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david leigh-smith
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On This Day …November 20th.

November 20, 2018 · in News · · 19 Comments

B-24 Liberator (serial number 41-28853) of the 465th Bomb Group, 15th Air Force explodes in mid-air over Blechammer (Chemical forced labor plant in South Poland) as a result of two direct AAA hits. 20 November 1944. Quite unbelievably six crew members survived this experience.

Lt Col. Clarence J. Lokker (Pilot) KIA).
Capt. Milton H. Duckworth (Co-Pilot) parachute deployment, landed safely then POW.
1st Lt. Joseph P. Kutger (Navigator) parachute deployment, landed safely then POW.
1st Lt. Robert M. Hockman (Bombardier) parachute deployment, landed safely then POW.
1st Lt. Grosvenor W. Rice - (Bombardier) KIA.
2nd Lt. Joseph S. Whalen - (Radar Bombardier) parachute deployment, landed safely then POW.
T/Sgt. Lee R. Billings - (Engineer/Top Turret) - Blown out of the aircraft, then parachute deployment, then POW.
S/Sgt. Edmund J. Miosky (Radio Operator) KIA.
Sgt. James A. Bourne (Gunner) Blown out of the aircraft, then parachute deployment, then POW.
Sgt. Jack Rabkin (Gunner) KIA.
Sgt. Paul H. Flynn, Jr. (Gunner) KIA.

A Mark IV tank of 'H' Battalion ('Hyacinth') ditched in a German trench while supporting 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment near Ribecourt during the Battle of Cambrai, 20 November 1917. After initial successes against the Germans, more than half the tanks suffered mechanical failure resulting in a massive counter attack and over 90,000 casualties (roughly even between forces) in just over two weeks.

Test pilot Scott Crossfield becomes the first man to exceed Mach 2, piloting a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket rocket plane dropped from a Navy Superfortress.

SOC Seagull being recovered by cruiser USS Philadelphia, off North Africa, 20th November 1942.

Often a photo just catches a poignant moment. This is the Fw190A-1 of Oblt Walter Schneider ('Yellow 1') of JG 26, in November 20, 1941. The yellow tail rudder displays nineteen victory markings; only a few weeks later on the 22nd December Schneider was killed shortly after 'kill' number 20.

TBFs from USS Coral Sea (CVE-57) patrol over Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands, November 20, 1943.

U.S. Marines take cover from Japanese fire behind a sea wall on Red Beach Number 3, Tarawa Island. November 20th. Almost two years after Pearl Harbor, the assault by the 2nd Marine Division on a Japanese-held stronghold was utterly brutal. In a three day battle over a thousand Americans were killed, with over two thousand wounded. This was as many casualties suffered in three days as in the six-month campaign on Guadalcanal.

19 responses

  1. I look forward to these every day while sitting here in the Congo, makes for interesting reading. Keep them coming David, you make my day.

  2. Pleasure, Marc. I'm very much enjoying doing it.

  3. Another great 'on this day'. These have been good starting points for further research. Thanks.

  4. Thanks Mon Falcone - I do hope that this series inspires some people to follow up on stories and events, perhaps even use them as inspiration for a project.

  5. Hello David,
    Like Marc mentioned, this is interesting enough for a repeat.
    Good pictures and interesting information.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  6. Thanks, DIrk, appreciate the comment.
    Regards, David / London.

  7. Just love these snippets from History! Very informative. Looking forward to the next batch.

  8. Thanks, Morne. I have to say my favourite today is the Butcher Bird. There's something about catching that image of his kill markings just before he dies that is really laden with meaning. Strange thing to retrofit history.

  9. Great stuff on your On This Day series David. It is amazing that anyone got out of that B-24. I look forward to theses everyday!

  10. Robert, I think that two of the gunners were actually blown out of the aircraft, somehow deployed their parachutes, landed safely, and THEN survived capture and a POW camp is just amazing.

    Thanks for the comments.

  11. The "Coral Sea" of 1943 was a CVE, later renamed USS Anzio (CVE-57) so the name could be given to the new "battle carrier" USS Coral Sea (CVB-43). The Anzio crew mostly slept on the hangar deck after the loss of Liscome Bay to a submarine, believing Liscome Bay had taken "their" torpedo as the ships changed position in the formation minutes before the submarine attack. They also considered Anzio to be "jinxed" by having her name changed after commissioning. USS St Lo, originally USS Midway, which lost its name for the same reason, "proved" the jinx by becoming the first US ship sunk by a kamikaze on October 25, 1944. (read all about it in "Pacific Thunder" 🙂 )

    And yes, I too like this series David.

  12. This is another extraordinary set of photos David.
    If you look closely at the B-24, you can actually see two of the bombs falling away from the plane as it breaks apart.

    Ironically last night I watched a television documentary on PBS, that was about an underwater recovery on the three remaining crew members of a B-24 that crash landed in the waters near the island of Vis near Croatia. The plane was the very last B-24 built at the Tulsa plant. Miraculously 7 of the 10 crew members survived the ditching.

    The show was aptly named "The Last B-24". If you get the chance to watch it, I would highly recommend it. They even accidentally stumbled upon a nearby B-17 ! It too was underwater, and may have possibly held the remains of the copilot. They may plan a future expedition to retrieve his remains and return them to the USA.

    Thanks again for taking the time to post these !
    Freedom isn't free...

  13. Thank, Louis. I’m going to track down that show, it is exactly the sort of thing I just love watching (especially on a Friday night after a hard week). Thanks for the kind words on the series.

  14. Amazing photos, all , David.

  15. Hi guys,
    a short comment for those who want to build hsi airplane:
    Fw190A-1 of Oblt Walter Schneider (‘Yellow 1’) of JG 26, in November 20, 1941 has not yellow 1 and bar but light brown.

    Pacific Coast Models Fw 190 A1-A3 1:32 has this machine as decal/camouflage option and the decals are right
    In 1:48 there is still no correct decal on the market!

    Kind regards DrColor

  16. Thanks, Georg. It’s a classic aircraft - appreciate the knowledge.

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