Kane's, personal aircraft until Kane became the 98th Bomb Group's CO...

  • 42-40629 The Scorpion

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24D Liberator 42-40629, 'The Scorpion', with the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bombardment Group, and the 565th Bomb Squadron, flew on the Ploesti oil refinery raid, "Operation Tidal Wave" piloted by Lt. Kenneth M. Caldwell and Col. Jack Wood...

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Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    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...

  • 564th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Philip Ardery

    Military | Major General | Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Silver Star/ 2 DFCs/ 4 Air Medals/ Croix de Guerre. ...

  • Hugh Ballard

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 96th Bomb Group

  • Malcolm Dalton

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 564BS, 839BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 42-40753 'Ole Kickapoo' 1-Aug-43; Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 157 Awards: DFC, AM, PH.

  • 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. ...

  • 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',...

  • Thomas Hoff

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 564BS, 389BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploseti raid in B-24 42-40753 'Ole Kickapoo' 1-Aug-43; A/C downed by flak and subsequent fire. One of two survivors from the crash. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 157 ...

  • Lloyd Hughes

    Military | Second Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Lloyd Herbert Hughes Jr., better known to his friends, as "Pete," flew his fifth mission, as pilot of a B-24 Liberator bomber in an attack against the Axis oil refineries in Ploesti, Romania. He was killed August 1, 1943 when his plane was severely...

  • John Kane

    Military | Colonel | Commanding Officer, Command Pilot | 98th Bomb Group
    John Riley Kane (January 5, 1907 – May 29, 1996) was a colonel in the United States Army Air Corps and later 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...

  • Louis Kase

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 389th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 564BS, 389BG, 8AF USAAF. TDY to 9AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Ploesti raid in B-24 42-40753 'Ole Kickapoo' 1-Aug-43; Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 157 ...

  • 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...

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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

  • Benina

    Military site : airfield

  • Mellaha

    Military site : airfield

  • Berca

    Military site : airfield

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Not yet known

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 May 2021 19:42:58 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
03 December 2020 02:57:51 Kickapoo Changes to markings
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Bomber Pilot - General Philip Ardery

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2020 07:43:35 Kickapoo Changes to markings
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Letter written by Ronald Lee Helder in the possession of his family, shared with permission to the Tidal-Wave forum online.

Date Contributor Update
27 November 2020 04:34:10 Rajordan Changes to markings
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Letter written by Ronald Lee Helder in the possession of his family, shared with permission to the Tidal-Wave forum online.

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 09:11:14 Kickapoo Changes to description
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The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943 -- James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 08:52:20 Kickapoo Changes to person associations and place associations
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The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943 -- James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 08:19:09 Kickapoo Changes to description
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Ploesti The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943 -- James Dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 08:13:48 Kickapoo Changes to production block number and markings
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The Great Ground-Air battle of 1 August 1943 -- James dugan & Carroll Stewart

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 07:56:10 Kickapoo Changes to description
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General Philip Ardery -- We Were Pilots

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 07:25:21 Kickapoo Changes to description
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Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II -- Philip Ardery

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 07:09:59 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames, description, unit associations, person associations and mission associations
Sources

Bomber Pilot: A Memoir of World War II -- Philip Ardery

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 06:38:31 Kickapoo Created entry with serial number, aircraft type, manufacturer, nicknames, markings and media associations
Sources

Black Sunday -- Michael Hill

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