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42-31471

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17G 42-31471 was delivered at Cheyenne 5-Nov-43; Kearney 20-Nov-43; Prestwick 7-Dec-43; Assigned 360BS/306BG [PU-E] Thurleigh 1-Jan-44; On 8-Mar-44 the aircraft was despatched to bomb the VKF Ball Bearing Works at Erkner, Germany outside Berlin. The aircraft sustained damage from flak prior to reaching the Initial Point and abandoned the bombing attempt. As the aircraft passed near Magdeburg on the return it was attacked by three ME-109s. All of the crew managed to bale out and were captured as Prisoners of War (POW) 10 POW MACR 2908

P 1Lt Leo B. McGrath (POW); CP 2Lt John M. Chapman, Jr (POW)
N 2Lt Anthony D. Volk (POW); B/TOGG SSgt Joseph S. Klasnick (POW)
E/TTG SSgt Jack E. Green (POW); RO SSgt Charles J. Bonn (POW)
BTG SSgt James E. Mayfield (POW); LWG SSgt Wallace L. Tharp (POW)
RWG SSgt Harry V Hosso (POW); TG SSgt Gilbert N Laible (POW)

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...

  • 360th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Charles Bonn

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 351st Bomb Group

  • John Chapman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 8-Mar-44 in B-17G #42-31471 "Doolittle's Destroyers" while serving as Co-Pilot the aircraft was damaged by flak near Berlin and later attacked by ME109s on a mission to Erkner, Germany. All of the crew bailed out near Haldensleben, Germany and were...

  • Jack Green

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Damaged by flak and later attacked by ME109s on a mission to Erkner, Berlin on 8 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-31471 'Doolittle's Destroyers' crashed NW of Magdeburg after the crew balied out. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Harry Hosso

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Damaged by flak and later attacked by ME109s on a mission to Erkner, Berlin on 8 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-31471 'Doolittle's Destroyers' crashed NW of Magdeburg after the crew bailed out. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Joseph Klasnick

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner, Togglier | 303rd Bomb Group
    1-Apr-42 303BG website personnel records have SGT Joseph F. Klasnick assigned as an Aerial Gunner with the crew of Louis M. Schulstad probably on B-17F #41-24567 [PU-J] "Beats Me" 303BG/360BS. However, the records do not indicate that he stayed with...

  • Gilbert Laible

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    23 January 1943 on a mission to Lorient, returned to southwest England with only one engine operating. Pilot Castle ordered a bail out. Pilots Castle and Fitzsimmons landed B-17 41-24579 'Thumper' wheels up near Bristol. ...

  • James Mayfield

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Damaged by flak and later attacked by ME109s on a mission to Erkner, Berlin on 8 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-31471 'Doolittle's Destroyers' crashed NW of Magdeburg after the crew baled out. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Leo McGrath

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    On 8-Mar-44 in B-17G #42-31471 "Doolittle's Destroyers" while serving as Pilot his aircraft was damaged by flak near Berlin and later attacked by ME109s on a mission to Erkner, Germany. The entire crew bailed out and were captured as Prisoners of War. ...

  • Joseph Stevens

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Joseph E. ("Jack") Stevens, Jr. was my father. Born 5/13/21, he came from very humble beginnings in Houston & Galveston, TX to sire a family of 5, become a wonderful father and husband, and work around the world as a chemical engineer. ...

  • Wallace Tharp

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    23 January 1943 on a mission to Lorient, returned to southwest England with only one engine operating. Pilot Castle ordered a bail out . Pilots Castle and Fitzsimmons landed B-17 41-24579 'Thumper' wheels up near Bristol. ...

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Missions

  • 8th Air Force 250

    6 March 1944
    The industrial areas of Berlin and Genshagen, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. A combined force of 730 heavy bombers are despatched from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. The despatch from 3rd Air Division bombs Targets of Opportunity in...

  • 8th Air Force 252

    8 March 1944
    The VKF ballbearing factory at Berlin/Erkner is the primary target for 623 heavy bombers despatched by all three Air Divisions. Fighter opposition and anti-aircraft fire are intense. There are so many formation attacking that some divert to other...

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...

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Haldensleben, Germany 8 March 1944

Damaged by flak near Berlin and aborted bomb run. Shot down by three ME-109s and crashed at Alten-Haldensleben, Germany

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
17 March 2020 02:11:36 jmoore43 Changes to nicknames
Sources

Corrected a typo in the nickname.

Date Contributor Update
14 February 2015 18:54:41 Lee8thbuff Changes to nicknames, markings, description, events, unit associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Feb-2015. Added Nickname, Markings , FTR description, added target and loss details to Description per "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; made connections to Unit, Place, Mission within existing website data; converted dates in Description to military style signification; Added Crew Position, Rank, full proper name and disposition per MACR 2908; formatted crew display.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:38 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 2908 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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