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42-37902

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 8/10/43; Gr Island 27/10/43; Assigned 568BS/390BG [BI-K] Framlingham 8/11/43 as HELL’S BELLS; Missing in Action Oranieburg (20m) 18/4/44 with Jack Harrison, Co-pilot: Gene Pettinelli, Navigator: Bob Adler, Bombardier: Vic Guthrie, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: John Vance, Radio Operator: Bill Matthews, Ball turret gunner: Adolph Chilek, Waist gunner: Bob Frith, Waist gunner: Sherman Pickard,Tail gunner: Melvin Hames (10 Prisoner of War); flak hit in bomb bay and #2 engine caught fire, crashed Barnewitz, ten miles NE of Brandenburg, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 4013. SURE THING.

Service

Units

  • 390th Bomb Group

    390th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 390th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Framlingham, Suffolk, between July 1943 and the end of the war in Europe. The Group was engaged in strategic missions until the invasion of Europe when its role became more of a tactical one. This...

  • 568th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Robert Adler

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #42-37902 'Sure Thing', while performing his duties as the aircraft's Navigator. Became a Prisoner of War, surviving the war.

  • Adolph Chilek

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #42-37902 'Sure Thing' while manning the ball turret. He would become a POW, but survive the war and return safely back to Texas.

  • Robert Frith

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #4237902 'Sure Thing;, where he was manning the left waist gun. He suffered the same fate as the rest of his fellow crewmen, becoming a Prisoner of War (POW). However, he would safely make it home at the end of the war.

  • Victor Guthrie

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #4237902 'Sure Thing', while serving as a Bombardier. Becoming a Prisoner of War (POW), he would survive the war.

  • Melvin Hames

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #4237902 'Sure Thing', while serving as the role of "Tail Gunner". He would become a Prisoner of War (POW) along with the rest of his crew, spending the rest of the war at Stalag XVII-B.

  • Jack Harrison

    Military | Major | Pilot | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 while piloting B-17 #42-37902 'Sure Thing.' Became a Prisoner of War. ...

  • William Matthews

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #4237902 'Sure Thing' while serving as the Radio Operator. He later became a Prisoner of War (POW), serving time at Stalag XVII-B. He would return home, living in Indianapolis, Indiana for the rest of his life. While...

  • Eugene Pettinelli

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 390th Bomb Group
    19 missions, 6 to Berlin. Shot down 18 April 1944 while copiloting B-17 #42-37902 'Sure Thing', becoming a Prisoner of War (POW). AM w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster

  • Sherman Pickard

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #42-37902 'Sure Thing' on his 17th mission while serving as the Waist Gunner on the right side. Became a Prisoner of War (POW). He survived the war and returned home to Texas. He later joined Veterans of Foreign Wars ...

  • John Vance

    Military | Master Sergeant | Flight Engineer | 390th Bomb Group
    Shot down 18 April 1944 in B-17 #42-37902 'Sure Thing', being the crews Flight Engineer, and thus, stationed at the top turret. He would become a POW along with the rest of his crew, being freed in May of 1945. He would remain in the military for 20...

Missions

  • 8th Air Force 208

    4 February 1944
    The railroad marshalling yards at Frankfurt, Germany were focus of this mission, but other railroad marshalling yards in the area were attacked as well. Weather and navigational errors frustrate target acquisition.748 heavy bombers were despatched in a...

  • 8th Air Force 212

    6 February 1944
    German airfields and V-Weapon sites in France are the primary targets of this mission. A combined force total of 642 heavy bombers are depatched from 8th Air Force 1st, 2nd and 3rd Bomb Divisions. The primary targets of 1st Bomb Division were the...

  • 8th Air Force 216

    10 February 1944
    This mission is a despatch of two separate formations. One formation is a combined force of 169 B-17Fs from 3rd Bomb Division: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG; 447BG; and 482BG despatched to bomb the industrial areas of Brunswick, Germany....

  • 8th Air Force 226 BIG WEEK - DAY 1

    20 February 1944
    This mission is the opening salvo of the Allied Combined Bomber Offensive known officially as "Operation Argument" but remembered in 8th Air Force History as "BIG WEEK". The immediate strategic objective of this six-day operation is the degradation of...

  • 8th Air Force 228 BIG WEEK - DAY 2

    21 February 1944
    Day 2 of BIG WEEK is another maximum effort by 8th Air Force to bomb 6 airfields in Germany as primary targets: Diepholz, Gütersloh, Lippstadt, Werl, Achmer and Handorf. In addition the industrial areas of Brunswick city are included as a primary...

  • 8th Air Force 235 BIG WEEK - DAY 6

    25 February 1944
    On this final operation of BIG WEEK, Day 6, a combined force of 754 heavy bombers from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions are despatched to bomb the German aircraft industries at Regensburg, Augsburg, Stuttgart and Furth, Germany. Mission Summary follows: ...

  • 8th Air Force 240

    29 February 1944
    A combined force of 226 B-17s from 3rd Air Division: 94BG; 95BG; 96BG; 100BG; 385BG; 388BG; 390BG; 447BG; and 452BG are despatched to bomb the German aircraft factoried at Brunswick, Germany. 218 are effective on the target. 1 aircraft Failed to Return...

  • 8th Air Force 246

    3 March 1944
    A combined force of 748 heavy bombers are despatched to bomb the primary targets of Berlin, Erkner and Oranienburg, Germany, but weather and dense contrails forced most of the formations to turn back or seek Targets of Opportunity (TOs). 1st Combat...

  • 8th Air Force 247

    4 March 1944
    The industrial areas in the suburbs of Berlin, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. All three Air Divisions despatch formations. However, the despatch from 2nd Air Division aborted the mission because of severe weather in the assembly area...

  • 8th Air Force 250

    6 March 1944
    The industrial areas of Berlin and Genshagen, Germany are the primary targets for this mission. A combined force of 730 heavy bombers are despatched from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Divisions. The despatch from 3rd Air Division bombs Targets of Opportunity in...

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Places

  • Framlingham

    Military site : airfield
    Built for the Eighth Air Force from 1942 to 43, Framlingham was home first to the 95th Bomb Group, before that unit moved to RAF Alconbury. From 1943 to 1945, it was operated by the 390th Bomb Group. The airfield was handed back to the RAF in 1945, and...

Events

Event Location Date
Assigned Framlingham, England 8 November 1943 – 18 April 1944

Assigned to 568BS/390BG.

Crashed Barnewitz, Germany 18 April 1944

Witnesses reported watching the bomb bay and #2 engine burst into flames from flak almost immediately after dropping their bombs. It appears that the aircraft drifted downward in a controlled manner, giving all the crew time to escape. The crew were later taken prisoner and served roughly 13 months. All of them survived the war and returned home.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
16 November 2021 06:12:57 CastleBren Changes to nicknames, markings, events, unit associations and mission associations
Sources

390th Bomb Group records

Date Contributor Update
21 October 2021 09:46:31 447th Bomb Group UK Changes to unit associations
Sources

.

Date Contributor Update
21 October 2021 09:44:08 447th Bomb Group UK Changes to markings
Sources

.

Date Contributor Update
31 December 2020 15:08:58 phil marchese Changes to markings
Sources

Clarifies some of the the discrepancies between the AAM synopsis and the associated image.

Correspondingly, restructures previous remarks to conform with update.

Date Contributor Update
20 October 2020 01:08:09 pamccolgan Changes to markings and unit associations
Sources

447 Bomber Group

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:46 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 4013 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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