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41-24580

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17F 41-24580 "Hellcat Agnes" was assigned 358BS/303BG [VK-C] Bangor 11-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-62. Participated in 6 Operations - 2 Aborts (See Biography events)

18-Nov-42 Mission #1 U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. (see Biography)
22-Nov-42 Mission #2 U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. (see Biography)
6-Dec-42 Mission #3 Carriage & Wagon Works, Lille, France - Aborted (see Biography)
12-Dec-42 Mission #4 Railroad marshalling yards, Rouen, France. (see Biography)
20-Dec-42 Mission #5 German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France - Aborted (see Biography)
23-Jan-43 Mission #6 LAST OPERATION U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. (see Biography)

Missing in Action 23-Jan-43 while on a mission to bomb the port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. Sustained damage from flak, #1 engine smoking, #4 engine feathered. Attacked by fighters and shot down in the area between Brest and the coast. 8POW 2EVD. NO MACR was issued for this loss. Also named No Monkey Business at one time.

NOTE: No Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) was ever created to document this loss. Bishop & Hey "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" has it as MACR 15473, but that MACR documents the loss of B-17F 41-24607, 303BG/427BS MIA on 23-Jan-43.

Service

Units

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 358th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Frank Batterson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 23 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24580 'Hell Cat', 303BG/358BS while serving as Tail Gunner the aircraft was downed by fighters near Brest. He was able to parachute to safety and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW). Participated in 7 Operations -...

  • Arthur Brunnet

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24526 'Leaping Liz' while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Target was U/B yards (submarines) at St. Nazaire, France. Fighters attacked and plane crashed into Bay of Biscay. Killed in Action (KIA). Participated in 6...

  • Albert Diffenbach

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    2-Aug-42 Assigned as a Bombardier on B-17F 41-24619 [GN-S] "S-for-Sugar" at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas. 25-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "S-for-Sugar" but there is no record that he flew any missions with that aircraft. 303BG Mission Report...

  • Earle Dumont

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    15-Sep-42 Assigned as Bombardier on B-17F 41-24580 [VK-C] "Hellcat Agnes", 303BG/358BS at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "Hellcat Agnes" ...

  • Clifton Fincher

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 23-Jan-43 in B-17F 41-24580 "Hellcat Agnes" while serving as Ball Turret Gunner the aircraft was shot down by fighters and came down between Brest, France and the coast. He parachuted to safety and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW)....

  • Bernard Gergash

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group
    Shot down by flak and fighters 18th March 1943 in B-17F 41-24558 [VK:F] 'Hunga Dunga', 303BG/358BS while serving as Radio Operator. Target was submarine yards at Vegesack, Germany. Prisoner of War (POW). Participated in 13 operations (2 aborts) with...

  • Bruce Gordon

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 3 Jan 1943 in B-17F 41-24580 'Hellcat Agnes' while serving as Navigator the aircraft was downed by fighters near Brest, France while on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. He parachuted to safety and managed to evade capture,...

  • Norman Hughes

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 23 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24580 'Hellcat Agnes' while serving as Radio Operator the aircraft was downed by fighters near Brest. He was able to parachute to safety and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW). Losses spells first name as 'Norvan',...

  • Jack Lucas

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 23 January 1943 in B-17F 41-24580 'Hell Cat', 303BG/358BS while serving a Left Waist Gunner the aircraft was downed by fighters near Brest. He was able to parachute to safety and was captured as a Prisoner of War (POW). He participated in 8...

  • Charles Marion

    Military | Colonel | Assistant Chief of Staff; Director of Operations; CO | 303rd Bomb Group
    303 Bomb Group records indicate that he was assigned as a Pilot with the 303BG/360BS on 1-May-42 at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho with the rank of Major. Records are not clear as to when he arrived at Molesworth, UK or on what aircraft. ...

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Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

  • VIII Bomber Command 22

    22 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the Primary (P) target of this mission. A combined force of 68 B-17s despatched from 91BG (18), 303BG (18) 305BG (23) and 306BG (9) against the target but a 10/10 could cover prevents all but 11 from 303BG from...

  • VIII Bomber Command 24

    6 December 1942
    The German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France is the primary target for 19 B-24s despatched from 44th Bomb Group but are recalled. One squadron of 6 does not hear the recall and proceeds to the target, 1 B-24 MIA. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 25

    12 December 1942
    This mission is composed of two elements. First element: The German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a force of 78 B-17s despatched from 91BG (19), 303BG (20), 305BG (21) and 306BG (18). However, the target is...

  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

Places

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Mission #1 B-17F 41-24580, 303BG/358BS Saint-Nazaire, France 18 November 1942

CREW

CMP COL James H. Wallace (RTD); CP 2LT Eldon T. Ruppe (RTD)
N 2LT Bruce W. Gordon (RTD);
B 2LT Anton H. Haas (RTD)
E/TTG TSGT Merle S. Mullendore (RTD); RO SGT Norman Hughes (RTD)
BTG SGT Arthur Brunnet (RTD): LWG SGT Jack Lucas
RWG SGT Emile V. Bitter, Jr. (RTD); TG SGT Merlyn D. Rukes (RTD)

Mission #2 B-17F 41-24580, 303BG/358BS Lorient, France 22 November 1942

CREW

P MAJ Charles E. Marion (RTD); CP 1LT Oran T. O'Conner (RTD)
CMN CPT Harold Fulghrum (RTD); N 2LT Bruce W. Gordon (RTD)
B 1LT A. W. Dieffenbach (RTD); E/TTG TSGT Merle S. Mullendore (RTD)
RO SGT Bernard A. Gergash (RTD); BTG SGT Arthur Brunnet (RTD)
LWG SGT Jack Lucas (RTD); RWG TSGT Bernard H. Koenig (RTD)
TG SGT Emile V. Bitter, Jr. (RTD)

Mission #3 B-17F 41-24580, 303BG/358BS - Aborted Lille, France 6 December 1942

CREW

P 1LT Robert S. O'Conner (RTD); CP 1LT Eldon T. Ruppe (RTD)
N 2LT Bruce W. Gordon (RTD); B 1LT Earle J. DuMont (RTD)
E/TTG TSGT Merle S. Mullendore (RTD); RO SGT Norman Hughes (RTD)
BTG SGT Arthur Brunnet (RTD); LWG SGT Jack Lucas (RTD)
RWG Emile V. Bitter, Jr. (RTD)
TG SGT Lester M. Robuck (RTD)

Mission #4 B-17F 41-24580, 303BG/358BS Rouen, France 12 December 1942

CREW

P 1LT Oran T. O'Conner (RTD); CP 2LT Eldon T. Ruppe (RTD)
N 2LT Bruce W. Gordon (RTD); B 2LT Earle J. DuMont (RTD)
E/TTG TSGT Merle S. Mullendore (RTD);
RO SGT Norman Hughes (RTD)
BTG SGT Arthur Brunnet (RTD); LWG SGT John E. Hill (RTD)
RWG SGT Lester M. Robuck (RTD); TG SGT Emile V. Bitter, Jr. (RTD)

Mission #5 B-17F 41-24580, 303BG/358BS Aborted Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20 December 1942

CREW

P 1LT Oran T. O'Conner (RTD); CP 1LT Glynn F. Shumake (RTD)
N 2LT Bruce W. Gordon (RTD); B 2LT Earle J. DuMont (RTD)
E/TTG TSGT Merle S. Mullendore (RTD); RO SGT Norman Hughes (RTD)
BTG SGT Arthur Brunnet (RTD); LWG Sgt Lester M. Roebuck (RTD)
RWG SGT Jack Lucas (RTD)
TG SGT Emile V. Bitter, Jr. (RTD)

Mission #6 B-17F 41-24580, 303BG/358BS MIA Lorient, France 23 January 1943

CREW

P 1LT Oran R. O'Conner (POW); CP 2LT Eldon Ruppe (EVD)
N 2LT Bruce W. Gordon (EVD); B 2LT Earl J. DuMont, Jt. (POW)
E/TTG TSGT Merle S. Mulledore (POW); RO SGT Norman Hughes (POW)
BTG SGT Clifton R. Fincher (POW); LWG SGT Jack Lucas (POW)
RWG SGT Lester M. Robuck (POW); TG SSGT Frank L. Batterson (POW)

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
11 August 2015 22:53:45 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Aug-2015. Added Mission #6 event crew data pere 303BG website Mission Report of 23-Jan-43, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/011.pdf

Date Contributor Update
11 August 2015 22:06:07 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Aug-2015. Added Mission #5 event crew data per 303BG website Mission Report of 20-Dec-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/007.pdf

Date Contributor Update
11 August 2015 21:57:52 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Aug-2015. Added Mission #4 event crew data per 303BG website Mission Report of 12-Dec-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/006.pdf

Date Contributor Update
11 August 2015 21:49:16 Lee8thbuff Changes to events and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Aug-2015. Made Mission connections and added Mission #3 event crew data per 303BG website Mission Report of 6-Dec-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/005.pdf

Date Contributor Update
11 August 2015 21:26:49 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Aug-2015. Added Mission #2 event crew data per 303BG website Mission Report of 22-Nov-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/003.pdf

Date Contributor Update
11 August 2015 21:17:33 Lee8thbuff Changes to description and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Aug-2015. Added Mission #1 event crew data per 303BG website Mission Report of 18-Nov-42, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/002.pdf

Date Contributor Update
11 August 2015 20:55:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 11-Aug-2015. Added Missions #1 thru #6 to Description per 303BG website Mission Reports, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/

Date Contributor Update
22 January 2015 17:46:17 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 22-Jan-2015. Added NOTE to Description to correct source information for this entry.

Date Contributor Update
20 January 2015 21:56:52 Lee8thbuff Changes to markings
Sources

Lee Cunningham 20-Jan-2015. Corrected aircraft ID letter.

Date Contributor Update
20 January 2015 21:54:25 Lee8thbuff Changes to description
Sources

Lee Cunningham 20-Jan-2015. Added FTR event per MACR 15473

Date Contributor Update
20 January 2015 21:24:09 Lee8thbuff Changes to nicknames, markings, description, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 20-jan-2015. Added nickname per original ingest data; Converted dates to military-style signification, target information and loss details per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; added rank, crew position, full proper names and disposition to crew list per MACR 15473; formatted crew display.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:03 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 15473 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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