B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 42-97890 / L’il Satan aka Queen of Hearts

B-17 #42-97890 /  L’il Satan aka Queen of Heartszoom_in

Source:
www.fold3.com

Manufacturer:
Lockheed/Vega

  • RCL: WA-U

MACR: 9364

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History of
B-17 42-97890 / L’il Satan aka Queen of Hearts

Delivered Tulsa 27/3/44; Kearney 22/5/44; Grenier 29/5/44; Assigned 524BS/379BG [WA-U] Kimbolton 12/6/44 LIL SATAN; returning from Toulouse flak hit blew off nose 25/6/44 with Karl Becker; Navigator: Bob Evans, Bombardier: Arthur Maataa (2 Killed in Action); Waist gunner: Joe Simoncini (Prisoner of War), force landed RAF Hunsdon, Herts; Missing in Action Magdeburg 28/9/44 with Chas Rutledge, Navigator: Stan Pain (2 Killed in Action); Co-pilot: Tom Martin, Bombardier: Dave Anderson, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Doyle Poling, Radio Operator: Ellis Pierson, Ball turret gunner: Cliff Rondou, Waist gunner: Arthur Green,Tail gunner: Kyle Brown (7 Prisoner of War); flak, crashed Niederdadleben, W of Magdeberg, Ger; Missing Air Crew Report 9364. LIL SATAN aka QUEEN OF HEARTS.

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B-17 42-97890 / L’il Satan aka Queen of Hearts Details

Flak hit blew off nose on 25 June 1944. Navigator: Bob Evans, Bombardier: Arthur Maataa – 2 Killed in Action; Waist gunner: Joe Simoncini – Prisoner of War, force landed RAF Hunsdon, Herts. #42-97890 finally lost on 28. September 1944.

Crew on 25 June 1944

1Lt. Karl E. Becker – Pilot
2Lt. Patrick D. Rawls – Co-Pilot
2Lt. Robert W. Evans, Jr – Navigator (KIA)
2Lt. Arthur M. Maatta – Bombardier (KIA)
T/Sgt. Robert A. Smith – Radio Operator
T/Sgt. George M. Brittain – Engineer
S/Sgt. James A. Lalonde – Ball Turret Gunner
S/Sgt. Francis J. Phillips – Waist Gunner
S/Sgt. Joseph Simoncini – Tail Gunner (POW)
Maj. Alexander B. Andrews – Observer

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Consolidated report from crew interrogation of A/C 42-97890 after mission to Coulanges Sur Yonne on 25 June 1944 – MACR 6738

Over Paris, on their way back from the target, a burst of flak hit the nose of the aircraft directly. The nose was blown completely off and the metal section was mushrommed back. The Bombardier, Lt. Maata, had most of one leg blown off, the other leg fractured, one arm fractured, and serious internal injuries. Flak continued to hit them from then on. The whole aircraft vibrated tremendously. The Navigator, somewhat hard of hearings, baled out when the Pilot gave the order to prepare bail out. The tail gunner soon followed suit.

The Pilot and Co-Pilot remained right at their controls to keep the ship in the air. In the meantime, the bombardier crawled back to the escape hatch and was without oxygen. Major Andrews, who had gone back to the Pilot’s compartment just before the flak hit the nose because the Navigator was getting low on oxygen, tried to give him a bottle.

The Pilot, Lt. Becker, now turned away from his formation, to the right, in order to get away from the flak. #2 and #3 engines had been hit and were inoperational. The #2 prop wouldn’t feather and caused even more vibration in the aircraft.

Everyone thought they would have to bail out for sure. Every instrument in the cockpit had been knocked out except the rate of climb. Even the fuselage on the co-pilot’s side had been riddled with flak.

However, the crew was determined to get back to England if at all possible to save the bombardier’s life. Major Andrews and the Engineer, Brittain, finally managed to pull him back to the top turret. A terrific blast of cold air was coming through the plane so they tied him to the turret. Then they gave him morphine and tied a tourniquet around his bad leg and bandaged his outher wounds.

In the meantime, Lt. Becker had approached the Channel where tje weather was very bad, and he was steadily losing altitude. He and Rawls had a terrific time keeping their plane in the air. Lt. Becker was thoroughly determined by this time not to ditch. Arriving at the English coast, he had to let down through a thin layer of clouds. This required steady nerves to get through it, and he broke out over England with poor visibility. The Radio Operator had been sending out distress signals and fixes on their position. He could transmit but could not receive since flak had damaged the radio.

Lt. Becker headed for his home field, but seeing that he would not be able to make it, selected an RAF field about 30 miles away. The whole underside of the fuselage had been hit by flak and he was worried about the wheels coming down. However, the wheels came down OK and the flaps worked, but hydraulic system was shot out, and the brakes were inoperational. On the final approach the Engineer stood by to check the wheels manually.

Lt. Becker made a beautiful landing right on the end of the runway although one tire was puntured by flak. The had fired red flares and the RAF ambulance came right out. The Bombardier had died from lack of blood before landing.

The Navigator of the lead ship A/C Q-229 (Lt. Guy G. Heilman) Lead ship navigator fixed the time and place of the men bailing out at 2121 hours at Beauvais at 18000 feet.

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