History of the
B-17 #42-5407 / Fightin’ Pappy

Delivered Denver 3/12/42; Morrison 5/2/43; Assigned 367BS/306BG [GY-L] Thurleigh 8/2/43; taxi accident with Bill McKearn 10/3/43; later transferred 323BS/91BG [OR- ] Bassingbourn 11/9/43; 526BS/379BG [LF- ] Kimbolton 27/9/43; Missing in Action Anklam 9/10/43 with Vernon Smith, Co-pilot: Bob Greenhaig, Navigator: Calvin Ford, Bombardier: George Dickerson, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Joe Lemischak, Ball turret gunner: Walt Johnson, Waist gunner: Dave Sharman, Waist gunner: Howie Hinman,Tail gunner: Quentin Breed (9 Prisoner of War), Radio Operator: John Bryant (Killed in Action); enemy aircraft, crashed Kalifornien, near Schonberg, 11 miles NE of Kiel, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 1354. FIGHTING PAPPY.

Details 42-5407 / Fightin’ Pappy

In the autumn of 1943. B-17s formed up over East Anglia to attack the German FW 190 fighters factory at Marienburg. Fightin’ Pappy was chosen to go with 120 B-17s for a diversionary attack at the aircraft component factory, Anklam. This was the crew’s fifth mission and the B-17’s 19th. the Group passed over Cromer at 1000 feet trying to fly under German radar. Unfortunately, they were spotted by the Bremen defense area and fighters were vectored along the Danish coast on an interception course. The formation reached 11,000 feet, found the target and released their bombs. At 12.00 hours, the group were intercepted over Kiel by a force of FW 190s. Fightin’ Pappy’s engines were hit badly. The B-17 spiralled downwards out of formation and dropped. Pilot and co-pilot struggled with the spinning aircraft and managed to straighten her up. The radio operator had been hit by a cannon shell but still sent out a distress signal, then clamped transmitter key down and returned to his gun. The pilot warned the crew to take up crash positions and wait for the impact. He managed to fly her straight and level, putting the B-17 down on a small island north of Kiel without further injuries to the crew. Unhappily, the radio operator had died from his wounds before the crash. He was recommended by the captain for a Silver Star and buried with full military honors at Kiel.

Fightin’ Pappy s/n 42-5407; 379th BG. Shot down by enemy fighters on October 9th 1943

Thanks to Thomas Hampel and Edwin Hess for the informations about the B-17 Fightin’ Pappy

The Crew of Fightin’ Pappy

2Lt Vernon R. Smith – POW
2Lt Robert L. Greenhaigh – POW
2Lt Calvin F. Ford – POW
2Lt. George A. Dickerson – POW
T/Sgt Joseph Lemischak – POW
T/Sgt Johnie B. Bryant – KIA
S/Sgt Walter D. Johnson – POW
Sgt David C. Sharman – POW
S/Sgt Howard D.Hinman – POW
S/Sgt Quentin E. Breed – POW

An other crew of Fightin’ Pappy

Photo contributed by Ray E. Wood.

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  1. von Ancelin am 11. June 2017 0:28 Uhr

    Do you know that film about “flying pappy” B17 ?
    This film has been taken by germans after the crash.
    Title : ” Abwehr eines US Bomberangriffes am 11. 01. 1944″
    Look very carefully at 4mn39s, and see the wreck !


    • von b17flyingfortress.de am 11. June 2017 2:23 Uhr

      Hello, yes I know the film. Thanks for your tip 🙂


  2. von Ray Wood am 25. March 2018 16:56 Uhr

    I have an orginal picture of the Fighten Pappy and its crew; my dad left it to me; its an 11 x 14……….not sure who the airmen are.


    • von b17flyingfortress.de am 27. March 2018 20:09 Uhr

      Thank you Ray for sharing the photos!


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