The last flight of B-24 "Extra Joker"

Louis

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These are the last moments of the USAF B-24 Liberator bomber on fire over Austria.

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The B24 (serial number 42-95379) nicknamed "Extra Joker" of the 451st Bomber Group, 725th Sq., 15th Air Force was based in Gioia del Colle, Apulia, southern Italy.

He was part of a squad involved in a raid on an industrial target in Austria but the German fighters went into action, shooting down all the bombers, except for the plane where the photographer who took this picture was located.

"Extra Joker", was attacked by at least two German fighters while flying over the Austrian city of Türnitz. In a few seconds, the flames engulfed the plane and it ended up exploding. The entire crew died.
1st Lt. Kenneth A Whiting - pilot
1st Lt. Alvin W Moore - co-pilot
2nd Lt. Francis J Bednarek - navigator
2nd Lt. Edward S Waneski - bombardier
Sergeant Peter Breda - upper turret gunner
Sergeant Harry V Bates - ball turret gunner
Sergeant Joseph Garbacz – right waist gunner
Sergeant Milton R Nitsch – left waist gunner
Sergeant Elmer J Anderson - nose turret gunner
Sergeant Oscar W Bateman – tail turret gunner

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The photograph was taken by Sgt. Leo Stanton Stoutsenberger (1921/1998), who was usually the cameraman for the B24 “Extra Joker”. But that day he was asked to fly on another plane for action photos. Thanks to this circumstance, Stautsenberger survived and made a series of shots of the loss of the plane.
He said about this photograph: “I felt bad, helplessly taking a photo while my companions were burning inside. It happened so fast that they didn't have much of a chance."

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Leo S. Stoutsenberger
 
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