Personnel Aircraft Nose Art B-17 Thunderbird Ground Support Uniforms Journals More Info
Mission Reports Combat Crews Individual Photos Photos POW KIA MACR Overseas Graves TAPS
VERNER HARRY NAFIUS CREW - 360th BS
B-17 #42-31340 Miss Liberty PU-D
(crew assigned 360BS: 17 June 1944 - photo: 27 June 1944)
(Back L-R) 1Lt Verner Harry Nafius (P), 2Lt Richard L. "Spider" Smith (CP)
1Lt Sidney L. George (N), 1Lt James E. Cummins (B)
Sgt Charles G. Davies (WG),
Sgt Roy K. Rydquist (WG),
by Richard L. "Spider" Smith
That night as we were eating supper in the officers mess there was a call over the loud-speaker for the Nafius crew to report to the lobby of the Officers Club. We all went to the lobby and were met by our aircraft's crew chief who showed us a 20MM shell he had removed from the number 3 supercharger, the shell was full of sand instead of gunpowder. We owe our lives to some slave laborer in Germany who had sabotaged the making of this shell, as this shell had gone through the number three main tank .
Talking to Keith Ferris who painted the Picture of Thunderbird leading the Wiesbaden mission, I learned that this mission was the first time the Germans had tried a new tactic of Line Abreast attacks from the rear all firing their guns in unison. I think we lost twelve aircraft on this mission. When I spoke with Jim Cummins about the painting, he said that in his memoirs he has a probable shooting down of a German fighter listed for that mission. Thanks again to whoever put the sand in that 20MM shell!