Hot Stuff (aircraft)

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Hot Stuff
FMA crash photo1.JPG
U.S. Army personnel remove bodies from the wreckage of Hot Stuff after it struck a mountainside in Iceland, May 1943
Type Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft
Serial 41-23728
Owners and operators United States Army Air Forces
Fate Crashed May 3, 1943

Hot Stuff is the nickname of a Consolidated B-24 Liberator, 41-23728, of the 8th Air Force that was used in World War II. It was the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete twenty-five missions in Europe in World War II and the aircraft which crashed while carrying Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews.

Combat history[edit]

Hot Stuff was part of the 8th Air Force out of RAF Bovingdon, England, and part of the 93rd Bomb Group, 330th Bomb Squadron. Hot Stuff flew its 25th mission on February 7, 1943, against long odds at a time when many planes were being shot down. Hot Stuff became the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete twenty-five missions in Europe in World War II and reached its 25th mission three-and-a-half months before the widely celebrated Memphis Belle. After Hot Stuff completed thirty-one missions, it was selected to return to the United States on May 3, 1943, to tour the country and help sell war bonds.[1]

Crash in Iceland[edit]

In early 1943 Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews needed to get back to Washington, D.C. He was Commander of the European Theater of Operations and known as the father of the Air Force. General Andrews knew Hot Stuff's pilot Capt. "Shine" Shannon and chose to fly back to the United States with him. Although unknown to most at the time, the real purpose of General Andrews's journey was that he was going back to Washington, D.C., to be blessed by Congress and the president, awarded his fourth star, and formally named Supreme Allied Commander in Europe to lead the assault across the English Channel.[2] Hot Stuff had a scheduled refueling stop in Iceland but crashed into Mount Fagradalsfjall near Grindavik, Iceland, in bad weather on May 3, 1943. Fourteen on board were killed. Only the tail gunner, George Eisel, survived.[3] Those killed on the Hot Stuff are as follows:[4]

  • Capt. Robert H. "Shine" Shannon - Pilot
  • Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews - Copilot
  • Capt. James E. Gott - Navigator
  • T/Sgt. Kenneth A. Jeffers - Radio Operator
  • M/Sgt. Lloyd C. Weir - Crew Chief
  • S/Sgt. Paul H. McQueen - Gunner
  • Civilian Adna W. Leonard - Methodist Bishop and Chairman of the Corps of Chaplains
  • Brig. Gen. Charles A. Barth - Gen. Andrews Chief of Staff
  • Col. Morrow Krum - Member of Gen. Andrews Staff
  • Col. Frank L. Miller - U.S. Army, Chief of Chaplains
  • Lt. Col. Fred L. Chapman - U.S. Army
  • Maj. Theodore C. Totman - U.S. Army
  • Maj. Robert H. Humphrey - US Army Chaplain
  • Capt. Joseph T. Johnson - Gen. Andrews aide

Because of Gen. Andrews's death, the job of Supreme Allied Commander was assigned to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower nine months later in February 1944. Additionally, because "Hot Stuff" was destroyed in the crash, the War Department chose to send the Memphis Belle home and celebrate it as the first bomber to reach 25 missions. Memphis Belle later inspired the making of two motion pictures: a 1944 documentary film, Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress, and a 1990 Hollywood feature film, Memphis Belle.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beach, Patrick (July 1, 2012). "Austinite's bomber beat Memphis Belle to record, researcher claims". Austin American Statesman. 
  2. ^ "John H. Claiborne". Claybourn Genealogical Society. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "Toll in Iceland Accident Now 14; Storm Warning Went Unheeded," Washington Post, May 6, 1943.
  4. ^ "Hot Stuff". 
  5. ^ Buescher, John. ""The 'Memphis Belle'." Teachinghistory.org. Retrieved: 8 October 2011.