This is the second of four photos in a four-second sequence taken from the belly camera of the aircraft of Capt. Jack W. Klien. The images were first published in Yank magazine and have since become famous shots of the Pacific air war. Here, the aircraft of 1/Lt. James L. Knarr, a 387th Squadron pilot from the 312th Bomb Group, is falling steeply on one wing towards the water after appearing to be hit directly in the bomb bay. Knarr and his gunner, S/Sgt. Charles G. Reichley, were killed in the crash on July 22, 1944. The aircraft of 2/Lt. Melvin H. Kapson is escaping from the target, its crew unaware of what happened behind them. No one knew the fate of the missing Knarr crew until these films were developed back at Hollandia. The entire sequence of photos shows how quickly death could follow when an aircraft was hit during a low-level attack.
This story starts on p. 151 of Rampage of the Roarin’ 20’s.