Author Topic: Rare Survival Rifles Designed for Air Force Crews That Crash in the Wilderness  (Read 576 times)

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 Rare Survival Rifles Designed for Air Force Crews That Crash in the Wilderness
Mil & Intel   

By Eric Miller | August 23, 2021

On Dec. 21, 1943, Lt. Leon Crane was conducting a flyover of the Alaska interior when one of the engines of his B-24 Liberator malfunctioned and caused the aircraft to spiral out of control. Crane grabbed a parachute and dove from the open bomb bay doors into the frigid Alaska wilderness, the lone survivor of the crew.

Despite his initial good fortune, Crane would endure another 84 days in the wilderness before being rescued. Initially, Crane had only a Boy Scout knife and some matches as survival equipment and fashioned a makeshift bow to hunt game. The bow was largely ineffective, and after nine days of failed hunts, Crane was nearly dead.
 
Lt. Leon Crane survived over 80 days in the Alaska wilderness after his B-24 crashed on a training flight. His ordeal inspired the Air Force to issue survival rifles to aircrews. Picture courtesy of University of Alaska-Anchorage Archives.

He set out and, by luck, managed to find a trapper cabin that had food, supplies, and most importantly a rifle. Crane used this rifle to hunt game, which sustained him long enough to be rescued. Had he not found a firearm, he surely would have perished in the brutal Alaska interior.

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