A B-17 Flying Fortress (XK-L, serial number 43-38085) nicknamed "Towering Titan" of the 305th Bomb Group drops her bombs over the target. This photo was taken on 8 April 1945.
Information from pilot Robert L Searfoss:
"I saw a small print of this photograph in the 1992 edition of the "Can Do Notes" of the 305th Bomb Group (H) Memorial Association. It was taken April 8, 1945 and had been stored somewhere for 47 years. I obtained the slick picture from the editor after noting XK L on the fuselage, the triangle G and serial number 338085 on the tail."
"The crew and I had selected this plane to be called "Organized Confusion" as our plane. We flew it on several missions, but not always. Why and how this picture was taken from another plane is unknown. I have matched the numbers with my combat records which show that on April 8, 1945, I was pilot of 338085 flying a B17G to bomb a railroad yard (in or by) Halberstate, Germany. The records show we flew in this plane 8 hours plus 50 minutes plus 30 minutes on instruments and 30 minutes on radar headings. (10 hours)."
"In letters, written by our engineer to his father, Mast. Sgt. Wally Barnes, also tells of this mission and mentions my name as pilot. He also remarked that we hit on target perfectly. You might note that a bomb is in the lead plane's bomb marker (the big white steaks in the sky). Note the up-angle of the plane caused by the release of 14 500 pound bombs. This was my 18th mission out of 24 total missions."
"Steve Forrest of Sturgeon, MO, a model airplane builder and flyer who also collects WWII data, made a large print of the photo as a gift and it hangs in my room. When I look at this beautiful picture it is very hard to believe I ever did anything like this. The experiences come flooding back, and I am so thankful to have lived so long...many of my flying friends did not."
Image via J Collins. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Towering Titan.'
IWM catalogue record
This contains information written on the back of the original print and some of it may be inaccurate.
A B-17 Flying Fortress (XK-L, serial number 43-38085) nicknamed "Towering Titan" of the 305th Bomb Group drops her bombs over the target. Image via J Collins. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Towering Titan.'
The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...
Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
Piloted #43-38085 on April 8, 1945, according to his own web site.
Was not on board #43-38085 when A/C was lost, according to MACR.
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Cheyenne 24/6/44; Hunter 17/6/44; Dow Fd 23/7/44;