B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-2985 / Nut Cracker

B-17 #42-2985 / Nut Crackerzoom_in



MACR: 355


History of
B-17 42-2985 / Nut Cracker

Delivered W Palm Beach 8/1/43; Assigned 414BS/97BG Biskra 28/1/43; Chateau-du-Rhumel 8/2/43; Missing in Action Naples 1/8/43 with Bob Rast, Alvarado, Ponemone, Bigelow, Dibble, Shea, Anderson, Nichols, Smith, Mathews; flak hit knocked off wing, crashed target area. Missing Air Crew Report 355.

Last updated: 4. September 2023


B-17 42-2985 / Nut Cracker Details

Witness reports from MACR 355:

After dropping bombs over target, right wing was ripped off, throwing ship into violent spin. Crew was ordered to abandon ship, but it is believed that the five gunners in the rear were unable to leave the ship. I last saw the wreckage of the airplane, burninng violently on the ground from a distance of about 100 yards.

Lt. Alexander Alvarado
Co-pilot #42-2985

After the ship was hit, it did a snap roll and then went into a tight spin. The members of the crew who bailed out had some difficulty reaching the forward escape hatch due to centrifical force. I therefore believe the other crew members were pinned in the ship because of the same forces. I did not see any further damage to the ship except for the hit on the right wing in the quick glance I obtained of the plane immediately after bailing out, nor does any further damage show on the picture of the plane taken by another plane.

1Lt. Seymour J. Ponemone
Navigator #42-2985

We had just dropped our bombs, and were continuing the last of the run, when the ship to the left of the lead element was hit by flak. That was I believe the lead element left wing ship. The ship fell out of the formation giving out and going down in a large spiral. It looked like the pilot had her in control, because a bit later on further down she flattened out in her spirals. She was not on fire as far as I could see. 

In the meantime I spotted three enemy fighters climbing up to us, but off at a great distance, so I watched this a second or two then looked for the falling aircraft. I saw two white puffs a little off the falling aircraft, and I do believe that these were chutes that opened. That was the last I saw of the ship in the air, but I did see smoke rising to where I judged the ship may have hit the ground. There was a misty case over the land, so when the plane got nearer to the ground it was hard to keep it in sight.

S/Sgt. Floyd Banks


B-17 42-2985 / Nut Cracker Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Robert N. Rast, Jr. POW
CP 2LT Alexander Alvarado POW
BOMB 2LT Frank M. Bigelow POW
ENG/TT T/SGT William J. Shea POW
RO S/SGT William D. Dibble KIA
BT SGT George B. Smith KIA
WG SGT Robert Nichols KIA
WG S/SGT John L. Anderson KIA
TG SGT James R. Mathews KIA

Jose Antonio Botella Martínez
27. April 2024 access_time 21:28

Write comment