April 17, 2024
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At Least Two WWII B-17F Bomber Crashes Vermont

WWII B-17F Bomber Crashes in Randolph, Vermont

At least two U.S. Army Air Corps bombers crashed in Vermont during World War II

On June 27, 1943, a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber en route from Nebraska to Maine crashed into Fish Hill in Randolph, VT. Seven of the crew managed to bail out but three died in the crash.

The Story Behind the Randolph Crash

The “Sally B” B-17 Flying Fortress bomber aircraft flies overhead during the Memorial Day ceremony held at the Madingley American Cemetery near the city of Cambridge, England (ENG), in honor of the World War II fallen.

Historical researcher Todd Griswold uncovered new details about the June 1943 crash of a B-17F bomber nicknamed “Small Arm” in Randolph, Vermont. The crash killed three U.S. airmen and fueled speculation of sabotage. However, Griswold determined human error to be the cause after finding physical evidence and documents about the flight.

Specifically, Griswold learned the co-pilot erroneously set the engine intercoolers too high during the flight, causing overheating issues. This resulted in engine failure and detonation. With only two working engines, the crew was forced to bail out or attempt an emergency landing. Seven crew members parachuted to safety, but three stayed on board hoping to land the plane, which ultimately crashed into trees.

Griswold sees his work as honoring the airmen who perished. He recovered personal artifacts from the wreckage, which are now displayed at the Randolph Historical Society Museum. While sabotage theories persist about the “Small Arm” crash, Griswold helped uncover the real events of that tragic June day in 1943.

B-24 Liberator Bomber Crashes on Camel's Hump Mountain

B-24 Liberator
An air-to-air left side view of four B-24 Liberator aircraft in formation. The B-24 was built for World War II combat.

On October 16, 1944, a U.S. Army Air Force B-24 Liberator bomber crashed into Camel's Hump Mountain in Vermont during a training flight from Westover Field, Massachusetts to Bangor, Maine. The crash occurred around 9:15pm on the west side of the mountain's summit due to a navigational error by the pilot who mistook the mountain for another landmark.

The B-24 carried a crew of ten, but only one survivor, Aerial Gunner James W. Wilson, who parachuted from the plane before impact. Wilson spent two nights in the cold before being rescued by Civil Air Patrol members. The other nine crewmen – Pilot David E. Potter, Co-Pilot John J. Ramasocky, Navigator Robert W. Geoffrey, Bombardier David C. McNary, Engineer Luther N. Hagler, Radio Operator James Perry, Ball Turret Gunner Robert E. Denton, Tail Gunner Richard C. Wynne, and Nose Gunner Casper Zacher – were all killed.

Today a memorial plaque and wing section from the crashed B-24 can be found at the site, which is now accessible by hiking trails.

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