Geschichte der
B-17 #42-29851 / Argonaut III

Delivered Cheyenne 25/2/43; Casper 13/3/43; Smoky Hill 3/4/43; Assigned 508BS/351BG [YB-J] Polebrook 16/5/43; 27m battle damaged 28m Munster 10/10/43 with Theo Argiropulos, crew ?; abandoned and ditched North Sea, just off Covehithe, Nfk; all rescued RTD. ARGONAUT III.

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  1. von Alvin Hulse am 09. Juli 2018 20:31 Uhr

    Argonaut III: This plane currently resides on the floor of the English Channel after flying an unheard of solo mission to Munster Germany on approximately October 11, 1943. The mission was the Argonaut crew’s 24th of 25 mission. At the early morning briefing, Bomber Command ordered the installation of one 1,000 lb. bomb mounted on bomb racks under each wing of the bombers scheduled to fly the mission.

    That morning, B-17 bomber crews took off from various air fields scattered around England. The Bomb groups were scheduled to form into the their bombing formations over the North Sea and then proceed to Munster. After the groups formed, they encountered severe headwinds.

    The Group Commander ordered the bombers to drop their wing mounted bombs into the North Sea because the extra weight and drag along with the headwinds risked the bombers not being able to safely return to England with enough fuel onboard.

    Argonaut III, as fate would have it, was unable to get their wing bombs to release and the formation of bombers left them in their contrails. Captain Argiropulos contacted the crew via the planes intercom. “ Men, we have two choices. We can go back to base, and if we do go back, we’re going to have to fly our 24th mission over again. Or, we can proceed to the target alone“. The crew had no desire to fly the mission again and collectively responded with: „Let’s get this thing over with“.

    The Argonaut III was about to become a sitting duck to the mighty Luftwaffe. As they approached the target, they could see the smoke from the bombing raid billowing into the sky. When they arrived at the target, there were no German fighters in the sky. They had gone down to refuel after attacking the main bomber force. When the Argonaut III dropped their bombs, the wing bombs released. Arge, as he was referred to by his crew, headed West across Germany into France where he planned to cross the English Channel and return to base in Polebrook England.

    They did not encounter any resistance until shortly before dusk. The tail gunner spotted 12 ME210 Fighter Bombers armed with Rockets lined up at 6 o’clock and out of the range of the crews 50 caliber machine guns. The sky suddenly lit up with a cloud of rockets tracking toward the plane. The tail gunner radioed evasive maneuvers to Arge. Arge thru the plane into a violent banked turn and avoided the cloud of rockets. Again the ME210’s lined up and fired their last salvo of rockets and again Arge out maneuvered the fire in the sky.

    The ME 210’s, carrying 30mm cannons, then poured in on the helpless bomber. Just as this was happening, 6 P-47 Thunderbolts arrived to attack the Germans. Between the Thunderbolts and the Argonaut all 12 planes were shot down. The Argonaut Crew was credited with 6 of the kills and the balance went to the Thunderbolt pilots.

    To be continued


    • von am 09. Juli 2018 22:11 Uhr

      Very interesting and exciting to read. Thank you for sharing. Wait for next chapter 😉


      • von Kathy am 09. April 2019 23:58 Uhr

        Waiting for the next part of the Argonaut III’s story! My uncle, Lt Fred Kroenlein was a B-17 pilot.


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