B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 43-37822 / The Lead Banana

B-17 #43-37822 / The Lead Bananazoom_in



  • RCL: SU-N

MACR: 9753

Missions: 28


History of
B-17 43-37822 / The Lead Banana

Delivered Cheyenne 25/5/44; Kearney 8/6/44; Grenier 28/6/44; Assigned 544BS/384BG [SU-N] Grafton Underwood 29/6/44; Missing in Action Magdeburg 28/9/44 with John Buslee, Co-pilot: Dave Albrecht, Navigator: Bill Henson, Bombardier: Bob Stearns, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Len Bryant, Radio Operator: Seb Peluso, Ball turret gunner: George McMann,Tail gunner: Gerald Anderson (8 Killed in Action); Waist gunner: George Farrar (Prisoner of War); collided with 42‑31222 over target; both ships went down on fire and out of control; no chutes;, crashed Ostingersleben, Ger; Missing Air Crew Report 9753. LEAD BANANA.

Last updated: 30. January 2020


B-17 43-37822 / The Lead Banana Details

Reported missing in action September 28th 1944 near Madgeburg. The primary target was the Leuna Industry oil plant which was obscured by weather and only 23 aircraft released their bomb loads, 359 aircraft bombed the city of Madgeburg, and 35 aircraft bombed targets of opportunity in the vicinity. Heavy flak forced many of the 1,049 bombers into crossing course with another formations after bombs away. Consequently the lead aircraft of the 384th made a sharp descending right turn to avoid the ensuing traffic of aircraft. The high element inner most of the right turn had to reduce speed down to maintain formation while in a slight climb. In this formation manoever the #43-37822 ‘Lead Banana’ collided with a B-17G #42-31222 ‘Lazy Daisy’ from the 384th’s 545th Bomb Squadron aircraft called ‘Lazy Daisy’.

‘Lazy Daisy’ was going too fast and was unable to maintain the slight climb and slow right turn and continued forward sliding diagonally across the right turning formation. ‘Lazy Daisy’ narrowly passing under a B-17 flown by Lt. Wallace Storey who pulled his aircraft up, narrowly avoiding a collision. Lt. Storey called over to John Buslee in the ‘Lead Banana’ warning of the impending collision, yet received no reply. ‘Lazy Daisy’ quickly continued it’s sliding path across the slowing formation and impacted the ‘Lead Banana’ in its right turn, cutting the fuselage in two at the midsection. The ‘Lazy Daisy’ in it’s momentum collapsed into itself folding up it’s wings trapping the crew in the front of the aircraft while the rear crewmembers were able to escape. The ‘Lead Banana’ crew were trapped in the fiery wreckage except for George Ferrar in the waist section who escaped. Both of the tangled B-17’s plummeted down in a fireball. Both aircraft separated during the descent crashing in the separate locations of Ingersleben Ost and Erxleben, Germany. The only two aircraft lost that day for the 384th Bomb Group.

via: https://www.flickr.com/photos/68560956@N06/9568672178

About the photo:
The same photo sometimes identified as #43-37822 from Block B-17G-70-BO. But this production block B-17G-70-BO: 43-37674 to 43-37873 had natural finish. So, it is believed, that the photo shows the B-17 #42-37822 / The Lead Banana


B-17 43-37822 / The Lead Banana Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P --- John Buslee KIA
CP --- Dave Albrecht KIA
BOMB --- Bob Stearns KIA
ENG/TT --- Leonard Bryant KIA
RO --- Seb Peluso KIA
BT --- George McMann KIA
WG --- George Farrar POW
TG --- Gerald Anderson KIA

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