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Landing in a Cornfield

On July 4th, 1944, the 450th Bomb Group was en route to attack targets in Pitesti, Romania. After crossing the Danube River, two engines on B-24 No. 42-51177 stopped working. The crew immediately turned the aircraft around to return to base but soon lost another engine. The aircraft could not remain flying with just one engine, so the crew of 10 had to bail out:

Ralph Volk

William Smith

Bernard Berger

Francis Byrne

Donald Martin

Courtney Cerrish

Neal Janosky

Hilton Dodgen

John Morris

Michael McKool

Pilot Ralph Volk waited for everyone to safely bailout, then performed a crash landing in a cornfield near Lapovo. The airmen were collected and assisted by villagers and Chetniks.

Lapovo was an important railroad junction that the Germans defended heavily. They immediately started to search for the airmen but they were not able to find any of them. 

In the evening, the crew gathered at the local Chetnik Hq. A few days later, they started to walk to Pranjani which was 60 miles away. They spent several weeks in nearby villages until they were evacuated on August 10.

A month later, their plane was still in the field, when it was inspected by German troops who were retreating from Greece.


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