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Built by Consolidated at San Diego. Constructors Number 560. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24D-5-CO Liberator serial number 41-23765. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 90th Bombardment Group (90th BG) "Jolly Rogers", 400th Bombardment Squadron (400th BS). Assigned to Col. Arthur Rogers, C. O. of the 90th BG. The tail had the skull and cross bomb motif of the group.
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. Above the nickname was a scoreboard painted in white with bomb markings indicating bombing missions flown and below two rows of silhouettes of ships claimed as sunk and Japanese rising sun flags for aircraft claimed by the gunners.
During late December 1942 or early January 1943, this B-24 was modified at Brisbane with a tail turret added to the nose to increase forward firepower and was the first Liberator in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) with this modification. After this modification, returned to the 400th Bombardment Squadron (400th BS) 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, this B-24 was stripped to bare aluminum finish with nose number "94" painted in black on the left side. This B-24 retained the nickname and scoreboard were repainted in black and the tail motif.
During October 1945, this B-24 returned to the United States. On October 17, 1945 placed into storage in Altus, OK and later scrapped.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24D-5-CO Liberator 41-23765
"23765 (90th BG, 400th BS) to RFC at Altus, OK Oct 17, 1945"
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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