and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area,
became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of WWII.
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 Flying Fortress named "All-American"
-- piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron.
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 by only at two small parts of the frame.
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.
The split in the fuselage went all the way to the top gunner's turret.
and twisted when the plane turned.
All the control cables were severed
except for one single elevator cable that still worked.
Miraculously the aircraft still flew!
The tail gunner was trapped because
While the crew was trying to keep the bomber from coming
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
The weight of the gunner
The turn back toward England had to be very slow
For a brief time, two more Me-109 German fighters
The two waist gunners stood up
as it crossed over the Channel
and took one of the pictures shown.
They also radioed to the base describing
that the appendage was waving like a fish tail
They reported that the plane would not make it and requested
that boats be sent out to rescue the crew when they bailed out.
The fighters stayed with the Fortress,
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
The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited
through the door in the fuselage
B-17 "All American" (414th Squadron, 97BG)
Click for full-size collages
SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY ADVENTURE
Manitoba Flight :: Part I :: Part II :: Part III
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FROM OUR AIR SHOW SITE
B-17 Sentimental Journey Flight I: Leaving Winnipeg
B-17 Sentimental Journey Flight II: Arriving in Brandon
B-17 WWII Miracle Flight
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CATP Museum Air Show in the Press
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