B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies Miss Ouachita

February 1944. “Miss Ouachita”, a B-17F had had an uneventful flight to Hanover, its target for that day. When the formation had settled into its bomb run the gunners noticed shinky flecks of metal high above them; the sure sign on immiment enemy fighter attack. Four German FW 190’s peeled away in an attacking dive. They were spotted by the top turret gunner who screamed out, “Fighters at 5 o’clock!” and began to fire his Browning machine guns. One of the FW 190’s fell away from attack, its engines spewing out oil and smoke.

“More fighters at 2’clock!” the co-pilot called out to alert all gunners, just before the whole lenght of the plane was raked with gunfire. Tail and waist guns were firing back wildly but the top turret remained ominously quiet. The operator had beed hit in the first strike. The FW 190’s continued to pound the B-17. The co-pilot, radio operator and left waist gunner were hit and the aircraft was crippled still 20 miles south of Hanover. It was obvious to the pilot that he couldn’t maintain bombing formation at 25,000 feet. He ordered the wounded members of the crew to bailed out at 23,000 feed knowing that they would receive prompt medical treatment and turned the plane for home. But he couldn’t maintain height. “Miss Quachita” belly landed just short of the Dutch border. the crew survivors immediately tired to destroy the aircraft but they were arrested by the German Home Guard. The crew were eventually sent to POW camp.

The crew of Miss Ouachita

2nd LT Spencer K Osterberg
John E. Van Beran
2nd LT George J. Zebrowski
2nd LT Morris J. Roy
S/SGT Samuel P Aldridge
T/SGT Lambert R. Bostrom
S/SGT Alexander W. Siatkowski
SGT Jay J. Milewski
T/SGT Harold Klem
S/SGT Clayton E. Morningstar

More details about “Miss Ouachita”
The B-17F “Miss Ouachita” s/n 42-3040 were built by Douglas with the cost of $357,655.00. She was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group; coded OR-Q. “Miss Qachita” was shot down by Heinz Bar.