01.08.1943 No. 512th Bomb Squadron B24D Liberator 41-28294 36V 1st Lt. Palm
Operation: Operation Tidal Wave (attacks on the oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania)
Date: 1st August 1943 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 512th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group
Type: B24D Liberator
Serial: 41-28294 "Brewery Wagon"
Code: 36 V
Base: Tunisia, North Africa
Location: Tatarani near Bucharest-Ploesti railway, Romania
Pilot: 1st Lt. John D Palm 0-666805 USAAF Age 28. PoW
Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. William F Love 0-735410 USAAF PoW
Fl/Eng: T/Sgt. Alexander P Reckinson 35284867 USAAF PoW Camp: Sub Lagarule Timis Timisul De Jos Romania.
Nav: 2nd Lt. William M Wright 0-794189 USAAF age 22. Killed
Air/Bmr: 2nd Lt. Robert W Merrell O-729458 USAAF Age 25. Killed
Radio/Op/Air/Gnr: T/Sgt. Harold Block 12039839 USAAF PoW Camp: Stalag 2a Neubrandenburg Mecklenberg
Tail/Gnr: S/Sgt. Dallas A Robertson 35490909 USAAF PoW
Air/Gnr: S/Sgt. William E. Thompson 14081874 USAAF PoW
Air/Gnr: S/Sgt. Austin D. Chastain 37222013 USAAF PoW
Ball/Gnr: S/Sgt. Clay E. Snyder 35213797 USAAF PoW
REASON FOR LOSS:
On the way to the target Capt. Brian W. Flavelle’s aircraft went down in the Mediterranean, Flavelles wingman descended to investigate the crash scene and search for survivors. This left Lt. Palm at the head of the second section. When he reached the Initial Point he took up position on the extreme left on the second attack wave.
At this point his navigator advised that the IP had been wrongly identified. Adhering to radio blackout, Palm elected to brake away from the formation and head alone to the target. Coming out of a rain cloud and flying very low, ‘Brewery Wagon’ received a direct flack hit on the nose compartment killing the Bombardier and fatally injuring the Navigator.
Palm was severely injured in the lower leg, one engine was out and 2 others badly damaged. After jettisoning the bombs on an empty factory, the aircraft turned South to escape the flack. Shortly after leaving the target Palm was attacked by Hauptmann W. Steinmann, CO of 1./4JG. The additional damages caused by the 20 mm and 7.92 mm MG's hits brought the aircraft down in a field at Tatarani near Bucharest-Ploesti railway.
(Palm was taken to a Bucharest hospital where his nearly severed lower leg was removed)
2nd Lt. William M Wright. Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
2nd Lt. Robert W Merrell. Neuville-en-Condroz, Liège, Belgium. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
Researcher Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered - August 2016. With thanks to Staci and Dominique Potier for grave photographs, others the Michel Beckers collection.