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42-97655

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 18/1/44; 1SAG Langley 13/2/44; Assigned 49BS/2BG Amendola 2/3/44; transferred 414BS/97BG Amendola; Missing in Action - Wiener Neustadt 10/5/44 with Col Jacob E. Smart (Gp CO), Hill, McCarthy, Lassiter, Kehrberger, Flamingo, Zohler, Anderson, Carter; flak, crashed Stinkenbrunn/ now Steinbrunn; Missing Air Crew Report 4722.
if you need some information, send a pm to me: Wolfgang.schriefl@omv.com

I was in contact with Col Smart (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_E._Smart and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phH2V-qK95M ) in 2005 and know the crash site quite well

#275 Wiener Neustadt A/C Factory Austria. 10 May 1944

Flak enroute heavy, scattered and accurate at Maribor. Flak over target heavy, intense, concentrated and accurate. ME-109s attacked very aggressively as formation turned off target. Flying 4 abreast 12 to 16 E/A flew straight through the formation. 1 ME-109 clipped 8 ft. from the right wing of a B-17 destroying itself. This A/C landed at home base. E/A destroyed 2, damaged 2. TSgt Clyde Brown,(341st) is credited with the destruction of an ME-109. The group leader and his A/C were lost to flak.

My plane -> Reported M.I.A. : A/C # 42-97655 (414 th) – Col. Jacob E. Smart, P: Major Homer T. Hill, CP 2LT Joseph J. McCarthy, N 2 LT E. (nmi) Rinck Jr., R/N :, 1 Lt Haskell P..McCarthy, R/N; 1LtHaskell P.Lasater, B(341st) ; Tsgt Rocco J. Flamingo, T/T/ ; SSgt Elmer C. Kehrberger, R/O ; SSGT; SSgt roland D. Anderson,W/G. W.I.A. by flak- 2Lt Larence R. Dannenberg, B; SSgt Earnest R. Sherman, L/W/G; SSgt; SSgt Homer (NMM) Riddle, R/O ; 2Lt W.J. Brown, R/N ; 2Lt; L.D. Dennison, P, 2Lt J.M. Hannon, CP; 2Lt E. C. Smith, CP;TSgt C.D. Churchill, T/T/G; M.W. Mumford, R/W/G.
Escorts were P-38s, P-47s and P-51s.

Minutes from the target approximately 200 fighters offered battle in the best tradition of the Luftwaffe. They came in pairs and then pulled away as flak blackened the skies. Seconds before “bombs Away” a direct hit by a flak burst’ just forward of the bomb bay, tore the lead fortress apart.
The Colonel delayed his use of the parachute hoping to fall beneath the flak but was wounded before the chute opened. He landed in a soggy meadow only to have the wind catch his chute and drag him through the slimy mess. Unable to open his first aid kit he finally shed his harness and crawled under some brush and either fell asleep or passed out. Three hours later he was awakened by Germans from a nearby flak battery. The non-com in charge opened the first aid kit and poured iodine on his wounds.

Following several moves Colonel Smart had the good fortune to be doctored by an Austrian M.D. who spoke English and hinted at his Anti-Hitler feelings. Questioning by the Abwehr came after they produced photos showing the Colonel at the Casablanca Conference.

Three men got out of the stricken craft. Colonel Smart, Major Homer Hill, the co-pilot and the tail gunner. All became prisoners until the end of the war.

Remark: The person below lost his leg!

Incident: Joseph N. Hannan tells us years later “I was co-pilot of the b-17 ON Col. Smart’s right wing when his airplane was blown apart. That German was one hell of a gunner. Twenty seconds later one of his shells blew off my leg. Our Fortress still got us home.”

Col. Smart, a former B-24 pilot, was involved with the planning of the first historic mission against Ploesti, Roumania.

In General Patton’s march through Germany , he liberated a P.O.W. camp. One of the first to greet him was our missing C.O., whom everyone presumed dead.

Incident: After dropping their bomb Capt. Spradley brough back home his second severely damaged plane which strictly possessed all qualifications for membership to the Hangar Queen sorority. The top turret gunner shot at an ME-109 and it was assumed that he killed the pilot because the fighter, out of control, dived through the right wing of the Fortress and ripped off four feet of the wing and stripped off over ten feet of metal, covering the wing. In addition to that damage the ship collected two large flak holes in the left stabilizer and 59 holes through the tail gunner’s position. But not one man was injured.

Leo Dennison tells what he saw when Col. Smart’s plane went down on 10 May, 1944. I was flying the #2 position, deputy group lead on the emission. We started getting flak as soon as we reached the inertial point. There were three bursts of flak in front of the Col’s plane. The first was low, the next higher and the third on his level and in front of plane’s nose. The next was a direct hit. The whole front of the plane nosed down with all engines running and started turning right and went below us. I remember an oxygen bottle falling out before I lost sight of the plane. After the Col. was hit, I called the bombardier and said “O.K. Charlie, I guess it’s up to us now” ( since we were supposed to take over the lead), Charlie said “O.K. follow the PDI.” We continued on the bomb run and were getting lots of flak. In approximately two minutes we got hit. A big piece of flak hit the nose of our plane, came through the navigators table. He would have been killed except he was standing behind the bombardier looking over his shoulder at the target. The flak came up through the cockpit floor, cutting off the Pilot’s control column and his left leg. It continued up between our seats, hitting the oxygen bottle behind my seat, then hit and bent one of my upright bars on the top turret. It then went out the left side of the plane through the electrical panel, which knocked out all their engine instruments. When we were hit, the bombardier had his hands on the “rate” knob and his tripped the bombs out for the plane really shook. After the bombs were gone, the rest, the rest of the group were supposed to drop off of group lead. Charlie said “Let’s get the hell out of here.” I started a left turn and then I saw that we were out there all by ourselves. The rest of the group had made a left turn. Probably when the Colonel was shot down. I guess they followed the plane on the left wing instead of us on the right. Anyway, they were scattered out and were about five miles away. I thought we would try to catch up and tack on the tail end. But then I noticed that I could not breathe very well. I checked the oxygen gauge and it was at zero. Then the navigator called and said that he had no oxygen. (We were on the same system) We were at 21000 feet so I knew we had to go to lower altitude.
We went down to 14000 feet and headed for Foggia gradually losing altitude to increase our speed. I had no engine instruments and left the power setting as it was at altitude. So as we descended the power increased and we were indicating over 200 MPH in level flight (150 normal). I knew we were probably exceeding engine limits, but we were in a hurry. We expected fighters to jump us and stayed in clouds as much as we could , but saw none.
The engineer put on a tourniquet on the co-pilot’s leg and gave him shots of morphine. Then he patched up the electrical panel so we could lower the landing gear.
There have been conflicting stories about what happened on that mission. The bombardier from the plane on left wing said that I had asked them to take over the lead as I had smoke in the cockpit and could not see. Well, I never had smoke in the cockpit and did not make any radio calls. I think they just got shook up when the Colonel got shot down and took off. They claimed that they hit the target but they were going in the wrong direction when I saw them. We got bacj to Foggia about 45 minutes before the rest of the group, so they may have turned around and gone over the target.
The co-pilot with colonel Smart was Major hill, our squadron commander. I could not believe it when they were both reported prisoner of war for I saw them disappear in a puff of smoke. THEY BOTH HAD BACK PACKS. Major Hill died in prison camp.

Pages 169 & 170 copied from the 97th Bomb Group history book Venit Hora by N Seeley

Events

Event Location Date
cemetary 10 May 1944

Joseph J. McCarthy
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-809674
340th Bomber Squadron, 97th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: 10-May-44
Buried at: Plot K Row 48 Grave 15
Lorraine American Cemetery
St. Avold, France
Awards: Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster

RINCK, EDWARD JR
2ND LT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF DEATH: 05/10/1944
BURIED AT: SECTION J SITE 13603

LONG ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY

2040 WELLWOOD AVENUE FARMINGDALE, NY 11735-1211
(631) 454-4949

LASATER, HASKELL P
1 LT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF BIRTH: 05/27/1919
DATE OF DEATH: 05/10/1944
BURIED AT: SECTION P SITE 37

FT. SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

1520 HARRY WURZBACH ROAD SAN ANTONIO, TX 78209
(210) 820-3891

FLAMINGO, ROCCO J
T/SGT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF DEATH: 05/10/1944
BURIED AT: SECTION J SITE 13603

LONG ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY

2040 WELLWOOD AVENUE FARMINGDALE, NY 11735-1211
(631) 454-4949

KEHRBERGER, ELMER C
AVN CADET US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF DEATH: 05/10/1944
BURIED AT: SECTION J SITE 13603

LONG ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY

2040 WELLWOOD AVENUE FARMINGDALE, NY 11735-1211
(631) 454-4949

ANDERSON, ROLAND D
SSG US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF BIRTH: 01/21/1923
DATE OF DEATH: 05/10/1944
BURIED AT: SECTION J SITE 13603

LONG ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY

2040 WELLWOOD AVENUE FARMINGDALE, NY 11735-1211
(631) 454-4949

ZOHLER, EDWIN R
S/SGT US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF DEATH: 05/10/1944
BURIED AT: SECTION J SITE 13603

LONG ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY

2040 WELLWOOD AVENUE FARMINGDALE, NY 11735-1211
(631) 454-4949

Carter –
Smart –
Hill –

Crashed crash site 10 May 1944

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2020 09:06:40 Schrieflw Changes to events
Sources

LONG ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERy

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2020 08:58:16 Schrieflw Changes to production block number, manufacturer, nicknames and markings
Sources

MACR: 4722

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2020 08:52:23 Schrieflw Changes to description
Sources

ages 169 & 170 copied from the 97th Bomb Group history book Venit Hora by N Seeley

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2020 08:36:05 Schrieflw Changes to description
Sources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phH2V-qK95M

Date Contributor Update
03 July 2020 08:31:36 Schrieflw Changes to description
Sources

wolfgang.schriefl@omv.com

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:14 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log

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