B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 44-6431 / Old Folks

B-17 #44-6431 / Old Folkszoom_in

Arthur Zeiler


MACR: 13988

Missions: 51


History of
B-17 44-6431 / Old Folks

Delivered Hunter 3/8/44; Dow Fd 15/8/44; Assigned 346BS/99BG Tortorella 11/9/44; Missing in Action {51m} Linz 25/4/45 with Rich Schwarz, Johnson, Margolis, Arney, Sosnoski, Greenbaum, Early, Bianchi, Freundt, Rice; flak hit #2 ct fire, crashed Linz; nine chutes seen; Missing Air Crew Report 13988. OLD FOLKS.

Last updated: 9. September 2020


B-17 44-6431 / Old Folks Details

Eyewitness Statements to the loss of B-17 #44-6431 / Old Folks

On 25 April 1945, the target for our Group was the Linz South Main M/Y. We came in on the target at 26200 feet, heading 147° true. Flak was moderate but accurate – especially on able box.

Bombs were way at 1347 and at 1348 the Pilot (Lt. R. Wilkins) called me to watch “Able #5”, which was plane #431, who had fallen out of formation with #1 engine on fire.

This plane headed due East losing altitude rapidly and with two fighters for protection. At 1350 the fire appeared much larger as the plance circled to the West heading down and the crew bailed. Nine (9) chutes were observed. This plane was then at approximately 12000 feet at 48°18’N – 14°40’E.

2Lt. David L. Chollet
Navigator, Air Corps

On 25 April 1945, I was flying as tail gunner on ship 714 in number four (4) position. I saw ship 431 flying number five position at the time in trouble. It was #2 engine that threw out a blaze which appeared to be put out. At the time of bombs away 431 peeled off under the formation and #2 was aflame again. I watched for chutes but saw none and to all appearances the pilot had the ship under control. I followed them to the limit of my vision on the left side of our ship and then notified the navigator to follow it from there. The Navigator reported nothing more.

S/Sgt. Willam D. Katzing

Source: MACR 13988


B-17 44-6431 / Old Folks Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Richard A. Schwarz POW
CP 1LT Edwin E. Johnson POW
ENG/TT T/SGT Roy C. Sosnoski POW
RO T/SGT Donald Greenbaum POW
BT CPL Benett E. Early POW
WG S/SGT Fredrick L. Freundt POW
WG S/SGT Ugo Bianchi POW
TG --- Olan Rice POW
TOG S/SGT Ercell C. Arney POW

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