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planetweaker

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 #1 

You've heard the old saying about the Martin B-26 Marauders training in the Tampa area during the war. "One a day in Tampa Bay".

Is there any B-26 stuff in the area that has ever come to light?

tenacious101010

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 #2 

planet, I have been in the Tampa area for 30 years and 16 of that I was stationed at MacDill and I have never seen any B-26 items or pictures of items from the Bay. I did have a B-29 prop that was recovered by a diver from the gulf, the only item from the water I have seen. 

Denny

Dennis

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 #3 

 I have lived here in St Pete all of my 50 years and the only aircraft part I recall having been found was in 1978. They were dredging a channel near the Gulfport marina and a 2ft section of a leading edge came up. My Father mentioned that it could have come from a B-47 that exploded in mid air in the '50s (anybody know anything about that)

 Most of the B-26 crashes were in the area just NW of Macdill. The water there is for the most part pretty shallow. One of my Father's friends was on a crash boat and the one story I heard from him was of a Marauder crashing on the flats. He said the impact was so great that the pilot's manual went through the side of the aircraft and was found wrapped in the aluminum skin of the plane. I've heard another story of one that went straight in in the aera and they had a hard time getting the salvage barge to the wreck because of the shallow water.

 I found a 1951 aerial photo of part of the area, and while the photo is small, and poor quality, it looks like there is something man-made on the bottom in the area (I would have to really dig to find the picture again, it is on the web on the Pinellas County web site, but is poorly marked) The part of Tampa Bay around MacDill, is prone to shifting sandbars, and the water is very corrosive there.

  For years there were stories of a B-17 sunk in Tampa Bay, but the only B-17 / water accident I can find is of a B-17B going into Hillsborough bay early in the war. It was salvaged. I have seen a picture of the salvage operations.

  This area is like one of the wreck capitals of the world. We had: MacDill, Drew field (now Tampa International) Hillsborough Army Airfield, Pinellas Army Airfield, A small training field at Albert Whitted in St Pete, Mullet Key bombing range, and other bomb and target ranges throughout the area.

 An excellent website is http://www.geocities.com/bwidner1/  He pretty well chronicles the newspaper headlines of Florida during WWII as far as aircraft crashes are concerned.

 One thing they have found plenty of is bombs. Believe me an old 250 lb bomb still makes a lot of noise even 10 miles away. Dennis 

CheckSix

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 #4 

According to family history, I lost a great-great-uncle to the training accidents in Tampa Bay. 

 

However, I have been unable to find any proof of this.  I don't have a date, an aircraft type (other than "a bomber"), or even a good name to work with (His name was "John Henry", one of the most common names in the USA).

 

Regards,

Chris at Check-Six

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AnthonyMireles

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 #5 

Fatal Bomber Crashes in Tampa Bay during WWII:

 

7-21-42 (B-26B)

 

9-2-42 (B-26B)

 

9-5-42 (B-26B)

 

12-8-42 (B-26B)

 

3-13-43 (RB-26A)

 

4-10-43 (RB-26A)

 

10-8-43 (B-26C)

 

6-20-45 (B-29)

 

You would think there would have been more considering the phrase "one a day in Tampa Bay".  Might be Hyperbole. See Volume I, II, III of "FATAL ARMY AIR FORCES AVIATION ACCIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1941-1945".   Tony Mireles


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Dennis

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 #6 

The phrase was probably coined in Sept of '42 when there were a couple in a couple of days. There were many non fatals, and some fighters and I believe at least one A-24 (3-4 other A-24s went in at Mullet Key bombing range which is at the mouth of Tampa Bay)

 There were many land crashes as well. Two mid airs over St Pete caused the City Council to consider banning military overflights. Both midairs, and a P-39 loss were within 3 miles of my house. I have roughly figured close to 30 fliers killed in St Pete, or on this side of Tampa Bay. Dennis

AnthonyMireles

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 #7 

Dennis,

 

My dear friend, Helen Borberly, her brother SSgt. Steve Sopp was killled in a B-26 accident at Plant City, FL, on 9-28-42. 

 

Fatal crashes at "Old Tampa Bay" during WWII:

 

10-2-42 (P-40F)

 

5-13-43 (P-40L)

 

7-16-43 (P-40L and P-40L mid-air)

 

3-30-44 (AT-6B)

 

12-6-44 (B-17G)

 

Fatal crashes at Mullett Key during WWII:

 

3-9-43 (A-24A)

 

5-12-43 (A-24A)

 

5-26-43 (A-24A)

 

Hey Dennis, Where was Drane Field?  I know it was near Tampa as well.  Is it still an airport or what? 

 

Tony M.


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10tweaker

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 #8 

There was another training field (B-17 Combat Crew Training) at Sebring AAF.  It was also the site of filming for "Air Force"--(Tony?! "Mary Ann"?).  It is apparently now some kind of racing facility, but aerial views still show the runways and the general layout of the wartime base.

 

 

Jim


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russfarris

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 #9 

Tony M:  Drane Field was the name given to the new Lakeland Municipal Airport during WWII by the AAF; it was a B-26 base (my mother worked there as a secretary during the war.) National Airlines flew Lodestars, Convairs and Electra IIs from LAL until 1962. It was re-named Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport in the 1980s, I believe. Today it is the home of the Sun-n-Fun Fly-in, second in size only to Oshkosh. (Lakeland is where I was born, BTW.)

 

Also, Sebring AAF became the municipal airport after the war. Since the 1950s it has been the site of the famous 24 hours at Sebring auto race and is still a public use airport today. I worked there as a flight instructor in 1975.

 

Russ Farris

russfarris

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 #10 

I almost forgot! Back in 1975, when I was a boy flight instructor at Sebring, the wreckage of some kind of radial engine aircraft was visible from the run-up area of I forget which runway, I think it was on the north side of the field. It was quite close to the taxiway, maybe less than 100 feet, and was basically a pile of debris in a cow pasture, with the engine the only recognizable part. I was told it was a WWII vintage wreck, but I never bothered to check it out, since I was more interested in flying airplanes than looking at pieces of them. Maybe it's time to check out Google Earth and see if anything is still there...Russ Farris

russfarris

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 #11 
Guys, check out Google Earth at 27 27' 45.58" N  81 20' 42.29" W and tell me what you think. That's the area I remember seeing the wreck in, and it does resemble a crash scar, with the engine at the far right section. Guess I'll have to fly into Sebring to make sure; it could be anything...Russ Farris
Dennis

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 #12 

I believe there were 2 B-17Bs that went in from Hendricks (Sebring) I think one may have gone into Lake Placid. The other was several miles to the NE.

 There were probably a few "E"s as well.

 Tony looks like the others answered your question. Any more news on the "Mary Ann"? I do have an idea. If the aircraft cards have info as far as repainting, and we know that between the making of the movie, and the publicity photo, the Mary Ann was repainted, The B-17B that was repainted during that time is the Mary Ann.  Dennis (gotta get over to Googlearth)

bigun1_6605

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 #13 

The "one a day in Tampa Bay" brought back an old memory. My folks were stationed at Tampa in 1942 (Dad was in the 3rd Photo-Mapping). My mom was washing dishes and saw a B-26 crash on the street in front of the house. It slid into the woods, but did not explode. So much av-gas leaked out the snakes started to leave the wreck site. Your dates seem to indicate it was one of the Sept 1942 crashes.

Bigun1_6605

AnthonyMireles

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 #14 

All of the dates I posted for Tampa Bay, Old Tampa Bay, and Mullett Key are airplanes that crashed into the water.  Tony Mireles


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pivo2

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 #15 
My Uncle, Lt. Edward Pogonowski from Cleveland, Ohio was a pilot bombardier on a B-26 Marauder. It was Labor Day weekend May, 1943 that his plane crashed and he and his entire crew was killed. It has been the story, that they were flying close formation for the reviewing stand and they hadn't learned about air turbulence from the plane in front and a number of planes went down. I have a number of photos of Uncle Eddie and his crew in front of their plane. I can have them scanned and post them. I would really like to get info on that notorious event. Any help would be most helpful.

Interestingly, he was one of the earliest casualties of WW II from the Polish neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Someone shot 8mm color movies of the USAAF color guard bearing his casket at shoulder height and carrying him into St. Casimers Catholic Church and his internment at at Calvary Cemetery. My oldest brother Ed is named after him. My mother, Lt. Eds sister was pregnant and living in NYC, my father was a Lt. in the Navy and stationed there when Uncle Eddy died. My brother was born on June 5, 1943 and because the docs would let her travel my mother had to miss her baby brothers funeral. She has never viewed he brothers funeral. She is now 92.
thanks for listening,

Pivo2 (that's Polish for 2 beers)
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