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Crash photo, not AL520

  • Matt_Poole
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11 years 5 months ago #438 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Crash photo, not AL520
In the Guestbook Ich posted the following:

Guest: LB-30 AL520?
First of all, I must commend you on an excellent website. It is a real tribute to all the people associated with the Liberator.

Recently, an old photo surfaced that might be of the wreckage of the LB-30 AL520 in Amman. This photo is part of a collection of photos taken in Northwest Africa during the early 1940's. Perhaps somebody intimately familiar with the LB-30 will recognize the distinct switch gear grouping in this photo:

www.flickr.com/photos/gbaku/3429286885

Best regards,

Ich


Ich, This definitely is not a photo of AL520.

In a caption for one of gbaku's other photos, he commented on the photo album:

Right now, it looks like they were taken all along the coast of Africa from Algiers to Cape Town. . .Some of the photos I've not yet posted look like they were taken in North and South Nigeria. . .

This is a long way from Transjordan in the Middle East, where AL520 crashed.

AL520 was a Mk II Liberator bomber, not an LB-30. On 30 Dec 1942 during a stage of its delivery trip from the UK to India, it crashed into a hill in the vicinity of El Qutem, Transjordan, which is near the Syrian border and ENE of Amman. The approx. latitude and longitude: 32 deg 18 min N, 36 deg 37 min E. The aircraft was descending through clouds at the time. The crew of eight were initially buried next to the wreck and were moved in the 1950s to Damascus British War Cemetery. (Skipper: F/Sgt A.C. Feisst, RNZAF. For the full crew listing see

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11 years 5 months ago #440 by Wimpy
Wimpy replied the topic: Crash photo, not AL520
Good observational skills Matt

Looks more like a dump than a crash, with a crash you would expect that the engines as they ploughed forward would push up a mound of soil infront, these look like they have sunk down. Strange that there is no wing section visible just the two nacelles. Is that a harness/ parachute shackle in the forground? There doesn't seem to be any evidence of a fire

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11 years 5 months ago #441 by Gary
Gary replied the topic: Crash photo, not AL520
I agree those engine nacelles are not from an R-1830-41 on a MkII and the props are as you say feathered. I can't see any other photos, but other photos from the same person are all of American service personnel and none are RAF/Commonwealth.
Just my tuppence.
Gary
Oh and using this site as a reference in the flickr post makes it look like we validate the theory of it being AL520

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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11 years 5 months ago #443 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Crash photo, not AL520
It's a tough call for me, regarding fire. The mangled junk at the bottom (where Wimpy sees a harness-kind of object that I see but can't ID as a parachute harness) has to be from the fuselage; the switchbox looks vaguely familiar to me. It looks like there is some melt in some of that mess, but honestly I don't know from the one photo. Certainly the grass doesn't look scorched, and it looks like burnable vegetation to me. But if fire equipment was present to keep the flames from spreading, this might explain the intact grass. Or it sank later, after landing gear collapsed or sunk in soft ground.

I've seen engines fairly intact despite a fire, due to the fact that the petrol burns out the main wings only, with the engines acting as a barrier. For example, AL513, a Mk II Lib headed for India from the UK, suffered an in-flight engine fire and was put down near Cadiz, Spain, short of the Gibraltar destination. The crew torched the airframe to prevent any secrets being turned over to the Germans. Spanish researcher Javier Aranduy sent me the official Spanish Air Force wreckage analysis from some time later, and it showed that despite a fire fed by a good supply of petrol, out in a field in this case, the fire does not consume the entire aircraft. An excerpt:

AIRCRAFT "CONSOLIDATED LIBERATOR"

ENGINES: Four Pratt & Whitney of 14 cylinders as double radials. Type S3C-4G. They are in bad shape. One of them has burned and of the other three, two could be put back into service but we don't have any spares.

PROPELLERS: Metallic, three bladed, variable pitch of electrically moved. Two of them have their blades in good shape, other slightly bent and the other is completely damaged.

AIRFRAME: The rear half remains, its structure is a monocoque with an Alclad revetment. It can be seen that the gun turret was able to rotate. These remains can only be used aaaas scrap.

WINGS AND STABS: Wing placed in a high position, two twin rudders. Same utility as the airframe remains. To be used as scrap.

LANDING GEAR: Retractable, tricycle. The structure of the three wheels remains as well as the wire core of them, but in such a bad shape that there is no other use possible but scrap.

EQUIPMENT: There is none. The cockpit has completely disappeared and we are not able to inform of special equipment that the aircraft has. There are some remains of the anti-icing boots. Some oxygen cylinders could be found which must have been part of the crew's ox. system.


Wimpy, good point about lack of dirt gouged from the ground, as would be expected in a typical forward-moving prang. I'm not certain that the wreckage is a bit sunken. I see a slight bit of plowing/freshly disturbed soil around the closer propeller/engine area. On both props I see a blad that is just sitting on the surface, though I can't explain why the third blade on each prop is hidden.

Crash sites are so variable in their physics. This one's a case where a second photo would have been invaluable!

Gary, with all due respect, I disagree that "using this site as a reference in the flickr post makes it look like we validate the theory of it being AL520". No, the reference to the flicker site simply offers the link to the photo, where we can then study it with open minds and consequently share our thoughts on the forum.

If you poke around some of gbaku's other aircraft photos on the flickr site, you'll see some RAF Martin Baltimore photos. Here's one showing a burning Baltimore and its aftermath. I just realized that this is a good example of how a fire doesn't always consume the whole aircraft, and how the engines can survive, more or less. I think these are all the same Baltimore; definitely the last two are:

www.flickr.com/photos/gbaku/3298229052/i...t-72157614167688886/

www.flickr.com/photos/gbaku/3302072638/i...t-72157614167688886/

www.flickr.com/photos/gbaku/3418661893/i...t-72157614770630049/

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11 years 5 months ago #444 by Gary
Gary replied the topic: Crash photo, not AL520
What I meant Matt. is on the Flickr site it describes how it could be AL520 and then it goes to show a link to this site. When I first saw it, it looked like the poster was saying hey go look for yourself.
I'm just trying let people know that just because they see a link to this site from somewhere else it doesn't mean we approve of the content.
At the end of the day, I don't really mind as it's all free advertising ;)

'Yea, Though I Fly Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I Shall Fear No Evil. For I am at 50,000 Feet and Climbing.'

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11 years 5 months ago #447 by Matt_Poole
Matt_Poole replied the topic: Crash photo, not AL520
Understood, Gary. Yes, free advertising is great.

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