B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-31542 / Bunky

B-17 #42-31542 / Bunkyzoom_in



  • RCL: OR-T

MACR: 7417 / KSU/ME/KU: 1650


History of
B-17 42-31542 / Bunky

Delivered Cheyenne 19/11/43; Spokane 22/11/43; Gt Falls 25/11/43; Wendover 7/12/43; Assigned 748BS/457BG Glatton 27/1/44 BUNKY; transferred 92BG Podington 11/3/44; 323BS/91BG [OR-T] Bassingbourn 12/3/44; Missing in Action 45m Lechfeld 19/7/44 with Norman Burwick, Co-pilot: Frank Way, Navigator: Carl Sanders, Bombardier: Alby Steelhammer, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Dave Cotton, Radio Operator: George Beltz, Ball turret gunner: Melvin Gemmill, Waist gunner: Harry Carlson,Tail gunner: Gordon Smith (9 Killed in Action); propwash caused mid air coll with 42-107075 (91BG); tail broke off, crashed Huglfing, Oberbayen, Ger; Missing Air Crew Report 7417. “BUNKY.”

Last updated: 24. December 2021


B-17 42-31542 / Bunky Details

Mid-air-collision with B-17 #42-107075 Champagne Girl aka Fancy Pants ao 19 July 1944.

Statement of Eyewitness

Aircraft B-17G 42-107075 and B-17G 42-31542 were last seen just past the IP and during bomb run or about 7 minutes befor bombs away. The two aircraft were flying on our right. It appeared that aircraft B-17G 42-107075 got in the prop wash of an aircraft ahead or the aircraft mementarily was out of control for he slipped to his left and his left wing crashed into the right horizontal stabiliser of aircraft B-17G 42-31542. Each aircraft then pulled to the outside, 075 to the right and 542 to the left. At this point the tail section of aircraft 542 broke off at about the main entrance door and rocketed about 200 feed upward, then it went down in a diving spin and out of sight. The main part of aircraft 542 continued in a diving spin and went out of sight into clouds. Aircraft 075 went down in a slow left flat spin and when last seen appeared to be pulling out of dive and leveling off. He was then last from view in the clouds. No parachutes were seen to come from either of these aircraft.

Sgt. Bartolomeo Zanotto
322nd BS; 91st BG

Sgt. Jack J. Williams
322nd BS; 91st BG

In the description of the crash in the “Missing Air-Crew Report”, I noticed the numbers of the planes are reversed where it states 42-107075 got in the prop wash. It was 42-31542 that hit the right wing of 42-107075 and immediately put us in a spin from which we recovered ater 5 turns. I did not see what happened to 42-31542.

The entire crew bailed out over the Switzerland border and were interned there by Swiss authorities. Lt. John Grubka and myself have returned.

1LT. Cyril J. Braund
Pilot of A/C B-17G, 42-107075

B-17G #42-31542 / Bunky – Ground crew is shown installing new elevator to horizontal stabilizer damaged by flak over Germany.

B-17 42-31542 / Bunky Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Norman N. Burwick KIA
CP 2LT Frank J. Way KIA
BOMB 1LT Albert E. Steelhammer KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT David M. Cotten KIA
RO T/SGT George R. Beltz KIA
BT S/SGT Melvin A. Gemmill KIA
WG S/SGT Harry S. Carlson KIA
TG SGT Gordon D. Smith KIA

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