AAR for Mission 22 – Janet E (350th BS) Player Name: John Kovacs
Crews Name: 2nd Lt. Keith Baker
Plane Name: Janet E, B17F-55-BO 42-29501 (LN-N)
Mission#: 22 (Group), 3 (This Bomber in Group), 8 (This Bomber Overall)
Date: 6 September 1943
Target City: Strasbourg, France (Factory)
2nd Lt. David Astorino (Bombardier), 2nd Lt. David Monroe (Navigator), 1st Lt. Keith Baker (Pilot), 1st Lt. Troy Howell (Copilot), MSgt. Grant Grace (Engineer), TSgt. Michael Hazzard (Radio Operator), Sgt. John Zimmerman (Ball Gunner), Sgt. Lucas DelValle (Waist Gunner-Port), Sgt. Michael Kokinda (Waist Gunner-Strbd), Sgt. Julio Lopez (Tail Gunner)
Did the B-17 Bomb the target: No Bomb Run: N/A
Aircraft Status: Shot down - starboard inboard fuel tank fire
Aircraft Replacement: Yes (will provide name & crew later)
2nd Lt. Dave Monroe - KIA
2nd Lt. Dave Astorino - POW
1st Lt. Keith Baker - POW
MSgt. Grant Grace - POW
TSgt. Mike Hazzard - POW
Sgt. John Zimmerman - POW
Sgt. Mike Kokinda - POW
Sgt. Julio Lopez - POW
1st Lt. Troy Howell and Sgt. Lucas Del Valle returned to England via the French Underground.
Names and positions of replacement crewmembers: TBD
Total Enemy A/C Claimed by type:
Bf-109: 2 destroyed / 0 probable / 0 damaged
Bf-110: 0 destroyed / 0 probable / 0 damaged
FW-190: 0 destroyed / 0 probable / 0 damaged
MSgt. G. Grace - 1 x Bf-109 Destroyed
Sgt. L. Del Valle - 1 x Bf-109 Destroyed
Medal Recommendations: Purple Heart for Lt. Monroe (posthumously); POW medals for captured crewmembers
The Janet E took off and followed the rest of the squadron over the Channel. We didn't see any enemy fighters until we were over Belgium, when four Bf-109s tried to surround us. P-47s from the 4th FG drove off two of them. Sgt. Lucas Del Valle blew the engine off the Bf-109 at 9:00 level; the Kraut at 3:00 high put one shell into the Janet E's port wing but it did no damage. Another 4th FG P-47 came around and brushed the 2nd Bf-109 away before it could come around again.
As soon as the friendly fighters went away, a pair of Bf-109s and a single Bf-110 attacked the Janet E. This time MSgt. Grace in the top turret took out the Bf-109 at 12:00 level with a long burst that shredded the Kraut's cockpit and it tumbled to the ground. The 2nd Bf-109 put another superficial hit in the port wing and the Bf-110 missed altogether; the Bf-109 came around for another pass but everybody missed and the Kraut flew away.
Things were quiet until the Janet E hit the target zone. Just as Lt. Monroe started to line us up on our target run, four FW-190s jumped us from all angles. Five different gunners took shots at the FW-190s but they all missed. Only two of the FW-190s hit the Janet E, but it was enough. After six shells did only superficial damage, the final shell hit the starboard inboard fuel tank. Lt. Baker watched and prayed that the tank would self-seal, but it didn't. As soon as he saw a lick of flame he hit the bailout bell, and the crew scrambled to get out of the stricken plane.
Everybody got out of the burning Janet E, but Lt. Monroe struck the port tailplane hard and his chute never opened. The rest of us were scattered around the French countryside. Everybody but Sgt. Del Valle and myself were captured; Lucas and I evaded long enough to get in contact with the French Underground and they returned us to England two nights later. The Janet E crashed and burned in a small French village south of Strasbourg.
Sgt. Del Valle and myself await orders to report to another bomber crew or as replacements in a new bomber.
1st Lt. Troy Howell
Co-Pilot of B-17F-55-BO 42-29501 (Janet E)
B-17: Queen of the Skies
War is hell, Godspeed to the crew of the JanetE.
Re: The Final Flight of the Janet E