B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-5724 / Thunderbird II

B-17 #42-5724 / Thunderbird IIzoom_in


B-17F-5-VE: 42-5710 to 42-5724


  • RCL: LG-T

MACR: 15710

Missions: 9


History of
B-17 42-5724 / Thunderbird II

Delivered Tulsa 9/10/42; Wayne 14/11/42; Salina 19/1/43; Assigned 322BS/91BG [LG-T] Bassingbourn 23/3/43; Missing in Action 9m St Nazaire 28/6/43 with Ed Brodnax, Co-pilot: John Kaufman, Navigator: Bill Deal, Bombardier: Bill Lakey, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Gustav Lund, Radio Operator: Ken Dunbar, Waist gunner: Jim Wright, Ball turret gunner: John Mikkelson (8 Killed in Action), Waist gunner: John Smith,Tail gunner: Virgil Anderson (2 Prisoner of War); KO’d by heavy flak, ditched Channel, survivors picked up by French. Missing Air Crew Report 15710. (possibly MARNITA earlier) THUNDERBIRD No. 2.

Last updated: 18. August 2022


B-17 42-5724 / Thunderbird II Details

Source: https://www.facebook.com/AFmuseum/posts/10158123823337230

Statement in MACR 15710

Plane went on heavy bombardment mission to St. Nazaire, France, on 28 June 1943. Returning crews on the same mission reported that 3 aircraft were seen at 1800 hours altitude 8000 feet, in the vicinity of Brest, France, to fall out of control and crash into the sea.

One on the aircraft was seen to burst into flames on impact with the water. Eight parachutes were seen to open but could not be determined from which of the 3 aircraft they emerged.

2 fishing boats were seen in the vicinity at that time.

Plane went out of control and crashed into the sea, all of the crew except the tail gunner, S/Sgt James F. Wright, got out of the ship. S/Sgt Virgil M. Anderson and John J. Smith drifted away from the others, and did not see any trace of them again.

They were picked up by some French boatmen and directly after this, there was a bad storm. It is opinion of the two survivors that the remainder of the crew members perished at sea. Staff Sergeants Anderson and Smith were taken prisoner by the Germans, and have been repatriated.


B-17 42-5724 / Thunderbird II Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Edward T. Brodnax, Jr. KIA
CP 2LT John C. Kaufman, Jr. KIA
BOMB 2LT William A. Lahey KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT Gustav M. Lund KIA
RO T/SGT Kenneth C. Dunbar KIA
BT S/SGT John J. Smith POW
WG S/SGT Virgil R. Anderson POW
WG S/SGT John M. Mikkelson KIA
TG S/SGT James F. Wright KIA

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