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B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Dallas 5/7/44; Langley 28/7/44; Grenier 12/9/44; Assigned 429BS/2BG PFF Amendola 15/9/44; Missing in Action Ruhland 22/3/45 with Pilot Andrew F. Crane; Co-pilot: Paul M. Honke (2POW both strafed on way down); Navigator: George W. Betchley; Bombardier: James S. Barnett; Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Donald A. Dorman; Radio Operator: Daniel P. Dunkerley, m/op Donald F. Maine; Right Waist gunner: Robert A. Keuchel; Left Waist gunner: Rae G. DeMatteis; Tail gunner: Stephen J. Fatur (8 Killed in Action); flak, two engines out, crashed Linz; Missing Air Crew Report 13248.
After liberation from a POW camp in Germany Capt. Andrew F. Crane stated : “We left the formation just after dropping bombs on the target. We flew eight miles to 10 miles N. of Breslau then bailed out. I personally saw five chutes, and other crew members bailed out five minutes previously. Dorman, Betchley, Barnett, Honke, and myself bailed out after other crew members had bailed out a few minutes before. No members were in the plane when it crashed as far as I know. Saw bombardier, navigator, co-pilot and engineer jump. Others were informed to jump three minutes before we jumped. Germans couldn’t find any in the aircraft and asked me if I knew their whereabouts.
I saw none of the crew on the ground or anywhere except five descending chutes. My co-pilot and I found each other at German Headquarters. Both he and I were strafed in our chutes by Me-109s. I heard gunfire continually and assume other crew members were killed by strafing or in attempting to make the Russian lines.
At German Headquarters I saw a picture of Betchley (escape picture which we all carried) and dog tags of Dorman and Dunkerley. I saw Dorman and Betchley bail out. As I see it, they were definite victims of strafing. The co-pilot was strafed four times. He oscillated his chute and managed to only sustain a grazing from a machine gun bullet. I was strafed twice."



  • 2nd Bomb Group

    2nd Bomb Group

    Served on antisubmarine duty for several months after the U.S. entered World War II. In October 1942 was re-designated as 2d Bombardment Group (Heavy) and earmarked for combat. The group was transferred on paper to Geiger Field, Washington, where it...

  • 429th Bomb Squadron


  • Frank Smith

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 2nd Bomb Group



Event Location Date
Delivered Love Field, Dalas, Texas 5 July 1944
Assigned Amendola Airfield, Italy 15 September 1944

2nd BG
429 BS
15 AF

Shot Down Linz, Austria 22 March 1945


Date Contributor Update
12 March 2019 14:46:40 466thHistorian Changes to production block number, manufacturer, events and place associations

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 12:27:08 ED-BB Changes to production block number, manufacturer, description and unit associations

Roger Freeman's "B-17 Flying Fortress Story"
MACR 13248
NARA's WWII Enlistement records
NARA' WWII POW records

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:56 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log