The World War II Photo of the Week
for 2 September 2002
|The Flying Crusader ...
The 77 bombs painted on the nose of the "Flying Crusader," an 8th Air Force B-24 Liberator of the 578th Bomb Squadron (Heavy), were the proud boast of the ship's five-man ground crew, who weaned and nursed their aircraft since it joined the strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany. Each bomb represented a successful bombing mission against Fortress Europa. At the time this photograph was taken in 1944, she held the record for most missions flown in the ETO for a heavy bomber. The ground crew, who devoted every minute of their long work days to keeping their charge airworthy, and upon whom rested the safety of the aircrew as well as the overall success of each mission, saw three different crews make history with her. The "Flying Crusader" flew endless distances during the war, and came within sight at one time or another of Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, and Poland, as well as the occupied countries of Western Europe. Ironically, she crashed close to home, at West Bradenham, near Wendling, England, on October 9, 1944. She'd completed 82 missions. From the Webmaster's collection.