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WWII PHOTOS


 

This Section of the 379th Bomb Group Website is for members and those who would like to share their 379th BGA war pictures. Photographs should include a brief description, names, or story. All pictures will be added to the 379th BGA archives. Selected photos will be added to this section periodically.

Email to looking4@379thbga.org.  Subject: WORLD WAR II PHOTOS OF THE 379th 


 

PHOTO 5001 - Crash in Germany

During the Second World War, a lady lived in a house that was facing the German airfield of BONDUES (which at the time was also called LILLE-NORD by the German Luftwaffe). She remembers that one day this bomber crash-landed on the airfield and that the crew was taken POW.

This airfield was one of the airfields that were used by the 'Abbeville Kids', the Luftwaffe fighters of the famous Jagdgeschwader 26. The French lady thought this happened in the autumn or winter of 1942, but this is probably wrong since the 379th BG was not in action over occupied territory at that time.

Does anyone know about any B-17 of the 379th BG that crash-landed on a German airfield and whose crews were taken POW afterwards?

Sterling,
Your response to Photo 5001, allowed us to find the following information about your aircraft and crew. The following crew members were on the 4/6/45 mission to Leipzig, Germany on aircraft 43-39061-H "Round Trip Rabbit", 525th Squadron:

Jensen, Sterling A 1st Lt. Pilot
Hill, Joseph K  2nd Lt. Co-Pilot
Burke, John P 2nd Lt. Navigator
McCrary, Raymond E F/O Bombardier
Allen Jr., Leslie E T/Sgt. Radio Operator/Gunner
Roberts, Robert E T/Sgt. Engineer/Top Turret Gunner
Lake, Charles D Sgt. Ball Turret Gunner
Worthington, Clifford J. S/Sgt. Waist Gunner
Roundtree, Clarence P. S/Sgt. Tail Gunner
 

The following is a summary by the Pilot:
Final mission; electrical system malfunction; oil pressure gauge on # 3 dropped; feathered the prop; couldn't see any oil leak so I decided to unfeather the prop but because of the electrical malfunction it wouldn't unfeather. Stayed in formation to drop our bombs', after leaving the target we couldn't keep up with the formation and lost radio contact. Flying over a 10/10 under cast the navigator couldn't get a fix; finally we broke out over an English fighter field in France; dropped the wheels to indicate we wanted to land and got a green light. My navigator said we now had a heading to an American field. We took this [the wheels wouldn't retract] but there was no field. In the distance I spotted a large city, Lille, France, and landed on an old German fighter field. At the end of the landing roll the right gear dropped into a sand filled and grass covered bomb crater, bending # 3 & # 4 props. The plane was not repairable and we flew back to England.
Sterling A. Jensen, 1st Lieutenant Pilot

 

Photo 5002 - Coming in with her feet up at Kimbolton!!!

Lt  Edmund Lutz, 525th Bomb Squadron, made a perfect landing in the grass.

 

Photo 5003 – Birmingham Blitzkrieg A/C# 41-9100

This aircraft was a B17-E assigned to the 379th BG inventory in May 43 and listed as non-operational. This aircraft participated as the formation ship for some of the 379th BG missions. Many refer to this aircraft as the “Barber Pole”.

Toulouse, mission 25, June 1944:

Billy Drake’s crew ditched, was rescued and put ashore at Lyme Regis Dorset, England. After being rescued, a crewman told me the boat belonged to P Guinness of the Guinness fortune. The captain had heard an SOS and set sail to follow the signal. They put us ashore at Lyme Regis Dorset and the town folks met us at the dock and put us up in their homes. The next day we went to the US Naval base at Exeter.

The following day we were picked up by an aircraft and brought back to Kimbolton. The aircraft had white bands around each nacelle and white stripes the length of the fuselage.

According to one of the officers, the aircraft was used by permanent personnel for anything deemed appropriate. It had been well modified, had individual seats and was most comfortable. I was told that occasionally this aircraft made booze runs to Scotland.

I do not know of it being used as a formation ship, but it sure makes sense to do so.  Several times we had difficulty in finding our group.  Two aircraft failed to find the formation for above mission.

Harry S Hurlburt Jr, Bombardier on this crew

 

Photo 5004 - Waiting for the "BIRDS" to come home at the Kimbolton Airport Tower

This was one of two control towers at Kimbolton.

 

 

Photo 5005 - Pilot Karl Becker pointing to flack damage on "Lil Satan"

This aircraft received a burst of flak that sheared off much of the nose, knocked out both inboard engines, knocked out all flight and engine instruments and created much turbulence. Despite the damage it returned.

 

Photo 5006 – “Topper/Ol’ Gappy” in Kingman, AZ (the bone yard) after the war

“Topper/Ol’ Gappy” stands above any other bomber in the 8th Air Force in Europe in WWII with 157 combat missions. Not only did the 379th Bomb Group “The Grand Slam Group” stand supreme in operational efficiency over the other 41 groups, it also had 17 aircraft achieving over 100 combat missions, which was also more than any other group.

 

Photo 5007 - “Tenny Belle” crew after 25th

13 Mar 44: completing their 25th mission on “Tenny Belle”, 42-31083, 525th Squadron, L to R: Lt Richard C Brooke, Navigator; Lt Earl (Curly) L Houston, Pilot; and Lt Eugene F Hart, Bombardier being congratulated by other crew members and ground crew. This crew was like many; they did not finish their missions together. Due to the sub zero temps, the open waist positions in the earlier B-17’s caused many waist gunners to be hospitalized for severe frostbite. Members from other crews were required to fill-in when a crew was not complete due to sickness, injury or death. In April 44 the number of completed mission tours went from 25 to 30. Crewmembers who completed 20 missions were prorated 27, 28 or 29. Four members of this crew finished their missions in March, the rest were used as fill-ins for other crews to complete the rest of their prorated missions.

Photo 5007.1 - Maximilian Hadley's crew after their 25th mission on Anita Marie  3/14/44  525th
 

 

Photo 5008 - B-17G hit by a rocket with a hole large enough to drive a jeep through. But she comes back.

 Sgt Burdette R Smith was on this one…..

Photo 5009 - Can anyone identify these men??? Or maybe someone knows the crewman in the center of this photo

Capt Joseph A Brown, Lead Bombardier, (right) and Capt Andrew K Dutch, Lead Navigator, (left) training their new crewman.

 

PHOTO 5010 - "Fightin' Pappy" (42-5407)

Photo of a downed B-17 from the 379th BG. I got this photo from a fellow in Warsaw, Poland. It's a small photo so I had to resize it on my computer a few times to read the nose art. Looks to me like "Fightin' Pappy".
Thanks to Mark Forlow for this photo.

Vernon Smith, Pilot, said:  “The ball turret guns in the down position survived the impact of the landing. And, the guns stopped our skid on the ground by plowing into the soft ground. The guns were excellent brakes. That braking action saved us from skidding further and possibly into the trees at the end of the meadow.”

 

Photo 5011 - Grapefruit mission to Cologne 28 May 1944

It was officially named GB-1 (XM-108) and it looked like a crudely constructed mini aircraft. The nickname, Grapefruit, was because of its experimentation in Florida in June of 1941.The 2000-lb experimental bomb was12 feet long and about 30 inches wide. It had two vertical fins and was carried by hooks under a wooden wing. The bomb was controlled by a gyroscope mounted at the rear of the bomb.

The concept was that a formation of heavy bombers carrying a glide bomb under each wing could bring destruction to enemy targets without endangering the bombers or the flight crews. Once released by a B-17 at more than 2,000 feet at 185-200 mph, the Grapefruit would accelerate to 250 mph, go into a two minute gentle descent and glide for 20 miles to the target. This experiential project was assigned to the 303rd, 379th and 384th (41st Combat Wing). The results were good but showed no pinpoint accuracy; the varying air currents and an inadequate preset guidance system widely scattered the pattern of impacts.

German antiaircraft gunners believed they had achieved amazing accuracy. They saw mini bombers falling from the skies in every direction; cashing and exploding. German war records disclosed that their flak gunners put in claims for shooting down more than 90 Fortresses. This new bomb provided Axis Sally with news worthy material for her radio propaganda program.

General Hap Arnold called the mission a success. It was concluded that the glide bomb might be suited for area bombing, but not for the precision bombing for which the 379th BG had proven its expertise. The May 44 mission was the only mission on which this type of bomb was used by the 8th Air Force. (Excerpts from the 379th BGA Anthology)
 

 

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