B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-97739

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 42-97739


MACR: 10131


History of
B-17 42-97739

Delivered Denver 11/2/44; 1SAG Langley 8/4/44; Morrison 26/4/44; Assigned (PFF) 49BS/2BG Amendola 7/5/44; transferred to 20BS; Missing in Action Regensburg 9/12/44 with Woodruff Warren, Co-pilot: Don Hart, Navigator: George Mayott{m/op}, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Bill Jolly, Radio Operator: Frank Pinto, Waist gunner: Joe Cox (6 Killed in Action); Bombardier: Burke Jay, Ball turret gunner: Warren Anderson, Waist gunner: Ralph Henry,Tail gunner: Ben Sheppard (4 Prisoner of War); flak, crashed Alps, near Linz, Austria; Missing Air Crew Report 10131.

Last updated: 18. June 2020


B-17 42-97739 Details

Statement of 1st Lt. Sidney P. Upsher, pilot on B-17 No. 650, flying in formation of the second wave, second squadron, second element, number one position.

“At 1330 hours, at 4700N/1310E at 21500 feet, I called B-17 No. 739 to ask about the formation. Then he called our aircraft saying that he had one engine feathered and trouble with out other and that he didn’t know if he could made it over the Alps. He said he would have to bail out if he couldn’t, and would have to ditch if he did make it over the Alps. He was losing altitude; and his altitude at that time was 15000 feet. I called him back, and wished him “Good Luck”, and then heard no more from him.”

Sidney P. Upsher
1st Lt. Air Corps

General Narrative Statement

General Narrative Statement

B-17 No. 739 was flying in formation of the second wave, second squadron, first element, number one position on 9 Dec 1944, participating in a bombing mission to attack Brux Synthetic Oil Rafinery, Czechoslovakia.

Because of unfavorable weather conditions the formation was directed off course to an alternative target, Regensburg Oil Storage (4901N, 1206E). Over this target, the second wave (composed of two squadrons) then proceeded to another alternate target, Pilsen (4945N/1322E). After bombing this target at 1250 hours, the aircraft of the formation continued on same heading, delaying their turn off the bomb-run and encountered intense, accurate, heady flak from Praha. At this time, the formation was broken up; because of ten-tenths cloud cover from 20000/25000 feet, reforming was difficult; majority of aircraft were flying on instruments and observation of other aircraft was thus impossible.

B-17 No. 739 had evidently suffered serious flak damage over Praha. At 1330 hours, at 4700N/1310E, from an altitude of 21500 feet, B-17 No. 650 of the same squadron called B-17 No. 739 and received a return call. The pilot of B-17 No. 739 stated that he had one engine feathered and another giving him trouble. He also said, that his altitude was then 15000 feet and that he was losing altitude; he further said that he would have to bail out if he couldn’t make it across the Alps, that he would have to ditch if he did make it over the Alps. This was the last heard from or seen of this aircraft.

George B. Sweeney
Captain, Air Corps
Intelligence Officer


B-17 42-97739 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Woodruff J. Warren KIA
CP 1LT Donald L. Hart KIA
BOMB 2LT William Jolly KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT Frank Pinto KIA
RO T/SGT Warren Anderson POW
WG S/SGT Ralph E. Henry POW
WG S/SGT Joseph A. Cox KIA
TG S/SGT Benjamin J. Sheppard POW
RCM 2LT George D. Mayott KIA

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