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  B-24D-10-CO "Flying Gator" Serial Number 41-23898  
USAAF
13th AF
307th BG
371st BS

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 693. Modification Center Line Number 89. On October 18, 1942 delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-10-CO serial number 41-23898. On October 29, 1942 departed the United States on ferry flight to Oahu.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 307th Bombardment Group, 371st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Flying Gator". Operated from Wheeler Field on Oahu.

On December 21, 1942 flown to Midway Airfield to stage for a bombing mission against Wake Island. On December 22, 1942 one of twenty-six B-24s that took off from Midway Airfield at 4:30pm on a night bombing mission against Wake Island bombing individual targets from 4,000' between midnight on December 22, 1942 until 12:40am then returned to Midway Airfield.

On December 21, 1942 took off from Oahu on a flight to Midway Airfield to stage for a bombing mission against Wake Island.

On December 22, 1942 one of twenty-six B-24s from the 307th Bombardment Group took off from Midway Airfield on December 21, 1942 at 4:30pm and climbed to 10,000' for a night bombing mission against Wake Island. Participating bombers include this bomber plus B-24D "Bundles For Japan" 41-23965 and B-24D "The Bad Penny" 41-23899. Over the target at December 23, 1942 from midnight until 12:40am, the B-24s bombed one of nine targets from 4,000' making a single bomb run. The B-24s were armed with five 500 pound general purpose bombs, with some fused with 1/10 second delay fuses for specific targets, the rest with instantaneous fuses. The Japanese appeared to be caught off guard and did not offer a coordinated defense, with anti-aircraft fire and search lights not beginning until the raid began and described as light and mostly from machine guns with some heavy anti-aircraft guns. Search lights did not seem to be coordinated with anti-aircraft fire and caught only a quarter of the formation in their beams. Four enemy aircraft were believed to be in the air but did not intercept. Afterwards, the formation returned to 10,000' and returned to Midway Airfield and landed between 5:50am to 7:30am. No B-24s were lost or crew members injured. Only slight superficial damage was sustained on two bombers. In total, this mission spanned over 4,300 nautical miles and reported in the press as a Christmas Eve attack.

Afterwards, flown back to Oahu then ferried across the Pacific to the South Pacific and operated from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

On March 23, 1943 parked in the northwest dispersal area at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. During the night, three G4M1 Bettys from the 705 Kokutai armed with 60kg and 250kg bombs bombed Henderson Field, destroying six bombers including this bomber, B-24D "Shamrock", B-24D "Lone Wolf", B-17E "Zero Six Zero" 41-9060, B-17E "Buzz King" 41-9124 and a Hudson from 3 Squadron, RNZAF.

References
CINCPAC "Action Report - Night Bombardment Raid, Wake Island 22-23 December 1942" December 26, 1942 USAF Serial Number Search Results B-24D 41-23898 incorrectly states "Assigned to NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, Virginia Aug 1944 to Nov 5, 1945. Registered as R-18. Returned to USAAF."
Thanks to Robert Livingstone and Richard Dunn for additional information

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

Tech Information
B-24
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