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  B-24D-5-CO "Susbella / Connell's Special" Serial Number 41-23765  
USAAF
5th AF
90th BG
400th BS

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90th BG c1942-3

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90th BG c1942-3

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 90th Bombardment Group, 400th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to Col. Arthur Rogers, C. O. of the 90th Bombardment Group, after which the group was nicknamed "Jolly Rogers".

On November 16, 1942 while parked at Iron Range Airfield shortly after midnight B-24D "Bombs To Nip On" 41-23942 veered off the runway after take off and crashed, caught fire and the bomb load exploded. Damaged was this B-24, B-24D "Big Emma" 41-23751 and B-24D 41-23812 all later repaired. Destroyed was B-17F 41-24522, plus eleven personnel killed.

In early 1943, nicknamed "Connell's Special the 2nd" in honor of Brigadier General Carl Connell, who was in charge of the Air Depot at Brisbane. During late December 1942 or early January 1943, this B-24 was modified at Brisbane with a tail turret added to the nose. This Liberator was the first in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) with a field modified nose turret. After this modification, returned to the 400th Bombardment Squadron by March 3, 1943.

Robert Tupa adds:
"The crew actually called her 'Susbella', according to a manuscript written by Col. Rogers upon his return. It was the 2nd plane to have a tail turret installed in the nose. Col. Rogers was instrumental in this change, initially discussing it with Mr. Ford in 1942, when the group picked up their planes at the Ford Motor plant... it was the first B-24 to go into combat with the new nose turret against the Japanese at Wewak. This is one of the key B-24's of the war."

Later in the war, this B-24 was stripped to bare aluminum finish and had a large "94" painted in black on the nose.

This B-24 returned to the United States during October 1945. Placed into storage at RFC at Altus, OK on October 17, 1945 and scrapped.

References
Oz@War - 16 November 1942 crash of a B-24 Liberator at iron Range 4 aircraft destroyed 11 men killed
Thanks to Robert Tupa and Pete Johnson for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

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B-24

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