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Crash of "Black Nan"

The final seconds of the B-24 Bomber, call sign "Black Nan", was captured in a photograph that is well known. Final crash site was located using Army maps.

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Pantanella, Italy

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Crash Site of "Black Nan"
Crash Site of "Black Nan"
Black Nan was shot down in Northern Italy after dropping bombs on LUGO, Italy. The photo is famous image of this inverted B-24 after the flak blew off the LEFT wing.
Recovery at Crash Site
Recovery at Crash Site
Form describing recovery of Capt. Charles H. Foote. Describes the crash site with Grid Coordinates 231-416. Aircraft was SN 44-49710 Call Sign "Black Nan"
Recovery of Capt Charles Foote
Recovery of Capt Charles Foote
Form describing recovery of Capt. Charles H. Foote. Describes the crash site as "vic.(vicinity) of Fontana Nuevo". Fontana Nuevo is not a town but only a farm of 2 or 3 buildings. It was found on a WW2 Army map at the Grid (231-416). Aircraft was SN 44-49710 Call Sign "Black Nan"
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Italy - Nazi Gun Positions And Troop Concentrations Get The 20 Lb Frag Treatment From 15Th Af Consolidated B-24 Liberators On 10 April 1945 Along The Santerno River Three Miles Southeast Of Massa Lombarda.
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Liberator Over Italy - After Bombing In Support Of The 8Th Army Drive In Northern Italy, This B-24 Liberator Of The U.S. Army 15Th Air Force Has Been Hit By Flak And The Force Of The Explosion Has Crumpled The Wing. The Big Plane Caught Fire And Plunged
Map_MLombarda.jpg
Map_MLombarda.jpg

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Famous Photo

  The "Black Nan" was the lead plane for the group as it bombed enemy positions north of Luga, Italy, on 10 April 1945.  This type of mission was a easy one.  They took off only a short distance away near Foggia.  The target was not a major city that would be defended with anti-aircraft.  The German air force was almost non-existant by this time of the war.  "Black Nan" had a weather radar mounted in the position of the belly gun turrent which added 1 extra crew member for a total of 11.  The weather radar wasn't needed as it was a perfectly clear day.

   A photographer in a plane off to the Black Nan's left began taking photos as they dropped their bombs.  The flight continued in a Westerly direction.  The photographer continued to take photos of the formation as flak began to explode in front of their formation.  In one photo, only the tail of the Black Nan could be seen.  This photo recorded the second the Black Nan was hit; a dirty pall of smoke and a large piece of metal flying aft and some smaller pieces.  The next photo captured the large B-24 as it rolled over on its back, almost inverted.  It was hit near the #1 Engine(far left) which blew the wing in half.   With the loss of lift on the left wing, the aircraft rolls over on its left side.

  Once the B-24 begins a death roll, the crew are usually pinned in due to the centrifugal forces.  The weather radar operator was an extra crewman and since his specialty wasn't needed, he was standing in the bomb bay area.  As it turned out, he was able to jump free of the aircraft as it rolled over.  He was the only survivor of this crash.    

 

Google Search "The Saga of Black Nan" for a PDF file that shows a sequence of photos taken of Black Nan, including the one of it exploding.

Links:

 http://www.zplace2b.com/464th/images/SagaofBlackN.pdf

http://www.zplace2b.com/464th/

Crew Members

464th Bombardment Group(H), 779th Bomb Squadron(H)

Pilot:  Lt-Colonel James H. Gilson

Co-pilot:  Capt. Charles H. Foote

Navigator:  1st-Lt. Robert J. O'Leary
                 Capt. Lacey P. Morton 

Bombadier:  Capt George R. Wall

Radar Bombadier: 1st-Lt. Edward F. Walsh

Engineer/Gunner:  T/Sgt Jerrold R. Reuben
                            S/Sgt Robert C Rogers 

Radio Operator/Gunner:  S/Sgt Charles F. Montegut

Gunner:  S/Sgt Norman S. Cope
               S/Sgt Melvin C Thomason 

 

 

Topic Details

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464th Bomb Group:
779th Bomb Squadron 1
Air field:
Pantanella, Italy 1
Crash Site - a few miles South:
Massa Lombarda 1
Target of last mission:
Lugo, Italy 1
Topic:
Name: #44-49710 B-24 Black Nan 2

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Sources

  1. Contributed by steve_cole
  2. Contributed by Princessbarbi
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