B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 43-38270

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 43-38270


  • RCL: H

MACR: 10413 / KSU/ME/KU: 3346


History of
B-17 43-38270

Delivered Cheyenne 14/7/44; Hunter 22/7/44; Dow Fd 4/8/44; Assigned: 390BG Framlingham 4/8/44; Transferred: 549BS/385BG [SG- ] Gt Ashfield 5/8/44; MIA Osnabruck 21/11/44 Pilot: Jim Webb, Francis Riggs, Chas Melhado, Orsen Jensen, Tom Watkins, Tony Vespasiano, Wallace Land, Pryce Spencer (8KIA); Ken Kio (POW); mid air coll w/43-37566 (385BG); crashed Körbecke (District Warburg), Germany. MACR 10413.

Last updated: 21. November 2021


B-17 43-38270 Details

Mid-air-collision with B-17 #43-38566 on 21 November 1944. Exploded in the air, fragments scattered over an area of 6 km diameter near Körbecke (District Warburg), Germany

Statements about the incident

At 1207 hours on 21 November 1944, two B-17s came together in a mid-air collision en route to bomb enemy objectives deep in Germany.

A/C #43-38566, piloted by 1st Lt. Foss was flying #1 position in the low section of the high group. The second plane, A/C #43-38270, piloted by 1st Lt. Webb was flying the #4 position, second element lead, in the low section of the high group.

Evidently overshooting the formation, the vertical stabilizer of A/C 43-38270 hit the ball turret of A/C 43-38566. A/C 270 then continued forward and made contact with the nose and #2 prop of A/C 566, cutting off the nome of A/C 566. The tail section of A/C 270 likewise was ripped off at this second impact, and fell earthward. The forward section of A/C 270 continued in flight for a a few seconds, then started a downward spiral, for a distance of about 10,000 feet, eventually disappearing into the clouds at an altitude of about 15,000 feet. The A/C was not on fire at any time before disappearing into the clouds.

One chute from A/C 270 was reported opening, and two bodies were seen falling earthwards, possibly planning a delayed opening of their chutes.

Source: MACR 10413


B-17 43-38270 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT James S. Webb KIA
CP 2LT Francis M. Riggs KIA
BOMB 2LT Orsen E. Jensen KIA
ENG/TT T/SGT Thomas H. Watkins KIA
RO T/SGT Anthony Vespasiano KIA
BT S/SGT Wallace D. Lend KIA
WG S/SGT Kenneth E. Kio POW
TG S/SGT Pryce O. Spencer KIA

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