History of the
B-17 #42-3413 / Hard Luck

Delivered Dallas 10/6/43; Dow Fd 18/8/43; Assigned 350BS/100BG [LN-V] Thorpe Abbotts 20/8/43; on mission to Berlin 7/5/44 with Loren Van Steenis, Navigator: Harry Butler (Killed in Action), Bombardier: Lester Torbett{Wounded in Action}, (8 Returned to Duty); Missing in Action SW Germany oil plants 14/8/44 with Don Cielewich, Co-pilot: Lenard Moen, Navigator: Clifford Brown, Bombardier: John Cochran, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Cyrenne Ropson, Radio Operator: Ben Baldasana, Ball turret gunner: John Funkhouser, Waist gunner: Herb Klepp,Tail gunner: Henry Sytnik (9 Prisoner of War); flak KO’d engine and fire spread and crew all bailed OK, aircraft skidded into farm and killed 10 civilians afer crashed Falken-Gesass, near Beerfeld, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 7899. HARD LUCK !

Crew 42-3413 / Hard Luck

P2LTDonald E. CielewichPOW
CP2LTLeonhard E. MoenPOW
BOMB2LTJohn C. CochranPOW
ENG/TTT/SGTCyrenne L. RopsonPOW
ROT/SGTBenjamin BaldasanoPOW
BTS/SGTJohn L. FunkhouserPOW
WGS/SGTHerbert G. KleppPOW
TGS/SGTHenry J. SytnikPOW

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  1. von Kevin Allen am 11. November 2019 21:46 Uhr

    Leonard Moen is my Grandpa, who will be celebrating his 96th Birthday on November 22nd. Their plane, Hard Luck may have been hit by flack, but that is not what caused the plane to crash. Prior to their last flight, his crew was bumped from their newer B17 and inherited Hard Luck, which had many hours on it. Long story short, the Superchargers were not functioning correctly and they barley cleared the trees at the end of the runway. They requested permission to turn back to base and were denied. They struggled to keep up with the squadron becuase of the out-of-shape supercharges, which caused them to run out of fuel. That’s when they decided to abandon the plane. My Grandpa was caught on a farm.

    I have a book that my Grandpa wrote for me and my son to have. He describes his story in detail and also debunks some of the claims in the history books regarding their plane.



    • von b17flyingfortress.de am 12. November 2019 16:53 Uhr

      Thank you for sharing your Grandpa’s story! 🙂


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