B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-29615

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-29615


MACR: 46


History of
B-17 42-29615

Delivered Cheyenne 18/1/43; Salina 31/1/43; Kearney 4/2/43; Morrison 9/3/43; Assigned 49BS/2BG Navarin, Alg 17/4/43; Chateau-du-Rhumel, Alg 27/4/43; Ain M’Lila, Alg 17/6/43; Missing in Action {23m) Messina 25/6/43 with Capt Albert Hinsey, Co-pilot: Jack Evans, Navigator: Walter Hopp, Bombardier: Jacob Hershey, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Urban Lavoie, Radio Operator: Jack Hildt, Ball turret gunner: Fred Radefield, Waist gunner: Harry Thompson, Waist gunner: Jess Post,Tail gunner: Leo Valentine (10 Killed in Action); coll with Me 109, tore off wing & #4 engine; one chute seen; Missing Air Crew Report 46.

Last updated: 18. June 2022


B-17 42-29615 Details

Eyewitness Statements to the loss of B-17F #42-29615

2Lt. Oliver Perry Wolf, Co-Pilot of B-177, No. 42-29645, 49th Bombardment Squadron (H) flying in the sixth squadron, second element, lead ship.

“I was flying in the 6-2-1 position and Captain Hinsey’s plane, No. 615 was flying in the 6-1-2 position just ahead and a little to the right of me. I was on the bomb run, watching The Bombs Away and just before the turn off the target, at 24,300 feet, when I was notified over the inter-communication system that an enemy fighter was coming in from 12 o’clock, right and forward of Captain Hinsey’s plane. 2nd Lt. Harry Abell, in aircraft No. 109 was flying to the left and forward of me.

His crew was firing at the Enemy Aircraft. The fighter crossed the nose of Captain Hinsey’s plane at 20° or 30° angle and went into a roll as they usually do but wheeling to the left, instead of the right, as if he was disabled, and in doing so he struck the stabilizer or the tip of the right wing of Captain Hinsey’s plane and as he struck he blew up.

Captain Hinsey’s plane staggered, down and back from the Impact, and went into a flat spin, definitely out of control.

I watched him fell approximately 500 feet to a 1,000 feet and because I was just then turning left off the Bomb Run and it was difficult to ascertain whether Captain Hinsey’s plane landed on land, or in the water.

2nd Lt. Oliver Perry Wolf

S/Sgt. Thomas Francis McCaffrey, Ball Turret Gunner of B-17F No. 42-29628, 49th Bombardment Squadron (H), flying in the sixth squadron, second element, second ship.

*Our plane was just turning left off the Bomb Run. We were flying at an altitude of 24,300 feet and I noticed we were flying in the position that Captain Hinsey’s plane was supposed to be in.

Then I noticed Captain Hinsey’s plane off to the right with the wing gone up to No. 4 engine. After his plane fell 800 to 1000 feet the No. 3 and 4 enrines fell off. One was in flame. A short while later the remainder of the wing caught fire, the plane fell about 200 to 400 feet more and then the fuselage broke in half, approximately at the Ball Turret and a short while later a man fell out of the waist run position.

The front section of the plane was burning at the time and it fell directly in a dive. At the same time the tail section went upwards and then started falling tail downwards. When the plane was at about 10,000 feet a man came out in a parachute and definitely landed on the Italian shore, approximately in the vicinity of S. Giovanni opposite Messina, Sicily. There was definitely one survival.

The nos e of the ship struck land, burning with black smoke and crimson flame while other pieces of the ship either landed in the water or on the shores in the same vicinity.

S/Sgt. Thomas F. McCaffrey

S/Sgt. Walter S. Gundell, Tall Gunner of B-17F No. 42-29611, 49th Bombardment Squadron (H), flying in the sixth squadron, first element lead ship.

“I am the tail gunner in plane No. 611. Our plane was flying in the position 6-1-1. We were just off the target when I happed to look at Captain Hinsey’s plane, to observe an explosion on his right wing. The plane seemed to stop in midair, it winged over, belly upwards and went into a flat spin. I observed no fires but saw the plane begin to break up. I then saw a chute open and clear the plane at about 11,000 feet, it was still over land as I saw it.

S/Sgt. Walter S. Gundell

Capt. George Allen Robinson, Pilot of B-17F No. 42-5781, 49th Bombardment Squadron (H) flying in the fifth squadron, second element, lead ship.

“Captain Hinsey’s, plane was at 110° to my left at a distance of approximately a quarter of a mile, as the enemy aircraft struck Captain Hinsey’s plane, the B-17 flipped up in the air and went over on its back, the no. 4 engine was missing.

The plane went Into a slow flat spin, spinning four times and then went into a fast spin, spinning twice and then the plane started to break up. About then I saw it break in half in the vicinity of the radio room or the waist guns and observed another engine to fly off but there was no fire visible. I watched it fall for 21,000 feet and it kept breaking up all the way down. As it broke in half I saw a parachute open from about approximately the position of the waist guns but it seemed to me that a piece of the breaking-up aircraft either caught In the chute or flew past the individual using the parachute.

Capt. George Allen Robinson

1Lt. Francis Ray Hiniker, Co-Pilot of B-17F, No. 42-29611, 49th Bombardment Squadron (H) flying In the sixth squadron, first element, lead ship.

“I was flying plane No. 611 in position 6-1-1 at 24,300 feet, my bombs were away and was turning left off the target when saw an enemy fighter coming in from 12 o’clock slightly above, not firing, but noticed that Captain Hinsey, who was to my right, had his crew firing at the enemy aircraft. As I progressed further into the turn the enemy aircraft passed over me doing a half wheel of 90° to the left end diving at approximately 200 feet per minute and after passing my ship the enemy aircraft struck Captain Hinsey’s plane just outside the No. 4 engine

There was no fire visible at the time from Captain Hinsey’s ship but was turnIng away to the right after she impact. I watched his plane fall approximately 300 feet and then lost sight of it due to the degree of the turn of my own plane.

It seemed to me that Captain Hinsey’s plane was breaking up, as it fell, and enemy anti-aircraft was still shooting at him as I lost sight of him.”

1Lt. Francis Ray Hiniker

Source: MACR 46


B-17 42-29615 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P CPT Albert D. Hinsey KIA
CP 1LT Jack L. Evans KIA
BOMB 1LT Jacob W. Hersbey KIA
ENG/TT SGT Urban B. Lavoie KIA
RO T/SGT JAck A. Hildt KIA
BT SGT Frederick W. Radefeld KIA
WG S/SGT Jess W. Post KIA
WG S/SGT Harold Thompson KIA
TG S/SGT Leo H. Valentine KIA

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