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Lt. General Frank Maxwell Andrews. Source: Wikipedia


What was the purpose of Lt. Gen. Andrews' flight in May, 1943 aboard the B-24 Liberator Hot Stuff?

Was it a routine inspection tour of remote facilities as some sources indicate?

Or was it a flight home to the USA for an important meeting (with perhaps the "inspection tour" being a cover story for security), taking the opportunity to pilot the B-24 Hot Stuff on its way home to the USA for a war bond tour after being the first heavy bomber to complete its 25th mission (not the Memphis Belle, by the way)?


While researching an answer to this question asking why Eisenhower was chosen to be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (more on that later this week in another question, by the way), I came across some interesting and inconsistent information about Lt. Gen. Frank Andrews flight which ended in his death in the crash in Iceland on May 3, 1943. Some sources (below) indicate the purpose of this flight was merely an inspection tour, while other sources (below) indicate Andrews had been summoned back to Washington D.C. to meet with Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, ostensibly to receive a promotion with his 4th star and to be given the position of Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF), the position which then went to Eisenhower because of Andrews' untimely death.

Sources indicating the flight was merely an inspection tour:

Sources which indicate it was a flight back to the USA for an important meeting with the Chief of Staff:

I have found some additional potentially credible sources (looking for primary sources) which support the claim that Andrews (for whom Andrews AFB is named) was the original choice for SCAEF, not Eisenhower, which lends tangent or indirect support to the claim Andrews may have been on his way home for the appointment. (This is also controversial because I have also found other credible sources which either contradict this or neglect to mention it at all in the context of SCAEF and SHAEF topics. But this is worth another separate Question).

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    I was not familiar with Lt. Gen. Andrews. Your question sent me scrambling to read up on him. I did not know Gen Andrews actually replaced Ike as Commander of US Forces Europe (January 1943) when Ike became Supreme Allied Commander North Africa in Nov 1942. Thank you for the interesting read.
    – user27618
    Dec 10, 2018 at 18:21
  • Do you have access to volume 3 of The Papers of George Catlett Marshall? Dec 10, 2018 at 19:34
  • @sempaiscuba - no, everything I have been poring through on George C Marshall thus far is what I have been able to dig up out of the National Archives
    – Kerry L
    Dec 10, 2018 at 19:40
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    I know that Hap Arnold expressed a belief that Andrews was to have been given the position of Supreme Allied Commander in his memoirs, but I don't remember if Marshall said anything about Andrews in his papers, and I don't have access to a copy here. Dec 10, 2018 at 19:51
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    Yeah. I did have access to the full set in a military studies library, but that has now expired. Volume 2 is available to borrow on archive.org, but not volume 3. Isn't that always the way! Dec 10, 2018 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


There is no hint of Andrews being on the way to be promoted in the official history. The Supreme Command, available free of charge from the US Army Centre for Military History. Page 58 (which has the only mention of General Andrews in the book, in a footnote about the setting up of the headquarters) says:

When, in the late summer of 1943, it became clear that an American officer would become the Supreme Commander …

That suggests that the timing is wrong for Andrews to have been going to the US in May for appointment as SCAEF.

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    There are 2.5 pages of search results behind that link for "Frank M. Andrews", not the single one you mention Dec 10, 2018 at 22:20
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    Thanks John, I am using that online book as a source for the follow up question later this week about whether or not Andrews was the original choice to be SCAEF. But in your answer here you have not provided a primary source which indicates the purpose of the flight that resulted in the crash in Iceland. Your answer does not indicate Iceland was the destination for an inspection tour, nor does it rule out that the Hot Stuff’s destination was in fact the USA for a war bond tour (with Andrews aboard to the USA then as well).
    – Kerry L
    Dec 10, 2018 at 22:37
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    Incidentally, I’m not downvoting because in general I appreciate all sincere attempts to help with Answers.
    – Kerry L
    Dec 10, 2018 at 22:38
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    @PieterGeerkens - Andrews is in the footnote on p.58 of this PDF from John's linked reference - the only Andrews reference in that particular title (The Supreme Command by Forest C. Pogue).
    – Kerry L
    Dec 10, 2018 at 23:40
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    @KerryL: My point was that this answer states "which has the only mention of General Andrews", yet there are many more such mentions behind the link. Dec 12, 2018 at 11:53

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