Delivered Tulsa 3/2/44; Dow Fd 16/3/44; Assigned 385BG Gt Ashfield 13/3/44; transferred 452BG Deopham Green [ -H] 14/3/44; suffered battle damaged and crash landed near Caister, Norfolk, with McKenzie; Salvaged 11/4/44.
B-17 42-107037 Details
An Eight Army Air Force Bomber Station, England — The Eight Air Force Flying Fortress ‘Panting Stork’ came home from a precision bombing attack on an aircraft assembly plant in Posen, Poland, with three of its four motors completely out of order, a wounded waist gunner, and its navigation and radio equipment blown apart by enemy aircraft figther action.
After the Fort, piloted by 2nd Lt. William L. McKenzie … had just dropped its bombs on an important target, six Messerschmitts swooped in on it from the rear, lobbing balls of fire from their rocket guns. At the same time, fifteen to twenty Focke Wulfs started to attack from the nose, firing their deadly 20mm cannon. The plane was caught from front to rear by the crossfire.
A 20mm shell exploded in the waist, peppering the right waist gunner with chunks of ragged shrapnel in both legs. Although wounded, he remained at his guns while the Navigator, 2nd Lt. Robert Millhouse … applied First Aid.
Two engines, on the right side of the ship, were hit by the 20mm shells and the third engine, on the other side, started to throw oil and sputter. It was starting to go out.
The Co-Pilot, 2nd Lt. Melbourne L. Smith … stated that they left the formation and flew back, hedge-hopping over Germany.
While only about 40 feet above the ground, they flew over a German army camp.
“Those soldiers went crazy when they saw us”, recalled the Bombardier, 2nd Lt. Delmar P. Luzadder.
The Germans used everything that they could fire against the ship, machine guns, flak, pistols, rifles. They scrambled madly up streets, ducked into buildings, and dive under parked automobiles.
“The plane was so low”, said the Radio Operator, S/Sgt. Almon B. Terry. “Some of the Germans were actually throwing stones at us. When they did that, our pilot McKenzie started to chant over the interphone system “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”.
The ship’s guns were blazing away, shooting at every military installation in sight, warehouses, repair shops, supply yards. It was a gunner’s holiday.
While out over the North Sea, the third engine went out, fifteen miles from England, and the crew started to toss everything that was not welded to the ship out of the windows in order to gain altitude. Flak suits, guns, ammunition, clothing, dropped down into the sea.
The ship crash landed at a base in England. All of its crew walked away from the ship without a scratch. The wounded gunner was rushed off in an ambulance.
Other crew members were: Sgt. Daniel J. Feadino, RWG (WIA), Sgt. Jack W. Brown, LWG, S/Sgt. Byron W. Barthelemy, BTG and Sgt. Benjamin A. Chada, TG.
Source: Dan Fiadino, Son of Sgt. Daniel J. Feadino
Position Rank Name Status Note
P 2LT William L. McKennzie RTD -
CP 2LT Melbourne L. Smith RTD -
NAV 2LT Robert Millhouse RTD -
BOMB 2LT Delmar P. Luzadder RTD -
ENG/TT S/SGT Byron W. Barthelemy RTD -
RO S/SGT Almon B. Terry RTD -
BT SGT Jack W. Brown RTD -
WG SGT Daniel J. Feadino RTD WIA
TG SGT Benjamin A. Chada RTD -
The 452nd Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deopham Green, Norfolk, from January 1944. The air crews hit strategic sites in Germany but also supported the movement of ground forces across Europe after D-Day. On 6 June 1944 itself, the Group...
Military site : airfield
Deopham Green was another air base constructed after America's entry into the war to Class A standards for use by the B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber. When the 452nd Bomb Group arrived in January 1943 they found a main runway of 2,000 yards, two...
Military site : airfield
The airfield was built in 1942 by John Laing & Son Ltd. 108,000 tons of concrete was used in its construction, creating a Class 'A' airfield suitable for heavy bombers. The 385th Bomb Group took up residence in the summer of 1943, and remained at the...
||Tulsa, OK, USA
||3 February 1944
||Deopham Green, Wymondham, Norfolk NR18, UK
||14 March 1944
||Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, UK
||10 April 1944
Crash landed due to battle damage