B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-2979

B-17 #42-2979zoom_in



MACR: 3908


History of
B-17 42-2979

Assigned 97BG Salina 29/11/42; transferred Biskra 21/1/43; Chateau-du-Rhumel 8/2/43; Pont-du-Fahs, Tun. 1/8/43; Depienne 15/8/43; transferred 49BS/2BG Massicault 14/11/43; Bizerte 2/12/43; Amendola 9/12/43; transferred 346BS/99BG Tortorella 28/3/44; {1m} transferred 815BS/483BG Tortorella 31/3/44; Missing in Action Nis, Yugo 16/4/44 with Ira Warburton, Burnette, Bueker, O’Brien, Baines (5 Killed in Action); Holcom, Jeffers, Brynjldsen, Cardone, Clos (5 Returned to Duty); flak damage. Missing Air Crew Report 3908.

Last updated: 29. June 2022


B-17 42-2979 Details

The photo sometimes was assigned to B-17 42-5216. But I believe, that isn’t correct.

Eyewitness Statements to the loss of B-17F #42-2979

Planes were over target at 1119. Flak was moderate to heavy and extremely accurate. Plane 979, Lt. Warburton, pilot, was noticed trailing and losing altitude after rallying to the right after bomb release. At 1135, five members of the crew were seen to bail out by my tail gunner, Sgt. Reamer. I never saw the plane in distress until the formation circled waiting for 979. The plane was following the formation until the a point of approximately on the Yugoslavian Coast, according to Sgt. Reamer. Bail out occured approximately 45 miles due west of the alternate target, Nis, Yugoslavia.

2Lt. William W. Craddock

The first tim I saw the ship it was about a mile behind us at about 8000 ft. altitude. We head just made a right hand turn off the target & the plane was goind in the same direction we were. About 10 minutes from the target they started bailing out. There were five chutes altogether. Immediately after that the ship started to gain altitude and the formation circled and he caught up with us but he couldn’t manage to stay with us. In a few minutes two men were seen in the waist throwing equipment overboard. I kept sight of them until we got to the coast of Yugoslavia and then a squadron of P-38’s came in and I lost sight of everything.

When the ship was close to our formation I noticed it had a large hole in the right wing behind Number 3 eingine.

Sgt. John G. Reamer
Tail Gunner


I was riding in the nose of the ship 775 which was on the left wing of 029. Ship 979 was on the right wing of 029. When passing over the target, I noticed that 97 was still there but when we came out of the turn away from the target, it was no where to be seen. Soon after this the tail gunner called over the interphone saying, “A plane is failling in behind the formation so it mus be in trouble.”

About fifteen minutes after leaving the target five men chuted from the plane. The tail gunner, Sgt. Reamer, reported this as I could not see them. Out formation circled to let the plane catch up with us but it couldn’t keep up, Lt. Blank in 029 dropped back out of formation to act as an escort for the crippled ship. A little later several P-38’s started escorting 029 and 979. I last sight of both B-17’s and the P-38’s after we were cut over the Adriatic Ocean for about five minutes.

I noticed that 979 had its bombay door open and a large hole in the wing just behind engine No. 3.

2Lt. John M. Kissel

Source: MACR 3908


B-17 42-2979 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 2LT Ira T. Warburton KIA
CP 2LT James D. Burnette KIA
BOMB F/O Justin J. O'Brien KIA
ENG/TT S/SGT James T. Holcomb RTD
RO S/SGT Herbert W. Brynjldsen RTD
BT SGT David B. Jeffers RTD
WG SGT Walter T. Baines KIA
WG SGT Frank H. Clos RTD
TG SGT Joseph F. Cardone RTD

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