Profile Photo
david leigh-smith
283 articles

On This Day…December 27th

December 27, 2018 · in News · · 11 · 2.2K

As the battle for Bastogne came to an end, the evidence of just how ferocious the fighting was can be seen in the remains of this Panzer IV (thanks to michel-verschuere for pointing out this wasn’t a Tiger, which can be seen by the spaced turret armor ring and the narrow tracks).

Cpl. James Gordon and Pvt. L. Rainwater of the US 3rd Armored Division inspect a Panzer V (Panther) of 2.SS Panzer Division deserted near the village of Grandménil in Belgium. 27th December 1944

B-24 Liberators of the 15th Air Force bombing railroad yards in Salzburg, Austria, 27th December, 1944. The smoke is from ‘smudge pots’ lit in an attempt to obscure the target from the bombers.
By the time hostilities finished in WWII, a total of 18,482 Liberators were built, surprisingly (to me, to me at least), making it the most produced Allied aircraft in the war. Even more impressively the Liberator was used by every Allied service in every theater of the war.

B-24J Liberator “Our Baby” of the 27th Bomb Squadron at Funafuti Airfield, Gilbert Islands, 27th December 1943.

Returning to Bastogne (on the 27th of December 1944).
The 437th Troop Carrier Group continued flying combat re-supply to Bastogne for the beleaguered paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division. For 2nd Lt Ernest Lanier and 2nd Lt Robert Waters from the 83rd Troop Carrier Squadron their mission ended abruptly during take off from Ramsbury Airfield. With six parapacks (containing heavy weapons and ordinance) hung on their belly, their C-47 required a higher take off speed. Confusion in the cockpit led to the undercarriage being retracted too early, resulting in the Skytrain slamming back down on the runway. When the right hand prop hit the runway, the aircraft veered off the runway and skidded to a halt on the frozen grass. None of the five crew were injured. This photo is not colourised, but taken in colour Kodachrome colour film.

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega being transported from the liner Lurline to Honolulu December 27, 1934.

USS Wasp on 27th December, 1940 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Note F3F fighters and SB2U Vindicator aircraft on the flight deck. Wasp was lost when she was torpedoed in September 1942 as part of a group of warships bound for Guadalcanal. Note the just about to be retired F3F fighters and SB2U Vindicator aircraft on the flight deck.

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

11 responses

  1. Great set Dave, I can't help wonder how the Tiger tank got in that state ,Typhoon attack maybe.

  2. All too often you see photos of aircraft like that C-47 wheels up and on the ground. Weight and balance vs cramming as much stuff onto the aircraft with similar results ...I have seen hundreds of these photos.

  3. Ha...

    Thanks, Stephen.

  4. David, what do you have against C-47s/DC-3s? I believe it is STILL considered one of the safest aircraft ever produced. You wouldn't know it from these photos, though! LoL!

    Stephen wrote: "Weight and balance vs cramming as much stuff onto the aircraft ..." Yes, indeed! Even the Grand Old Lady of aircraft can only be pushed so far ...

    Great photo set again, David. Thanks!

  5. Hey, Jeff. I love the old ‘Dakota’ (as we call her over this side of the Pond) as much as anyone. I guess there’s so many photos of her down because the aircraft operated in such hostile environments under stressed conditions.

    • I understand, David. I was just "joshin' " ya! From 1950-1954, my Mom was a stewardess (NOT a "hostess") on DC-3s & C-47s for Lake Central Airlines, now US Air. Most of their pilots had flown C-47s "over the Hump" and absolutely LOVED those old beasts. They called them "Leaky Centipedes" because (a) they WERE leaky and (b) they were ALMOST as fast as a centipede! I've heard them described as "a collection of parts flying in loose formation." My first flight was on a Lake Central DC-3, around 1955 from Lafayette, Indiana to Chicago, Illinois and back. It was glorious!


  6. Nice shot of the Wasp.

  7. The B-24 was the most produced American bomber, but if the Allied aircraft production numbers are looked at in total, then the Soviet IL-2 takes the top prize, with around 36,000 built during the war.

  8. Hello David,
    Great selection of pics.
    I really appreciate your effort. reading all the notes, I think most of them are thinking the same.
    Happy New year to All.
    Regards, Dirk

  9. Actually, the Liberator is the most-produced American aircraft. So far as "Allied" aircraft are concerned, the Shturmovik still reigns supreme with some 30,000+ produced. The Yak series of fighters runs a close second.

  10. My boo-boo - I did indeed mean ‘American’ airplane.

Leave a Reply