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42-29633

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 26/1/43; Salina 12/2/43; Assigned 364BS/305BG [WF-H/J/N/D] Chelveston 4/3/43. Completed missions as "Spitz Fire" under command of Lt. Frank R. Spitznagel Jr. until 8/19/43; transferred 381BG Ridgewell 11/9/43 1m; 526BS/379BG [LF-U] Kimbolton 26/9/43; then 525BS [FR-C]; Missing in Action Frankfurt 8/2/44 with Doris Beam, Navigator: Gene Gallagher, Radio Operator: George Potenakes, Waist gunner: George Lissandrello,Tail gunner: Bob Kelly (5 Prisoner of War); Bombardier: Dean Tate, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bill Lessig, Ball turret gunner: John Bernier, Waist gunner: David Helsel (4EVD-all ret UK by 18/3/44); Co-pilot: Bob Ross (KIA-chute damaged by numerous bullet holes); enemy aircraft, crash landed Monchy-Humieres, five miles NW of Compiegne, Fr. Missing Air Crew Report 2869.

Service

Units

  • 379th Bomb Group

    379th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 379th Bomb Group (H) (heavy), based at Kimbolton, flew more sorties than any other Bomb Group in the Eighth Air Force and dropped a greater bomb tonnage than any other Group. The B-17 Flying Fortress Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit...

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • 364th Bomb Squadron
  • 525th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Doris Beam

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Compiegne, FR on a mission to Frankfurt am Main on 8 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-29633. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • John Bernier

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Compiegne, FR on a mission to Frankfurt am Main on 8 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-29633. Evaded (EVD). Returned to England before 18 MAr 1944.

  • Karl Brauer

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Crew completed 25 missions by 19 August 1943

  • Frank Ciancia

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer | 379th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 526BS, 379BG, 8AF USAAF. 30 x combat mission. ETD Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • George Fotenakes

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Compiegne, FR on a mission to Frankfurt am Main on 8 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-29633. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Eugene Gallagher

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Compiegne, FR on a mission to Frankfurt am Main on 8 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-29633. Prisoner of War (POW).

  • David Helsel

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Compiegne, FR on a mission to Frankfurt am Main on 8 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-29633. Evaded (EVD). Returned to England by 18 Mar 1944.

  • Samuel Johnston

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Crew completed 25 missions by 19 August 1943

  • Robert Kelly

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Compiegne, FR on a mission to Frankfurt am Main on 8 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-29633. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • William Lessig

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 379th Bomb Group
    Shot down by fighters and crashed near Compiegne, FR on a mission to Frankfurt am Main on 8 Feb 1944 in B-17F #42-29633. Evaded (EVD). returned to England by 18 Mar 1944.

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Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 37

    26 February 1943
    After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities...

  • VIII Bomber Command 75

    24 July 1943
    Three targets in Norway are the primary targets for this first mission flown by 8th AIr Force to Norway. They are the nitrate works at Heroya and the port areas at Trondheim and Bergen. The first element is a combined force of 180 B-17s from: 91BG (22)...

  • VIII Bomber Command 84

    17 August 1943
    The mission flown on 17-Aug-43, the 1st anniversary of the 1st mission flown by the 8th Air Force, is probably the most written about mission of the war. This is the famous Schweinfurt/Regensburg mission on which 60 B-17s are lost. It has been dubbed ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 85

    19 August 1943
    The German airfields at Gilze-Rijen, Holland and Woensdrecht, Holland are the targets for this mission. The attacks will be made by two elements. The first element is a combined force of 125 B-17s from: 91BG (8); 92BG (19); 303BG (20); 305BG (19);...

Places

  • Chelveston

    Military site : airfield
    Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...

  • Kimbolton

    Military site : airfield
    Planned for RAF use, Kimbolton airfield was built by W and C French Ltd. in 1941. The airfield was increased in size to accommodate a full US heavy Bomb Group, and the first such unit to us it was the 91st Bomb Group, who arrived in September 1942....

  • Ridgewell

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1941-42 as an RAF bomber station, Ridgewell operated as a satellite to RAF Stradishall until May 1943. It had three concrete runways, initially 36 pan hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Taken over by the Eighth Air Force in June...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) France 8 February 1944

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
17 August 2018 14:12:26 Despitz Changes to nicknames and mission associations
Sources

DS

Date Contributor Update
18 May 2017 20:14:10 Despitz Changes to description
Sources

DS

Date Contributor Update
18 May 2017 20:13:36 Despitz Changes to description
Sources

Doug Spitznagel

Date Contributor Update
30 August 2016 00:50:51 Despitz Changes to nicknames
Sources

Douglas Spitznagel

Date Contributor Update
30 August 2016 00:46:45 Despitz Changes to nicknames, unit associations, person associations and place associations
Sources

Douglas Spitznagel

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:22 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 2869 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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