Geschichte der
B-17 #42-31525 / Shed House Mouse aka The Reincarnation

Delivered Denver 16/11/43; Pendleton 18/11/43; Gr Island 10/12/43; Assigned 730BS/452BG Deopham Green 4/1/44; with Jim Reynolds, Co-pilot: Mark Liddell, Bombardier: Frank Kottlowski, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Larry Zaccardi, Radio Operator: George Barzen, Ball turret gunner: Jim Leonard, Waist gunner: Rich Jones, Waist gunner: Ed Zimmerman (9 Returned to Duty); Bombardier: Larry Anderson (KIA- hit by bomb from above aircraft knocking nose off); crash landed Dulverston, UK; Returned to the USA 121 BU Bradley 28/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 21/10/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 24/11/45. SHED HOUSE MOUSE then changed to THE REINCARNATION after rebuild.

Details 42-31525 / Shed House Mouse aka The Reincarnation

Frankfurt-Einsatz, 20. März 1944

On the Frankfurt mission, Reynolds was flying #4 position and we were off his right wing in the #5 position. Reynolds’s and his crew were flying aboard “Shed House Mouse,” serial number 42-31525.

At bomb release, the aircraft in the #1 position (above us) had two bombs ‚hang up‘ in the bomb bay after all the other bombs had dropped naturally. The procedure for “kicking out” hung up bombs was to wait until clear of the drop zone, move out of formation then kick them out.

The B-17 in the #1 position, without notifying anyone, kicked out the bombs while still in formation. The first bomb hit Reynolds’s ship to the left of the pilot (#2 engine) damaging the propeller. Larry Anderson was bent over the bombsight looking to see where the bomb went. (The bomb, not yet armed did not detonate when it struck the engine.) The second bomb hit the Plexiglas nose section dead center, instantly killing the bombardier Larry Anderson. (Again, the second bomb did not explode upon impact as it was not yet armed.) The bomb continued its’ descent as did the preceding bomb.

With the Plexiglas now completely gone and the bombardier/navigator compartment demolished there was a terrific wind in the cockpit area. The interior pressure was so great that the door to the bomb bay could not be opened. There was no way that one could go from the cockpit area to the radio room or the bomb bay. Interphone was the only communications with the crew. The navigator, Johnson, worked his way rearward from what was left of the nose compartment to the cockpit and navigated the course back to England while planted directly between Reynolds and the co-pilot.

The vibration from the damaged #2 propeller was so great that it caused Reynolds to ‚feather‘ it. Meanwhile, due to the drag from the missing nose compartment, Reynolds couldn’t hold altitude and started to descend.

After burning off excess fuel Reynolds was able to maintain altitude at 1,000 feet. He got across the Channel and was able to miraculously manage an emergency landing at the first airfield in from the coast of England.

„Shed House Mouse“ was miraculously restored from the damaged nose section at the 466th Sub Depot, under the direction and persistence of T/Sgt. Richard F. O’Neil. The plane continued to fly, re-named from „Shed House Mouse“ to a much more appropriate name, „The Reincarnation.“ The plane reused the same serial number, 42-31525. When she began flying again, it was an air worthy plane but her mixed parts made for a very recognizable plane. She was Army olive drab from the tail forward to the cockpit and bright metallic aluminum from the cockpit to the chin turret. The “Reincarnation” survived the war and returned to the U.S. on June 28, 1945.

– Tom R. Dickenson, From the Book: Brave Man Fallen

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