42-40402 - The Sandman

Object Number - UPL 23321 - B-24 42-40402 The Sandman 345th BS 98th BG.

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

Connections

See how this entry relates to other items in the archive by exploring the connections below.

Units served with

  • Unit Hierarchy: Squadron
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force Twelfth Air Force Fifteenth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Role/Job: Waist Gunner
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-661482
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: B-24D Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 389th Bomb Group 564th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 37038892 / O-740807
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: B-24D Co-Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-29680
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer / Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 16023226 / O-54160
  • Highest Rank: Colonel
  • Role/Job: - B-52 Bombardier

Places

  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Soluch Airfield
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Bengazi Airfield, Wheelus Airbase

Missions

  • Date: 1 August 1943
  • Official Description: 177 B-24ā€™s, of IX Bomber Command (including Heavy Bombers on loan from Eighth AF) are dispatched to bomb oil refineries at Ploesti and nearby Campina. The operation (TIDALWAVE) is costly, 54 planes and 532 airmen being lost, but damage to the targets...

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Sleepy, The Squaw
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 98th Bomb Group 343rd Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Hail Columbia - Little Chief Big Dog - Grumpy
  • Unit: 376th Bomb Group 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - The Vulgar Virgin - Hell From Heaven - Shoot Youre Faded
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Joisey Bounce - Utah Man
  • Unit: 93rd Bomb Group 330th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: - Hadley's Harem
  • Unit: 98th Bomb Group 344th Bomb Squadron

Events

Event Location Date Description

Other

Shot Down

Augsburg, Germany 1943-12-19 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

Date5 Jun 2022 15:34:35
ContributorAl_Skiff
Date31 May 2022 15:53:45
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date15 May 2022 17:36:42
ContributorAl_Skiff
Date24 Mar 2022 10:30:12
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date24 Mar 2022 10:18:59
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date19 Dec 2021 22:00:36
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Into The fire - Dune Schultz

Date12 Oct 2021 20:29:32
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date4 Sep 2021 02:53:11
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Added copilot. - Kickapoo

Date4 Sep 2021 02:51:33
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal archives - Kickapoo

Date17 Aug 2021 13:58:54
ContributorEmily
Sources

Changed all instances of aircraft name into sentence case to as per best practice for accessibility.

Date6 Aug 2021 19:42:20
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - THE SANDMAN

Date6 Aug 2021 19:14:17
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40406 - THE SANDMAN

Date6 Aug 2021 18:04:25
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date23 Jul 2021 07:07:44
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - THE SANDMAN

Date23 Jul 2021 06:29:44
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40402

Date23 Jul 2021 05:56:26
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Minor spelling, wording, spacing, and punctuation changes for clarity and accuracy - Kickapoo

Date23 Jul 2021 05:47:54
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Minor wording, spelling, spacing, and punctuation changes to text and aircraft names for uniformity and clarity - Kickapoo

Date13 Feb 2021 07:32:52
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date13 Feb 2021 07:29:14
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date13 Feb 2021 07:21:22
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date30 Jan 2021 11:20:26
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

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

Date25 Sep 2018 17:06:56
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date25 Sep 2018 17:05:33
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date12 Mar 2018 12:58:27
ContributorKickapoo
Sources

Burning Hitler's Black gold by Robert Sternfels

Date21 Nov 2016 05:07:19
Contributor466thHistorian
Date11 Mar 2015 19:13:55
ContributorAl_Skiff
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com / Wikipedia commons

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