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42-40735

B-24 Liberator

The B-24-D-90-CO, 42-40735, was (TDY) to the 9th Air Force in Benghazi, Libya, from the 8th Air Force in Britain, and flown down to Benghazi, North Africa, for Operation Tidal Wave, flying in the 389th Bomb Group, and the 566th Bomb Squadron, to bomb the refineries at Campina, north of Ploesti, Romania.
The, Sand Witch, flown by it's pilot, Lt. Robert W. Horton (KIA) was shot down and lost on Operation Tidal Wave. It crashed at the Prahovah River Valley, after bombing it's target at Campina. As they approached Campina, Jack Deiterle, flying, The Little Gramper, next to the, Sand Witch, wrote later, “Aboard, Sand Witch, in the fourth flight, no one fell asleep. A gunner in, The, Little Gramper, one plane over, saw what happened. Some crewmen in, Sand Witch, were waving at him when an antiaircraft shell struck the bomb bay fuel tanks. In an instant, gasoline poured out of Sand Witch and the plane caught on fire. The pilot, Robert Horton, took the plane up to bombing altitude and dropped their bomb load squarely on the target, but, Sand Witch, was finished. It took several more flak hits. The gunner watching from, The Little Gramper, said, “It was a horrible sight watching the burning plane and knowing that the men in there were fighting for their lives, and there was nothing we could do to help.” Sand Witch, the element lead plane, crashed in flames, killing the entire crew, with the exception of Gunner SSgt. Zerril Steen, who survived the crash, though badly burned, and crawled out of, Sand Witch's wreckage and survived. 9 KIA. 1 WIA-POW. 1 Aug 43. MACR 156

Sand Witch's Crew On Operation Tidal Wave -

Pilot - 1st Lt. Robert W. Horton - KIA -
Copilot - 2nd Lt. Charles T. Hull - KIA -
Navigator - 2nd Lt. Richard B. Krug - KIA -
Bombardier - 2nd Lt. Elwood H. Emerson - KIA -
Radio Operator - Sgt. Jack E. Smith - KIA -
Waist Gunner - TSgt. Frank A. Herlevic - KIA -
Waist Gunner - SSgt. James V. Lambert - KIA -
Ball Turret Gunner - Sgt. Robert P. Kaufman - KIA -
Tail Gunner - SSgt. Mack H. Smith - KIA -
Engineer / Gunner - SSgt. Zerrill J. Steen - POW-WIA -

Service

Aircraft

  • 42-40735 - Sand Witch

    B-24 Liberator
    The B-24-D-90-CO, 42-40735, was (TDY) to the 9th Air Force in Benghazi, Libya, from the 8th Air Force in Britain, and flown down to Benghazi, North Africa, for Operation Tidal Wave, flying in the 389th Bomb Group, and the 566th Bomb Squadron, to bomb...

  • 42-40722 - The Little Gramper

    B-24 Liberator
    Initially, the B-24D Liberator, 42-40723, The Little Gramper, was in the 8th Air Force, the 389th Bomb Group, and the 566th Bomb Squadron in Britain. It was temporarily deployed to North Africa and the 9th Air Force, and flew on the Ploesti oil...

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Units

  • 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...

  • 566th Bomb Squadron

    566th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Constituted 566th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 Dec. 1942. Activated on 24 Dec. 1942. Inactivated on 13 Sept. 1945. Campaigns: Air Offensive, Europe; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; Air...

People

  • Elwood Emerson

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735

  • Frank Herlevic

    Military | Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735.

  • Robert Horton

    Military | First Lieutenant | B-24 Command Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Lt. Robert Horton was Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to the 9th AF during Operation Tidal wave, the bombing mission to the Ploesti, Romania, oil refineries, flying the B-24D, 42-40735, named, Sand-Witch. ...

  • Charles Hull

    Military | Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735.

  • Robert Kauffman

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735

  • Richard Krug

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735.

  • James Lambert

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9th AF for Ploesti Raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' #42-40735.

  • Jack Smith

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735.

  • Mack Smith

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735.

  • Zerrill Steen

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 389th Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) while on TDY to 9thAF for Ploesti raid on 8/1/43 in B-24 'Sand-witch' 42-40735.

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

  • Lete

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Rumania 1 August 1943

Hit by Flak over Ploesti and crashed, Campina, Romania. Pilot Robert W Horton. All crew bar Flt Eng POW, were KIA. MACR 156.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 May 2022 09:53:58 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

AAM Database.

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2022 05:41:57 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - Sand Witch

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2022 05:33:05 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz - p. 172-173

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2022 04:39:58 Kickapoo Changes to production block number, nicknames and description
Sources

Into The Fire - Duane Schultz

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2021 13:56:59 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40735 - The Sand Witch

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2021 13:41:02 Kickapoo Changes to aircraft associations, unit associations and place associations
Sources

Added associations. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2021 13:36:28 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Crew names, spacing. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2021 13:33:08 Kickapoo Changes to markings and description
Sources

B-24D - The Sand Witch Crew - American Air Museum In Britain - The Sand Witch

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2021 09:16:37 Kickapoo Changes to nicknames and markings
Sources

Added details. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
12 March 2015 14:46:26 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, nicknames, description, events, unit associations, person associations and mission associations
Sources

AAM Database.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:52 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

MACR 243 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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