USAAF Nose Art Research Project


 

Shoo Shoo Baby
B-24H-15-CF 41-29458

464th Bomb Group

Appearance
Shoo Shoo Baby

Assigned to the 779BS, little is known so far about the missions flown by this B24 although it is thought to have been the first Liberator to fly 510 hours without any engine change, an Air Force record. It was flown overseas in March 1944 by Bill Shoemaker's crew via the southern route landing on the Azores before going on to Tunis. After some training time in Africa it was taken on to Italy. It is shown on the inventory of the 465BG as assigned to them in March but, at unknown date, was transferred to 464BG's 779BS.

While flying missions in Italy, the plane was singled out by Axis Sally, the German radio propagandist, for a special mention as a target for the Luftwaffe. By the time it completed its combat flying it was the only olive drab Liberator left in the group and its paintwork was splattered with 400 flak patches and cannon holes. On one occasion, tail gunner Ed Kodke narrowly escaped death when his turret took a direct hit from an Me109. "Blew it to hell!", he recorded. "Only thing that saved me from decapitation was 2 inches of glass and loud prayers." A photo of the right side of the aircraft displays the same titling and music notes plus 32 mission marks and 14 fighter kills.

"Shoo Shoo Baby" was lost while flying a non-operational passenger flight on the first day of 1945. With John Thornwall in command, it came down 3 miles northwest of Pantanella after the crew bailed out.





 


© Ray Bowden 20 October 2021