|B-24s on a mission.|
Cameras capture the incredible moment when a B24 Bomber plane is hit and crashing in flames. This plane was nicknamed "Brief". Serial Number 44-42058. It had taken off from Angaur Airfield, flying on a bombing mission against anti-aircraft installations on Koror, Palau Islands. Whilst over Koror, the B-24 was hit by anti-aircraft fire.
Wait, let's see that again!
Below is the newsreel of the incident.
Below are some before and after shots.
|The bomber is flying along as normal.|
|Bombs dropped from above are visible just in front of the engine.|
|The bomber's wing explodes while the bombs are still visible below it.|
Many think this was friendly fire, a bomb dropped from a B-24 above this one that hit the wing and exploded with its contact fuse. The theory is that the planes were flying too close in the formation and the plane above accidentally hit it. That (dropping a bomb on a bomber) actually was a method used by defending fighters against the bomber stream, but it never worked all that well for a number of reasons (such as it is very tough to do that on purpose, it is quite easy to get shot down while you are trying to maneuver into just the right position, and so on).
|A B-24 gets its tail blown off by an Me 262.|
However, a cleaned-up version of the film has been analyzed and it shows that the wing is struck from below. So it was not friendly fire, though it sure looks like it to an awful lot of viewers. The B-24 that was hit appears to have been in the process of unloading its own bombs when it was hit. There is an awful lot going on in that brief sequence, but that is how combat is.
|B-24s over Bremen, Germany, January 1945.|
Anyway, all were killed in the crash except the Navigator, 2nd Lt Wallace F. Kaufman He somehow got out of the death trap, but was captured by the Japanese and executed. So, he wasn't so lucky after all. That was what the Japanese did routinely. But he did get on the ground alive, at least.
Brave and good men, every single one of them.
|Consolidated Aircraft B-24 - Liberator - Heavy Bomber - most produced bomber of World War II.|