B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies Fightin’ Pappy

In the autumn of 1943. B-17s formed up over East Anglia to attack the German FW 190 fighters factory at Marienburg. Fighting Pappy was chosen to go with 120 B-17s for a diversionary attack at the aircraft component factory, Anklam. This was the crew’s fifth mission and the B-17’s 19th. the Group passed over Cromer at 1000 feet trying to fly under German radar. Unfortunately, they were spotted by the Bremen defense area and fighters were vectored along the Danish coast on an interception course. The formation reached 11,000 feet, found the target and released their bombs. At 12.00 hours, the group were intercepted over Kiel by a force of FW 190s. Fighting Pappy’s engines were hit badly. The B-17 spiralled downwards out of formation and dropped. Pilot and co.pilot struggled with the spinning aircraft and managed to straighten her up. The radio operator had been hit by a cannon shell but still sent out a distress signal, then clamped transmitter key down and returned to his gun. The pilot warned the crew to take up crash positions and wait for the impact. He managed to fly her straight and level, putting the B-17 down on a small island north of Kiel without further injuries to the crew. Unhappily, the radio operator had died from his wounds before the crash. He was recommended by the captain for a Silver Star and buried with full military honors at Kiel.

Fighting Pappy s/n 42-5407; 379th BG. Shot down by enemy fighters on October 10th 1943

Thanks to Thomas Hampel and Edwin Hess for the informations about the B-17 Fightin’ Pappy

The Crew of Fightin’ Pappy

2Lt Vernon R. Smith – POW
2Lt Robert L. Greenhaigh – POW
2Lt Calvin F. Ford – POW
2Lt. George A. Dickerson – POW
T/Sgt Joseph Lemischak – POW
T/Sgt Johnie B. Bryant – KIA
S/Sgt Walter D. Johnson – POW
Sgt David C. Sharman – POW
S/Sgt Howard D.Hinman – POW
S/Sgt Quentin E. Breed – POW