B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 41-24503 / Pandora’s Box

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 41-24503 / Pandora’s Box


  • RCL: DF-E

MACR: 16162


History of
B-17 41-24503 / Pandora’s Box

B-17F 41-24503 ‘Pandora’s Box’ assigned 324BS/91BG [DF-E] Bangor 30-August-42; Bassingbourn 29-September-42; Missing in Action 23-Nov-42 while flying as Group Lead on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St Nazaire, France. Enemy aircraft shot out #3, and aircraft dropped back and crashed into the sea 30 miles northwest of St. Nazaire. 11KIA MACR 16162

Last updated: 19. September 2020


B-17 41-24503 / Pandora’s Box Details

Ten (10) B-17’s of the 324 Bomb Sq, 91st Bomb Gp were hit by twelve (12) FW 190’s just over the coast. Four (4) more FW 190’s joined attack just before the IP. Five (5) enemy air craft were destroyed and one (1) damaged.

This A/C (503) turned towards the sea and was followed by three (3) other B-17’s. Lt. Gorman, pilot of one of the three planes following #503, followed #503 down to 2000 feet. Major Smelser, Command Pilot of this flight of bombers, waved the other planes on. A life raft could be seen hanging from the tail of #503. Lt. Gorman stated that #503 landed in the sea 30 miles northwest of St. Nazaire, France or made a forced landing on the Brest Peninsula. This A/C, with one or more engines burning, never reached the target.

Source: MACR 16162


B-17 41-24503 / Pandora’s Box Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P MAJ Harold C. Smelser KIA
CP CPT Duane L. Jones KIA
BOMB 2LT Phillip K. Baxter KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT Alvy G. Masters KIA
RO T/SGT Louis E Emerson KIA
BT SGT Fidel Hernandez KIA
WG S/SGT Doyt L. Watson KIA
WG SGT John L. Boomer KIA
TG S/SGT Joseph Medved KIA
OBS CPT George C. Wahl, Jr. KIA

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