Round-the-World Flights

US Military B-24 Bomber Round-the World Flight

Page 3a (rev: 1001)

B-24 Bomber Plane Reichers(standing left) Enemy at the Gates Col Alva L Harvey Army Air Forces
Pix #1 Pix #2 Pix #3 Pix #4 Pix #5

        On May 29, 1941, General Henry "Hap" Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Corps created the Ferrying Command to fly aircraft from US factories to Canada and to Atlantic ports for delivery to Great Britain. On July 1, 1941, Lieutenant Colonel Caleb V. Haynes inaugurated the first B-24 Bomber ferrying flight from Bolling Field, Washington DC over the north Atlantic by way of Newfoundland to England.
        On his return to the US, Lieutenant Colonel Haynes with Major Curtis E. LeMay as co-pilot, made a pioneering 26,000-mile survey flight on Aug. 31, 1941 over the south Atlantic via Brazil to the Middle East and back. The north Atlantic was deemed to be the better Atlantic crossing route and the British dubbed this ferrying service across the north Atlantic, the "Arnold Line."
        Reservist pilots were called to active duty, and hundreds of civilians were commissioned as officers and made "service pilots" to ferry planes over the North Atlantic to England.
        Two modified passenger-carrying B-24s supporting President Roosevelt's "Special War Supply Mission" were given special mission orders. One aircraft (40-2373) was piloted by Major Alva L Harvey and the other (40-2374) by Lieutenant Louis T Reichers. Harvey's crew was made up of Air Corps personnel including Lt Montgomery (co-pilot), Lt Hutchins (navigator) and Sgts Green & Moran (mechanics) and Sgt Drew (radio operator).
        Both B-24s carried the Ferrying Command US/British markings of an RAF roundel and a large US flag on the forward fuselage. They followed the established route across the north Atlantic to Preswick, Scotland arriving there on September 15, 1941. After a weeklong layover, on September 23rd Harvey and Reichers were dispatched from the UK to Moscow, Russia supporting a Anglo-American Commission to negotiate with Stalin's government on military aid to assist in Russia's fight with the Nazis. They flew a devious night route over Norway and Finland understanding that Germany was at war with Russia.
        Harvey and Reichers aircraft remained in Moscow on standby alert. On October 5th Reichers was released and returned to the US by way of the Caspian Sea, Iraq, Egypt, Central Africa, Brazil and Puerto Rico arriving back to Bolling Field Washington DC on October 18, 1941.
        On October 11th Harvey departed Moscow flying a similar route to Habbaniyeh Iraq. Since his original diplomatic civilian passenger carrying mission ended, he elected to fly east the long-way home pioneering a potential war route across the Pacific identifying adequate landing fields capable of handling large land-based planes. His ferrying-turned-survey flight arrived back at Bolling Field Washington DC on October 30, 1941 having flown 27,238 miles round-the-world. The pilots and crew were debriefed by military intelligence. The importance of their round-the-world flight was generally overlooked in the excitement of the greater events of the war. The recorded experiences and observations of pilots, Harvey and Reichers were of the utmost value to the Army Air Corps in planning and development of its major overseas air lanes.
        Shortly, the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the US would declare war on Germany on December 11, 1941. The United States was now in WW-II.

"Military Globe-Circling Flight"

Departed Washington, DC 09/13/41 
   Montreal, Canada 
   Preswick, Scotland (Over northern tip of Norway & Finland) 
   Moscow, Soviet Union 
   Habbaniyeh, Iraq 
   Karachi, Pakistan 
   Calcutta, India 
   Rangoon, Burma 
   Port Darwin, Australia 
   Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea 
   Wake Island 
   Honolulu, HI
   March Field, CA
   Fort Worth, TX
Arrived Washington, DC 10/30/41 

RETURN to Home Page.