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SIDNEY KALLET CREW - 360th BS
(crew assigned 360BS: 23 September 1944)
(Back L-R) 1Lt Clifford F. Muth, Jr. (CP), 2Lt Michael D. McCarty (N),
1Lt Sidney Kallet (P), 1Lt Lewis S. Harrison (B)
Sgt Raymond J. Killelea (WG),
Sgt Frank W. Clarke (R),
Combat missions flown by 1Lt Sidney Kallet:
As CoPilot with a Mission Orientation Pilot - 253 (7 Oct 1944) with Lt Norment Foley Crew
As First Pilot - 34 missions - 254 (9 Oct 1944), 255, 256(*), 258, 261, 262(*), 263(*), 264, 268(*), 269, 270(*), 271(*), 272(*) ,273(*), 276(*), 277(*), 278(*), 280(*), 281, 282(*), 285(*), 286, 289, 290, 291, 293(*), 294(*), 296, 297(*), 298A, 300(*), 302(*), 303, 304 (20 Jan 1945)
The Lt Kallet Crew flew all of their combat missions without an abortion.
See Combat Missions for mission dates and targets. (*) MIssions in B-17G 43-38451
Kallet Crew's favorite B-17G #43-38451 (No name) (360BS) PU-D:
Shortly after Lt Kallet was assigned to the 360th BS on 23 Sept 1944 he observed "451" being delivered to the 303rd BG(H). He then talked with the Squadron Commander, LtCol Walter K. Shayler, and advised him that he had flown "451" from the United States and asked if "451" could be assigned to his crew. LtCol Shayler agreed, saying it would bring us good luck. The Lt Kallet crew flew in "451" on their third mission as a crew on 14 Oct 1944, followed by eighteen additional missions in their favorite "good luck" B-17G.
Kallet Crew's significant combat mission -
By Sidney Kallet
published in the Hell's Angels Newsletter, November 2001, Eddie Deerfield, Editor
So here we were in Savannah, Georgia, in August of 1944, under orders to pick up a B-17 Flying Fortress, deliver it to England and report for duty to the 8th Air Force. As pilot and chief officer of the crew, I had to sign for the aircraft as a piece of equipment loaned to me by the Air Force, which I was expected to return at a later date. The price listed on the receipt was $125,000.
The crew and I went out on the field to our new plane, number 43-38451. I felt like I was picking up a rental car by looking for the correct license plate number. There it was, this beautiful, silver, brand new Flying Fortress, all my own! I could hardly wait to climb into the pilot's seat. It was like getting into a new car. You couldn't wait to drive out of the dealer's showroom. During the next couple of weeks, we flew "451" checking out all the instruments, engines, controls, radios and operational features. This was similar to a shake down cruise that the Navy does with a new ship prior to releasing it for combat. The time finally came when we were ordered to deliver "451" to a staging area in England where we would be assigned as a bomber crew to a Group in the 8th Air Force.
The flight over the Atlantic took two weeks due to bad weather along the entire route. Our first stop overnight to refuel was in New Hampshire, then on to Goose Bay, Labrador, again overnight. From there we flew to Greenland and were forced to spend one week there due to bad weather in England. Our next stop was Iceland, overnight to refuel, then off to England. All the time we were over the Atlantic our B-17 "451" flew like a dream.
We finally reached our destination, and to my dismay I had to turn over "451" to a pool of other B-17s which were to be assigned to various bomb groups in England. My crew was ordered to report to the 303rd Bomb Group, 360th Squadron, in Molesworth. I was near the runway watching new replacement aircraft being ferried in when I saw this beautiful silver B-17 coming in for a landing. To my delight, it was "451." I ran to squadron headquarters to see the Commanding Officer and asked if "451" could be assigned to my crew since I had flown it all the way from the States. He agreed, saying it would bring us good luck.
On 7 October 1944, we started flying missions as a crew, sometimes 3 or 4 times a week. Never once did I encounter any trouble or have to abort a mission due to mechanical failure. The operational success of our plane was due to our wonderful ground crew and their mechanical skill.
All went well until our 33rd mission over Ingolstadt, Germany, an attack on railway marshalling yards. By now we had P-51 and P-47 fighter escort as protection against enemy fighter planes, and very little anti-aircraft fire was encountered that day. Our bomb load consisted of 100-pound fragmentation bombs, each with an arming spinner, and tied together in bundles of six. The bomb run was nice and smooth, and all went well until "Bombs Away." At that moment I heard a loud bang that sounded like a single shot from the top gun turret just behind me.
All hell broke loose and things started happening. The number 2 engine on the left wing was losing power and the number 4 on the right lost oil pressure. I pushed all throttles forward, checked the instruments, and then feathered both engines while I was still able to do so. The ball turret gunner, Ed Macy, shouted over the interphone, "black smoke out of number 3 engine." On too many occasions we had seen bombers burst into flames and explode killing everyone on board, so I immediately feathered number 3. Our B-17 "451 " was now flying on one engine.
I placed my hand on the toggle switch and was about to sound the "bail out" bell. Jumping would have meant crew members killed in action or made prisoners of war. I decided that we would stay with "451." We fell out of formation and dropped from 27,000 feet to about 15,000 feet, where I was able to level off and maintain altitude. The number 1 engine was running at full throttle and I was not able to slow it down. It seemed that the throttle cable had sheared off and, fortunately, the engine assumed a full throttle position through an automatic spring load for just such an occasion. I was concerned about the fuel the one engine was using since a single engine wide open uses more fuel than four engines at low power.
Soon after we dropped out of formation, two P-47s came along side as protection against enemy fighters. They escorted us all the way back to the English Channel at which point they did a slow roll and took off into the distance. After reaching the Channel I had the crew throw out anything they could, guns, ammunition and whatever was not tied down, in order to lighten the load. I started a slow descent and headed for home. Close to Molesworth I called the tower and explained the situation so as to prepare them for a crash landing. I lowered the landing gear and to my relief it worked fine. The wind stream started rotating the tires which gave me a chance to check the brakes. As Co-Pilot Clarence D. Bristol and I looked out the windows I applied brakes and nothing happened. The wheels kept spinning.
I instructed the crew, with the exception of the copilot, to take up crash landing positions in the radio room. Clarence and I were then ready to bring in "451." I made a wide turn onto the final approach, let down slowly to the runway, and Clarence shut power on the number 1 engine that was still running full. We touched down, the landing gear held up, and Clarence immediately shut down the master electric switch to avoid any chance of fire. I applied the brakes hoping that I might get one shot but nothing happened. We kept rolling. I was able to kick the rudder while we still had enough speed and our plane turned off the runway into the mud and slowly bounced to a stop. It had rained the day before and the ground was muddy. Fire trucks, ambulances and crash wagons were there to greet us. Fortunately they were not needed.
We later found out that one of our own bombs, probably due to a faulty spinner fuse, exploded on the way out just below our plane. The bomb was of the type that was scored like a hand grenade so it would burst into many small pieces upon explosion. The fuel tanks in the wings were self sealing so we did not lose fuel. The damage was so extensive that I wondered how the wings had held up and did not fall apart on the way home. That only convinced me again how reliable the B-17 Flying Fortress was and the damage it can absorb and still keep flying.
Our "451" was grounded for repairs. As a crew we completed the last two of our 35 missions in any pick-up plane available, finishing on 20 January 1945 after an attack on a railroad bridge in Mannheim, Germany. We all felt that we had lost a good friend that had served us well in many a tight spot and it was time to move on.
[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]