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TimApNy

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 #1 

Was it common for the Army to blowup aircraft that they did not plan to remove from mountain tops and such?

I've seen pictures of a C-46 crash in NY, then and now and it looks a lot different from when it was found in 1945. It looks to me like it might have been blown up or something caused some serious damage over the years. I've heard the Navy did that to a lot of the crash sites before burying them and figured this might be the case with this C-46.

Tim


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10tweaker

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 #2 
Tim,
     I don't know about specific instances of blowing up a wreck except in combat zones.  Case in point: a CH-47 made an emergency landing in Iraq.  Once the classified and sensitive stuff was removed (the crew and pax all survived) the Army "blew in place" to prevent it's use by the bad guys.  Sorry I don't have a better answer.  I would think, though, that it would be a distinct possibility to do so if the wreck was not worth the effort and wasn't sensitive, i.e. old or beyond repair.


Jim

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Dennis

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 #3 
I have an excellent wreck hunting article in an old Warbirds magazine. They spent hundreds, if not thousands hunting down a P-38 that had ditched in a lake on a remote Alaskan island. when they got there, they found that the plane had been dragged from the lake and blown to pieces. The detonator, and dynamite cases were still there. The Army had gone to the trouble of putting a dozer in a landing craft and making the long trip to drag the plane out and destroy it. This was also a combat zone. The crash report had noted "condemned to salvage"
 I have heard of stateside wrecks being blown up, but never seen it confirmed. I have also heard of wrecks being buried in place. Some of the reasons I focus on swamps.  Dennis
JoeWilliams

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 #4 
There is supposedly a B17 buried in the hills just West of Hamilton Field in Marin County California, I have heard one of the engines rolled down the hill and is now used as a picnic table base at a scout camp. There have been talks about what the cargo was, as it was headed to Hawaii just prior to Hiroshima. Some folks have tried to get it unearthed but the landowner, and the government have resisted. I hear that the landowner refuses access to anyone. This is all local legend . Maybe I will try to find and photograph the engine.

Joe
DaveTrojan

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 #5 

Most wrecks stateside were just abandoned not blown up that I know of. There is the case of Bomber 31, the NOVA special. It is documented that the Russians blew up the wreck so the Americans would not spot it from the air.  In Hawaii many many bunkers and gun emplacements were dynamited after the war to close them up.  Lucky for us they forgot some of the verticle airshafts.   DaveT

JR

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 #6 
I recall back in the late 1960s and early 1970s in California where crash sites that were still intact kept getting reported by pilots as new wrecks.  We had a program to mark investigated crash sites with yellow crosses or Xs.  However, we stopped the program by the mid-1970s when CAP and the Air Force was sued by a plane owner for marking his crashed plane. 

For military aircraft, if they were fairly intact they were stripped of parts or destroyed with explosives and generally left in place until the late 1980s.  In some cases with older crash sites that kept attracting attention, the military - especially the Army or Marines - would make a training event out of destroying these sites with explosives. 

Now, the military attempts to clean up the crash sites to include removing wreckage by helicopter, especially if the crash is on National Park or Forest lands.  The same goes for private aircraft.  The Feds really dog the insurance companies to pay for clean up and removal.
canyonair

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 #7 

I know of a few cases where a crash site was blown up or cleared using explosives. A USAAC B-24J on the San Francisco Peaks North of Flagstaff AZ was broken up using explosives during the 1950s or early 1960s. The TWA DC-3 (Carole Lombard) on Mount Potosi in Southern Nevada was broken up and partially buried using explosives on request from Clark Gable who was married to Lombard at the time. This was to prevent looters from trying to recover jewelry that Lombard had with her at the time of the accident. Explosives were also used in 1976 during the wreckage "clean-up" of the United Air Lines DC-7 that was involved in the infamous 1956 collision over the Grand Canyon. The DC-7 P&W R-3350s proved to be too heavy to airlift out of the canyon. Dynamite was used to break them up and was also used to project larger pieces into the Colorado River! 


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ChrisBrame

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 #8 

The California crash sites list in "Wreckchasing" mentions a P-61 that was "dynamited in the late '40s". 

RareBear

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 #9 
The Marin County B-17G may have been carrying nuclear material, as rumors have it, but the crash was in May of 1946, well after Hiroshima.

Walt
TreyB

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 #10 
I have heard of a few crashes being dynamited but have never seen anything in writing in reports on it. 
The biggest menace to older aircraft crashes here in the Southwest were the %$#^ metal salvagers from the 1950's who though nothing of hacking up these wrecks and smelting them down to ingots. The military used the highest grade of aluminum and that was enough reason for some of these old guys to spend weeks on the side of a mountain. Many sites still have the signs- a 55 gallon drum next to a pile of rusted steel parts.

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JoeWilliams

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 #11 
Thanks Walt, I have not found a lot about it...but did hear that rumor as well.

Joe
AnthonyMireles

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 #12 
If I remember correctly, the AAF accident report stated that pieces of the two B-24s that collided over Death Valley in 1944 were blown up in place.
TonyM.

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Warbirder

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 #13 
Hey guys - Not to throw a wet blanket, but "maybe", "might have been", "possibly", "it is rumored", are all hearsay unless you can quote the documentation. Dennis gives his source, so should we all. Objective documentation should be high on the list of archivists and historians.
No offense meant. Bob

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Mtflyer

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 #14 
Tony, you are right about the Death Valley B-24 being dynamited. It was #42-78522 that ended up on the talus slope. The report states "The above examination was made on 2d, 3d, and 4th August 1944, at which time the wreckage was dynamited and abandoned due to the inaccessible location." This site is high on my list. Done a lot of thinking on it and have a rough idea on it's location and will be heading out soon to hunt for it. I like the words "abandoned" and "inaccessible location". Hoping that the wreckage still remains at the site.

Joe

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kyplaskon

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 #15 
The crash site at Mt. Charleston was blown up because it was top secret and the government kept the plane flying on the books for decades. There is still a ton of debris up there though. You have to hike 9 miles and then down into a really steep gully to see it. If you want to see pictures as the plane was dynamited. 

I will be doing a book signing tomorrow at the Red Rock Visitor center. Hope to see you all there. Tons of pictures of the site and videos are available here: https://www.facebook.com/SecretPlaneCrash/

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