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Mission No. One – July 29, 1944


Swampfire Swampfire, tail #42-32024, was built January 1944 and sent overseas in February 1944.  It flew 117 missions and was declared war weary in December 1944.  She was the first heavy bomber to reach 100 missions without an abort.  After she was declared war weary, she was sent to Kingman, AZ and eventually sold as scrap to make miniature B-17 toys. Used with permission ( here).

Swampfire

Swampfire, tail #42-32024, was built January 1944 and sent overseas in February 1944. It flew 117 missions and was declared war weary in December 1944. She was the first heavy bomber to reach 100 missions without an abort. After she was declared war weary, she was sent to Kingman, AZ and eventually sold as scrap to make miniature B-17 toys. Used with permission ( here).

Target: Merseberg – Synthetic Gas & Oil Plant
Bomb Load: 20-250# G.P.
Gas Load: 2700 gallons
Briefing: 0400
Plane: L4024 – Swampfire
Position: #3, #1 Element, High Sqdn., 41st “A” Gp.
T.O.: 0546 Land: 1400 Time: 8 hours, 14 minutes
Left Base: 0714 @ 14000′
Bombs Away: 1019; 25000′; -28 degrees C.
Distance: 1592 SM

Remarks:  Intense & very accurate flak over target.  Received severe damage, including direct hit on left stabilizer – hole 6″x2′. Groups ahead and behind us attacked by fighters, including new jet propelled type.  Saw four B-17’s and two fighters go down in flames.  Horrible sight.  Counted only 12 parachutes.  Ran low on gas coming back.  Pilot had trouble keeping plane under control because of battle damage.  Left formation and came back alone.  Landed with enough gas for 10 minutes. Very rough mission.  They can’t be much worse.  Very glad to be alive.

[Note: This was the 379th Bomb Group’s 176th mission.]

 

5 responses to “Mission No. One – July 29, 1944

  1. C. Penick

    October 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Well done. Glad they made it home. The average American don’t remember what those
    airmen went through. A hugh loss for all those families that didn’t return.
    thank you for sharing.
    C. Penick

     
  2. Richard

    November 6, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Swamp Fire was just halfway through her total missions at this point. It shows just how good the ground crews were to get her & other battle damaged aircraft combat ready. in such a short amount of time. This crew fly her on their next mission too.

     
  3. BILL MITCHELL

    September 3, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you to our greatest generation !!!q

     
  4. Sebastian

    August 15, 2017 at 3:05 am

    I have a small remark to the mission target: The correct name is Merseburg. Near Merseburg were (and are) the Leuna works, one of the largest synthetic fuel production sites of its time (now owned by TOTAL). The protocols of the town of Merseburg state that at the attack on July 29th some emergency bomb jettisons occured over the city itself instead over the refinery. An inhabitant of Merseburg 🙂

     
    • b17navigator

      August 23, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you for the clarification! I left all spelling the same as my father had in his logbook so we can blame him for the “typo.” 😀 One day I hope to visit your city…and the rest of Germany!…missy.

       

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