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B-17 Flying Fortress

Assigned 359BS/303BG [BN-O] New Castle 6/10/42; Molesworth 21/11/42. Flown by Captain William R. Calhoun on the 4 May 1943 mission to the Ford and General Motors works, Antwerp, Belgium, with Clark Gable on board for his first mission (slightly damaged by 20mm cannon shells by German fighters, returned safely back to England). 1 Base Air Depot, Burtonwood 7/4/44; Returned to the USA Patterson 6 July 1944. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Albuquerque, New Mexico 2 August 1945.



  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 359th Bomb Squadron


  • Ralph Adams

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Orginally assigned with the 92BG at Bovingdon, UK as an Aerial Gunner with the rank of Sergeant. He flew his first mission (and the only one with the 92BG) on 21-Oct-42. ...

  • William Calhoun

    Military | Colonel | Pilot; Operations Officer; Commanding Officer | 303rd Bomb Group
    Born 10 Nov 1919 Birmingham, AL, BA Degree Stanford Univ. ...

  • Claude Campbell

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 30 x combat missions. ETD. Awards: DSC, AM (3OLC), WWII Victory, EAME, UN and Korean medals. Post war: Remained in USAF, serving in Korean conflict.

  • Richard Cole

    Military | Colonel | Squadron Commander | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 44 x missions. ...

  • Jesse Elliott

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 303rd Bomb Group
    24-Jun-42 Assigned as Navigator of B-17F #41-24561 [BN-T] "The Dutchess", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico. 16-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard "the Dutchess". ...

  • Jack Fawcett

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned to 359BS, 303BG, 8AF USAAF. 32 x combat missions. ETD Awards: DFC, AM (OLC), WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Richard Fortunak

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Tail Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    1-Jul-42 Assigned as a Waist Gunner on B-17F #41-24581 [BN-O],"The '8' Ball", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico and arrived aboard that aircraft at Molesworth, UK on 21-Oct-42. ...

  • Clark (William Gable

    Military | Major | Cameraman, Gunner, Actor | 303rd Bomb Group
    Clark Gable flew at least 5 missions as Captain filming 50,000 ft of gunnery combat during 1943. He received the Air Medal for his service. 1 mission was flown with the 303rd BG. The rest were with the 351st BG in different aircraft. The film was named...

  • Warren Gerow

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Assigned as an Aerial Gunner on B-17F #41-24608 [BN-S] "Yahoodi", 303BG/359BS at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico and arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard that aircraft, the first B-17 of 303BG to arrive in England. He did not fly any missions with...

  • William Hatcher

    Military | Colonel | Co-Pilot; Pilot; Group Commanding Officer | 351st Bomb Group
    William Hatcher Jr was born in Grand Rapids, was brought up in Detroit’s north end and attended Northern High School. After his enlistment in the Air Corps, he followed pilot training courses and rose rapidly through the ranks. ...

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  • VIII Bomber Command 52

    17 April 1943
    The largest mission to date, 117 B-17s, are despatched to bomb the primary target of the Focke-Wulf Aircraft factory at Bremen, Germany: 91BG (32); 303BG (29); 305BG (28) and 306BG (26). The German Luftwaffe is learning fast and mounts a fierce and...

  • VIII Bomber Command 54

    4 May 1943
    The Ford and General Motors vehicle plants at Antwerp, Belgium are the primary target for this mission. 79-B-17 are despatched 91BG (25); 303BG (27) and 305BG (27). 65 0f the 79 despatched are effective on the target. There is moderate flak and fighter...


  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...


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Date Contributor Update
06 January 2020 18:22:32 jmoore43 Changes to description

Fixed a typo in the "Description" section.

Date Contributor Update
05 December 2015 12:26:33 ED-BB Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames, markings, description, unit associations, person associations, place associations and mission associations

Linked to USAAF photo and airmen

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:03 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log