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B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 10/2/44; 1SAG Langley 4/4/44; Morrison 26/4/44; Assigned (PFF) 49BS/2BG Amendola 8/5/44; 774BS/463BG Celone 5/44; Missing in Action Linz 29/11/44 with Pilot: Jerre Atchinson, Co-pilot: Clarry Pratt, Bombardier: Stephen Kennedy, Radio Operator: Marvin McCloud, Waist gunner: Conrad Stinde, Waist gunner: Fay Wyman, Tail gunner: Jim Koch (7 Killed in Action); Navigator: Addison Goodell, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Kenneth Knaack, Ball turret gunner: Albert Schneider (3 WIA, but survived); ship crashed during take off; Missing Air Crew Report 10627.

The following is an account of the events of November 30 by Albert Schneider written in an autobiography.
"I was a member of a B-17 bombing crew. Airmen, it seemed to me, developed a form of brotherhood in wich every man is depending on every other man in the plane.
We were flying night missions and on November 30, 1944 in southern Italy, it happened. It had been raining for fourteen days and air operations were nil. Intelligence said the Germans were rebuilding very fast. A call went out for volunteers; one ship from each group was needed. We got the job and we're glad of it. Take off time at 1:15 A.M. rolled around with plenty of rain and fog but so what, we'd done the same thing plenty of times before and down the runway we streaked, but this time was different. Perhaps a faulty motor, no one will ever know. We rose twenty-five feet off. The ground, going 110 mph then slowly settled back. The two inboard props hit and threw the nose of the plane up at a very sharp angle, only to drop again with two engines afire, to rip off the nose and throw two men clear. The plane continued to careen on its mad path, spewing flaming 100 octane gas in its wake, finally coming to rest in the midst of a plow field. I got out, I don't know how but I know I had to get up and walk, and walk I did. Approximately forty feet from the plane was my limit. I looked frantically for my buddies but no one was in sight. They were still in that flaming mass and try as I might, I couldn't move an inch further. Finally, one came staggering out, aflame from head to toe. I screamed at him to lie down and roll. He did and passed out in his frenzied efforts, directly in front of me. I threw dirt on him and rolled him until the flame was out and that was all I could do for him. "The others", I thought and at that instant two and a half tons of bombs detonated forty feet away.
Have you ever been run over by a steam roller or been squeezed so tight your eye balls bulged or you felt that any second all your entrails would part with you. That was the feeling I had. Yes, I was still conscious as the ambulance boys picked me up.
Some days later in the hospital, I found my back had been broken in three places, pelvis in five, right leg twice, brain concussion, ear drums broken, internal injuries, burns, cuts, and contusions; however still very much alive. The buddy who was burned so bad died the next day."



  • 463rd Bomb Group

    463rd Bomb Group

    The 463rd BG entered combat on March 30, 1944. The target was the airdrome at Imoski, Yugoslavia. Thirty-nine planes dropped 117 tons of bombs from 20,000 feet. Although slight flak was encountered, all planes returned safely. The group flew a...

  • 774th Bomb Squadron

    774th Bomb Squadron

    Established in mid-1943 as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment squadron; assigned to Second Air Force for training. Attached in late 1943 and early 1944 to Air University Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics. Deployed to Mediterranean Theater...


  • Stephen Kennedy

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 463rd Bomb Group
    Stephen Kennedy served as a bombardier with the 744th Bomb Squadron of the 463rd Bomb Group, flying missions out of Celone, Italy. He was Killed in Action on 30 November 1944 wHen his aircraft, B-17 42-97737, crashed on take off.

  • Albert Schneider

    Military | Ball turret gunner | 463rd Bomb Group
    Albert Schneider served as a ball turret gunner with the 774th Bomb Squadron of the 463rd Bomb Group, flying missions out of Celone, Italy. He was severely wounded on 30 November 1944 when his aircraft, B-17 42-97737, crashed on take off. ...


  • Celone

    Military site : airfield


Event Location Date
Crashed 29 November 1944

On take off from Celone airfield


Date Contributor Update
09 June 2017 20:34:43 Kipper Changes to description

Added first names of some crew members
Source: Declassified (1973) letter to Mrs. Marian H. Pratt with list of crew members.

Date Contributor Update
17 May 2017 13:19:12 Kmschneider73 Changes to description and events

Autobiography of Albert Schneider

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:15 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log