42-40402 - The Sandman

media-23321.jpeg UPL 23321 B-24 42-40402 The Sandman 345th BS 98th BG.

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

The B-24D Liberator bomber, 42-40402, named, The Sandman, was named, and flown, by Lt. Robert Sternfels and his copilot, Lt. Barney Jackson, was originally 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, although the aircraft itself was damaged when it struck a barrage balloon cable over White IV, that the two pilots were unable to see in time to avoid, because of flying through the thick smoke covering the entire area.  Lt. Sternfels was assigned to fly in Flight 4, the fourth flight behind Flight 1 of the 98th Bomb Group's airplanes, and just behind the Element Group Leader, Col John Kane's Lead aircraft, Hail Columbia. earlier, Lt. Sternfels 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 since Lt. Nespor had crashed shortly after takeoff and was killed in John Young's regular airplane, the B-24D, Kickapoo. After Lt. Sternfels bombed his target at, White IV, The Sandman, struck a barrage balloon cable, which struck the prop of Sternfels'  #3 inboard RH wing, engine, causing major damage on the RH side of, The Sandman's fuselage, and also scratches and damage to the airplane's prop blades. Per the attack plan, Lt. Sternfels followed and joined up south of Ploesti with several other flak damaged straggler airplanes, including his Group Leader, John Kane's crippled airplane, Hail Columbia, and followed him on 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 and his copilot Lt. Barney Jackson, followed Col. Kane, in Hail Columbia, joined by Lt. Royden Lebrecht, with Lt LeBrecht, flying cover for the slower damaged 98th Bomb Group's airplanes with his  almost completely undamaged B-24, The Squaw, and  followed by Gilbert Hadley, in Hadley's  (badly shot up) Harem, they all flew on,  south through Turkey, and, then, north and west across the Mediterranean and Ionean Seas to the British airbase at Nicosia, Cyprus, where they landed safely, minus Lt. Hadley and his crew, who crashed trying to ditch his B-24 in the waters off the southern Turkish coast. Walter Stewart was ahead of them, also flying toward Nicosia, Cyprus, in, Utah Man. Hadley, who, miraculously, was able to fly his badly damaged plane south, through, and away from, the flak guns south of the city, and joined up with Col. John Kane's shot up straggler Lead B-24D, Hail Columbia, along with Walter Stewart in, Utah Man, with Lt. Royden LeBrecht undamaged and flying cover for them. Hadley knew his plane couldn't make it all the way home to his airbase at Benghazi. But, he was able to nurse his crippled, Harem, as far as past the south Turkish coast, nearing the safety at Cyprus.                                                                                                          The odds were against him, though. Even as they were nearing Cyprus, Hadley, realized he was out of gas and, probably, out of engine oil, too, and radioed a farewell  to his friends, Col. Kane, Royden LeBrecht, John Young, and Bob Sternfels, in The Sandman, and turned his airplane back toward Turkey in the darkness. But, before he could bring his failing, but beloved, airplane, his B-24D, Hadley's Harem, and his crew, back to the Turkish coast, Hadley's three working engines suddenly seized and failed, out of fuel and engine oil. While he was descending in the dark, he crashed into the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Turkey, trying for the possible but dangerous ditching in the shallow water close to the Turkish beach. Lt. Hadley and his copilot, Lt. James Lindsey, were trapped in their crushed cockpit and drowned in the sinking plane with their bombardier, Lt. Leon Storms, previously killed by the flak round (KIA) that hit them square in their forward nose section. 3-MIA-KIA. Seven of their crewmen survived the mission and the crash, swam to shore, and were interned by the Turks.  (7-INT-TURKEY).  Col. Kane and his pilot, John Young, made it to Cyprus, crash landed and wrote off, Hail Columbia, after  running over and across a ditch that the British had dug across the airbase's runway threshold which took out their landing gear and totally wrecking, Hail Columbia, but with no one badly injured. Lt. Sternfels gave Col. John Kane a ride in, The Sandman, back to Cairo, Egypt, several days later, and, later still, flew him all the way back to Benghazi from Cairo, a few days later after the Ploesti mission. 1 Aug 43.
                                                               
The Sandman, was later lost during a mission over Italy. FTR - ITA. 19 Dec 43. 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

Three airmen of the 389th Bomb Group stand with a B-24 Liberator used as a Flight Assembly Ship. Image via Tim Bivens. Handwritten caption from Bivens: 'My friend remembers it being named "Bucksheesh Benny" that it was used to fly Jack Benny around USA shows. Says it flew in North Africa with Benny and was eventually assigned to 389th as a hack and later as a form-up ship. He thinks it was originally with another group (possibly 376th or 98th).' Handwritten caption on reverse: '389th BG Form-up ship.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth 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: 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: 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: Bombardier

Places

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

Missions

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: B-24 Liberator
  • Nicknames: Sleepy aka 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
A B-24 Liberator ( serial number 41-24226) nicknamed "Joisey Bounce" of the 93rd Bomb Group in flight.
  • 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 19 December 1943 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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

 Aircraft Biography.  -  ( EAA 214424 , WB 3971 )  -  1405 8th Street SW Minot ND,  58701   -   " Hail Columbia ".  by Mike Hill. "    -   Into The Fire"  by Duane Schultz 

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

 Aircraft Biography.  -  ( EAA 214424 , WB 3971 )  -  1405 8th Street SW Minot ND,  58701   -   " Hail Columbia ".  by Mike Hill  

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

http://www.b24bestweb.com/sandman1.htm  -  B-24  -  42-40402  -  The Sandman 

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Minor spelling and word changes for accuracy.  -  article :  "Over the Target" -  Air Force - The Official Service Journal Of The U.S.Army Air Forces - Nov, 1943.  -  by Capt. John S. Young  9th Air Force, page 11 - 13.   -    Kickapoo

Date
Changes
Sources

Into The Fire  -  Duane Schultz

Date
ContributorAl_Skiff
Changes
Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date
ContributorAl_Skiff
Changes
Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Black Sunday-Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Details added. - Kickapoo

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Into The fire - Dune Schultz

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Black Sunday - Ploesti - Michael Hill

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Added copilot. - Kickapoo

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Personal archives - Kickapoo

Date
ContributorEmily
Changes
Sources

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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Best Web - B-24 - THE SANDMAN

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Personal Archives - Kickapoo

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - THE SANDMAN

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Best Web - B-24 - 42-40402

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Col. David H. Klause, Ret.

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

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

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date
ContributorKickapoo
Changes
Sources

Black Sunday - Michael Hill

Date
ContributorKickapoo
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Sources

Burning Hitler's Black gold by Robert Sternfels

Date
Contributor466thHistorian
Changes
Date
ContributorAl_Skiff
Changes
Sources

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

42-40402: Gallery (7 items)