B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-29892

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-29892


  • RCL: FO-N

MACR: 1758


History of
B-17 42-29892

Delivered: Cheyenne 6/3/43; Sioux City 18/3/43; Kearney 8/4/43; Bangor 14/4/43; Assigned: 527BS/379BG [FO-N] Kimbolton 22/4/43; MIA Bochum 25/6/43 Pilot: Doug Groom, Co-Pilot: Frank Pulaski, Radio Operator: Tom Lyons, Waist Gunner: Thaddeus Burzycki, Tail Gunner: Frank Mills (5KIA); Navigator: Art Belgium. meyer, Bombardier: Tom Mortenson, Engineer / Top Turret Gunner: Howie Brinkman, Waist Gunner: Ralph Weaver, Ball Turret Gunner: Jim Bowers (5POW); Enemy aircraft, crashed Neu Arenberg, four miles NW of Freisoythe, Germany. MACR 1758.

Last updated: 20. February 2020


B-17 42-29892 Details

Statement by the Bombardier from MACR 1758

On 25 June 1943, we proceeded on a bombing mission to Hamburg, Germany, handicapped by a solid undercast. Several attempts were made to rendevous with other Groups and Wings in the formation. While somewhere in the area of Bremen, Germany, the lead Group of the Wing was sighted far to the Northeast. Following the Group and Squadron Leader, we attempted to join the lead Group. At this moment the lead Group, making a 180° turn began to flight back to England. While making our turn, it was my impression that the Pilot was having trouble keeping the plane in formation due the lack of speed. We then became a straggler. The last words to come over the interphone were the Pilot’s words to the Copilot, “Give her all you’ve got!”

Then cam a fighter attack from somewhere in the rear knocking the interphone out. To lighten the load and beeing over Germany territory, I opened the bomb bays and dropped the bombs. We then made two very steep dives of approximately 7000 ft each presumably to get into the cloud cover, upon which we had formerly agreed, if attacked or disabled. Several fighter attacks followed and upon leveling out after the second dive I entered the partly damaged Pilot’s compartment, the top having been blown off, and inquired if everything was under control. Due to the noise and rush of air conversation was impossible. The Asst. Engineer operating the top turret then informed me the plane was on fire and to get out. I pulled the emergency release for the nose hatch and the Navigator coming from the nose excitedly informed me, “The ship must be on fire”. I waited momentarily by the escape hatch for possible words from the Pilot, the Navigator and Asst. Engineer urging me to jump. I bailed out, seeing the plane pass over me, fire streaming from bomb bay to tail.

During our descent the Asst. Engineer and myself witnessed our plane burn in half and crash while a FW 190 flew figure eights around us. A German soldier came ridding up on a bicycle to take us prisoner upon landing. The Asst. Engineer and I were temporarily detained in a farmhouse where I helped to administer First Aid to him for bullet wounds in the legs. I then bribed, with American cigaretted, a searching party to take me to the scene of the crash where I saw four bodies of the crew, namely, Pilot, Ball Gunner, Engineer and one other burned beyond recognition.

Thomas S. Mortenson
1st Lt. A. C.


B-17 42-29892 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Douglas K. Groom KIA
CP 2LT Frank T. Pulaski KIA
BOMB 2LT Thomas S. Mortenson POW
ENG/TT S/SGT Howard H. Brinkman POW
RO T/SGT Thomas P. Lyons KIA
BT S/SGT Frank A. Mills KIA
WG S/SGT Ralph E. Weaver POW
WG SGT Thaddeus Z. Burzycki KIA
TG S/SGT James C. Bowers POW

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