B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-32016 / Swamp Gal

B-17 #42-32016 / Swamp Galzoom_in



MACR: 10704 / KSU/ME/KU: 2610

Missions: 87


History of
B-17 42-32016 / Swamp Gal

Delivered Denver 15/1/44; MacDill 5/2/44; Morrison 12/3/44; Assigned 817BS/483BG Tortorella 30/3/44; transferred 347BS/99BG Tortorella 31/3/44; Missing in Action {87m} Brux 25/12/44 with Bill Brandon, Forman, Duncan, McReynolds, Dunn, Kuzan, Leffingwell, Eaton, Lynn H. Ostrander, Miller; flak, crashed Oslip, Czech ?; Missing Air Crew Report 10704. SWAMP GAL.

Last updated: 23. April 2020


B-17 42-32016 / Swamp Gal Details

Amarante „Pete“ Torres with ‘Swamp Gal’ – Photo by his grandson Dan Tucker

Witness statements from MACR 10704

On 25 December 1944, I was Navigator on plane #744, leader of the formation of which plane #016, was a part of it. At approximately 1245 hours a crew member reported to me on interphone that the plane #016, had left formation with #2 engine either smoking or fire. When I looked it was dropping back and out of formation.

1Lt. Claude Acree

Over Slany, on 25 December, 1944, I heared someone report from the waist or teil of my ship #744, that ship#016, flying #3 position in the 347th squadron was dropping out of formation.

We proceeded over the target Brux, and after the rally, I heared that #016, had gone off to the left of the formation with it’s #2 engine smoking excessively. I myself did not see the aircraft and heard no report as to what happened to it.

1Lt. John P. Bedell

On the morning of 25 December, 1944, Ship #016, was flying number 2. position on the lead ship. The bomb-bay doors were open and we were over the bomb run. I couldn’t see too much of what happened but Ship #016, raised a little and then dropped behind then he crossed over us. I saw a lot of sparks coming from #2 engine and a long spurt of flame. It quit throwing sparks and flame as it passed overhead. That is all I could see.

S/Sgt. Edmund F. Sisko


This is the full story – Starting over Brux, Ger.

Flak hit #1 and #2 engine and left props windmilling. Pilot turned the plane towards closed Russian territory with everyone’s approval. Had to throw out all guns and ammo to keep in the air. Got all the way back across Czecho’ and northeast Austria. Entered Hungary at about 5000 feet at this time #4 engine conked out and left windmilling.

Pilot ordered all of crew into radio room except him self and co-pilot to prepare for crash landing. We were in radio room about 3 minutes when a of bullets and 20 mm explosives tore the plane up on the bottom from waist to front of plane. Two men in radio room were wounded and #3 engine was on fire. The eight of us in radio room went for the back door and bailed out. Two German fighters were circling our burning plane, and it crashed about 10 seconds after last man bailed out.

The Hungarians did not permit us to return to the burning ship which had crashed about a mile from us. One mile outside Eisenstadt.

At the interrogation center, somewhere near Frankfurt, the German G.I. who interrogated me said that two men had been killed. And all that he knew about them was their last names – Brandon and Forman. I thought this was some kind of a ruse to get information out of me but I think he was on the level.

The only answer I can think about is that the pilot and co-pilot were killed or badly wounded when the fighters attacked us. Therefore, they couldn’t bail out.

I’m hoping this information will be of value to you. I shall be glad to give more details if necessary.

Rudolph M. Kuzan

About one hour before target time, part of the oxygen system and the ball turret of our B 17 went out of commission. The pilot, Lt. Brandon, immediately contacted the group leader, Major Katzenmeyer, and asked for permission to turn back. He refused to left us turn back and ordered us to stay with the formation.

He should have allowed us to turn back with a fighter escort, and we would have returned to our base safely. But we had to continue, were shot down, made POW’s, and two of our crew were killed.

I think it should be brought to the attention of Major Katzenmeyer what he was responsible for on that day. And, perhaps, something down about it.

Rudolph M. Kuzan

All of the crew except Lt’s Brandon & Forman were in the radio room in prepartion for a crash landing when our plane was hit by fighters. Plane caught on fire and all of the crew except Brandon & Forman bailed out.

Befire bailing out we could not receive any response over the interphone and we couldn’t see or go thru the bombay on account of the fire. We assumed to probably both the pilot and copilot had been hit as most of the figthers fire power hit from the radio room forward and immediately after the fighters struck the plane’s motions became very erratic. At this time we had only 3 engines operating and had aborted all equipment we could get loose.

We had first been hit hard by flak near the IP. Knocking out one engine completely and a second partially. We immediately aborted our bomb load and still kept losing altitude. Then we aborted the ball turret and later the guns & ammunition. Our airspeed had dropped to less than 100 mph going against a head wind.

At the time we were struck by the fighters our absolute altitude was about 1500 ft. and a crash landing looked very probable.

Leroy A. Duncan


B-17 42-32016 / Swamp Gal Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 2LT William C. Brandon KIA
CP 2LT Charles D. Forman, Jr. KIA
ENG/TT SGT Wendell J. Dunn POW
RO SGT Arthur C. Leffingwell POW
BT SGT Rudolph M. Kuzan POW Asst Eng
WG SGT Lynn H. Ostrander POW
WG S/SGT Carl D. Eaton POW Asst R/O
TG SGT Robert H. Miller POW
TOG S/SGT Charles E. McReynolds POW

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