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43-37821

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 25/5/44; Kearney 4/6/44; Grenier 17/6/44; Assigned 711BS/447BG Rattlesden 20/6/44; 710BG. Missing in Action Berlin 6 October 1944 with Pilot Vladimir A. Mateyka, Co-Pilot Keith W. Mc Call, Navigator Louis Sobolof, Bombardier Virgil W. Ethridge, Top Turret gunner Anthony V. Carnesi, Radio Operator Laverne T. Pratt, Ball Turret gunner Eugene F. Schmitt, Waist gunner John F. Simpson and Tail gunner Thomas R. Davis (9 Prisoner of War). Enemy aircraft above Berlin, headed for England, but had to ditch. Ditched in the North Sea, according to MACR, about 50 miles off the Firian Island of Norderney, Germany. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 9779. RED HOT MAMA.

Service

Units

  • 447th Bomb Group

    447th Bomb Group

    Group
    The 447th Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on strategic bombardment missions out of Rattlesden, Suffolk. With their first mission coming on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1943, their main focus was hitting sites that would weaken enemy forces...

  • 710th Bomb Squadron
  • 711th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Thomas Brown

    Military | First Lieutenant | 447th Bomb Group

  • Anthony Carnesi

    Military | Corporal | Top Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • Thomas Davis

    Military | Corporal | Tail Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • Virgil Ethridge

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier, Flight Engineer; Top Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • Vladimir Mateyka

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • Keith Mc Call

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • Laverne Pratt

    Military | Corporal | Radio Operator | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • Eugene Schmitt

    Military | Corporal | Ball Turret Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • John Simpson

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

  • Louis Sobolof (Post-war : Sobol)

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 447th Bomb Group
    Ditched into North Sea off the Frisian Island of Norderney, Germany on 6 October 1944 in B-17 'Red Hot Mama' #43-37821. He and the 8 other crew members were on board a rescue raft when they were captured by a German patrol boat 6-7 October 1944....

Missions

  • 667

    6 October 1944

Places

  • Rattlesden

    Military site : airfield
    Built for the Eighth Air Force in 1942, Rattlesden had three concrete runways, 50 hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. Intended to be a twin-engine B-26 bomber base, it was originally a satellite for nearby Rougham, and first occupied from...

Events

Event Location Date
Failed to Return (FTR) Over Water (OW) off Norderney, Frisian Islands, Germany 6 October 1944

Letter from Louis Sobolof in 1980's to Sgt. Bourque Recognition Programs Branch HQ AFMPC/DPMASA
Randolph Air Force Base ,Texas
...we were hit over the German mainland on our 3rd mission. I think the target was Berlin. We lost an engine over the target and I navigated the course outside of Germany as we constantly lost altitude and engines. We ditched the B17 in the North Sea near the Frisian Islands. A rescue plane dropped rubber motorized boats and was in turn shot down by two German planes in a dogfight right above our heads. A German flying boat landed alongside us and took us in.
After a couple of weeks in solitary during interrogation we were taken to our first Stalag. I do not recall the number but it was near Berlin and we arrived just shortly after a large break from the English compound, most of whom had been recaptured. Incidentally, with regard to timing we are dealing now with Fall 1944 and you can establish the date more precisely if you wish to because the trains that brought us to the Stalag were loaded with soldiers who had been captured during the Battle of the Bulge. Around Xmas time the Russians were approaching from the east and we had to quite suddenly abandon camp. We set out upon a march to the South and I recall that it was freezing cold.
In fact I got frostbite and do not even remember walking the great distances,living off local handouts, and when we were lucky sleeping indoors in factories or gymnasiums.
Finally the train ride in cattle fashion brought us to our next Stalag outside of Nuremberg. This camp was completely disorganized, food was scarce and Red Cross packages did not arrive. Worst of all we were within a mile of the freight yards which were constantly bombed, and we well understood that the Germans were gong through.I think our stay here was no more than a couple of months and we took to the road again. This time it was obvious that the situation was disintegrating and the guards who accompanied us were more concerned with looking after their own skins than feeding us, or even observing the minimum civilities.
It was at this stage, as we marched south that one of my friends took ill and was dead by evening.We arrived beat and bedraggled at a Stalag near Munich that had obviously been in operation for many years because the intelligence and other operations were beautifully handled by the British, many of whom had been captive for four years.I might add that one of the most thrilling recollections of the entire period was the sight of these British captives assembling in their compound on Sunday mornings with their kilts and bagpipes and dancing in such spirited fashion as if for the moment they were transported outside of their situation. Also the Russians who drifted through the various compounds and were maltreated by their captors; so much so, that upon the first day of liberation they went in to town and killed all the Germans they encountered. This liberation took place for us one morning in late spring 1945 when all our guards had disappeared during the night and General Patton rode triumphantly in the rear of a jeep to our stunned applause.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
25 November 2020 15:15:42 ED-BB Changes to description, events and mission associations
Sources

MACR 9779

Date Contributor Update
17 November 2016 11:40:19 Lucy May Changes to description, events and place associations
Sources

The date B-17 43-37821 crash landed in the North Sea was 10 October 1944. See:
MACR 9779
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/MACRmonthly/44OctMACR.htm
http://accident-report.com/Serials/1943h.htm
https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/dblist.php?AcType=B17&page=12

Date Contributor Update
08 September 2016 22:46:55 walnyc Changes to events
Sources

letter from Louis Sobolof in 1980's to Sgt. Bourque Recognition Programs Branch HQ AFMPC/DPMASA
Randolph Air Force Base ,Texas
.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:41:24 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 9779 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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