My dad flew in B-17's out of Kimbolton Air Base in England. The information about each plane listed was gathered from the 8th Airforce Database (www.8thairforce.com), other than the photograph of Lil Satan with battle damage, which came from the good folks at the 379th Bomber Group Association who obtained it from the National Archives.
If a name appears in parentheses behind the name my dad had in his flight log, that is the actual aircraft name as stated in the 8th Airforce Database (this database made up of information found at the National Archives).
Remarks: Returned to USA 6/28/1945 Kingman, AZ.
Remarks: Aircraft crashed mid-air collision. Listed as Missing in Action.
Remarks: Crash landed in France 9/8/1944. Crew all safe. Salvaged 11/14/1944.
Remarks: 12/9/1944 - Mid-air collision over France with aircraft #42-97833 (Silver Dollar). Crash landed near Romilly. 7 killed, 2 salvaged. Silver Dollar landed safely at strip A-54-C in France. 2 crew bailed out. The Julie Mae was salvaged.
Remarks: Listed as Missing In Action 1/31/1944. Aircraft hit over target. #1 and #2 engines were on fire. Peeled off under control. 9 chutes seen. Interesting, because my dad flew this plane on 10/5/1944. There must be another plane that was called Linda.
Remarks: Declared War Weary 4/23/1945 in Alconbury. Aircraft was salvaged for parts on 10/31/1945. My dad did not like having to fly in this plane. He states in his log book that he didn't like the name of the plane and he didn't like the crew because they were a bad luck crew. Dad flew in this plane on the mission that the Queen O'Hearts went down in flames from a direct hit by flak.
Remarks: Aircraft crash landed south of Paris - Aircraft returned to USA 7/9/1945. Also found information stating that the plane was Missing in Action. "Last Resort Target Kassel. Believed lost to flak."
Remarks: Aircraft was returned to the United States on 6/28/1945. Went to Kingman, AZ 12/8/1945. My dad wrote down the name as Million Dollar Baby but my research shows the tail number matched a plane called Hundred Million Dollar Baby.
Remarks: Reassigned to 303rd on 10/18/1943 then to the 384th on 11/2/1943. Came to the 379th on 11/7/1943. Battle damaged and declared War Weary on 12/1/1944. Salvaged.
Remarks: Interesting story about this plane. I had a hard time finding information on this plane. There was a Queen of Hearts (not Queen O' Hearts), but it was assigned to a different bomber group. Besides the fact that the plane was assigned to the wrong bomber group, the tail number was off (42-52511) and the final disposition said that it crash-landed near New Romney, England on 7/17/1944. Well, this couldn't be! My dad flew in the Queen O'Hearts between 8/26/1944 and 9/27/1944--well after the Queen of Hearts crashed! Indeed, my dad witnessed the flak hit that destroyed the Queen O'Hearts and sent it down over Germany on 9/28/1944. I felt for certain that the information in the 8th Airforce Database had to be wrong!!
Turns out, the database was correct. I found a listing of the crews by mission and discovered that the plane my dad called Queen O'Hearts was actually originally named "Lil Satan." The last 3 digits of the tail number matched the tail number my dad had in his flight log. In addition, the final disposition matched the date and location where the Queen O'Hearts went down in flames.
But, how could my dad have been so wrong for 9 missions? How could he have written down the wrong name in his flight log each time? I talked to Dad one night about this. He reminded me that his crew had picked up this plane from the repair depot. They loved the plane, it was beautiful, but the reason they were picking it up from the repair depot was because the nose had been blown off by flak. This damage had probably killed the bombardier and the navigator. But, it had done something else, too--it had blown the name of the plane off of the plane!
My dad remarks that the guys were superstitious. There were bad luck crews and bad luck planes. The Queen O'Hearts, which we now know was Lil Satan, was called a bad luck plane. I asked my dad how he felt, knowing that the Queen O'Hearts was really a plane with a bad luck sounding name of "Lil Satan." He said he didn't really know how he felt about it!
Remarkably, when I was getting back into researching my dad's war experience, I stumbled across a website devoted to the 379th Bomber Group (www.379thbga.org). I was so excited that I asked my dad to come up and we'd browse through the site together. We clicked on a link titled "War Photos" and scrolled down the page. Lo and behold--there was a photo of Lil Satan with its nose blown off! I couldn't believe my luck. I honestly believe it was Fate that brought me to that website. The caption said something to the effect of "Pilot Karl Becker points to damage on Lil Satan. Photo #5005." I have included the photo below. Thanks to whoever took this photo and posted this on the 379th website. The photograph comes from the National Archives.
Remarks: According to Roger Freeman (English 8th Air Force author), Swampfire was one of the most famous aircraft of the 8th Air Force. First to reach 100 missions without an Abort (11/1/1944).
Remarks: Missing In Action.
Remarks: Final disposition: Missing In Action.
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This website maintained by: Missy Rung
Last updated: 08/12/06 09:30 PM