Skip to main content
Edit entry 


B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 1/5/43; Smoky Hill 17/5/43; Dow Fd 30/5/43; Assigned 413BS/96BG [MZ-R] Snetterton 12/6/43 WABBIT TWACKS III; transferred 612BS/401BG [SC-X] Deenethorpe 13/12/43; 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 17/3/44; Returned to the USA Tinker 3/6/44; Gore Air Trans Com 7/6/44; Kirtland 21/1/45; Long Beach 18/5/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Ontario 4/6/45. BOOTS III.

Story from Stars N Stripes: "Ten men from Wabbit Twacks, the B-17 with the baby-talk name, now wear a total of 60 decorations. And before these crewmen go out again to blast Hitler's Europe, three more decorations -- Distinguished Flying Crosses -- will be added to the total. This will make the Wabbit Twacks team one of the most decorated crews in the 8th Air Force.
Only recently the Silver Star, the Army's third highest valor decoration, was awarded to nine of the crewmen who manned the plane . . . in a running battle beginning four miles up near Paris and ending fifty feet above the Channel. . . . Wabbit Twacks returned to base with more than 500 holes and with three men wounded. Each of the ten men have the Air Medal with three clusters. Eventually, every member will have the DFC. Three have the Purple Heart and all but one has the coveted Silver Star.
A shot of the damage incurred by Capt. Walt Flagg's WABBIT TWACKS even though the crew set an 8AF record by downing 9 E/A on this July 10 raid on Le Bourget.

The nine men who received the Silver Star from Colonel Curtis E. LeMay are: Capt. Walter E. Flagg, pilot; 2/L Maxwell Barrett, co-pilot; Capt. Robert P Milliken, bombardier; Captain Merle C. Hamilton, navigator; T/S Bill Morgan, radio op; T/S Borden Christenson, top-turret; S/S John Solinsky, ball turret gunner; S/S John F. Wagner, right waist gunner and S/S Budd R. Schmid, tail gunner.
One of the regular waist gunners, S/S Hal Cooper missed this mission. The battle is tersely reported in the citation: "Prior to reaching the objective, one engine quit, forcing Captain Flagg to leave the formation. Shortly thereafter the lone Fortress was attacked by 25 German fighters! During the running fight that followed, Captain Flagg manoeuvred his airplane with such courage and skill that his gunners were able to destroy nine enemy planes."



  • 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. ...

  • 401st Bomb Group

    401st Bomb Group

    The 401st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire, from November 1943 to June 1945. Starting their missions at that time meant the focus was very much on the coming invasion attempt of France planned for the following...

  • 96th Bomb Group

    96th Bomb Group

    The 96th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses to targets across occupied Europe from May 1943 to April 1945. ...

  • 413th Bomb Squadron
  • 612th Bomb Squadron
  • Base Air Depot 1

    Base Air Depot 1



  • Borden Christensen

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner; Engineer | 96th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 413BS, 96BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Walter Flagg

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 96th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 413BS, 96BG, 8AF USAAF. ETD Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Merle Hamilton

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Navigator | 96th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 413BS, 96BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: SS, AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Milliken

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 96th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 413BS, 96BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: SS, AM, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Budd Schmidt

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Turret Gunner | 96th Bomb Group
    Assigned to 413BS, 96BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: AM, WWII Victory, EAME.


  • Burtonwood

    Military site : airfield
    Built for the RAF in 1939-40, the RAF's No. 37 Maintenance Unit used the base from 1940 to 1942, before it became a joint Anglo-American maintenance and servicing airfield - a Base Air Depot. After the war it continued to be used as a maintenance and...

  • Deenethorpe

    Military site : airfield
    Deenethorpe was a base purpose-built for American heavy bombers, with the Class A regulation 2,000 and 1,400-yard runways. All the buildings on site,such as the accommodation and administrative blocks, were temporary. In December 1943, several local...

  • Snetterton Heath

    Military site : airfield
    Intended to be an RAF bomber base, construction of Snetterton Heath started in Autumn 1942 but continued until mid-1943, because it was extended after allocation as an Eighth Air Force bomber base. It had eventually three concrete runways, 50...


Event Location Date
Manufactured Seattle, WA, USA 1943

Built at Boeing.

Delivered 722, 6207 Missile Dr, Cheyenne, WY 82005, USA 1 May 1943

Delivered Cheyenne AAF 1-May-43.

Assigned Norwich NR16 2JU, UK 12 June 1943

Assigned 413BS, 96BG 8AF 12-Jun-43.

Assigned Deenethorpe Airfield, Deenethorpe NN17 3AN, UK 13 December 1943

Transferred 612BS, 401BG, 8AF 13-Dec-43.

Assigned Burtonwood, UK 17 March 1944

Ferried to 1 Base Air Depot, 17-Mar-44.

Returned USA 3001 S Douglas Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73130, USA 3 June 1944

Returned Zone of the Interior [USA]. Tinker AAF. 3-Jun-44.

Sold for scrap Ontario, CA, USA 4 June 1945

Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Ontario 4-Jun-45.


Date Contributor Update
28 June 2021 15:58:23 Al_Skiff Changes to description

Date Contributor Update
18 September 2017 18:36:36 Al_Skiff Changes to media associations

Roger Freeman Photo.

Date Contributor Update
12 September 2017 13:03:53 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, events, unit associations, person associations, place associations and media associations

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log