42-107069 Round Trip Topsy

Object Number - UPL 46694 - 42-107069 'Round Trip Topsy' 91BG.

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"

Connections

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Units served with

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 323rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: O-?
  • Highest Rank: Major
  • Role/Job: Pilot
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars 323rd Bomb Squadron
  • Service Numbers: 17150474 / O-705833
  • Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Co-Pilot

Places

Events

Event Location Date Description

Manufactured

Long Beach, CA Built at Douglas.

Delivered

Tulsa AAF, OK 1944-02-11 Delivered Tulsa AAF, OK

Assigned

Bassingbourn, UK 1944-04-01 Assigned 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF.

Crashed

Halesworth, UK 1944-11-26 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

Date7 Jun 2019 06:29:27
Contributorvppelt68
Sources

b17flyingfortress.de

Date27 Sep 2014 18:40:15
ContributorAAM
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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