B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-5786 / Whizzer II

B-17 #42-5786 / Whizzer IIzoom_in



MACR: 3909


History of
B-17 42-5786 / Whizzer II

Delivered Long Beach 28/1/43; Denver 30/1/43; Assigned 4Ferry Gp Memphis where line chief Sgt Oscar Penrod ground looped aircraft 20/3/43; Morrison 14/4/43; Assigned 347BSA/99BG Navarin 5/5/43; Oudna 4/8/43; damaged by fire 16/9/43, repaired at depot; transferred 840BS/483BG Tortorella 4/44; Missing in Action Nis, Yugo. 15/4/44 with Jim Preston, Johnston, Gresham, Lindholm, Toutant, Cieslak, Cooper, Pierce, Cline, Brown (10 Killed in Action); flak hit between # 3 & 4. The main fuel tanks took fire as the wing folded back all in seconds; crashed Nis, W/O. Missing Air Crew Report 3909. WHIZZER II.

Last updated: 5. August 2022


B-17 42-5786 / Whizzer II Details

Eyewitness statements to the loss of B-17F 42-5786 / Whizzer II

I was flying in No. 7 ship of No. 6 Box of which ship No. 786 was flying No. 6 position. The pilot of this airplane was Lt. Preston.

As we turned to the right, apparently onto the target, the flak became very accurate, and to the best of my knowledge Lt. Preston suffered a direct hit in No. 3 tank which immediately exploded, and at that time the right wing came off and the plane immediately began a sharp diving turn to the right.

I was forced to dive to the right to avoid being struck by Lt. Preston’s plane, which at the time was burning fiercely. I saw no chutes.

1Lt. Alpha A. Fowler

The ship received a direct hit in the radio room or bomb bay. It burst into flames immediately, and the right wing broke off at the inboard engine. Immediately thereafter it crumpled amid ship, did a half roll and dove out of sight completely covered with flames. This is what I saw, and has been verified by other members of our crew. I saw no chutes leave the plane.

2Lt. Len R. N. Koutnik

Source: MACR 3909


B-17 42-5786 / Whizzer II Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 2LT James O. Preston KIA
CP 2LT Harry L. Johnston KIA
BOMB 2LT Gordon G. Lindholm KIA
ENG/TT S/SGT John C. Toutant KIA
RO SGT James E. Cooper KIA
BT SGT Harold J. Pierce KIA
WG SGT Albert M. Cline KIA
WG S/SGT John T. Cieslak KIA
TG PVT Jack Brown,Jr. KIA

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