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43-38316

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 20/7/44; Kearney 28/7/44; Grenier 9/8/44; Assigned 860BS/493BG Debach 11/8/44; battle damaged Merseburg 2/11/44 with Joe Gualano, cp?, Stan Lucia, Arthur Etter, Ray Butler, Paul Backer, Bob Johnson, Fred Townsend, Travis Jones (8 Returned to Duty); Harry Thomas lwg (Killed in Action); force landed St Trond, Bel. Returned to the USA Bradley 7/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 9/7/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 9/12/45. HANK'S BOTTLE.

The name "Hank's Battle" is found in the personal diaries of 2 veteran's of the 493rd BG. S/Sgt Manley Abbott refers to "Hank's Battle Wagon" "Shunter F" (860 BS, RCL F) Whilst S/Sgt Beverly Berry refers to "Hank's Battle" (it is possible the full name had not yet been painted on the aircraft at the time) Both men flew the aircraft on combat missions.
It is possible that the aircraft was named in honour of S/Sgt Harry F Thomas, waist gunner, who was KIA whilst crewing the aircraft on 2nd November 1944 with the Lt Joseph Gualano crew.

Service

Units

  • 493rd Bomb Group

    493rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 493rd Bomb Group was the last Eighth Air Force Group to become operational, flying their first combat mission from Debach, Suffolk, on D-Day, 6 June 1944. The Group was known as "the Fighting 493rd", named by their Commanding Officer Colonel Elbert...

  • 860th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Paul Backer

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 862BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Missions from 8 June to November 1944. Awards: DFC, AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Raymond Butler

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Flight Engineer | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 860BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: AM (4OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Arthur Etter

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 860BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: AM (4OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Joseph Gualano

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group
    Nov 2, 1944 Merseberg, Germany. Severe flak ME 262 fighters. Waist gunner Sergeant Harry Thomas killed. 2 engines out, oxygen out, electrical and radio out and rudder inoperable. Tossed all equipment overboard including ball turret which was dropped....

  • Robert Johnson

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group

  • Travis Jones

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 860BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: AM (2OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Harry Thomas

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 860BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Merseberg in B-17 43-38316 2-Nov-44; severe flak and Me 262 fighters attacked plane. Pilot Joseph Gualano did eventually land plane in Belgium. Killed in Action (KIA) Awards: AM (4OLC), PH.

  • Fred Townsend

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 493rd Bomb Group

Places

  • Debach

    Military site : airfield
    Debach was one of the last Eighth Air Force heavy bomber bases to be completed. It was built by the 820th Engineer Battalion (Aviation) between late '43 and early '44. Pronounced locally as 'Deb-idge', the base was built to a class A standard with...

Events

Event Location Date
Assigned Debach UK 11 August 1944

Assigned to 860BS, 493BG, 8AF USAAF.

Crashed Sint-Truiden, Belgium 2 November 1944

Mission to Merseberg, Germany. Severe flak and ME 262's attacked plane. Battle damaged. force landed St Trond, Belgium. 8 x RTD, 1 x KIA. 2-Nov-44.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2022 18:33:09 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/39019338

Date Contributor Update
26 May 2022 16:02:41 Darren Jelley Changes to description
Sources

493rd BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
24 May 2022 12:37:10 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number and unit associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/39019338

Date Contributor Update
23 May 2022 13:24:26 Darren Jelley Changes to nicknames and description
Sources

493rd BG Archives

Date Contributor Update
09 October 2018 16:41:51 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, manufacturer, events, unit associations and person associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/39019338

Date Contributor Update
25 April 2018 09:29:23 Lucy May Changes to nicknames, description, events, unit associations and person associations
Sources

Added connections to airmen's records.

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

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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