B17 Amazing!
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  1. #1
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    B17 Amazing!

    B17 - 1943


    A mid-air collision on February 1, 1943, between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area, became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of World War II. An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named All American, piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron. When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away. The two right engines were out and one on the left had a serious oil pump leak. The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely through connected only at two small parts of the frame and the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged. There was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4 feet wide at its widest and the split in the fuselage went all the way to the top gunners turret.




    Although the tail actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned and all the control cables were severed, except one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still flew - miraculously! The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the rest of the plane. The waist and tail gunners used parts of the German fighter and their own parachute harnesses in an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides of the fuselage from splitting apart. While the crew was trying to keep the bomber from coming apart, the pilot continued on his bomb run and released his bombs over the target.





    When the bomb bay doors were opened, the wind turbulence was so great that it blew one of the waist gunners into the broken tail section. It took several minutes and four crew members to pass him ropes from parachutes and haul him back into the forward part of the plane. When they tried to do the same for the tail gunner, the tail began flapping so hard that it began to break off. The weight of the gunner was adding some stability to the tail section, so he went back to his position.


    The turn back toward England had to be very slow to keep the tail from twisting off. They actually covered almost 70 miles to make the turn home. The bomber was so badly damaged that it was losing altitude and speed and was soon alone in the sky. For a brief time, two more Me-109 German fighters attacked the All American. Despite the extensive damage, all of the machine gunners were able to respond to these attacks and soon drove off the fighters. The two waist gunners stood up with their heads sticking out through the hole in the top of the fuselage to aim and fire their machine guns. The tail gunner had to shoot in short bursts because the recoil was actually causing the plane to turn.


    Allied P-51 fighters intercepted the All American as it crossed over the Channel and took one of the pictures shown. They also radioed to the base describing that the empennage was waving like a fish tail and that the plane would not make it and to send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out. The fighters stayed with the Fortress taking hand signals from Lt. Bragg and relaying them to the base. Lt. Bragg signaled that 5 parachutes and the spare had been "used" so five of the crew could not bail out. He made the decision that if they could not bail out safely, then he would stay with the plane and land it.


    Two and a half hours after being hit, the aircraft made its final turn to line up with the runway while it was still over 40 miles away. It descended into an emergency landing and a normal roll-out on its landing gear.


    When the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off because not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition. The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed down a ladder, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft collapsed onto the ground. The rugged old bird had done its job.


    I love stories about America 's past.......just thought i'd share this one with y'all!
    CNCSC, airwrench, MadKaw and 12 others like this.




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  2. #2
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    Thank you for sharing one of the most phenomenal accounts I have ever read!

    The LORD GOD was, definitely, watching over these valiant and dedicated men.
    CNCSC and Harrychl like this.

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    When men were men, and duty ment something.

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    What a wonderful post of America's great past...I only wish we could look forward to the future in the same way!
    Be safe out there, no need to meet Jesus before the appointed time!!





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    Fortune favors the brave, they say. In this case, the bravery and skill of this bomber crew
    brought home a plane which should have never been flying after all of the damage it had
    suffered. Thanks for sharing this story, I love reading history!

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    Thank you for sharing.


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    "Guns are a lot like parachutes ~ If you need one and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again".

    The problems we face today are there because the people
    who work for a living are out numbered by the people that vote for a living

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    I really, really love our servicemen and women! Thank God for them!
    HE thinks, therefore I am! <><



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    Thanks for bringing this terrific story to our attention.
    Always expect stupidity. You'll rarely be disappointed.

  10. #9
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    That is amazing, I think I may just steal this and send it on.


    Ok guys, very funny, bring back the Constitution now...

    "Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." -- Thomas Edison

    "Ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination. Nowhere do we see that more clearly among writers and performers who pontificate as historians when they know nothing about history." -- Victor Davis Hanson

    "It's your life, rise up and live it" -- Terry Goodkind

  11. #10
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    Wow!!!

 

 
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