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Harold Adrian Brassfield

Military

On the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-37886 'Blitzing' Betsy' was severely damaged by attacks from several FW190s causing it to collide with another 388th B-17, exploding in mid-air and crashing near Emmen, Holland. Killed in Action (KIA).

Service

People

  • Ivan Finkle

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 388th Bomb Group
    Ivan Finkle served as a radio operator with the 388th Bomb Group. He completed 21 missions. On 6 March 1944, his 22nd mission, his aircraft 'Blitzing Betsy' was shot down by German fighters returning from first mass daylight raid on Berlin over Holland...

  • Raymond Hess

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    On the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-37886 'Blitzin' Betsy' was severely damaged by attacks from several FW190s causing it to collide with another 388th B-17, exploding in mid-air and crashing near Emmen,...

  • Robert Kennedy

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    On the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-37886 'Blitzin' Betsy' was severely damaged by attacks from several FW190s causing it to collide with another 388th B-17, exploding in mid-air and crashing near Emmen,...

  • Donald Taylor

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Left Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    On the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-37886 'Blitzing Betsy' was severely damaged by attacks from several FW190s causing it to collide with another 388th B-17, exploding in mid-air and crashing near Emmen,...

  • Lowell Watts

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    On the return from a mission to Klein Machnow, Berlin on 6 Mar 1944, B-17G #42-37886 'Blitzin' Betsy' was severely damaged by attacks from several FW190s causing it to collide with another 388th B-17, exploding in mid-air and crashing near Emmen,...

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Units served with

  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 388th Bomb Group flew strategic bombing mission from Knettishall, Suffolk from June 1943 to the end of the war. During this time, though, detachments were sent to Fersfield, Norfolk to conduct Aphrodite missions. In these Aphrodite missions veteran...

  • 562nd Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-30212 Quarterback

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 29/4/43; Sioux City 14/5/43; Smoky Hill 11/6/43; Dow Fd 16/6/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 17/6/43; transferred Aphrodite project, Missing in Action V-sites, Watten 6/8/44 with Lt Joeseph P Andrecheck & T/Sgt Raymond Healy (2...

  • 42-30851 Little Boy Blue

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 7/8/43; Dalhart 17/8/43; Assigned 560BS/388BG [H] Knettishall 8/9/43; on assembly for Schweinfurt 19/7/44 with Walt Malaniak, Co-pilot: Aaron Brinkoeter, Navigator: Leo Ramos, Bombardier: Amos Force, Flight engineer/top turret gunner...

  • 42-31163 A Good And Happy Ship

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/9/43; Gr Island 9/10/43; Nashville 12/10/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 14/10/43; Missing in Action Berlin 6/3/44 with Chas Wallace, Co-pilot: Edwin Gilroy, Navigator: Dick Kohn, Bombardier: Marvin Horn, Flight engineer/top...

  • 42-37886 Blitzing Betsy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 2/10/43; Gr Island 21/10/43; Assigned 562BS/388BG Knettishall 25/10/43; Missing in Action Berlin 6/3/44 with Lowell Watts captured by civilians, Co-pilot: Bob Kennedy, Navigator: Emmett Murphy, Bombardier: Ed Kelley, Flight engineer...

  • 42-39866

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 23/9/43; Gr Island 6/10/43; Presque Is 14/10/43; Assigned 563BS/388BG [ –P] Knettishall 14/10/43; Missing in Action Merseburg 29/7/44 with Russell Boyce, Bombardier: Jack Graves, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Calvin Leitz,...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 143

    30 November 1943
    This mission is directed at a single target - the industrial areas of Solingen, Germany. The mission consists of three elements. The first element is a force of 221 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (24); 92BG (20); 303BG (20); 305BG (16...

  • VIII Bomber Command 151

    11 December 1943
    This mission is a massive raid of 583 heavy bombers on the industrial areas of Emden, Germany. The first element is a combined force of 242 B-17s from 1st Bomb Division that included: 91BG (24); 92BG (18); 303BG (20); 305BG (21); 306BG (20); 351BG (40)...

  • VIII Bomber Command 154

    13 December 1943
    The port areas at Bremen and Kiel, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. This is the first mission where more than 600 aircraft are despatched. This mission is comprised of 8 elements. The first element consists 182 B-17s from: 91BG (31);...

  • VIII Bomber Command 156

    16 December 1943
    This is a massive mission of 631 heavy bombers directed at the port area of Bremen, Germany. The force of 631 included 1 PFF-equipped B-17s from 482BG dispersed among the attacking formations. The mission is composed of three elements. The first...

  • 8th Air Force 174

    4 January 1944
    The port area of Kiel, Germany and the railroad marshalling yards at Munster, Germany are the Primary targets of this Mission which is organised as two elements: one going to Kiel and the other to Munster. Roger A. Freeman begins to designate aircraft...

  • 8th Air Force 182

    11 January 1944
    Three aviation industry targets in Germany are bombed. The bomber force consists of 291 B-17s despatched from 1st Bomb Division in two elements, one element of 177 B-17s is despatched to Oschersleben, Germany as the primary target, the other 1BD...

  • 8th Air Force 183

    14 January 1944
    This mission is a combined effort of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Bomb Divisions to attack V-Weapon sites near the French coast near Pas-de-Calaise. Some targets of opportunity were also bombed. A total of 20 out of 21 V-Weapon sites are hit with varying results. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 191

    24 January 1944
    The primary target of this mission was the Zukunft power station at Eschweilier, Germany. The mision was composed of 563 bombers three elements from 1BD, 2BD and 3BD. The despatch from 2BD was recalled doe to weather before it could take off. Mission...

  • 8th Air Force 192 LEAFLET DROP

    25 January 1944
    5 B-17s from 305BG/422BS are despatched on a night operation to drop 1,200,000 leaflets on the French cities of Caen, Reims, Chartres, Chateauroux and Brest. There are no losses or claims.

  • 8th Air Force 198

    29 January 1944
    The primary target for this mission was the railroad marshalling yards and industrial areas of Frankfurt, Germany. A combined force of 863 heavy bombers were despatched in three elements to make the attack. The combined bomber gunner claims on enemy...

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Associated Place

  • Knettishall

    Military site : airfield
    Knettishall was built to Class A standard for an American Bomb Group that would be bringing up to forty heavy bombers with them in three or four Squadrons. The 388th Bomb Group, which stayed at Knettishall for their entire service in the ETO, flew B-17...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Gatliff, Kentucky 40769, USA 1 June 1923
Lived in Insull, Kentucky 40856, USA 1941
Enlisted Indianapolis, IN, USA 10 December 1942

Fort Benjamin Harrison
Measured at 5'8", 145 lbs.

Killed in Action (KIA) Klazienaveen, The Netherlands 6 March 1944

S/Sgt. Brassfield was shot down returning from Berlin on his 25th and final mission of his tour, 6 March 1944. His group missed it's P-47 escort due to a delay over the target. They were hit by several FW-190's of JG11 over the German/Dutch border. Several B-17's of the 388th BG were lost at this time including S/Sgt. Brassfield's B-17G-15-DL #42-37886 "Blitzing Betsy" of the 562nd BS flown by Lt. Lowell Watts. Brassfield and three of his crew mates (Robert Sweeney, Raymond Hess and Donald Taylor) were KIA during this action. Taylor had gone to help Brassfield after the latter had report being injured in the head and unable to see shortly after reporting he had shot down one of the attackers. Sweeney never made it out of the Ball Turret. Hess was blown clear of the aircraft when it exploded and was found without his parachute opened. Watts, Finkle and Ramsey were blown clear of the aircraft when it exploded and were able to open their parachutes. Kennedy, Kelley and Murphy had been able to bail out prior to the aircraft exploding and reached the ground safely.

Buried Williamsburg, KY 40769, USA 1948

Highland Cemetery
Williamsburg
Whitley County
Kentucky, USA

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 March 2019 00:11:54 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

corrected biography - Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
19 January 2016 01:48:54 466thHistorian Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
19 January 2016 01:46:30 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 17:19:55 466thHistorian Changes to highest rank and events
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
15 April 2015 01:34:25 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
10 March 2015 02:03:20 466thHistorian Changes to awards and events
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2015 02:17:36 466thHistorian Changes to events and mission associations
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
05 January 2015 01:32:44 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
30 November 2014 05:08:31 466thHistorian Changes to awards
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2014 14:38:33 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
30 October 2014 22:21:35 466thHistorian Changes to person associations
Sources

Chris Brassfield

Date Contributor Update
30 October 2014 21:31:26 466thHistorian Changes to service number
Sources

Brassfield Family Arcives

Date Contributor Update
30 October 2014 21:25:08 466thHistorian Changes to middlename, nickname, biography, awards, events, person associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Chris Brassfield - from research, family letters and talks with surviving crew members.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:11:56 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 3089 / MACR 3089, Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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