B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-97444

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97444

Manufacturer:
Lockheed/Vega

MACR: 2392

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History of
B-17 42-97444

Delivered Denver 18/11/43; Kearney 27/11/43; Assigned 340BS/97BG Cerignola 14/12/43; Amendola 16/1/44; Missing in Action Anzio 17/2/44 with Joe Csupak, Kirkpatrick, Stats, D’Abbracci, Pearce, Maddin, Robbins, Mazza, Taylor, Shanahan; flak, crashed Anzio; Missing Air Crew Report 2392.

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B-17 42-97444 Details

B17G #42-97444 took off from Amandola Air Field, Italy on a bombing mission over Anzio, Italy. They were hit by ground anti-aircraft fire. They were given the command to bail out, however only one parachute was seen by other planes in the area before B-17G #42-97444 exploded in mid-air.

Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56311854

The wrackage were found by Philippe Castellano in 27 meters of deep and 3 km north-west of Anzio Habour. The wreck is a complete wing and bomb bay. No nose and tail fuselage, rest is missing.

Philippe Castellano (http://www.aero-relic.org/):

  • The engine #1 and his wing part is breacking and missing by fisher net trailling action.
  • The engine #2 have disapear but his main landing gear with his wheel and his turbosupercharger still present at their original place but depressed by destruction at the bottom of the wing. It seem that the ship was badly hit by Flak shells in his #2 and #3 engines section.
  • The number 3 engine is the only one still in place but collapsed and is lying in horizontal position buried in the deep mud. Impossible of see if his big propeller is still under mug or not ? His turbosupercharger is destroyed and lie on the side. His landing gear is complete with his tire flat and torn with hole by Flak.
  • The engine mount (no engine) of the # 4 engine is in better shappe with his turbosupercharger still in his original position. Only one oxygen cylinder (for the crew) is seeing in the wing.
  • The bomb bay is complete and had lost his two doors. Inside still the attachs system in open position, no bombs’load.

Photos of the wreckage

Photo: Philippe Castellano
Photo: Philippe Castellano
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Eyewitness Statements from MACR 2392

I the undersigned was flying on aircraft number 437, in the 342nd Bomb Squadron (H), AAF. I saw the aircraft in question go into a vertical climb, and at the peak I saw a parachute leave the aircraft open. Before this the Radio operator on my ship saw another chute, which I saw a bit later. And as the aircraft went into a dive I saw four (4) more chutes came out open. The aircraft dove straight down until it was quite near the water, then it seemed to level off and burst into flames, and exploded. After it exploded I saw a white dot on or near the water that regambled a parachute. I am not certain of this though, as it was quite a distance from me by then.

Sgt. George W. Adams
Tail Gunner


I the undersigned was flying in aircraft number 436, of the 414th Bomb Squadron (H), AAF. I saw the aircraft in question first flying in level flight, and one chute opened near the rear of the ship. The aircraft then went turning into a dive, and into a loop. Then the second chute opened. As the aircraft started down in a dive, two more chutes opened it looked as though from the waist gunners positions. The plane had started smoking from the start of the dive, and then two more chutes openedm and I saw the aircraft catch fire, directly after one more chute opened number 2, and number 4 engine fell off, and the aircraft went into three pieces. A few seconds later it hit the water in three parts. The last chute was by them drifting toward land, but came down in the water.

Sgt. Roy Morris
Tail Gunner

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B-17 42-97444 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 2LT Joseph Csupak MIA
CP 2LT Jack B. Kirkpatrick KIA
BOMB F/O Armond E. D'Abbracci KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT Homer A. Maddin POW
RO S/SGT Robert L. Robbins KIA
BT SGT John Mazza MIA
WG SGT James A. Shanahan MIA
WG S/SGT Wayne A. Pearce MIA
TG SGT Fred Taylor MIA

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