“Flak so thick you could walk on it” . Only over nazi Germany american B-17 dropped over 640,000 tons of bombs during the war. Estimates of German civilians killed only by Allied strategic bombing have ranged from around 350,000 to 500,000.The B-17 would go on to drop more bombs than any other aircraft in the U.S. arsenal during World War II.
The B-17E number 41-9018 was assigned 341BS/97BG Polebrook March of 1942; was transferred to 327BS/92BG Bovingdon, Hertfordshire, UK August, 1942; took off at 09.00 on a bombing mission over Hellemmes’ railroad installations. They were hit by German AA fire, causing them to drop out of formation and be hounded by nine German Fw-190s among wich Lt. Walter Meyer and Otto “Stotto” Stammberger, both from JG26. They shot off the tail section and B-17 finally lost three engines, sending the plane down. The pilot held on as long as he could to avoid hitting the residential areas, but finally had to bail out. The B-17 desintegrated over Lannay near the Belgian border. There is a Monument near Mouchin on D955 direction Planard, that remembers the B17 crew.
Pilot Lt Francis H. Chorak (Killed In Action, KIA); Co-Pilot Lt Joseph J. Fracchia (POW); Navigator Lt Grady W. Roper (Captured and evaded); Bombardier Lt Charles G. Kolodzinski (POW); Ball Turret Gunner MSgt Paul R. Gordon (POW); Radio Operator Sgt John J. Dolan (KIA); Engineer/Top Turret Gunner James E. Lane (KIA); Waist Gunner Sgt Donald E. Buckland (KIA); Tail Gunner Sgt Malcolm Culpepper (KIA)
More than 1/3 of total B-17 produced were shot down (aprox. 4000 from a total of 12.731) More than 50,000 Airmen lost their lives in the four years of WWII and the majority of those losses were on bomber missions over Nazi Germany in B-17s and B-24s. Only in the 8th Air Force, of the 3,885 crewmen aboard B-17 Flying Fortresses that went down, 2,114 (54.4%) did not survive. The average age of the crew of a B-17 was less than 25.
Here you are a 2' VIDEO 360º with the "Bombs Away" diorama
Special thanks to mr. Lee Chan kie from Legend productions for being one of the very few manufacturers making an inside bomber crew.
See you when next project comes!
American War Museum
21 additional images. Click to enlarge.