Wednesday, October 3, 2007

AAF Identification and Comment

384th Bomber Group, B17 backlight hazy sun snow 02

Lots of interest from the War Bird Information group here. Check out the bulletin Board. Thanks!

Learn the story behind the discovery of these negatives and also see a slide show of all 205 photographs found.
The AAF Slide show

You gotcher-self a photo of a celebrity here...
B-17G, serial number 42-31909, named 'Nine-O-Nine', of the 323rd Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group.
'Nine-O-Nine' completed 140 missions without one crew fatality, and I believe there were no injuries either. She survived the war and was scrapped at the great bone-yard in Kingman, Arizona.
A restored B-17 operated by the Collings Foundation carries this ship's markings...
-Hawk914 (Flickr)
384th Bomber Group, B17 landing

This is a B-17G, serial number 42-31515, of the 324th Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group, Eighth Air Force. The ship was named 'The Wild Hare', and also served with the 91st's 401st Bombardment Squadron.

She entered service in the ETO in January 1944 and was lost on November 26th, 1944 during a mission to Bremen. MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) #10836

You can see two photos of this ship, its nose art, and two different crews, HERE and HERE.
-Hawk914 (Flickr)

A few moments in the "Wild Hare" on June 21. 1944, Mission #16, described HERE.

multiple bazookas installed on cub 05
Piper L-4 Grasshopper, an adaptation of the Piper Cub.
The emblem on the tail is interesting, and I think it indicates that this warbug was assigned to the 1st Bomb Division's 1st Combat Bomb Wing. Not entirely sure on this, but I think the symbology goes as follows:
The small triangles with letters in them indicate the three groups of the 1st CBW... 'A' for the 91st BG, 'L' for the 381st BG, and 'W' for the 398th BG. I believe that the '1' in the middle indicates the 1st CBW itself, and all of these come together inside of a single larger triangle that indicates the 1st Bomb Division, or 1st Air Division as it was later known.
-Hawk914 (Flickr)

(note: All five photographs of this airplane and the bazooka testing HERE.)

P51 Crash f6.3 100th sec 15:30hrs GMT 03
I believe this a plane named "Esther" from the 504th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, S/N 44-14321 that crashed while on take off on Feb. 5,1945. The pilot was Lt. Vernon Barto.
-dougsheley (Flickr)
(note: There are a dozen photographs of this airplane in a slide show HERE.)
P51s f4 5 60 04
The second aircraft in line is "Lil Injun" a P-51D S/N 44-14672 and was assigned to Lt. Leon Orcutt. I believe all these planes are from the 504th FS, 339th FG, 8th AF.
-dougsheley (Flickr)
P51s f4.5 60th sec. 01
It's a group shot of 505th FS, 339th FG P-51's.

I've been able to ID some of them ,from front to back: "Pistol Packin' Mama" flown by Capt. Evan Johnson
"Junior" flown by Lt. Jay Marts
"Umbriago" flown by Capt. William Krauss,this aircraft was lost on Feb. 6,1945 while flown by Lt. Gilbert Palmer,he was KIA.
4th in line I can't identify
"Bison Bull" flown by Capt. Chester Malarz,this aircraft was lost on Oct. 5,1944 while being flown by Lt. Stephen Ananian,he survived.
The aircraft parked tail out is "Miss E.T.O." and was flown by either Lt. Roland Gousie or Lt. George Jones,they were both assigned the plane during their tours.
-dougsheley (Flickr)
P51s parked 33 02
This is another view of P-51's from the 505th Fighter Squadron, 339th Fighter Group. I can only identify the two nearest the camera. The closest is "Umbriago" S/N 44-14383 coded 6N-H that was flown by Capt. William Krauss. The second plane in line is "Junior" S/N 44-14239 coded 6N-J that was flown by Lt. Jay Marts. This photo is of the same planes as another one of this set but from a different angle. The third P-51 in line, with the Malcolm hood, is a C model with the S/N 42-103955 and coded 6N-G. As far as I can tell it was never named and didn't have an assigned pilot.
-dougsheley (Flickr)
P61 lite good PanX f4.5 60th sec. med yell filter 04
P-61A Black Widow, serial number 42-5580, 'Wabash Cannon-Ball IV'. From what I understand, this ship was initially allocated to the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron, then transferred to the 425th NFS in July 1944. While with the 425th, it was assigned to the squadron commander, LtCol Leon G. 'Gilly' Lewis and radar operator, Senior Squadron R/O Lt Karl W. Soukikian.

The ship still wears invasion stripes under the wings, although not on the tail booms, which is somewhat unusual I think. I don't know the location or the time-frame, although I suspect that the latter would be late 1944 or early 1945, and there are clues in some of these photos which may identify the location.
-Hawk914 (Flickr)

Wikipedia gives some extended information
about the history of the P-61 Black Widow HERE

Panatirium B26 brite sun f9 60 02
B-26G Marauder, serial number 44-67926.

No idea which outfit this ship was with. The Eighth AF had no medium bomber units assigned after October 1943, so this is most likely a Ninth AF bird... although it is possible it could have been used as a hack by an Eighth AF unit.
-Hawk914 (Flickr)
384th Bomber Group, Planes lined up for mission 69 01
B-17s of the 91st Bombardment Group. The ship in the foreground, a Lockheed/Vega-built B-17G, serial number 44-8588, was assigned to the 324th BS, 91st BG, but had been previously assigned to the 381st BG, denoted by the over-painted 'L' inside the triangle on the tail. The 91st's 'A' has yet to be added. This is a 'Mickey Ship'... a pathfinder equipped with H2X radar for blind-bombing through overcast. The belly turret has been replaced by the H2X radome. More info about how the term 'Mickey' came to be used for the H2X can be found HERE... The Fort behind the Mickey ship is a Boeing-built B-17G, serial number 43-38379, named 'Margie'. This ship was assigned to the 323rd BS... more info can be found HERE, and a photo of the nose art can be seen HERE. (Scroll up just a bit, it's on the left.) Looking at the other photos from this series, it appears that the ship on the right may also have been an-ex 381st BG aircraft re-assigned to the 91st BG.
-Hawk914 (Flickr)
384th Bomber Group, spotted B 17 landing
Cool,an assembly ship! This is a B-17F-60-DL that was originally was "Patches II" of the 547th Bomb Squadron, 384th Bomb Group.

An assembly ship was used to guide the other aircraft in the direction they needed while forming up the group after takeoff. They were usually aircraft that had been retired from combat and painted with some wild schemes,like these polka dots,and bright colors like red and yellow for easy visibility. I have a photo of a B-24 that was used for the same task in my photostream and I think it was pretty common among most bomber groups in the 8th AF,the high visibility help stop some of the formation accidents that were occuring with alarming regularity. These planes weren't armed; they never left the general area of the base while they were performing this task.
-dougsheley (Flickr)

In her role as the 384th BG's assembly ship, “Patches II” was referred to as the 'Spotted Cow', or the 'Speckled Hen'. She was overall white with blue polka dots. More info and photos HERE...
-Hawk914 (Flickr)

Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 03
I think you’re right that this was a significant mission, and I've come to believe these photographs were taken on March 18, 1945. That day the Eighth Air Force sent more than 1300 heavy bombers against targets in the Berlin area. The 322nd Bomb Squadron dispatched a total of thirteen B-17s and their specific target was “the Schlesischer station and East Marshalling Yards in Berlin”, according to squadron records. Accurate German flak resulted in every 322nd Squadron B-17 receiving some damage; seven considered "minor", six "major". If I’m right, the only aircraft that did not come back to Bassingbourn that day was Stinky, flown by Lt Dudley Mathers and his crew. Battle damage forced them to land in Belgium, but the crew was safe.
-Steve Birdsall (Flickr)
384th Bomber Group, Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 01
B-17G "Ack Ack Annie" of the 322nd BS, 91st BG. This plane has an impressive scoreboard of missions on the nose. "Ack Ack Annie" ended up flying a total of 143 missions. -dougsheley (Flickr)
Squadron Planes Taking off on Mission 70 03
B-17G "Rusty Dusty" of the 322nd BS, 91st BG.
-dougsheley (Flickr)

This ship entered service with the 91st BG on December 7th, 1944 and was written off after a taxiing accident on April 4th, 1945 at the 91st BG's home base of Bassingbourn, England.
-Hawk914 (Flickr)
P47 Landing 03
This is P-47D-28-RE serial #44-19575 78thFG 84thFS flown by Julius P. Maxwell.
-deltafastback (Flickr)

This FG was stationed at RAF Duxford, near Cambridge, from April, 1943, I believe. Great air museum there. Duxford is only about fifteen miles from RAF Basingbourn where the B-17 pics seem to have been snapped. This was the problem for the B-24 drivers - they were out in Norfolk, an extra hour away from London so the reporters never got out there.
The photographer could have caught the Cambridge train out of London King's Cross station early in the morning, got off in Royston and taken a taxi to view the B-17's taking off, then remounted the train and got down at Duxford to taxi to RAF Duxford to snap the P-47's returning from a mission on the same day.
-johnwilkerson (Flickr)

Newbie here...but had to join in and contribute.
These are 78th Jugs (Thunderbolts) at Bassingbourn. The give away is the hard runways. Duxford had grass and PSP (Pierced Steel Plank). Now to the interesting part... I knew the 78th had a PSP runway laid in '44, so Googled it...found the extract below on a Duxford website.

"Duxford was still a grass field and was prone to becoming muddy and flooding after heavy rain. The 78th nicknamed Duxford "The Duckpond". At each end of the field a mat of Pierced Steel Planking (PSP) had been laid down for Thunderbolts preparing to take off. This helped while the aircraft were stationary but trying to take off or land in water was no fun. It was therefore decided to lay a PSP runway as well, 3500 ft long by 150 ft wide; when added to the mats at either end the total length would be 4100 ft. To allow the work to proceed, the 78th FG moved in the first week of December to Bassingbourn, about ten miles down the Royston road to the west, the base of the 91st Bomb Group. With the 78th gone, Army engineers laid the runway and on 11 December the Thunderbolts returned. To allow missions to be flown from Bassingbourn, ground crews and pilots had to be trucked there and back daily because briefing and de-briefing was done at Duxford, so the return to Duxford was most welcome."

So you now have a rough date for the photos.
-shabbyabbey (Flickr)
Tattered and Lost

Here is an old-photograph site that you should see:
Tattered and Lost.
It doesn’t present a flood of photographs in categories like Lost Gallery often does; rather it presents one or two photographs at a time with thoughts and remarks about each one.
Tattered and Lost
shows how each lost photograph is connected to a time or a tradition or simply to us.
Go look. Stay a while.

All images are the property of
Lost Gallery and the author.
Permission must be granted for their use.
All rights reserved.


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  1. Hi, interesting post. I have been wondering about this topic, so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be subscribing to your site. Keep up the good posts

  2. You are welcome. For more information about the rescue and history of these negatives go here:



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