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Old 24th February 2017, 09:55
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Theodor Theodor is offline
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B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

Hi, I am looking for information about this aircraft. Damaged during a mission over Romania on May 18 1944, crash landed in Bulgaria. Any chance to find out its unit or even its number?

Also, why there's nothing on the rudder, not a number, sign or letter, not even the serial number?

Thanks in advance, Theodor
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Old 24th February 2017, 10:46
Sean Welch Sean Welch is offline
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

If this is the aircraft 2 miles south of Tarnak it is BOOMERANG BETSY, 42-64347 of the 455BG/743BS, based in San Giovanni, Italy. Was hit by flak before the target, the Ploesti, Dacia Romano oil refinery and made a lone bomb run. Flew on for 1 3/4 hours with the crew throwing out all kit to lighten the aircraft, but still lost height so all the crew bailed out. 9 of the crew were captured immediately and the pilot, who was the last to jump, was captured the next day. The pilot Markham was seen the next day on the train from Pleven to Sofia, he managed to speak to one of his crew and said that he was pretending to be a fighter pilot and not associated with their crew at all. He was taken from the train about an hour from Sofia in the custody of civilian police. It is thought that he attempted to escape and was shot in the process. The rest of the crew were taken to Camp Shuman from where they were released by the Russians in September 1944.
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Old 24th February 2017, 11:43
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

Thanks for your response! The one from the picture is described as crashed by Bardarski Geran.

In the Bulgarian sources, there is no mention of a crash at Tarnak, but 2 aircraft are listed as crashed in that area on May 18: one at Bardarski Geran and one at Knezha. This is how these are situated:

1. Bardarski Geran to 2. Tarnak - 11,7 km

1. Bardarski Geran to 3. Knezha - 11,3 km

2. Tarnak to 3. Knezha - 3.5 to 7 km, as Knezha is quite long and starts form ca 3.5 km from Tarnak and the center is ca 7 km from Tarnak, as measured from the map

So, Tarnak is a small village very close to the town of Knezha and I think the crash at Tarnak was recorded as Knezha, as the second place is bigger and much better known. Also, being 2 miles South of Tarnak, this puts it even further away from Bardarski Geran.

In other words, I think your interesting story is for the aircraft, crashed at the village of Tarnak /town of Knezha/, while the one on the picture is the other machine, crashed at Bardarski Geran. Any chance to find out its identity?
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Old 24th February 2017, 13:27
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udf_00 udf_00 is offline
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/s...518&Submit2=Go
None recorded in Bulgaria, probably one of those recorded in Romania as Knezha is near the romanian border.
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Old 24th February 2017, 20:14
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

It seems these records have many wrong entries. For example, the BOOMERANG BETSY, 42-64347, pilot Markham. As mentioned above, it crashed in Bulgaria and most of the crew became POW, but MACR search result shows ITAly

In fact, for 18/05/1944 in Bulgaria were reported the following crashes of "enemy aircraft":
1 at Bardarski Geran /B-24 bomber/
1 at 5.5 SW of Gorno Peshtene /10 burned bodies found, so it is a bomber/
1 at Knezha /B-24 bomber/
1 at Kostelevo /bomber/
1 at Rila, 5 km SE from the village of Gherman /one burned body found/
1 at Smochevo /P-38 Lightning/*
and 1 at Prilep, Yugoslavia, which was under Bulgarian control at the time



*P-38J of pilot Wingert, Paul J, as listed here: http://raf-112-squadron.org/14thfghonor_roll42_43.html
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Old 24th February 2017, 23:23
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

As for the MACR database, the country listed is probably the one appearing in the first page of the MACR, and if the aircraft is just listed as missing, it could the target's one, or the start's place. In your case, 42-64347, I guess there is nothing in the MACR first page about the loss location, just where it took off from.

Accessing the full MACR (that is possible on the not-free website fold3 for example) will help finding crash locations from survivor/POW reports or Axis reports, but I have never done such a search in Balkans. In NW Europe, every crash was in German controlled area, so if a crash report exists it is included in the MACR. I have no idea how much this applies to Bulgaria and other countries allied to Germany in SE Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theodor View Post
Also, why there's nothing on the rudder, not a number, sign or letter, not even the serial number?
Back to your original question, I wonder if the tail's "skin" had not been pulled down. You can see something under the tail with people around. This would explain why no more number are visible there.
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Old 25th February 2017, 01:47
Heuser Heuser is offline
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

Gentlemen,

I don't know if it it helpul to scratch some aircraft from this list. German KE reports have details about the following a/c on this day:

-B-24 41-29246, 454.BG, 738.BS was reported between Nivokaz and Molliq
-B-24 42-52253, 455.BG, 743.BS was reported near the a/f of Podgorica
-B-24 42-78081, 455.BG. 743.BS, came down in Gabrowo near Brailovo, N of Prilep.
-B-24 42-52351, 459.BG, 756.BS was reported 20 km W of Kičevo.
-B-17 42-106991, 99.BG, 347.BS was reported near Čapljina near Mostar

Hope this helps,

Heuser
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Old 25th February 2017, 05:05
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

Hello,
Looking at the tail it seems to me that the top half of the tail unit has been painted or repainted(Red) . If you look closely at the position where the serial number would be you may be able to make out the over painted number.
For my money this a/c was of the 49th Bomber Wing, therefore either of the 451st,461st or 484th Bomber Groups.
Group markings changed over April/May 44 period.
Perhaps the date as given is incorrect.
I would humbly suggest that it could be 42-52355 - 460BG - 18th May 1944. MACR 5044.

Alex

Last edited by Alex Smart; 25th February 2017 at 05:45.
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Old 27th February 2017, 11:22
vathra vathra is offline
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

In MACRs place of crash is in most cases inaccurate. And in some cases in MACRs are stated last time when plane is spotted, and after that plane could fly quite a lot.
KE reports are much more accurate, but in this case are not useful since plane crashed in Bulgaria.

If date of crash in May 18th, than it is 42-64347 as already stated by Sean.

Regarding PoW in Bulgaria, here are some useful information:
http://shumen-camp.info/index.html
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Old 1st March 2017, 12:04
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Re: B-24 lost on May 18, 1944?

A small addition , Markham was executed after numerous interrogations and severe torture by the Bulgarians who were convinced he was spying for OSS. In fact he bravely declined to identify his own crew members during the interrogation. An other pilot detained in Sofia was also executed on same grounds ( I wounder about the identity of the 2nd pilot ) . One of the problems was that Markham was arrested by a Fascist Militia during his train ride wearing civilian clothes claiming to be fighter pilot and later on was not able to produce his dog tag . In fact Gen Hall's mission later on in 1944 /45 was to put on trial those who tortured and murdered US airmen in Bulgaria. Last addition, the entire crew bailed out near Pleven (BUL) at or about an alt of 3'000 ft , the wreckage depicted above is of a Lib which executed a forced landing rather an aircraft ditched at the mentioned altitude , therefore it must belong to an other aircraft.

Alex K

PS : The shot above could well be this of 42-78081

Last edited by researcher111; 13th March 2017 at 18:29.
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