43-4229           B25

 

On 17 March 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4229, assigned to 10th Air Force, 341st Bomb Group, 490th Bomb Squadron, departed the air field at Kurmitola, India, on a low level bombing mission over the Chewli Bridge, Burma. The B-25H crashed. The crew was comprised of:

                                    Pilot                                         1stLt Arthur C. Sanders                                   0-735670

                                    Navigator/Bombardier            2ndLt Donn M. Francis                                    0-681882

                                    Engineer-gunner                      Pvt Isaac S. Rogers                                          34133797

                                    Radio Operator-gunner            SSgt Wayne E. Hegman                                  39939522

                                    Armorer-gunner                       Sgt John J. Gallie                                             31005672

 

Witnesses to crash: 2ndLt Andrew J. Squire, 0-691194, 2ndLt Leonard C. Arnold, 0-811306, and TSgt Harry A. Shay.

2ndLt Squire reported that he was co-pilot on ship 43-3611. After making the bomb run, they turned to the left and climbed to get over a small mountain. He looked back toward the target to see the results of the bomb run. I did not see that but saw another B-25 complete its bomb run. It appeared to climb sharply to the right and made three slow rolls to the right, gaining altitude. At the end of the third roll it seemed to pause for a second, then dove straight into the ground. He did not see the actual crash but saw a burst of flame and black smoke arise from where it would have crashed. This was at about 1100 hours. The crash location was 23º 48’ North & 97º 38’ East.

TSgt Shay reported that he was the radio-gunner on a B-25H in the same flight as # 43-4229. They had finished their bomb run and descended to strafe an anti-aircraft position, making a right turn, when he saw a B-25H flying nearly parallel to the river. As it flew over the bridge, he saw anti-aircraft shells burst behind it then one burst under the left wing. The B-25 made three slow rolls, then stalled and dove into the river. The crash was followed by an explosion.

2ndLt Arnold reported that he was assigned to B-25H 43-4116 as co-pilot. He saw the crash of B-25 43-4229 about 1 ½ miles north of the target. He saw it pull up after making a strafing run on an anti-aircraft position. As it reached about 600 feet, it did a half roll to the left and spun in from there. It did about 1 ½ rolls and crashed into the middle of the river. It burned immediately.