B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 43-38911 / Bull Session

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-38911 / Bull Session


MACR: 11772

Einsätze: 18


Geschichte der
B-17 43-38911 / Bull Session

Delivered Lincoln 9/10/44; Grenier 16/10/44; Assigned 323BS/91BG Bassingbourn 5/11/44; battle damaged {18m} Cologne 14/1/45 with Bill Meyer, Lauren Otting, Nello Fiorio, Mike Holowaty, Steve Wulderk, Art Miller, Bob Wagner, Bob Garrett (8 Killed in Action); Bombardier: Jim Buescher (Prisoner of War); flak KO’d #3 & #4 which fell off and crashed Wengerrohr, Ger; Salvaged 6/3/45. BULL SESSION.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 9. Februar 2020


B-17 43-38911 / Bull Session Details

Information below from Patrick Murphy – President, WWIIBRPG
(Sent by Robert Nello Fiorio)

Location of B-17 crash site and recovery of two missing Airmen

On 14 January 1945, the US Army aircraft B-17 Flying Fortress # 43-38911 was shot down. This aircraft belonging to the 8th Air Force, 91stBomber Group, 323rd Bomber Squadron was on mission from England to Koln. According to Lt. James Buescher, Prisoner of war and sole survivor; the aircraft took a flak hit which ignited a great explosion. This explosion blew the ship apart and he was thrown through the front of the Bombardiers section. He managed to open his chute and was soon captured by elements of the Führer Grenadier Brigade. Missing Air Crew report (MACR) indicates this aircraft crashed to the ground in the vicinity 50, 02’05.23 N, 5.56’28.13” E. Two crew members remain unaccounted for. The ultimate goal is to discover and recover the remains of the two missing airmen.

1. Sgt. Michael J. Holowaty, # 33831847, UAAF. Sgt Holowaty was the top turret gunner for the aircraft. Sgt Holowaty is survived by one sister and two brothers. The family has expressed a deep aspiration, that after 72 years, their brother could be home if all possible and before they pass away without knowing.

2. Sgt Stephen P. Wulderk, #33575452, USAAF. Sgt Wulderk was a radio operator and gunner in the mid-section of the ship. Family contact was established March 2018. The family is giving full open cooperation and has not given into false hope, but is optimistic.

Summary of 2017 accomplishments:

In 2017 we set goals of establishing the wreck site/sites of USAAF B-17 #43-38911 in the Beirgerhaard. Once the locations of wreckage are found, in depth search for the MIA Michael Holowaty would pursue. A 2Km radius area was granted, compiling a 4.5Km area square of Beirgerhaard forest. In the summer 2017, 70% of the Beigerhaard area has been covered, some extensive and some not. Some aircraft debris was found, but not in quantities to indicate aircraft wreckage impacting sites.

Aircraft evidence found and recovered:
– 8 aircraft rivets (AN426AD4
-Three pieces of aircraft aluminum siding, from the air frame.
– Fragments of electronic box from on board, presumed to be a transmission tuner unit.
– Two pieces of aluminum from servo motor cover.

Summery as of 8 October, 2018 Work time; 19:30 – 0345. 43-38911 “BULL SESSION”

In field May 2018 – October 2018 Initial finding of site March 2018, once state permit from the Luxembourg Government secured and land owners permission given a systematic search of the suspected area of debris site began. First an overall survey of the area for establishing primary impact zones and determining extent of wreckage spread was conducted. I established 5 separate zones, as they presented the impression of being separate concentrated debris areas. Zones were established based on debris content, concentration and position in relation to geography of area and each other. Z= Zone 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Five was later to be validated as the engine debris was brought to the location by locals for scrap extraction and not an impact locality. Recently the entire area was put into a grid spanning an area of approx. 315m NW-SE x340m NE-SW. The wreckage has a pattern of dispersion, but is complicated to narrow to any particular one item/section of aircraft. There is a noticeable relation of items in each area to each other, but hardly any association to each piece of debris

My main focus was to find any of the 4 engine data plates with serial number, the data plate of the ship on frame, skin, or object with the ser# of the A/C. As well as any object belonging to any crew member in particular the 2 MIAs.
I did find the Left outboard wing data tag that verifies the A/C as a B-17G, not “F”
Interesting finds include; One US enlisted man’s brass belt buckle, leather glove fragment from finger, insides of Eglin USAAF watch, mod 539, Type 11 no back cover or name, 1 pocket knife, possibly from crew member, I had also found 3 other knives in the area that are not US. Also in the area I ran into a cash of 155mm artillery container covers (34), weight 34KG, and 32 artillery shell lugs (36KG).

Evidence collect to date:
8,000 est fragments of A/C, 320kg debris including in that 68kg of .50cal ammo, .50cal ammo=1125 rounds, 3kg Plexiglas including few pieces from nose section, 2kg brown press board(formica) ,loads of plastic, rubber items, frame, support, web plates, dozen data plates including the data plate for the Auto pilot C-1. Numerous fragments from the Sperry K-4 Automatic Computer Gun sight, pieces from the Sperry ball mounts, cockpit indicators/instruments, radio compass, Speed Pitot, direction antenna, inboard/outboard wing fragments/supports/bracing. Fragments of the self-repairing fuel tanks, 90%+- flak vest 200+ flak plates. engine debris – partial cylinder, valve covers, push-rods, push-rod covers, water pipes, connectors, fragments of the Bendix carburetor, magneto pieces, ignition wires, spark plug, exhaust pipe, and other components.

Information below from Robert Nello Fiorio, nephew of 2nd Lt. Nello Frederico Fiorio

On a warm Spring morning, April 23, 1922 Nello Frederico Fiorio was born in Boston, MA. First born of Ciro Amerigo Fiorio from Carpineto near Rome And Olga Luigia Comirato Fiorio of Treviso near Venice. His middle name Frederico was after his Uncle who was a famous Ace in the Italian Air Force during WWI. This couple met during WWI as Ciro was an Italian Army Lt of Artillery and was in the Alps on the Austrian border fighting the Austrians. On his time off he went to the local town near Treviso where he met young school teacher Olga. The postwar economy was poor so the young newly wedded couple decided to head for America with about $375.00. on the ship San Giusto from Trieste in 1921. They went to a relative of Ciro’s in Pennsylvania but Ciro could not find work so after a month they headed to Boston. They had no friends, no knowledge of the language and culture so was very difficult start. They found a cheap apartment in a poor area and Ciro found work on the Sears (of Sears & Roebuck Company) Estate near Hyde Park. Ciro did many tasks for the Family to help run the estate. Then Nello was born!

The area around Hyde Park in those days was full of streams, woods, rivers and forests….Nello from an early age loved nature, woods and streams and the countryside and was a enthusiastic hunter and fisherman…he hunted squirrel, rabbit, pheasant, quail and other birds in the area to help provide food for the growing Family as brothers Paul and John were born in 1925 and 1930…..Nello also set traps for Muskrat, Mink and Skunk….he trapped, skinned, stretched and cured the pelts for sale to help earn money for the Family. Their neighborhood smelled like skunk regularly as Nello was preparing his pelts! He also had a canoe & canoed and fished locally the Neponset River and others….Nello made and tied his own trout flies and other fishing lures by utilizing a few strands of horse mane while the iceman was delivering ice! On many occasions Nello hunted deer in Maine, always bring home a trophy buck!

Nello attended Roxbury Elementary School and then Jamaica Plain High School Class of 1939….Nello was a bright student interested in Botany and Agriculture…he then enrolled at Massachusetts State College in Amherst, MA. Nello was Captain of his Massachusetts State College ROTC Civilian Marksmanship Competition Team. His Team won 20 of 26 matches in their Championship 1943 Season. They were awarded the William Randolph Hearst Trophy for the 1st Service Command Championship Team of the National ROTC Rifle Match in 1943! Then Nello was called up to active duty and trained as a flight navigator graduating as a 2nd Lt at Randolph Field, TX. Then he was assigned to B17 “Bull Session” of the 91st Heavy Bomber Group, 323rd Squadron….on his 3rd mission, January 14, 1945 his ship suffered a direct flak hit and all hands except one were lost. Nello is interred in the American Military Cemetery Henri Chapelle in Belgium. He is dearly missed by his Family but proud of his contribution in victory.

Photos courtesy of Robert Nello Fiorio


Zeugenberichte aus dem MACR 11772

Wir flogen in einer Höhe von etwa 20000 Fuß über die Frontlinien, als ich die B-17G, 43-38911 beobachtete, die einen direkten Treffer der Flak in die Bug-Sektion erhielt. Die Bug-Sektion bis zum Schott Nummer 6 wurde weggeblasen und das Flugzeug stürzte nach unten, definitiv außer Kontrolle, aber es war kein Rauch oder Flammen zu sehen. Ich flog als Co-Pilot und verlor zu diesem Zeitpunkt das betroffene Flugzeug aus den Augen. Der Kugelturmschütze meiner Crew berichtete, dass er das Flugzeug beobachtet hatte, bis es auf den Boden stürzte. Wir sahen keine Männer, die das Flugzeug verließen oder die Fallschirme öffneten.

Thomas F. Fleming
1st Lt. A. C.
323rd Bomb Sq. 91st Bomb Gp.

Wir flogen über die Frontlinien auf dem Weg zum Ziel, in einer Höhe von etwa 20000 Fuß, als ich das Flugzeug B-17G, 43-38911, beobachtete, das von einer Flak im Bugbereich direkt getroffen wurde. Der Bugteil wurde nach hinten bis zum Pilotenkanzel weggeblasen. Das Flugzeug geriet sofort außer Kontrolle und stürzte in einem Senkrechtsturzflug nach unten. Es waren weder Rauch noch Flammen zu sehen. Das Flugzeug war etwa 10000 Fuß tief gefallen, als es aus meiner Sicht flog. Ich sah kein Besatzungsmitglied das Flugzeug verlassen oder die Fallschirme öffnen.

S/Sgt. Elo O. Meisetschlaeger
323rd Bomb Sq, 91st Bomb Gp.

Ich flog als Heckschütze unseres Schiffes und das Flugzeug B-17G 43-38911 flog knapp unter meiner Position. Ich bemerkte zum ersten Mal, dass das Flugzeug in Schwierigkeiten war, als es im Sturzflug unterging. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt befand es sich etwa 1000 Fuß unter uns. Dann verlor ich das Flugzeug aus den Augen, aber ich schaute nach hinten und beobachtete einen (1) Fallschirm, der in der Luft schwebte. Ich sah keine anderen Besatzungsmitglieder das Flugzeug verlassen oder die Fallschirme öffnen.

Sgt. Elmer B. Russel
323rd Bomb Sq, 91st Bomb Gp.


B-17 43-38911 / Bull Session Crew

Position Rang Name Status Bemerkung
P 2LT William E. Meyer KIA
CP 2LT Laurin P. Otting KIA
BOMB 2LT James D. Buescher POW
ENG/TT SGT Michael Holowaty KIA
RO SGT Stephan P. Wulderk KIA
BT SGT Arthur W. Miller KIA
WG SGT Robert M. Wagner KIA
TG SGT Robert P. Garrett KIA

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