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THE RACE TO 25 MISSIONS

SOME OF THE THE FIRST 8th AIR FORCE B-17s
to COMPLETE 25 COMBAT MISSIONS


– click the images for full sized photos –


COMBAT MISSIONS FLOWN BY:

B-17F #42-5077 "Delta Rebel No.2" — 91st Bomb Group (H) — Pilot: Col George P. Birdsong Jr. ***

B-17F #41-24577 "Hell's Angels" — 303rd Bomb Group (H) — Pilot: Capt Irl E. Baldwin

B-17F #41-24485 "The Memphis Belle" — 91st Bomb Group (H) — Pilot: Capt Robert K. Morgan

MISSION
DATE
TARGET303rd BG
MISS#
HELL'S ANGELS
MISS#
CAPT BALDWIN
MISS#
91st BG
MISS#
DELTA
REBEL 2
MISS#
MEMPHIS BELLE
MISS#
CAPT MORGAN
MISS#
07 Nov 42Brest------01--0101
08 Nov 42Brest/Abbeville------0201----
09 Nov 42St. Nazaire------03--0202
14 Nov 42St. Nazaire------0402----
17 Nov 42St. Nazaire0101 BR (1)01 BR (1)05030303
18 Nov 42St. Nazaire02----0604----
22 Nov 42Lorient0302 BR (2)02 BR (2)0705 BR----
23 Nov 42St. Nazaire04----08--MAMA
06 Dec 42Lille05030309060404
12 Dec 42Rouen06RP (3)--1007----
20 Dec 42Romilly-sur-Seine07----11--0505
30 Dec 42Lorient08FTO (4)FTO (4)120806 [B]--
03 Jan 43St. Nazaire09040413090706
13 Jan 43Lille10050514100807
23 Jan 43Lorient/Brest11060615--0908
27 Jan 43Wilhelmshaven1207071611RP--
02 Feb 43Emden (Hamm)13 GA (5)GA (5)GA (5)RE (5)------
04 Feb 43Emden (Hamm)(U)1408081712--09 [X]
14 Feb 43Hamm15 RE BR (6)09 RE BR (6)09 RE BR (6)18 RE (6)1310 BR10 BR
16 Feb 43St. Nazaire16101019141111
26 Feb 43Wilhelmshaven1711 [A]--2015--12 [X]
27 Feb 43Brest1812 [A]--21----13 [X]
04 Mar 43Hamm / Rotterdam19 GA131122MA--MA
06 Mar 43Lorient20141223161214
08 Mar 43Rennes21151324--MA [C]--
12 Mar 43Rouen22161425171315
13 Mar 43Amiens23171526181416
17 Mar 43RouenRE BR (7)RE BR (7)RE BR (7)RE ------
18 Mar 43Vegesack2418162719----
22 Mar 43Wilhelmshaven25191728201517
28 Mar 43Rouen26201829--1618
31 Mar 43Rotterdam272119302117 [D] --
04 Apr 43Paris2822203122MAMA
05 Apr 43Antwerp29232132MARP19 [Y]
16 Apr 43Lorient30----33231820
17 Apr 43Bremen31--22 [B]34241921
01 May 1943St. Nazaire32----3525 - Delta Rebel 22022
04 May 43Antwerp33242336MA--23 [Z]
13 May 1943Meaulite3425 - Hell's Angels2437--21 [E]--
14 May 43Kiel352625 - Capt Baldwin38--22 [F]--
15 May 43Heligoland3627--39262324
17 May 43Lorient3728--40MA2425 - Capt Morgan
19 May 1943Kiel38----41--25 - Memphis Belle [E][G]--

FOOTNOTES

*** Birdsong and several other pilots flew Delta Rebel 2's first 25 missions. Hell's Angles was long thought to be the first 8th AF B-17 to fly 25 combat missions. New research by Mick Hanou (91stBGMA) and Jeff Duford (NMUSAF) proved Delta Rebel No.2 was acutally the first to complete 25 missions.

At this stage of the war, an ABORT counted as a mission. It usually meant that they got over occupied Europe, or were attacked or subject to flak. A “TURN BACK” did not count towards missions.

[A] Hell's Angels Pilot - lstLt James H. McDonald on 26 Feb & 27 Feb 43 - Captain Baldwin on leave
[B] Memphis Belle Pilot - Lt James Vernis (Morgan Crew CoPilot) on 30 Dec 42 - Capt Morgan was sick
[C] Memphis Belle Pilot - Capt E.D. Gaitly, CoPilot & Col Stanley Wray on 08 Mar 43
[D] Memphis Belle Pilot - Capt H.W. Aycock on 31 Mar 43
[E] Memphis Belle Pilot - Lt C.L. Anderson on 13 May (Capt Morgan in London) and 19 May 43 (Capt Morgan had completed his combat tour)
[F] Memphis Belle Pilot - Lt J.H. Miller on 14 May 43 - Capt Morgan in London

[G] Memphis Belle's 25th Mission Crew:

  • Lt Clayton L. Anderson (P)
  • Lt David F. Gladheart (CP)
  • Lt Winfield S. Scovell (N)
  • S/Sgt Eugene (NMI) Adkins (B)
  • T/Sgt Ronald E. Current (RO)
  • S/Sgt Amos B. Cornwell (FE)
  • S/Sgt Robert W. Cole (BTG)
  • S/Sgt Emerson Scott Miller (TG)
  • S/Sgt Norval W. Kirkpatrick (RWG)
  • S/Sgt John E. Carse (LWG)
[W] Captain Baldwin flew in #41-29644 Jersey Bounce, Jr. 358th BS (VK-C) on 17 Apr 43
[X] Captain Morgan flew in #41-24515 Jersey Bounce 324th BS (DF-H) on 04 Feb, 26 Feb & 27 Feb 43
[Y] Captain Morgan flew in #41-24480 The Bad Penny 324th BS (DF-C/B) on 05 Apr 43
[Z] Captain Morgan flew in #41-24527 The Great Speckled Bird 324th BS (DF-Y) on 04 May 43
FTO - Failed to take off due to mechanical problems
RE - Division recall due to bad weather
GA - Group aborted mission due to bad weather
RP - B-17 stood down while under repair
MA - Mechanical abort after takeoff before target reached
BR - Bombs returned to base
U - Exact target unknown - Group Navigator believed that six 303BG B-17s bombed Groningen
(1) Group unable to locate target - Credited mission
(2) Bomb rack malfunction over target - Credited mission
(3) Bomb release intervelometer test requested
(4) #3 Engine failed to start
(5) Recall 30-40 miles off the Dutch coast. Non credited crew sortie
(6) Recall between coast & Dokkum Holland - Credited mission
(7) Recall between beacon 8 & 10 - Non credited mission
(8) Weather obscured target - Credited mission