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B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Gt Falls 6/2/44; Dorval 9/2/44; Assigned RAF [HB-764]; transferred 8 AFSC 7/4/44; 388BG Knettishall 1/7/44; force landed Fouches, Lux? 9/11/44; Salvaged 28/11/44.



  • 388th Bomb Group

    388th Bomb 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...

  • 563rd Bomb Squadron


  • John Chimenti

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Plane lost an engine and then blew up killing Pilot and Co-Pilot; other crew members parachuted to safety on American side of the lines (see p177 of Huntzinger book)

  • James Clark

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA)

  • Willie Dew

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    Plane lost an engine and then blew up killing Pilot and Co-Pilot; other crew members parachuted to safety on American side of the lines (see p177 of Huntzinger book). Parachuted safely and RTD.

  • Richard Gaspard

    Military | Captain | Co-Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Prisoner of War (POW) crashed on 20 Feb 45 in B-17 'Miss Karenk' #448223

  • Julian Heimendinger

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group
    Killed in Action (KIA) 28 September 1944 AM w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • Paul Patten

    Military | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group

  • John Sande

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group

  • Glenn Thompson

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 388th Bomb Group

  • Jesse Watson

    Military | Staff Sergeant (Technician Third Grade) | Ball Turret Gunner | 388th Bomb Group
    Son of Jesse Otis and Dina Watson Sr


  • 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...


Event Location Date
Delivered Great Falls, MT, USA 6 February 1944
Delivered Dorval, QC, Canada 9 February 1944

Delivered to the RAF as HB764

Transferred Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, UK 7 April 1944
Transferred Knettishall, Diss IP22 2TH, UK 1 July 1944

388 BG
563 BS

Crashed 6700 Fouches, Belgium 9 November 1944

Chimenti Crash [A/C 42-97101] on November 9, 1944
A Public Relations Release .. published in the Stars and Stripes 16 November 1944

A FORTRESS BASE, Nov. 15 .. Escape from a Flying Fortress that exploded in mid-air over the fighting lines at the French-German border brought four Eighth Air Force fliers back to their base to tell an unusual story of devotion to duty that cost their pilot and co-pilot their lives.

One of the Fort's engines stopped functioning before the plane reached its target, a marshalling yard near Saarbrucken. Although they might have dropped out of formation and made for home, the pilot and co-pilot elected to go for the bomb run.

However, the heavy bomb load was too much for the remaining three engines, and a cylinder head blew on one setting it afire. In less than a minute the bomber was blown apart, wings vanishing in debris, the fuselage cracking into three sections.

The pilot and co-pilot were killed, but the other seven crewmen 'chuted to safety in French territory. Three, the navigator, top turret gunner and waist gunner, were hit by flying debris and are now in an Allied military hospital in Luxembourg. The others are in England.

1st Lt. Daniel F. Gilmore, of Luling, Texas, the bombardier landed 3 miles from the German lines. He had been blown out of the plane's nose just as he was picking up his parachute. He said he fell unconscious for 10,000 feet, came to, snapped on the parachute hooks, and opened it. During his entire fall, before he recovered consciousness, he had gripped the chute firmly.

The tail gunner, S/Sgt. Michael J. Kuzel, of Ironwood, Mich., went spinning in the detached tail section. While he was still inside his parachute opened, so he caught up the billowing silk in his arms and jumped clear.

T/Sgt. Arthur E. Weiss, of Chicago, Ill., radio operator, was knocked flat on the floor, crawled to the edge of what remained of his section of the fuselage, and rolled off into space.

The ball turret gunner, S/Sgt. Samuel M. Longtine, of Marquette, Mich., in his turret when the plane exploded, picked up his 'chute less than a foot from the broken ledge, and climbed out while his section of the bomber was falling earthward.

The waist gunner was blown through the side of the fuselage and didn't remember opening his parachute; the navigator followed the bombardier out the hole in the nose, and the top turret gunner got out the escape hatch just in time of the explosion


Date Contributor Update
21 December 2017 04:07:50 466thHistorian Changes to production block number, manufacturer, markings, events, unit associations, person associations and media associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:10 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log