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358th Taub Crew
Francis R. Taub, Pilot
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FRANCIS R. TAUB CREW - 358th BS
B-17G #42-97557 Mercy's Madhouse (358th BS) VK-X
(crew assigned 358BS: 30 Jan 1945 - photo: 01 Feb 1945)

(Back L-R) 2Lt Francis R. Taub (P)(KIA),
2Lt John T. Cooper (CP)(KIA), 2Lt Charles P. Johnson (N)(POW)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Warren F. Chrisman (E)(POW),
Sgt James P. Spencer (TG)(POW), Sgt James L. Hollowell (BT)(POW),
S/Sgt Chester S. Maluchnik (R)(POW), S/Sgt Michael A. Dugan, Jr. (Tog)(POW/WIA),
Sgt Elmer D. McWilliams (WG)(KIA)

Nineteen credited 1945 combat missions flown by 2Lt Francis R. Taub:
314 (14 Feb 1945), 316, 320, 321, 323, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339(AS) 340, 341 (20 Mar 1945). For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions. (AS) Credited abortive sortie. Returned early after reaching enemy territory.

Ten B-17Gs flown by 2Lt Francis S. Taub on his nineteen credited combat missions:

  • 44-8427 Henn's Revenge (358BS) VK-E - Missions 314, 316, 323
  • 43-38462 Teddy's Rough Riders (358BS) VK-I - Missions 320, 321, 330
  • 43-38238 (No name) (358BS) VK-L - Missions 325, 326
  • 44-6006 (No name) (358BS) VK-D - Missions 327, 329, 331, 338, 339
  • 43-37597 Earthquake McGoon (427BS) GN-G - Mission 328
  • 42-38050 Thunderbird (359BS) (BN-U) - Mission 332
  • 44-8318 (No name) (360BS) PU-P - Mission 335
  • 44-6977 Better Do'Er (427BS) GN-C - Mission 336
  • 42-97949 (No name) (358BS) VK-O - Mission 340
  • 42-39160 G-for-George aka Lil Bit (358BS) VK-C - Mission 341
See the Nose Art web page for photos of the named B-17s nose art.

Crew Notes:

  • 2Lt Francis R. Taub (P)(KIA) - All nineteen missions flown as 1st Pilot
  • 2Lt John T. Cooper (CP)(KIA) - Stood down on mission 314. Combat orientation CoPilot, 2Lt Thomas A. Geile flew on mission 314. 2Lt Cooper flew on all of the other eighteen 2Lt Taub missions.
  • 2Lt Charles P. Johnson (N)(POW) - Stood down on mission 330 - Substitute Navigator, F/O Saul Cooper flew on mission 330. 2Lt Johnston flew on all of the other eighteen 2Lt Taub missions and on mission 324 with another Pilot.
  • S/Sgt Michael A. Dugan, Jr (TOG)(POW/WIA), S/Sgt Warren F. Chrisman (E)(POW), S/Sgt Chester S. Maluchnik (R)(POW), Sgt James L. Hollowell (BTG)(POW) and Sgt James P. Spencer (TG)(POW) - Flew on all of the nineteen 2Lt Taub missions.
  • Sgt Elmer D. McWilliams (WG)(KIA) - Flew on eleven of the 2Lt Taub missions (314, 316, 321, 326, 327, 329, 335, 336, 340, 341). No Waist Gunner used on eight missions (320, 323, 325, 328, 330, 342, 338, 339). Flew on mission 331 with 1Lt Robert E. Greene (P).
  • Spot Jammers (SJ) - Six different SJs flew with the 2Lt Taub Crew on six missions (314, 316, 315, 326, 332, 341).
Additional crewman on the 20 Mar 45 mission: Spot Jammer Sgt R.A. Gilbert (POW)

(KIA-POW) - On 20 March 1945 mission #341 to Hamburg, Germany in B-17G #43-39160 (No name)(358BS) VK-G. Lt Taub was flying on the right wing of the high flight leader of the high 360th BS formation - the most vulnerable spot in the formation. Three ME-262s, the first German jet fighters seen by the crew, shot off the vertical stabilizer on its first pass. On the second pass, the #3 engine was hit and the right wing set on fire. Some of the crewmen believe that Sgt Hollowell (BT) shot down one of the Me-262s - one of the first jets to be shot down during WWII. Lt Johnson (N) gave the pilot a course heading for Sweden but it quickly became obvious that it would be impossible to remain airborne. The bail-out order was given when the Fortress went into a spin. The two pilots were struggling to gain control of their B-17 so that others could bail-out. Lt Johnson (N) pushed S/Sgt Chrisman (E) out of the nose hatch, bailed out himself, blacked out and regained consciousness in time to pull his ripcord. He landed in a plowed field and proceeded north towards Denmark. He was captured the next day near the village of Bad Seiberg. The B-17 was at about 1,000 feet below the formation and 3/4 mile behind when it exploded following the second attack by six ME-262s. The explosion knocked out the plexiglas nose. S/Sgt Dugan (Tog) went out the open nose. Lts Taub (P) and Cooper (CP) were killed when the B-17 exploded. Sgts Maluchnik (R), Hollowell (BT), Spencer (TG) and Gilbert (SJ) went out the waist door. Sgt McWilliams (WG), for some reason, refused or was unable to bail out and was killed. The big toe of S/Sgt Michael A. Dugan, Jr was shot off. The B-17 crashed at Westerade, Germany. All of the men who bailed out were captured and made POWs. Sgt Elmer D. McWilliams (WG)(KIA) is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery at Leige, Belgium. Missing Air Crew Report 13569.

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]