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41-24470

B-17 Flying Fortress

B-17F - 41-24470, Sons Of Fury, was assigned to the 8th Air Force, the 306th Bomb Group, and the 369th Bomb Squadron - Westover, FD. 22 Aug 42. The aircraft was damaged in taxi accident, Westover FD, 26 Aug 42. Thurleigh 2 Oct 42. Missing in Action, St Nazaire. Severely hit by enemy aircraft. Ditched into the English Channel off Brest Peninsula. 3 Jan 43. 10 KIA MACR 16427.

P 1Lt Charles W. B. Cranmer (KIA)
CP 2Lt Albert Brunsting (KIA)
N 1Lt Paul E. Byer (KIA) B 1Lt John G. Reed (KIA)
E/TTG TSgt Arizona T. Harris (KIA) posthumous DSC
RO TSgt Kermit J. Constantine (KIA)
BTG SSgt William Musick (KIA) WG Sgt Robert Ransom (KIA)
WG Charles S. Wall, Jr. (KIA) TG Sgt Edgar G. Whittaker (KIA)

B-17 41-24470 / Sons of Fury Details
The tailgunner, Sgt. P. D. Small, from another B-17 witnessed the events :

The damaged aircraft made a perfect water landing off the coast of the Brest peninsula. Enemy fighters attacked the helpless crew in the water. As the Fortress sank in the sea TSgt. Arizona Harris – manning the top turret – continued to fire at the attacking fighters to save his crew. His twin guns were firing as the waves closed over the top of the turret. All ten crewmen perished. Arizona Harris received the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously.

Below is a trascription from the MACR 16427

Arizona T. Harris, Technical Sergeant, Army Air Forces, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States. While on a combat mission over enemy occupied Continental Europe, January 3, 1943, the airplane on which he was serving as top-turret gunner was badly damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and forced out of formation. A large force of enemy fighter planes then concentrated their attacks on this lone airplane, finally driving it to a crash landing in the sea. Throughout the descent, and as the airplane disappeared beneath the waves, Sergeant Harris was seen to be still firing his guns at the enemy airplanes.

B-17F - 41-24470 - Sons of Fury Crew :
Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Charles W. B. Cranmer KIA -
CP 2LT Albert Brunsting KIA -
NAV 1LT Paul E. Byer KIA -
BOMB 1LT John G. Reed KIA -
ENG/TT T/SG Arizona T. Harris KIA - Posthumous DSC
RO T/SG Kermit J. Constantine KIA -
BT S/SGT William Musick KIA -
WG SGT Robert Ransom KIA -
WG SGT Charles S. Wall, Jr. KIA -
TG SGT Edgar G. Whittaker KIA -

Service

Units

  • 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers

    Group
    Constituted as 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942. Activated on 1 Mar 1942. Trained for combat with B-17's. Moved to England, Aug-Sep 1942, and assigned to Eighth AF Eighth Air Force in September 1942 Station 111 Thurleigh. During combat,...

  • 369th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Albert Brunsting

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Co-Pilot. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target was the U/B (submarine) base at St. Nazaire, France.

  • Paul Byer

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Navigator. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and the strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target was the U/B (submarine) base at St. Nazaire, France.

  • Kermit Constantine

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Radio Operatot. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target was the U/B (submarine) base at St. Nazaire,...

  • Charles Cranmer

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17 #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Pilot. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then was strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target was the U/B (submarine) base at St. Nazaire, France.

  • Arizona Harris

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Engineer/Top Turret Gunner. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then strafed by German fighters. TSgt Harris remained in his turret, continuously firing at the...

  • William Musick

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in the B-17F, 41-24470, Sons of Fury, while serving as Right Waist Gunner. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then strafed by German fighters. Target was the U-Boat pens as St. Nazaire, France. 3 Jan 43. Killed...

  • Robert Ransom

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Robert Ransom was shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Ball Turret Gunner. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target was the U/Bote ...

  • John Reed

    Military | First Lieutenant | Bombardier | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Bombardier. He was killed by a Flak burst over the target. The aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and the strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target...

  • Charles Wall

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Left Waist Gunner. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target was the U/B (submarine) base at St. Nazaire...

  • Edgar Whittaker

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 306th Bomb Group The Reich Wreckers
    Shot down 3 January 1943 in B-17F #41-24470 'Sons of Fury' while serving as Tail Gunner. Aircraft was ditched into the English Channel and then strafed by German fighters. Killed in Action (KIA). Target was the U/B (submarine) base at St. Nazaire,...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 28

    3 January 1943
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are once again the target for this mission. This is proving to be a particularly difficult target to destroy due to its massive, reinforced concrete design. It consists of 14 individual pens connected together in...

Places

  • Thurleigh

    Military site : airfield
    Built for RAF use in 1941-42, Thurleigh was initially used by RAF Bomber Command before being handed over to the Eighth Air Force. Its runways and hardstandings were improved, and the B-17s of the 306th Bomb Group began using the base. It was their...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Over Water (OW) English Channel 3 January 1943

Attacked by German fighters over the English Channel upon return leg from bombing at St. Nazaire, France. Mission report states that aircraft was hit by flak over the target, with #3 engine out. Landed on the water 40-45 miles off the coast and was machine gunned by enemy aircraft. The Top Turret Gunner, TSgt Arizona T. Harris, continued firing his guns at the attackers until the aircraft sank beneath the waves. He received (posthumously) the Distinguished Service Cross for his gallant action.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2021 00:54:05 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Spelling, punctuation. - Kickapoo

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2021 00:41:06 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

"B-17 Master Log" - Sons Of Fury - Dave Osbourne

Date Contributor Update
28 August 2021 00:32:06 Kickapoo Changes to description
Sources

Dave Osbourne - B-17 Master Log

Date Contributor Update
26 December 2019 18:04:56 jmoore43 Changes to unit associations
Sources

Added a connection to 8th AF.

Date Contributor Update
14 January 2015 18:42:34 Lee8thbuff Changes to nicknames, markings, description, events, unit associations, place associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 14-Jan-2015. Added markings per "The Mighty Eighth Warpaint & Heraldry" Roger A. Freeman; Added nickname and made connections to Squadron, Place and Mission within existing website data; FTR event per MACR 16427 and 306BG Mission Report; Edited description, converted dates to military-style signification, added crew position, rank, full proper name and dispositions of crew members per MACR 16427 and formatted crew display.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:02 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 16427 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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