A B-24 Liberator, Up Close and Personal: German Photographs of a Downed B-24 in Holland – II

This page presents the 15 pictures of Tell Me More in Luftgaukommando Report KU 1679.

By scrolling down the post from top to bottom, you’ll first see images of the two pages in the KU Report listing the captions of the photos. 

This is followed by verbatim transcriptions of the entire block of text on those two pages.  Each German-language caption is followed by its English-language equivalent, in italics

Then, scrolling down through all the pictures you’ll see that each photo has its pertinent caption – in both German and English – beneath it.  The English-language translations are presented in italics. 

Importantly, the images and their captions are not presented in the same numerical order as in the KU Report.  Instead, I’ve arranged them to appear as if you were walking along and moving through the plane, from front to rear.  I’ve also added some comments below the German-English paired translations. 

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KU Report Photo Caption Pages

Bild 1     Ansicht der Maschine von Vorn.
Picture 1     View of the machine from the front.

Bild 2     Ansicht der Maschine von hinten.  Man beachte das weggeknickte Fahrwerk.
Picture 2     View of the machine from behind. Note the bent landing gear.

Bild 3     Rumpfende mit Leiwerk und Staffelkenner.
Picture 3     Fuselage tail with body work and [squadron signal light].

Bild 4     Rumpfvorderteil:
a) Staurohr
b) Blister für Navigator beidseitig
c) Abtriftmesser
d) mit den Bewegungen der Waffen gekoppelte Panzerblickscheibe
e) Panzerplatten aussenbords, links und rechts
Picture 4     Fuselage front:
a) Pitot tube
b) Blisters for navigator on both sides
c) Drift [meter?]
d) Armored sighting window, coupled with the movement of the weapons
e) External armor plate, left and right

Bild 5     Linker Flügel mit Triebwerken.
Picture 5     Left wing with engines.

Bild 6     Blick über Waffenstand Rumpfoberseite, Antennenanordnung nach dem Leitwerk:
a) Rückspiegel für Schützen auf Rumpfoberseite
b) Revi N 6 A
Picture 6     View of the weapon stand [dorsal turret] top of the fuselage, antenna arrangement according to the control unit:
a) Rear-view mirror for gunner on fuselage top
b) Revi N 6A

Bild 7     Blick auf Führerstand:
a), b), c), d), Panzerglasscheiben
e) Panzerplatte
Picture 7     View of pilot’s seat:
a), b), c), d), armored glass panes
e) Armor plate

Bild 8     Ausgefahrener Notsporn
Picture 8     Extended emergency skid

Bild 9     Bugturm mit Panzerglasscheibe und Antrieb.
Picture 9     Nose spire [sic] with armored glass pane and drive.

Bild 10     Plexiglasverkleidung des Bugturmes mit aufgemalter
a) Sprung des Plexiglasses wurde durch beidseitige Lochung der Plexiglashälften und durch Einziehen eines Drahtes zickzackförmig verbunden.
Picture 10     Plexiglass covering of the nose spire [sic] with painted [markings]
a) Crack of the plexiglass was zigzagged by bilateral perforation of the plexiglass halves and by pulling in a wire.

Bild 11     Blick in rückwärtigen Kabinenabschnitt mit MK-Kugel und Rumpfseitenständen.
Picture 11     View in the rear cabin section with machine-gun bullets and trunk sides.

Bild 12     Unterbringung der Munitionskästen für Heckstand an der rechten Bordwand hinter dem rechten Fenster.  Darüber Seenotsender mit Zubehöirbehälter.
a) Ausstiegklappe für Besatzung als auch Agenten und Sabotagebehältern.
Picture 12     Accommodation of the ammunition boxes for the rear deck on the right side of the vehicle
behind the right window.  Above that, distress transmitter with accessory container.
a) The exit flap for crew as well as agents and sabotage containers.

Bild 13     Blick auf ferngesteuerte FT-Geräte
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Stromversorgungsgerät für TR 5043
c) Modulator Unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio Transmitter Unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 5043
Picture 13     View of remote controlled FT devices
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Power device for TR 5043
c) Modulator unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio transmitter unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 5043

Bild 14     Die schwenkbaren Rumpfseitenwaffen mit Kreiskornvisier ohne Rücklaufbremse.
Picture 14     The swivel[ing] fuselage side weapons with a circular horn sight without a return brake.

Bild 15     Hydraulicbrett an der rechten Bordwand vor Heckstand.
Picture 15     Hydraulic board on the right side of the vehicle in front of the tail.

Bild 16     Servomotor für Seiten- und Höhenruder der Kurssteurerg A 5. Sitz des Gerätes in Flugrichtung hinter der Trennwand des Heckraumes.
Picture 16     Servomotor for side and height control of the steering wheel A 5.  Seat of the device in the direction of flight behind the partition of the rear compartment.

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THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Bild 1     Ansicht der Maschine von Vorn.

Picture 1     View of the machine from the front.

Comments: Note that none of the props appear to have been feathered, and the lower blades of two starboard props appear to be bent.  The landing gear has been lowered. 

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Bild 7     Blick auf Führerstand:
a), b), c), d), Panzerglasscheiben
e) Panzerplatte

Picture 7     View of pilot’s seat:
a), b), c), d), armored glass panes
e) Armor plate

Comments: The skin of the forward fuselage is crumpled.  Armored glass and pilot’s compartment exterior side armor – of obvious of interest to the photographer – are clearly visible.

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Bild 5     Linker Flügel mit Triebwerken.

Picture 5     Left wing with engines.

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Bild 4     Rumpfvorderteil:
a) Staurohr
b) Blister für Navigator beidseitig
c) Abtriftmesser
d) mit den Bewegungen der Waffen gekoppelte Panzerblickscheibe
e) Panzerplatten aussenbords, links und rechts

Picture 4     Fuselage front:
a) Pitot tube
b) Blisters for navigator on both sides
c) Drift [meter?]
d) Armored sighting window, coupled with the movement of the weapons
e) External armor plate, left and right

Comments: Note the attention to co-pilot’s exterior side armor, and crumpled skin of the front fuselage. 

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Bild 6     Blick über Waffenstand Rumpfoberseite, Antennenanordnung nach dem Leitwerk:
a) Rückspiegel für Schützen auf Rumpfoberseite
b) Revi N 6 A

Picture 6     View of the weapon stand [dorsal turret] top of the fuselage, antenna arrangement according to the control unit:
a) Rear-view mirror for gunner on fuselage top
b) Revi N 6A

Comments:  An excellent view of the top of the rear fuselage.  Note the furrows created by the impact of the starboard landing gear tire and fuselage bottom.  These extend only a very short distance behind the aircraft into the adjoining field, implying a very abrupt stop.  

The dorsal turret is probably the Martin A-3C version as opposed to A-3D, the latter of which commenced with Block H-25 Liberators.  Ironically, the German technical analyst referred to the turret gunsight as a “Revi N 6 A”.  (Revi?!) 

More intriguingly – at least, as described in the caption – are two circular rear-view mirrors mounted within opposite sides of the turret, each located between the .50 caliber machine gun and turret bubble.  The starboard inner turret mirror is also visible in photograph number 7.   

Notice that the cover of the starboard emergency life raft compartment has been detached from the fuselage.

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TO RELEASE & INFLATE LIFE RAFTS
PULL RELEASE HANDLE HARD

PULL RELEASE HANDLE AS FAR AS
POSSIBLE WHICH RELEASES DOORS

PULL INSIDE RELEASE HANDLE…

Comments: This is an 800 dpi scan from the previous photo, showing instructions concerning release of the B-24’s life-rafts.

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Bild 10     Plexiglasverkleidung des Bugturmes mit aufgemalter
a) Sprung des Plexiglasses wurde durch beidseitige Lochung der Plexiglashälften und durch Einziehen eines Drahtes zickzackförmig verbunden.

Picture 10     Plexiglass covering of the nose spire [sic] with painted [markings]
a) Crack of the plexiglass was zigzagged by bilateral perforation of the plexiglass halves and by pulling in a wire.

Comments: Here’s a different way of looking at things: The photographer stood atop the front fuselage of Tell Me More, and pointing his camera down, photographed the top of the “dome” of the Emerson A-15 nose turret.  Immediately apparent are numbers denoting the rotational azimuth of the turret – in gradations of 15 degrees relative to the fuselage center line – engraved or etched into the plexiglass.  The overwhelming majority of photographs of the Emerson A-15 turret, where the turret is seen from the side, naturally don’t show this feature. 

(Did the turret dome of the CAC / Motor Products tail turret have a similar azimuth scale?)

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Bild 9     Bugturm mit Panzerglasscheibe und Antrieb.

Picture 9     Nose spire [sic] with armored glass pane and drive.

Comments: Another view of the A-15 turret.  Immediately apparent are the pane of armored glass and elevation drives for the guns.  There’s a small mystery here:  How was the turret dome shattered?  Flak?  Fighters?  During the plane’s landing?

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Comments: An excellent side view of an Emerson A-15 turret, albeit not from the KU Report.  Instead, from Air Force Photo 53584AC / A12599.  This picture illustrates an interesting aspect of the general design of the A-15, as opposed to the structure of dorsal aircraft turrets:  The guns are located well below the gunner’s head and torso.

Caption: “ENGLAND – S/Sgt. Edward J. Mickey, a B-24 nose turret gunner, of Kingston, Pa., has 30 missions to his credit and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. (53584AC / A12599)”

Here’s an interesting video (at the website of Hugh Fenlon) of an Emerson A-15 in operation, albeit not (!) in a B-24.

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Bild 11     Blick in rückwärtigen Kabinenabschnitt mit MK-Kugel und Rumpfseitenständen.

Picture 11     View in the rear cabin section with machine-gun bullets and [trunk] sides

Comments:  Fuselage interior, looking forward.  This image provides an excellent view of the waist gun opening covers in their stowed positions, and, the location of oxygen bottles.  The wind blast deflector for the port gun can be seen just ahead of the open waist window.  These are the original “open” style B-24 waist gun positions that are neither staggered nor enclosed.  According to Alan Blue’s book, that modification only commenced with Block H-20 Liberators. 

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Bild 13     Blick auf ferngesteuerte FT-Geräte
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Stromversorgungsgerät für TR 5043
c) Modulator Unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio Transmitter Unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 5043

Picture 13     View of remote controlled FT devices
a) BC – 966 – A
b) Power device for TR 5043
c) Modulator unit BC – 456 – E
d) Radio transmitter unit BC – 433 – G
e) TR 504

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Bild 14     Die schwenkbaren Rumpfseitenwaffen mit Kreiskornvisier ohne Rücklaufbremse.

Picture 14     The swivel[ing] fuselage side weapons with a circular horn sight without a return brake.

Comments:  The simple circular ring-and-bead gunsight mounted atop the waist machine guns.

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Bild 12     Unterbringung der Munitionskästen für Heckstand an der rechten Bordwand hinter dem rechten Fenster.  Darüber Seenotsender mit Zubehöirbehälter.
a) Ausstiegklappe für Besatzung als auch Agenten und Sabotagebehältern.

Picture 12     Accommodation of the ammunition boxes for the rear deck on the right side of the vehicle behind the right window.  Above that, distress transmitter with accessory container.
a) The exit flap for crew as well as agents and sabotage containers.

Comments:  Tail turret ammunition storage box, and ventral entry / escape hatch in open (stowed) position. 

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Bild 15     Hydraulicbrett an der rechten Bordwand vor Heckstand.

Picture 15     Hydraulic board on the right side of the vehicle in front of the tail.

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Bild 16     Servomotor für Seiten- und Höhenruder der Kurssteurerg A 5. Sitz des Gerätes in Flugrichtung hinter der Trennwand des Heckraumes.

Picture 16     Servomotor for side and height control of the steering wheel A 5.  Seat of the device in the direction of flight behind the partition of the rear compartment.

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Bild 8     Ausgefahrener Notsporn

Picture 8     Extended emergency skid

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Bild 2     Ansicht der Maschine von hinten.  Man beachte das weggeknickte Fahrwerk.

Picture 2     View of the machine from behind. Note the bent landing gear.

Bild 3     Rumpfende mit Leiwerk und Staffelkenner.

Picture 3     Fuselage tail with body work and [squadron signal light].

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There ends the tail – literally (ahem! – pardon the pun!), and figuratively – of Tell Me More.  The photos tell the story of a single B-24 Liberator – of very, very many – that was lost in the air war against Germany in the Second World War. 

Certainly every man in the plane’s crew certainly had his own, much more human story, as well:  Of attempted evasion, eventual capture, and ultimately liberation and freedom.  I have no way of knowing if in the decades since 1945 those stories were recorded and preserved – especially as suggested by the inscription on the tombstone of Lt. Robert Willson – but it would be nice to think they have been. 

So, let this collection of photos stand as a symbol of a past that should not be forgotten.

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References

The B-24 Liberator

Birdsall, Steve, B-24 Liberator in Action (Aircraft No. 21), (Illustrated by Don Greer), Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., Carrollton, Tx., 1975

Blue, Allan G., The B-24 Liberator – A Pictorial History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, N.Y., 1975

Davis, Larry  B-24 Liberator in Action (Aircraft No. 80), (Illustrated by Perry Manley), Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., Carrollton, Tx., 1987

Joe Baugher’s list of B-24 serial numbers, at
http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_bombers/b24_16.html

B-24H 41-28754

American Air Museum, at
http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/804

8th Air Force Historical Society, at
http://www.8thafhs.com/get_one_acgroup.php?acgroup_id=53

Robert Edwin Willson Commemorative page, at
http://findagrave.com/ for Robert Edwin Willson

Luftgaukommando Report KU 1680

United States National Archives – Collection of Foreign Record Seized – Record Group 242: “Records of Luftgaukommandos: German Reports of Downed Allied Fighters and Other Aircraft – KU Reports”

Report KU 1680 at NARA: (In) Records Group 242, Entry 1022, Shelf Location 190 / 14 / 9-12 / 1-5, Box 231

Demonstration of Emerson A-15 Turret

Hugh Fenlon’s website, at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_eQx_7J2Gk

Modelling the B-24H Liberator

US-Aircraft.com History-Modelling-Forum
http://usaircraft.proboards.com/thread/1570

IPMS USA
http://www.ipmsusa.org/reviews2/aircraft/details/eduard_48/eduard_48_b24j-stuff.htm

A B-24 Liberator, Up Close and Personal: German Photographs of a Downed B-24 in Holland – I

In September of 2016, this blog commenced with a post about Luftgaukommando Reports – documents created by the Germans to record information about aircraft and aircrews of the United States and British Commonwealth air forces shot down over German-occupied Europe and Germany itself, during the Second World War.  Also known as KU (Kampflugzeug Unterlagen – “Downed Allied Aircraft”) Reports, these documents are part of Records Group 242 (Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675-1983) in the United States National Archives. 

By nature, Luftgaukommando Reports comprise records compiled by the Germans, and not uncommonly, include documents (personal and otherwise) and other items, such as V-Mail and hand-written correspondence, carried or worn (dog tags) by air crewmen. 

That “first” post (a multitude of keystrokes ago…!) focused on Luftgaukommando Report J 2525, which covers “Chicago’s Own”, a P-51D Mustang (44-41010) of the 353rd Fighter Squadron of the 354th Fighter Group, which was piloted by Captain Gordon T. McEachron, and served to introduce and describe general aspects of Luftgaukommando Reports. 

What makes Luftgaukommando Report J 2525 noteworthy is the presence of several excellent photographs of the downed and mostly intact – albeit no longer quite flyable! – Mustang. 

Report J2525 is one of the very few Luftgaukommando Reports containing photographs.  Sometimes, like the pictures of Chicago’s Own, such images suggest the features, components, and design aspects of American warplanes that particularly drew the attention of German investigators and technical analysts.

In a large sense, perhaps an apt word for such images is “evocative”.  It’s one thing to read “about” the loss of an American military plane in a book, article, or Missing Air Crew Report.  It’s quite another to actually see and hold an image of what that aircraft looked like, to those who actually flew within it over seven decades ago. 

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This post presents another series of German photographs of a downed American warplane:  An entirely intact yet rather broken 8th Air Force B-24 Liberator – ironically nicknamed “Tell Me More” – which was examined by the Germans after force-landing in Holland on April 29, 1944.  The 15 images presented here, in Luftgaukommando Report KU 1679, represent the second highest total quantity of images found in any of the Luftgaukommando Reports (whether J, KU, or ME Reports) I’ve thus far examined.  (The largest quantity of photographs in a Luftgaukommando Report– 19 – hopefully the subject of a future post!)

“Tell Me More”, a B-24H 41-28754 of the 787th Bomb Squadron, 466th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, squadron code 6L * N, was piloted by 1 Lt. Carl E. Hitchcock, and was lost during the Group’s mission to Berlin on April 29, 1944.  Its loss is covered in MACR 4447.  The 466th lost one other Liberator that day (41-29399, “T9 * D”, of the 784th Bomb Squadron, covered in KU 1681) while the 8th Air Force lost 61 other B-17s and B-24s; the 15th Air Force 4 B-24s. 

In human costs, approximately six hundred and seventy men.

According to tables of B-24 Liberator serial numbers in Allan Blue’s The B-24 Liberator (pp. 195 and 202), Tell Me More was a B-24H-1DT, and – going by serial numbers alone, rather than calendar date of manufacture and delivery – was the very first ”H” version of all 3,100 B-24H Liberators manufactured. 

The crew list from the MACR is shown below:

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Neither the MACR nor the KU Report contain information describing the actual cause of the aircraft’s loss.  The KU Report simply states that the plane, “made an emergency landing 6 km east of Apeldoorn”, also vaguely mentioning “Liberator Shot Down”.  Regardless, as can be seen from the list in the MACR and KU Report, the entire crew of 10 was eventually captured.  

Fortunately, all survived the war. 

They were:

PilotHitchcock, Carl Edward, 1 Lt., 0-664597
Mrs. Mary Hitchcock (mother), North Bradley St., McKinney, Tx.
Born 1/17/15, Tx.; Died 9/23/95
Buried Sunset Memorial Park, San Antonio, Tx. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW Stalag 7A (Moosburg)
Captured by 6/22/44

Co-PilotYoung, Lloyd G., 2 Lt., 0-680791
Mrs. Mary Young (mother), Park View Ave., Knoxville, Tn.
Born 9/25/18, Smith County, Tn.
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured May 3, 1944, at Vorort v Tiel, by Officer Heitzwebel

NavigatorWillson, Robert Edwin, 2 Lt., 0-698245
Mrs. Frances (Gardner) Willson (wife), 3026 Lebanon, El Paso, Tx.
Born 9/9/20, Sherman, Tx.; Died 2/3/08
Buried Dallas – Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas, Tx.
On tombstone – “Ex-POW – It is well with my soul.”  (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW – Camp Unknown
Captured by 6/22/44

Robert Willson’s tombstone, photographed by FindAGrave contributor William Nance, is shown below:

BombardierBochicchio, Vito Joseph, 2 Lt., 0-682047
Mrs. Margaret Bochicchio (mother), West 21st St., New York, N.Y.
Born 1/1/17, New York, N.Y.; Died 3/23/10
Buried Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, N.Y. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured May 3, 1944, at Vorort v Tiel, by Officer Heitzwebel

Flight Engineer DiManno, Carmine Gerard, T/Sgt., 31276739
Mrs. Mary Dimanno (mother), 19 Orchard St., Hartford, Ct.
Born 7/7/23; Died 5/29/77
Buried East Cemetery, Manchester, Ct. (https://www.findagrave.com/)
POW Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow)
Probably Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Radio OperatorMcCue, Thomas J. (“Thomas Francis”?), S/Sgt., 12188732
Mrs. Lee V. McCue (mother), 476 Dean St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
POW Stalag Luft 4 (Gross-Tychow)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Gunner (Ball Turret)Browne, Charles Graham, S/Sgt., 19116027
Mrs. Agnes G. Browne (mother), East South Mariposa St., Glendale, Ca.
Born 12/21/19, Twin Falls, Id.
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Gunner (Right Waist)Smith, David Leon, S/Sgt., 18213749
Mrs. Mary Smith (mother), General Delivery, New Franklin, Mo.
POW Stalag Luft 1 (Barth)
Captured by January 5, 1945

Gunner (Left Waist)Lugosi, Alex Paul, S/Sgt., 36631214
Mrs. Anna Lugosi (mother), 12632 Wallace St., Chicago, Il.
Born 11/11/21, Chicago, Il.
POW – Camp Unknown (numerical indicator is “0”)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

Gunner (Tail)Dorrian, Thomas George, S/Sgt., 12121740
Mr. James Dorrian (father), 2541 99th St., East Elmhurst, Long Island, N.Y.
Born New York, N.Y.
POW Stalag Luft 3 (Sagan)
Captured April 29, 1944, near Apeldoorn

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The crew list and other documents in the KU Report imply that the crew split up after landing – the enlisted men in one group, and the four officers in two pairs – in an attempt to evade capture.  This is suggested by their dates of capture, which are listed in the KU Report as follows:

Captured on April 29, at Apeldoorn:

T/Sgt. Carmine G. DiManno (flight engineer)
S/Sgt. Thomas J. McCue (Radio Operator)
S/Sgt. Charles G. Browne (Ball Turret Gunner)
S/Sgt. Alex P. Lugosi (Left Waist Gunner)
S/Sgt. Thomas G. Dorrian (Tail Gunner)

Captured May 3, at “Vorort v Tiel”, by an “Officer Heitzwebel”:

2 Lt. Lloyd G. Young (Co-Pilot)
2 Lt. Vito J. Bochicchio (Bombardier)

Captured by June 22, at an unspecified location:

1 Lt. Carl E. Hitchcock (Pilot)
2 Lt. Robert E. Willson (Navigator)

Managed to evade until early January, 1945; location of capture unspecified:

S/Sgt. David L. Smith (Right Waist Gunner)

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The specific location of the aircraft’s landing is presented as follows:

1) The American Air Museum website lists the plane as having crash-landed at Apeldoorn.

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/804

2) The Eighth Air Force Historical Society lists the plane as having landed at Wilp-Achterhoek, in Gelderland.

3) The KU Report gives two locations for the plane’s loss:

a) 6 kilometers east of Apeldoorn
b) 4 kilometers south of Touge

Touge is east-northeast, and Wilp-Achterhoek directly east, of the geographic center of Apeldoorn.  Based on this information, I’ve created three Google maps at successively larger scales, “zooming in” on the location which seems (seems!) to be the best composite of the above-reported locations.  This is denoted by the north-south oriented red ovals superimposed on the map, just southwest of Wilp-Achterhoek, and repeated on the Google Earth view of the same locale. 

These maps and the aerial photograph are presented below:

Here is an image of Tell Me More from the American Air Museum website, showing the relatively intact and rather bent B-24 resting on its forward fuselage, on a vacant field.  The American Air Museum website includes two other images of the plane, one showing what seems to have been a very hastily applied individual aircraft letter – “N” – on the lower port fin. 

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But, what about the images in the KU Report?  To be told more of Tell Me More, refer to the next post…