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42-107069

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Tulsa 11/2/44; Gr Island 15/2/44; Grenier 5/3/44; Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-M/N/W] Bassingbourn 1/4/44; battle damaged 70m Altenbeken 26/11/44 with Warren Smith; enemy aircraft set #2 & on fire but ship managed to reach UK and crash landed Halesworth A/fd, Sfk., hit two trucks and concrete mixer and burnt out; Salvaged 2 SAD 28/11/44; ROUND TRIP TOPSY.

"About half an hour before the target, the formation was met by German fighters. 'Topsy' took a number of 20 mm cannon hits that damaged the No. 2 engine, caught the left wing on fire, shredded the tail surfaces, cut off oxygen to the rear of the plane, knocked out much of the instrument panel, jammed the ball turret and tail guns, and sprung the bomb bay doors open. In spite of all this, Warren held "Topsy" in formation as they flew on to the target (the Leuna synthetic oil plant at Mersberg, Germany), with the rear crewmen relying on 'walk-around' oxygen tanks. As they went over the target, the togglier, S/Sgt James L. Matthews, found the bomb releases were jammed and the bombs would not drop. By tugging and kicking at the shackles, Sgt Matthews was able to jettison the bombs on the way back to Bassingbourn.

For three hours the crew fought the fire, but 'Topsy' continued to burn, eventually stopping the No. 2 engine, causing the aircraft to start losing altitude. Still, 'Topsy' was flying and the fires did not seem to be spreading. Warren followed at a safe distance behind the 323rd Squadron formation so as not to take out any other planes should 'Topsy' blow up. Over the Channel 'Topsy' picked up an escort from a flight of P-47s. When they reached England, Warren headed for the first landing field he could find, barely making it to the 56th Fighter Group base at Halesworth, 15 miles SW of Lowestoft. The windshield was iced over and a landing flap was jammed, causing "Topsy" to swerve off the runway and pile into two trucks and a concrete mixer. 'Topsy' immediately became a flaming inferno. The crew scrambled out safely. In a few minutes, only the tips of the wings were left"

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 401st Bomb Squadron

People

  • Earl Scofield

    Military | Major | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 323BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. 35 x combat missions ( 26-Nov to 8-Apr-44 ) ETD Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Warren Smith

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 323BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return (FTR) Cologne in B-17 'Jeanie' 44-8501, A/C crashed near Pulheim, Germany, wounded but baled out. 6-Jan-45 Died of Wounds following day. Killed in Action (KIA) MACR 11568 Awards: AM, PH, EAME.

Places

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents (http://www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk/) , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...

  • Halesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Halesworth was constructed in 1942-1943. Initially planned as a bomber airfield, its location close to the Suffolk coast meant that it was in an ideal position to operate escort fighters, where range was a critical factor. Consequently, the 56th...

Events

Event Location Date
Manufactured Long Beach, CA 1944

Built at Douglas.

Delivered Tulsa AAF, OK 11 February 1944

Delivered Tulsa AAF, OK

Assigned Bassingbourn, UK 1 April 1944

Assigned 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF.

Crashed Halesworth, UK 26 November 1944

battle damaged Altenbeken 26-Nov-44 with Warren Smith; enemy aircraft set #2 & on fire but ship managed to reach UK and crash landed Halesworth A/fd, Sfk., hit two trucks and concrete mixer and burnt out.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2021 20:37:27 Al_Skiff Changes to description and person associations
Sources

https://b17flyingfortress.de/en/b17/42-107069-round-trip-topsy/

Date Contributor Update
03 January 2021 20:18:19 Al_Skiff Changes to nicknames, markings, events, unit associations, person associations and place associations
Sources

https://b17flyingfortress.de/en/b17/42-107069-round-trip-topsy/

Date Contributor Update
07 June 2019 06:29:27 vppelt68 Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames and unit associations
Sources

b17flyingfortress.de

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:15 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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