B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 44-6399

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6399


MACR: 9683


History of
B-17 44-6399

Delivered Kearney 25/7/44; Grenier 8/8/44; Assigned 20BS/2BG Amendola 16/8/44; Missing on practice operation 2/11/44 with George Reilly, Co-pilot: Arvin Hildebrand, Navigator: Richard Glattly, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Ben English, Radio Operator: Melvin Talley. Simply disappeared; Missing Air Crew Report 9683.

Last updated: 4. September 2021


B-17 44-6399 Details

Findings and conclusions regarding loss of one B-17G type aircraft, number 44-6399.

This aircraft took off from its home base, Amendola, Italy, on 2 November 1944 at 0918 hours, on an Instrument Navigation Training Mission. The crew was briefed to fly the following route at an altitude of 10,000 feet or above the overcest; Amendola to Rome, to Naples, to Taranto, to base. Clearance was given for flight at 10,000 feet; weather was slight rain with 7/10 to 10/10 cloud coverage from 3,000 to 5.000, visibility 2 to 12 miles, icing conditions at 7,000 18,000 feet.

Careful interrogation of other crews flying that day reveals that winds at 10,000 feet were between, 40 – 50 knots from 240 degrees, blowing aircraft considerably off course, icing conditions occurred at 9,000 12,000 feet.

There is no other information as to the fate of this aircraft as it was flying alone, and simply did not return to base at scheduled time. There have been no reports received to date as to its whereabouts. Search for missing aircraft was conducted by Regional Flying Control.

Capt. William S. Disbrow
Investigating Officer

Source: MACR 9683

Wreckage was found in the Majella (mountains) and could be identified as B-17 #44-6399 by serial numbers of 5 machine guns.


B-17 44-6399 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT George Reilly KIS
CP 1LT Arvin C. Hildebrand KIS
ENG/TT S/SGT Benjamin F. English KIS
RO S/SGT Melvin G. Talley KIS

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