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Original photograph: National Archives, College Park, MD.

After the bomb run on March 23, 1945, Ol' Scrapiron (42-31582) dropped from the 4th Bomb Wing formation and joined the 34th Bomb Group formation returning to England from its mission to Geisecke. Near Koblenz, one of the 34th aircraft (43-38971) was struck by flak, losing its wing. The damaged aircraft first rolled into a plane from the 487th, which remained flying, before colliding with Ol' Scrapiron. The plane from the 447th with the Bruckman crew onboard was broken apart at the waist.

Tailgunner Byron Schlag was the only member of the crew able to bail out, after riding the tail section down to 8,000 feet -- at times losing consciousness from lack of oxygen. Amazingly, Ed Shibble survived the fall (though sustaining serious injuries), trapped in the ball turret until it broke free of the aircraft as it crashed through some trees. The two gunners were captured. The rest of the crew perished along with the entire crew from the 34th.

From MACR 13617:

At 1347 hours, 27000 ft. altitude, the A/C flying No. 11 position of the 34th Group was hit by flak and peeled off to the left. After glancing off A/C of the 487th Group, No. 11 struck A/C #582 who went into a tight spin. The right wing folded and there was one explosion within the A/C in mid-air. #582 then hit the ground in a wooded area and exploded again. 2 chutes were observed. Coordinates were approximately (5040-0740). This report corroborated by 93rd Wing, 34th Bomb Group and 487th Bomb Group.

Connections

Units

  • 34th Bomb Group

    34th Bomb Group

    Group
    After forming part of the American defence force, first on America's east coast and then on its west, the Group was assigned to the Eighth Air Force in April 1944 and entered combat in May 1944. The Group helped with the preparation for the Normandy...

  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

People

  • Edward Blattner

    Military | Flight Officer | Bombardier
    June 1, 1922: Edward Aloysius Blattner (Nickname: "Buddy") was born in Chicago Illinois ...

  • Charles Bruckman

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    Damaged 34th BG aircraft (#43-38971) mid-air collision with Ol' Scrapiron (#42-31582). Ol' Scrapiron broke apart at the waist on 23 Mar 1945. Seven crewmen of Ol' Scrapiron killed in Action (KIA) including Bruckman. Two survived (Schlag and Shibble).

  • Ivan Gerwig

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot
    Mid air collision with a 34th BG aircraft. Plane broke apart at the waist on 23 Mar 45 in 'Ol Scrapiron' #42-31582. Killed in Action (KIA)

  • John Gorman

    Military | Flight Officer | Navigator
    Mid air collision with a 34th BG aircraft. Plane broke apart at the waist on 23 Mar 45 in 'Ol Scrapiron' #42-31582, Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Thomas Iveans

    Military | Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner
    Mid air collision with a 34th BG aircraft. Plane broke apart at the waist on 23 Mar 45 in 'Ol Scrapiron' #42-31582. Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Byron Schlag

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner
    Mid air collision with a 34th BG aircraft. Plane broke apart at the waist on 23 Mar 45 in 'Ol Scrapiron' #42-31582. Evaded. Purple Heart

  • Edmund Shibble

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner
    Mid air collision with a 34th BG aircraft. Plane broke apart at the waist Prisoner of War (POW)

Aircraft

  • 42-31582 Ol' Scrapiron

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 26/11/43; Paine Fd 28/11/43; Toledo 1/12/43; Felts Fd 4/12/43; Gt falls 5/12/43; Cheyenne 7/12/43; Kearney 19/12/43; Detroit 8/1/44; Montreal 10/1/44; Presque 12/1/44; Assigned 711BS/447BG Rattlesden 23/1/44. ...

  • 43-38971

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Hunter 24/10/44; Dow Fd 9/11/44; ...

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
14 October 2018 16:25:04 jhuck Changes to collection
Sources

Added collection name

Date Contributor Update
02 September 2018 19:58:25 jhuck Created entry with caption, unit associations, person associations and aircraft associations
Sources

From the personal files of John G. Huck, nephew of Edward A. Blattner. Original photograph: National Archives, College Park, MD.

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