Skip to main content
Edit entry 

42-5070

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Cheyenne 17/9/42; New Castle 11/10/42; Assigned 401BS/91BG [LL-A] Bassingbourn 14/12/42; Missing in Action 18m Bremen 17/4/43 with Capt Oscar O'Neill, Co-pilot: Bob Friehofer, Navigator: Capt Edwin Carmichael, Bombardier: Capt Edwin Bush, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Harry Goldstein, Radio Operator: Bill King, Ball turret gunner: Benedict Borostowski, Waist gunner: Aaron Yuell, Waist gunner: Chas Melchiondo, Tail gunner: Eldon Lapp (10 Prisoner of War); flak set cockpit and wings alight, crashed Nikolausdorf, near Oldenburg, Ger. Missing Air Crew Report 15519. INVASION II (2nd).

17 April 1943, Target: Bremen, Aircraft Plant
While over the target “Invasion 2nd” took flak hits and was attacked by German fighters. Three fighters came in head-on at 1200 O’clock level and shot off the front of the No. 2 engine. Cpt. O’Neill rang the bail-out bell and called out over the intercom for the crew to leave the aircraft.
The ball turret gunner, T/Sgt Benedict B. Borostowski, came up into the fuselage and went to the partly open waist door. The door was jammed and would not open further. The waist gunners, S/Sgts William B. King, left waist, and Eldon R. Lapp, right waist, were sitting in front of the door, unable to squeeze out. Sgt Borostowski stepped up and one at a time put a foot between their shoulders, and in turn, pushed both gunners through the narrow opening. The others in the rear of the aircraft had already left. The tail gunner, S/Sgt Aaron S. Youell, dropped through the tail escape hatch. The radio operator, S/Sgt Charles J. Melchiondo, and the flight engineer, T/Sgt Harry Goldstein, went out through the bomb bay. There was no one left to push Sgt Borostowski out. So, he went to the tail escape hatch and dropped out. The rest of the crew, including Cpt O’Neill and the copilot, 1Lt Robert W. Freihofer, bailed out through the nose hatch. The bombardier, Cpt Edwin R. Bush, detached the Norden bombsight and tossed it out the escape hatch before following the navigator, Cpt Edwin M. Carmichael, through the opening. All crewmen survived to become POWs.
“Invasion 2nd” crashed landed itself in an almost perfect landing on the ground near Oldenburg. (The First Of Many: First Crews of the 8th Air Force by Lowell L. Getz)

Service

Units

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force


    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars

    Group
    The 91st Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated at Harding Field, Louisiana on 15-April-1942 and went to MacDill Field, Florida for the first phase of training from 16-May-1942 to 25-June-1942. The Group was then assigned to 2nd Air Force at Walla...

  • 401st Bomb Squadron

People

  • Benedict Borostowski

    Military | Master Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to safety. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 15519 Awards: PH, POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Edwin Bush

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Bombardier | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Aboard 'The Saint' B-17F 41-24431 which suffered an accident while taxiing on the runway on 12-Feb-43 due to strong winds. All 7 crew members were safe. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to...

  • Edwin Carmichael

    Military | Major | Navigator - Group Navigator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to safety. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 15519 Awards: AM (3OLC), POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Dalton

    Military | Master Sergeant | Crew Chief; Ground Crew | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Awards: WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Robert Freihofer

    Military | First Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to safety. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 15519 ...

  • Jack Gaffney

    Military | Master Sergeant | Crew chief | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    In addition to his mechanic duties, Sgt Gaffney created "nose art" for seven different 91st BG Fortresses. He painted nose art for "Invasion II" (42-5070), "The Bad Egg" (41-24484), "The Sky Wolf" (41-24527), "Shamrock Special" (42-29591), "Destiny's...

  • Harry Goldstein

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner / Flight engineer | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to safety. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 15519 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • William King

    Military | Master Sergeant | Radio Operator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 #42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to safety. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 15519 ...

  • Eldon Lapp

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to safety. Prisoner of War (POW). MACR 15519. Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

  • Charles Melchiondo

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF. Shot down 17-Apr-43 in B-17 42-5070 'Invasion II'. Plane was on fire when all crew parachuted to safety. Prisoner of War (POW) MACR 15519 Awards: POW, WWII Victory, EAME.

Show more

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 46

    22 March 1943
    The U-Boat pens and harbour facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany are the primary target for this mission. 76 B-17's are despatched: 91BG (21); 303BG (18); 305BG (18); and 306BG (19). These are joined by 26 B-24's: 44BG (12) and 93BG (14). Of this force...

  • VIII Bomber Command 52

    17 April 1943
    The largest mission to date, 117 B-17s, are despatched to bomb the primary target of the Focke-Wulf Aircraft factory at Bremen, Germany: 91BG (32); 303BG (29); 305BG (28) and 306BG (26). The German Luftwaffe is learning fast and mounts a fierce and...

Places

  • Bassingbourn

    Military site : airfield
    Now home to a museum all about the aifield and its USAAF residents (http://www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk/) , Bassingbourn opened in 1938 as part of the RAF's pre-war expansion programme. The RAF continued to use it until late in 1942 when its long...

Events

Event Location Date
Manufactured Seattle, WA, USA 1942

Built at Boeing.

Delivered Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Francis E. Warren AFB, WY 82005, USA 17 September 1942

Delivered to Cheyenne AFB 17-Sep-42.

Assigned Bassingbourn, Royston SG8 5LP, UK 14 December 1942

Assigned to 401BS, 91BG, 8AF USAAF.

Crashed Oldenburg, Germany 17 April 1943

Failed to Return (FTR) mission to Bremen 17-Apr-43. Flak set cockpit and wings alight, crashed Nikolausdorf, near Oldenburg, Germany. 10 x POW. MACR 15519.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
20 August 2021 12:48:20 acbernstein1 Changes to description
Sources

AAM

Date Contributor Update
20 August 2021 00:57:35 acbernstein1 Changes to description
Sources

https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/55636/TheFirstofMa...

Date Contributor Update
09 March 2020 00:24:35 jmoore43 Changes to description
Sources

Added a space in front of the words "Tail gunner" in the A/C “Description” to aid clarity.

Date Contributor Update
19 March 2017 16:54:18 Al_Skiff Changes to production block number, nicknames, markings, events, unit associations, person associations and mission associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/47349570
http://worldwar2database.com/gallery/wwii0002
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbmsn.asp?SN=42-5070&Submit6=Go

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:53 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 15519 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

Share