B-17G Destroyed by Bomb Strike

In this remarkable series of still frames from a motion film camera, 1000-pound (453.6-kilogram) bombs dropped by another Flying Fortress wreck the left horizontal stabilizer of a B-17 on May 19, 1944. Operations that day put 888 heavy bombers over Berlin, Kiel, and Brunswick. These two planes, of the 8th Air Force, 94th Bombardment Group, unfortunately intersected over Berlin. Lieutenant John Winslett's Vega-built B-17G-30-VE Flying Fortress, "Trudy" (#42-97791) of the 332nd Bombardment Squadron unloaded its payload on Boeing B-17G-20-BO (#42-31540) "Miss Donna Mae II" of the 331st Bombardment Squadron commanded by Lieutenant Marion Ulysses Reid (November 13, 1920 - May 19, 1944). The bombs had a propeller that were timed so that at a certain altitude, the bombs would arm; so they did not explode on impact. Reid's plane dropped to 13,000 feet (4000 meters) and the stress on the aircraft tore the wing off. As the Fortress disappeared into the clouds, no chutes were seen. All eleven crew members were killed. When this photo was released to the press, it incorrectly claimed the plane returned to base, ahead of the other aircraft. On December 11, 1944, "Trudy" was severely damaged by a bird strike while returning to her base at RAF Bury St. Edmunds. Marion Reid's body was recovered and reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery on April 21, 1949. His father, a Baptist Minister, was honored by his congregation to have a building dedicated in his son's name.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
United States Army Air Force
Archival Identifier: 
National Archives
Date Photographed: 
Friday, May 19, 1944