Geschichte der B-17 #42-107030 / Fifinella

Delivered Tulsa 2/2/44; Grenier 5/3/44; Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-T] Bassingbourn 25/3/44; Missing in Action 54m Le Manoir RR bridge, Fr 13/8/44 with Tom Smith (Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Joe Vukovich, Navigator: Alex Calder, Ball turret gunner: Jesse Britton, Waist gunner: Calvin Seiler,Tail gunner: Leon Rogers (5 evaded capture); Bombardier: Bob Bell, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Chas Sturgeon, Radio Operator: Delmar Spears (3 Prisoner of War); flak hit set oxygen bottles off to burn hydraulic fluid in cockpit, crashed Epreville, SW of Rouen, Fr; Missing Air Crew Report 7898. FIFINELLA.

Details 42-107030 / Fifinella

Fifinella flew 54 sorties before being lost on 13th August, 1944 on a tactical mission in support of the Allied ground forces. The target was a railway bridge at Le Manoir, France, and 1Lt Thomas Smith’s crew flew the plane as lead. It was the 16th mission the crew had flown in Fifinella and most of the crew‚ 20th mission. Just prior to bombs away the ship took a direct hit in the cockpit and fire broke out. Smith held the plane steady, staying with the formation to bomb.

Pilot Thomas P. Smith, Jr. was killed in action but kept the plane going long enough for the rest of the crew to bail out safely. Charles Sturgeon, Delmer Spears, and Robert Bell were taken prisoner and remained POWs until war’s end. The rest of the crew were rescued by the French underground and found their way back to England.

Crew 42-107030 / Fifinella

PositionRang/RankNameStatusBemerkung/Note
P1LTThomas P Smith, Jr.KIA
CP2LTJoe VukovichEVD
BOMB2LTRobert E Bell, Jr.POW
ENG/TTT/SGTCharles F SturgeonPOW
ROT/SGTDelmar C SpearsPOW
BTS/SGTJess W BrittonEVD
WGS/SGTCalvin M SeilerEVD
TGS/SGTLeonard RogersEVD

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