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Immanuel John Klette

Military

"One of the fliers who made it back from Pilsen [final 8th A.F. combat mission of the War] defined the uncrushable spirit of the air force that helped bring Germany to ruin. Twenty-seven-year-old Lt. Col. Immanuel 'Manny' Klette, son of a Lutheran minister who had emigrated from Germany, had arrived in England in early 1943, when an American bomber crewman's life expectancy was fifteen missions. He flew against the toughest targets - St. Nazaire, Vegesack, and Schweinfurt -- and was wounded by flak on one mission and sustained five fractures in a crash landing in England.

When he regained the use of his legs, he joined the 91st Bomb Group at Bassingbourn and took command of one of its radar-equipped Pathfinder squadrons. Although not required to fly, he led his men on every difficult mission, including the big one to Berlin on 3rd February
1945. 'I asked him to stay on the ground more,' said his commanding officer. But he continued to go. I got my dander up and ordered him only to go when his turn to lead came up. He still went. What the hell are you going to do with a man like that?' Manny Klette's trip to Pilsen on 25th April was his ninety-first bombardment raid of the war, a record for the European Theater."
-- from "Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany" by Donald L. Miller
------------
He was assigned to Keith Conley crew. Reported to the ETO on 12-Mar-43. On 23-Sep-43 returning from mission to Nantes, France, crashed in B-17 42-3449 while attempting to land at RAF Wing. All crew returned, but 3 seriously injured. On his 25th mission to Villacoublay, FR he lost two engines to flak, came back to the base on two, feathered a third engine in the traffic pattern and landed with one prop still turning and with a flat tire.

Awards: DSC, DFC (3OLC), AM (14OLC), Croix de Guerre, PH, ACM, WWII Victory, EAME (8 Battle Stars).

Service

People

  • Frank Adams

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Berlin in B-17 42-97632

  • Nando Cavalieri

    Military | Captain | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) crashed at Berlin in B-17 42-97632

  • Arthur Ebarb

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Berlin in B-17 42-97632 Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), PH.

  • J Holbrook

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) crashed at Berlin in B-17 42-97632 Awards: DFC, AM (3OLC), PH.

  • David McCall

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Berlin in B-17 42-97632. Awards: DFC, AM (7OLC), PH (OLC).

  • Donald Shoemaker

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Tail Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Berlin in B-17 42-97632 Awards: AM(OLC), PH.

  • Stanley Sweitzer

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Berlin in B-17 42-97632 Awards: AM (OLC), PH.

  • Norman Whelan

    Military | Captain | Navigator, Radar | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Berlin in B-17 42-97632 MACR 12232 Awards: DFC, AM (2OLC), PH.

  • George Zenz

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Killed in Action (KIA) at Berlin in B-17 #42-97632. Awards: DFC (OLC), PH.

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Units served with

  • 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. ...

  • 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,...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 324th Bomb Squadron

    324th Bomb Squadron

    Squadron
    Home of the Memphis Belle

  • 369th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-29629 'Connecticut Yankee'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 18/1/43; Salina 1/2/43; Homestead 17/2/43; New Castle 25/2/43; Assigned 369BS/306BG [WW-A] Thurleigh 12/3/43; transferred 358BS/303BG [VK-M] Molesworth 25/9/43; Returned to the USA 560 BU Palm Springs 25/4/44; 4100 BU Patterson 23/2...

  • 42-3449

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 24/6/43 with Carroll Johns in a rough landing; Dow Fd 28/7/43; Assigned 369BS/306BG [WW-X] Thurleigh 14/8/43; returning from Nantes 23/9/43 with battle damaged and low on fuel with Manny Klette, Co-pilot: M.D. Reed, Navigator: Gene...

  • 44-8588 Klette’s Wild Hares

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/10/44; Hunter 9/12/44; Grenier 22/12/44; Assigned 323BS/91BG [OR-E] Bassingbourn 23/1/45; 324BS [DF-E]; transferred 369BS/306BG Thurleigh 24/5/45; with Col Immanuel Klette led 91st BG on the last mission of war, Klette’s 91st...

Associated Place

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents (http://www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk/) , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...

  • 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
Born Pender, NB 15 February 1918

Son of Karl Otto and Bertha Sophia [Von Seggern] Klutte.

Enlisted New York City, NY 15 January 1941

New York City, New York

Based Thurleigh March 1943 – 1945

Assigned to 369BS, 306BG, 8AF USAAF.

Based Bassingbourn 1944 – 1945

Assigned to 324BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF.

Died Fairfax County, VA 12 February 1988
Buried Arlington National Cemetery March 1988

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
10 November 2020 08:54:36 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, service number, biography, events, unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/696199377
https://www.fold3.com/image/312802739
https://www.fold3.com/image/133022873
https://www.fold3.com/record/85910810-immanuel-j-klette
https://www.fold3.com/record/10754961-immanuel-j-klette
https://www.fold3.com/record/528832462-immanuel-klette-1918
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/71351735/immanuel-j-klette
Removed # from A/C serial to aid clarity and consistency.

Date Contributor Update
26 September 2020 20:02:39 jmoore43 Changes to biography
Sources

Added a "-" to the A/C type in the "Summary biography" to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
16 February 2018 10:38:01 Al_Skiff Changes to awards, events, person associations and media associations
Sources

Associated his crew members [ Lost in 42-97362 3-Feb-45 Berlin ] Manny was on leave, Col Marvin Lord took his place.
Updated medal record
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/71351735/immanuel-j-klette

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2017 10:56:52 Lucy May Changes to biography
Sources

Corrected serial number from 42-3349 to 42-3449.
http://306bgus.apollohosting.com/Search/search%20all.php?Lname=klette&Fn...

Date Contributor Update
18 September 2017 15:27:29 Al_Skiff Changes to media associations
Sources

Roger Freeman Photo.

Date Contributor Update
07 May 2015 16:06:51 JasonR Changes to biography
Sources

Edit for clarity

Date Contributor Update
07 May 2015 16:00:33 JasonR Changes to biography
Sources

From "Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany" by Donald L. Miller

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:13:26 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Kermit B. Cavedo, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. I by Bishop & Hey p. 290 pix and details of ac; Combat Crews p. 59, 65 & 66; Russell Strong Index Cards, 306th BGA Collection, http://homeofheroes.com/members/02_DSC/citatons/03_ / http://www.306bg.org/crewphotos/Crew%20Pictures%20Adam-Rector/Crew%20Pic...

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