B-17 Flying Fortress B-17 44-6546

B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies 44-6546


MACR: 12366


History of
B-17 44-6546

Delivered Hunter 4/9/44; Grenier 21/9/44; Assigned 20BS/2BG Amendola 3/10/44; transferred 32BS/301BG Lucera 29/10/44; Missing in Action Vienna 12/2/45 with Merrill Barnes, Co-pilot: Ward, Navigator: Edelen, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Harper, Radio Operator: Whitcombe, Ball turret gunner: Olis, Waist gunner: Thomas,Tail gunner: Elmer (8 Prisoner of War); Bombardier: Bowman, Waist gunner: Losh (2 Killed in Action); flak, crashed Tapolza; Missing Air Crew Report 12366.

Last updated: 15. April 2020


B-17 44-6546 Details

From MACR 12366

I was flying Ball turret on A/C 44-6357 in the 21 position and saw 546 just after it started to peel out of formation and it was going into a spin. The outer leading edge of the left wing crumpled and caught fire and the plane continued down in a flat spin. I saw one chute open and just at 546 went into the clouds I thought another one opened, but I am not positive. Through breaks in the clouds, I saw the plane still in a spin. Through another opening I saw the plane hit the ground and black smoke rising up, but clouds immediately obscured my vision. I don’t think the men had a chance of survival unless some more chutes came out below the clouds.

S/Sgt. William C. Kilby

I was flying left waist gunner in A/C 44-6403 in 23 position. About ten minutes after the target, A/C 44-6546 seemed to have been hit hard in the left wing and gas could be seen leaking very badly. 546 started pulling out of the formation and the left wing started to roll up from the tip. The plane started into a slow roll and fire broke out. Two chutes were seen to open and possibly a third. The plane then went into the layer of clouds at about 10000 and that was the last I could observe. I doubt that the rest of the crew had much of a chance to get out of the plane unless they came out under the undercast.

S/Sgt. Richard A. Stumbaugh


B-17 44-6546 Crew

Position Rank Name Status Note
P 1LT Merrill E. Barnes POW
CP 2LT Lawrence A. Ward POW
ENG/TT S/SGT Dale H. Harper POW
RO T/SGT David W. Whitcombe POW
BT S/SGT Edward S. Olie POW
WG S/SGT Athanasius P. Thomas POW
WG S/SGT Sanford E. Losh KIA
TG S/SGT Gael W. Elmer POW
TOG S/SGT Deveroux W. Bowman KIA

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