B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-38011 / Kind-a-Ruff

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-38011 / Kind-a-Ruff


  • RCL: EP-P

MACR: 3023


History of
B-17 42-38011 / Kind-a-Ruff

Delivered Cheyenne 12/11/43; New Castle 7/12/43; Presque Isle 11/12/43; Assigned 351BS/100BG [EP-P] Thorpe Abbotts 17/12/43; Missing in Action Berlin 6/3/44 with Ed Handorf, Co-pilot: Fred Spence, Navigator: John Dewey, Bombardier: Norman Rasmussen, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Chas Ford, Radio Operator: Henry Verdeur, Ball turret gunner: Allen Horton, Waist gunner: John Gverovich (8 Killed in Action); Waist gunner: John Willsey,Tail gunner: Larry Fair{broke leg in landing} (2 Prisoner of War); an ME109 hit wing tanks, ship then exploded crashed Jardinghausen, E of Bassum, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 3023. KINDA RUFF.

Last updated: 9. February 2020


B-17 42-38011 / Kind-a-Ruff Details

“Kind a Ruff” was shot down by  Oblt. Hans-Heinrich König of 3./JG 11.

S/Sgt. John L. Willsey report shortly after the war – from MACR 3023

On my 9th mission, 6 March 1944, target: Bosch Magneto Plant, Berlin, Germany – we were shot down by an ME-109 which dove thru the formation near Emden on the route home after having bombed the target. Our briefed position was Deputy Group Lead and when the leader was shot down, we assumed the group lead.

In out aircraft, the crew was Lt. Handorf (Pilot), Lt. Spence (Co-Pilot), Lt. Dewey (Navigator), Lt. Rasmussen (Bombardier), S/Sgt John L. Willsey (Top Turret Gunner), T/Sgt Vedeur (Radio Operator), S/Sgt Horton (Ball Turret), S/Sgt Gverovich (Left Waist Gunner), T/Sgt Ford (Right Waist Gunner), S/Sgt F. C. Lawrance (Tail Gunner).

The ME 109 came in from 0100 o’clock low where it was impossible to get my Top Turrett guns on him. He sprayed the whole front of our aircraft, setting fire to the 2 main tanks (Inboard Wind). I pulled the emergency bomb bay door release, snapped on my chute and tapped the pilot on the shoulder. He and the Co-Pilot were getting ready to bail out. I stepped thru the open bomb bay doors and while still in the prop wash, the aircraft blew up, blowing the Tail Gunner clear. Altitude at the time of attack was about 25000 ft. I delayed opening my chute until going thru the last layer of clouds at about 10000 ft. The Tail Gunner and I landed about 60 yds. apart. Lawrence had his leg broken, probably when blown out of the plane, and told me to try to escape and leave him alone. About three hours later I was captured by German civilians with shot guns in a patch of timber near the field in which we landed. The civilians called the military authorities within a few minutes and I was taken to Bremen Hospital and from there, to the Interogation Camp at Frankfurt am Main, where I was held for four days before being sent to Transient Camp in Frankfurt for eventual delivery to Stalag Luft #6 at Heidecruhg?


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