Accident and Missing Air Crew Reports

572nd BOMB SQUADRON

ROLE: RADIO GUNNER

INDIVIDUAL & NON-INDIVIDUAL CREW MEMBERS; & WITNESSES

Sources: AAIR, USAAFDATA, MACR, WWII AAF Casualty List, NARA (see resources page).


Assigned
Squadron Crew Year Month Role Name Rank Serial Status
572572108432RGBaker, Milford R.T/Sgt.31098350EVA
SOURCE: MACR 07852, 42-107673. 8 Aug 1944
NOTES: target: Anizy RR Bridge, France. Witness statements imply that Erickson was flying Box 2, lead flight, No.6. His aircraft was hit by FLAK between the right engine nacelle and the fuselage and the right engine began smoking furiously. A large hole with jagged pieces of wing sticking up was also seen. The aircraft lost speed and altitude and all crew members bailed out and survived. The report seems to show that only Brooks, and Cochran were captured.
572572117452RGBeasley, Wilbur N.Sgt.35583156KIA
SOURCE: MACR 12609, 43-34337. 24 Feb 1945
NOTES: Target: Irlich, Germany. Hit by FLAK. 43-34337 was flying box 1, low flight, No.1. It received a direct hit in the left wing which was blown off. The aircraft then went down spinning.
572572107444RGBonham, Conrad G.T/SGT.34705063
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-34972. 6 Jul 1944
NOTES: Landing accident at Matching/Sta 166. On returning from a combat mission about 1040 on 6 July 1944, 2nd Lieut. Robert B. Holliday, flying aircraft B-26C15 AF No 41-34972, noticed that upon dropping his gear at about 170 MPH, the left main gear indicator did not show down and locked. Lieut. Holliday made a second approach at about 150 MPH on which the indicator again failed to show down and locked but indicated better than previously. Influenced by the fact that the indicator was now (actually he had been asked to check it) and had not registered up and locked during the mission plus the fact he noted the distinct jars as he dropped the wheels, the pilot went ahead with the landing. As the plane lost speed, the left landing gear collapsed and the ship finally swerved off the runway ending up almost 180 degrees to its original position. Accident due 100% to pilot's poor judgement in not doing enough to insure that the gear was down and locked. No recommendations.
572572125432RGDaugherty, Martin A.T/Sgt.33264620
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-35069. 25 Jul 1943
NOTES: Landing accident at Myrtle Beach, SC - collapse of left landing gear.
1. The aircraft had made a normal landing, and had reached the last quarter of runway when the gear started to retract. The left main gear retracted completely, while the nose gear, and right main gear remained extended.
2. In the opinion of the [accident] committee the accident was caused by raising the wheels instead of the flaps as intended. This theory is believed to be substantiated by the following facts noted by the Accident Investigating Committee upon their examination immediately after the accident.
a. Lock pins were not in lock position.
b. Landing gear indicator showed wheels partially retracted. Further, upon raising the aircraft and examining it the following items were noted:
(1). Wheels locked of own weight when aircraft was raised off ground.
(2). Pressure line to gear loose, as if pressure were applied against weight of airplane.
(3). Also, Co-Pilot statement, to wit: "It is quite possible I raised the main gear handle instead of the flap handle." As the Co-Pilot raised the gear handle, it is the opinion of the committee that he was responsible for the accident.
3. That interested Commanding Officers take any measures necessary to insure compliance by Co-Pilots to operate flaps or landing gear only upon receipt of oral or visual signals from pilot as is the usual practice, and as directives state.
572572119449RGFilliettaz, Robert E.S/Sgt.31219264
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-107808. 8 Mar 1945
NOTES: Take off accident at Roye/A-73. On 8th March 1945, 1st Lieutenant John L. Chatellier was scheduled to take off on a combat bombing mission in a B-26C45 aircraft, AF No. 42-107808. He was to fly lead position in the low flight of the first box. Lieutenant Chatellier began his take off on the left side of the runway, in proper order in formation and at normal interval behind the preceding aircraft. After his ship had rolled approximately half the length of the runway, his left main gear tire was seen to blow out. The ship remained on the runway momentarily and then ran off the runway's left edge. Upon striking the rough terrain adjacent to the runway, the left main gear collapsed and the plane turned about 45 degrees to its left, continuing to slide forward and collapsing its right main and nose gear. Aircraft is complete wreck as result of this accident. Lieutenant Chatellier states that, immediately upon his tire blowing out, he attempted to lift his plane from the runway but that his air speed was not great enough to make this possible. Cause: 100% material failure. The board feels that the pilot's choice of a course of action was a good one, in that blow-out occurred almost exactly at the critical value of take-off speed. The board also does not believe that any other decision on the part of this pilot would have materially affected the final outcome of the accident. Recommendations: none.
572572116447RGGibson, Robert W.T/Sgt.32749714
SOURCE: Accident Report, 43-34427. 24 Feb 1945
NOTES: Landing accident at Roye/A-73. On 24th February 1945, 1st Lieutenant Bonde returned to base in a B-26G10 aircraft, AF No. 43-34427, after completing a combat bombing mission. Return to the field was made after dark. Lieutenant Bonde, after attempting a landing on which he bounced and went around, made a second approach to the field and made what appeared to be a normal landing. After his ship had rolled about half-way down the runway, the nose gear collapsed and his ship fell forward on its nose. The plane then skidded approximately 75 yards down the runway, went off the left edge of the runway and continued its path for approximately another 150 yards before coming to a stop. Aircraft and both engines are major repair as result of this accident. Upon being questioned, Lieutenant Bonde stated that after wheels were lowered the Selsyn indicator showed the nose gear not locked. The engineer was instructed to check the down-lock visually and, upon his report that the nose gear was down fully, Lieutenant Bonde brought his ship in for a landing. Crew was ordered by pilot to crash-landing positions prior to landing. Mechanical system provided in this type aircraft for activating down-lock was not used. Cause: 100% pilot error. The board finds the pilot in error in not using the mechanical means provided to ensure that his nose gear was properly locked. His ordering the crew to crash-landing positions, although itself a commendable commendable precaution, gives evidence of his uncertainty as to the condition of his ship's nose gear. Recommendations none.
572572101432RKnick, Isaac F., Jr.S/Sgt.13049295
SOURCE: Accident Report, 41-24757. 11 May 1943
NOTES: Landing accident due to mechanical fail at MacDill Field, FL.
The pilot made a normal approach to runway 22. He dropped his wheels and flaps and from his testimony, he was satisfied the gear was down and locked in position. The airplane made a normal landing with no excessive strain on the gear. The airplane was on its final roll down runway 22 when suddenly the pilot sensed his right gear folding back into the nacelle or back towards the direction of the nacelle. The excessive strain and weight on the left main gear caused it to also fold back towards the nacelle.
Both main gear folding back let the airplane skid to a stop on its belly.
Statements of the pilots and crew members indicate the gear indicator showed it be down and locked, however, when the right gear mechanism was checked, it was found to be functioning normally and the hydraulic pressure gauge indicated the hydraulic system was functioning normally. Also, when the airplane was lifted to be carried from the runway, the gear mechanism properly locked the gears into place when the weight was taken off. It is possible the gear did fail but in view of the results of the investigation, it is my opinion the gear was not completely down and locked.
The pilot and his crew all stated the gear indicator said down and locked, therefore it is difficult to determine just where to place the responsibility.
It is recommended some warning signal be installed on the B-26C to prevent future accidents of this type.
57257210944RGMcCallum, John G.Cpl.36810251
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95813. 26 Aug 1944
NOTES: Crashed on take off engine failure at Matching/Sta 166.

On 26 August 1944, Robert S. Stubbs, O-689283, 2nd Lt, AC, after having properly checked his aircraft, B-26B45, AAF #42-95813, taxied out for take off on a combat mission.

The first part of his take off run was normal. It was not until the extreme last part of the take-off run that the loss of power from his right engine became noticeable on the controls. At this time the nose wheel was off the ground and the aircraft was at the critical point of becoming airborne.

Lieutenant Stubbs tried to attain a flying attitude, but when his right engine started cutting out, and a crash became inevitable, he retarded the throttles and signalled for wheels up. The crash was violent, the aircraft broke into two sections at the forward bomb bay. There was no fire. None of the crew members suffered more than a minor injury.

The accident was caused 100% by material failure (right engine). There was a gradual loss of power precluding the possibility of the aircraft becoming airborne. The specific cause is undetermined.

Recommendations: none.

57257211043RGMeans, Richard R.Sgt.35410654
SOURCE: Accident Report, 43-34148. 1 Sep 1944
NOTES: Crash landing at Matching/Sta 166.

On September 1, 1944, Don G. Love, O-693929, 2nd Lt, AC, after having checked his aircraft B-26G1, AAF #43-34148, taxied out for take-off on a combat mission with a seven (7) man crew and four (4) 1,000 lb. bombs. At the start of his take-off run the nose of the airplane came off the ground exceedingly high. So high, that the tail section was dragged on the runway several times. No apparent attempt was made to push the nose wheel down to gain speed. The pilot states that his air speed attained 115 mph. But the aircraft was in a power stall during the entire run. At the end of the take-off runway the pilot still thought the aircraft would fly, and in a last attempt to become airborne he pushed his throttles full forward, apparently not realising that he was in a power stall. The airplane was not in a flying attitude and kept mushing toward the ground. The gear was not retracted and the throttles were not retarded, until the airplane had mushed to the ground. The only action possible for the pilot then, was to crash land straight ahead.

The crash itself was uneventful. The airplane remained intact, there was no fire, there were no injuries, other than minor cuts and bruises.

Upon investigation of the airplane it was found that the flaps were down for take-off, the gear was retracted, and the airplane was trimmed one-and-a-half degrees nose high. There was no indication of loss of power, either from the investigation or from statements from the crew.

Cause: 100% pilot error (technique).

Recommendations none.

572572114449RGMiller, Richard B.S/Sgt.32754551
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-96313. 22 Jan 1945
NOTES: Landing accident at Roye/A-73. On 22nd January 1945, 2nd Lieutenant Gerald R. Lantz returned in formation from a combat mission, flying a B-26F1 aircraft, AF number for 42-96313. He had been scheduled to fly No. 4 position in the high flight of the second box but, upon return to the field, was flying No. 2 position of the same flight, the No. 2 and 3 ships having left the formation because of poor visibility and the No. 5 ship having aborted. Lantz landed at normal interval behind the leader of his flight. He landed on the left side of the runway about one quarter of its length from the down-wind end. After touching down, his ship continued along a straight line until it left the left-hand edge of the runway approximately 75 yards from the touchdown point. The left main wheels struck a snow bank at the edge of the runway, and the ship ground looped through 180 degrees, collapsing the nose wheel and the right main wheel. Aircraft is total loss as result of accident. Examination of wheel marks on runway indicates that Lieutenant Lantz's ship did not skid or swerve after landing but continued in a straight line to the point where it left the runway. Cause: 100% pilot error. The board believes that this accident was due entirely to the pilot's failure to correctly align his aircraft with the runway before making touchdown. Recommendations: none.
572572111449RGMyers, John M.Cpl.16014010KIA
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95823. 24 Sep 1944
NOTES: 42-95823 crashed near Blackmore, England on return from A-73 due to severely bad weather.
572572115449RGNealon, John P.S/Sgt.32913786
SOURCE: Accident Report, 43-34156. 10 Feb 1945
NOTES: Crash landing out of gas at Aspelt, Luxembourg. On 10 February 1945, 2nd Lieutenant Paul R. Young was returning from a combat mission in a B26G1 aircraft, AF No. 43-34156. Because of the length of the briefed route, in addition to the fact that three runs were made on the primary target and that the formation climbed to an excessively high altitude (16,000 feet) at a high rate of climb, Lieutenant Young's fuel supply was exhausted while he was still over enemy territory. The left engine, first, and shortly afterward, the right engine cut out because of fuel exhaustion. Lieutenant Young feathered both props, prepared his crew for a crash landing and glided across the troop line into friendly territory. Unfeathering the props just before landing, he crash landed his aircraft into the most suitable field available. Aircraft is a complete loss as result of this incident. Cause: The board finds that this accident was a direct result of engine failure because of fuel exhaustion due to operational necessity. The board does not feel that this accident was due to the pilot's failure to conserve fuel, in that more than half of the ships of the formation in which he was flying were unable to return to base because of fuel shortage. Recommendations: none. NOTE: Tsouprake and Silver sustained major and minor injuries respectively.
572572118449RGNealon, John P.S/Sgt.32913786EVA
SOURCE: MACR 12695, 42-95947. 24 Feb 1945
NOTES: Target: Irlich, Germany. 42-95947 received a direct FLAK hit blowing off the nose of the aircraft killing the Bombardier and Co-Pilot. Young (P) was rendered unconscious but recovered. The aircraft fell back apparently under control. The 3 gunners bailed out and later returned to duty. Young managed to crash-land the aircraft in friendly territory, but sustained cracked vertebrae and was hospitalized in England. He subsequently returned to the ZI. In Young's statement, he mentions Fagan's (B) and Wright's (CP) heroic actions after a crash landing on 10 Feb 1945 (see Accident Reports). He also recalls that before being hit, Fagan was asking why the formation was aimlessly circling and that there was more FLAK than reported at the target. Also he and Wright were discussing the incompetency of the flight leader and why he was circling above a heavy FLAK concentration prior to the direct hit. He also states that it took both him and Wright at the controls to keep in formation following the unorthodox flying of the formation leader !
57257210543RGPartridge, Harvey L.S/Sgt.11056500
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-107748. 21 Jun 1944
NOTES: Mid air collision over Matching/Sta 166. In climbing thru the overcast in formation on the morning of 21 June 1944, B-26B45 AF No 42-95809 piloted by 2nd Lieutenant George A. Dewitt, got enough separated from the leader to cause loss of visual contact. In transferring from contact flying to instrument, instead of turning away from the formation as briefed, Lieutenant Dewitt allowed the plane to turn slightly toward the formation with the result that he crossed under the formation without seeing it. In attempting to establish his altitude he pulled up as he was crossing under the number two man and his left wing tip struck the right horizontal stabilizer assembly of the number two ship, B-26C45 AF No 42-107748, piloted by 1st Lieutenant John W. Blute. Both planes remained under control though the damage to the empenage of Lieutenant Blute's ship decided him to abandon his mission and return to base immediately. Lieutenant Dewitt completed his mission. Though the absence of weather would have precluded this accident, it is felt that the pilot [Dewitt], first in losing contact with his formation leader and then not banking immediately away from the formation, was 100% in error, 80% due to faulty judgement and 20% due to faulty technique. There is no responsibility for the accident on the part of the pilot [Blute] or his aircraft. There are no recommendations.
572572106444RGReiner, Norman P.S/Sgt.32251962
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95809. 21 Jun 1944
NOTES: Mid air collision over Matching/Sta 166. In climbing thru the overcast in formation on the morning of 21 June 1944, B-26B45 AF No 42-95809 piloted by 2nd Lieutenant George A. Dewitt, got enough separated from the leader to cause loss of visual contact. In transferring from contact flying to instrument, instead of turning away from the formation as briefed, Lieutenant Dewitt allowed the plane to turn slightly toward the formation with the result that he crossed under the formation without seeing it. In attempting to establish his altitude he pulled up as he was crossing under the number two man and his left wing tip struck the right horizontal stabilizer assembly of the number two ship, B-26C45 AF No 42-107748, piloted by 1st Lieutenant John W. Blute. Both planes remained under control though the damage to the empenage of Lieutenant Blute's ship decided him to abandon his mission and return to base immediately. Lieutenant Dewitt completed his mission. Though the absence of weather would have precluded this accident, it is felt that the pilot [Dewitt], first in losing contact with his formation leader and then not banking immediately away from the formation, was 100% in error, 80% due to faulty judgement and 20% due to faulty technique. There is no responsibility for the accident on the part of the pilot [Blute] or his aircraft. There are no recommendations.
572572113449RGRoy, Roger J.S/Sgt.31128495KIA
SOURCE: MACR 15984, 44-67881. 23 Dec 1944
NOTES: Assigned to 572BS, 391BG, 9AF USAAF. Transferred to 1st Pathfinder Squadron (Prov), 9AF USAAF. Shot down by fighters leading 397BG to Ahrweiler, Germany in B-26 44-67881. Killed in Action (KIA). 23-Dec-44 MACR 15984. (source: AAM - http://www.americanairmuseum.com/aircraft/21547). No records for Lantz and Berens were found on the original website, so it's possible they were assigned to the 1st PFS from other groups.
572572102432RGShanahan, John L.T/Sgt.31122420
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-95816. 23 Mar 1944
NOTES: Landing accident at Matching/Sta 166. The pilot was approaching, power off, for what appeared to be a normal approach. In flaring out for the landing the pilot changed the altitude of the ship too sharply causing an overload stall and failed to break the stall with power. The ship hit the ground over 100 yards short of the runway with such terrific force that the tail section sheared off between the bomb bay and both landing gears were greatly overstressed, particularly the left in which shear pins in the machined fitting between axel elbow and main strut were sheared off. In rolling to a stop the plane went off the runway even though proper use of brakes might have avoided it and rolled through a pitbed cistern which sheared of the nose wheel with heavy resulting damage to the forward section of the ship, including propellers. Although the cistern was not specifically marked, the yellow diagonal, clearly displayed on the signal panel by flying control, indicated the field was still under construction and that only the hard surface areas were to be used. The committee feels the accident was due 100% to pilot error, about 40% judgement and 60% technique. Recommendations, none.
572572112449RGSmith, Gerald F.Cpl.37245841KIA
SOURCE: Accident Report, 42-96102. 24 Sep 1944
NOTES: 42-96102 crashed near Ashingdon, England on return from A-73 due to severely bad weather.
572572103444RGStevenson, Andrew R.S/Sgt.32787720KIA
SOURCE: MACR 04027, 42-95837. 18 Apr 1944
NOTES: Target: Sangatte Military Installations, France. 42-95837 was 2nd box, No. 6. It was hit by FLAK and crashed into the English Channel.
572572000449w.unkIrick, George B.S/Sgt.18192403
WITNESS DETAILS & STATEMENT: Immediately after bomb run, aircraft fell back below us. Flying alone. FLAK tracing him. Went into dive. 3 chutes.
SOURCE: MACR 12695, 42-95947. 24 Feb 1945
NOTES:
572572000449w.rgIrick, George B.S/Sgt.18192403
WITNESS DETAILS & STATEMENT: Radio Gunner - Box 1, low flight, no.4. Aircraft spinning and falling.
SOURCE: MACR 12609, 43-34337. 24 Feb 1945
NOTES:
572572000444w.rgReiner, Norman P.S/Sgt.32251962
WITNESS DETAILS & STATEMENT: Radio Gunner - Box 2, lead flight, no.6. On Erickson's left wing with Lt. DeWitt. Large hole with jagged pieces sticking up just outboard of right nacelle.
SOURCE: MACR 07852, 42-107673. 8 Aug 1944
NOTES:
572572000444w.wgSweet, Redfield W.S/Sgt.31257633
WITNESS DETAILS & STATEMENT: Waist Gunner - Box 2, lead flight, no.2 with Lt. Smith. Aircraft hit right wing between nacelle and fuselage. Large hole and right engine smoking furiously. Lost speed and altitude. 4 chutes. 2 chutes. 1 chute. Right-hand banking dive. 1 chute.
SOURCE: MACR 07852, 42-107673. 8 Aug 1944
NOTES:
57257200043w.unkTolbert, Vernon C.S/Sgt.19176890
SOURCE: MACR 04027, 42-95837. 18 Apr 1944
NOTES: