Geschichte der
B-17 #44-6883 / RAFAAF

Delivered Lincoln 9/12/44; Dow Fd 17/12/44; Assigned: 535BS/381BG [MS-Q] Ridgewell 22/12/44; last stabiliser in taxi acc 11/4/45 Pilot: 44-8826; ass BADA HQ Burtonwood, w/Fred Johnson in landing accident at Baldonnel Fd, Duiblin 12/11/45; {31+m} Salvaged. 9AF Germany. any 10/12/45. RAFAAF.

Details 44-6883 / RAFAAF

Extract from 533rd BS diary (2 march 1945)

A lone Flying Fortress, the 533rd squadron’s symbolically named „RAFAAF“, bombed Cologne with a formation of RAF Lancasters. The ship, piloted by 2nd Lt Charles H. Carpenter, of Mobile, Ala., was an accidental member of the RAF formation.

Carpenter had originally taken off for today’s Eighth Air Force mission in another bomber, but returned to his base to get a new Fortress when his plane developed mechanical difficulties. En route for the second time, and five minutes behind his formation, he searched the skies for the bomber stream. Far ahead he saw what he described as „a great blob of ships“, so he „poured the coal on“, and caught up with them. They turned out to be Lancasters, but it was then too late to seek out the 381st formation and Carpenter elected to „give the English a hand“.

There was „all kinds of flak“ at Cologne, in the words of 2nd Lt Sidney J. Silcock, the navigator. He described red, white and black bursts, as well as „a new kind of phosphorus flak that made an explosion as big as a house.“ The Fortress took its turn on the target with the rest of the bombers and the crew said the bombardier „laid them right in there“. „After all“, said carpenter, „daylight bombing’s our speciality so we couldn’t let those Lancaster boys beat us at it!“

Coming back from the mission, the Lancasters spotted their added starter and proceeded to make the Fortress welcome in their own way. They sent challenges through the air, fired flares at „RAFAAF“, and two of the Lancasters even flew formation across the Channel with the American bomber.

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