Dimel's Crew


Back Row L/R: Soldano, Smith, Evans, McNichols, Miller, Quigley.   Front Row L/R: Dimel, Heckerson, Grant, Rothkop. (James Dimel)

         Quigley flew only one or two missions with us. He was a tail gunner.  Grant was so good he was pulled out and became a Lead Navigator.  We became a Lead Crew quite early, and always had substitute crew members; hence on our 12th mission, we had Connolly and Lynch.

10 NOVEMBER, 1944:

     As deputy lead of the High Squadron,on a mission to bomb an airfield south of Wiesbaden, we passed over the IP, Frankfurt.  With bomb doors open, we sustained multiple flack hits, knocking out the oxygen system, a good portion of the instrument panel, the hydraulic system, and bomb bay door retracting mechanism, and engines #2, 3 and 4.  Numbers 3 and 4 caught fire.

     The pilot managed to stay in formation for the few seconds remaining until bomb drop, jettisoned the bombs, and dove down to the right to about 13,000' so that the crew could survive without oxygen. Propeller on #4 was feathered; but #3 continued to windmill.  Fires in the engines were put out, but rekindled from time to time.  Rudder trim cable was cut, so maintaining trim on one engine was difficult.  As there were German fighters in the area, pilot tried to stay in the clouds.

     Lt. Rothkop sustained  a very serious head wound, plus wounds in neck and leg.  Lt. Connolly was grievously wounded in the right thigh. The best our B-17 could do on one engine, which eventually refused to sustain full power, and with the bomb doors hanging open, was a descent of about 800 feet per minute.  Flying in the clouds and descending, without knowing the ground elevation, or our location, we headed west.

     The pilot ordered all crew aft of the bomb bay to bail out; but with two men in the front so wounded that it was doubtful that they would survive a parachute jump,  the pilot decided to attempt a crash landing. We broke out of the clouds about 500 feet above the Belgian town of Jaimoigne, and just missed the steeple of the church.  Despite German snipers in the area, a U.S. Army unit of combat engineers found us and took our wounded to an Army hospital, from which they were air-evacuated to the States.  The crew who parachuted survived, although our Ball Gunner broke his leg upon landing.  The rest of us returned to complete our missions.

- CAPT James Dimel

(MACR 10336)


CREW INFO
Name Rank Position First Mission Last Mission Status
James J. Dimel CAPT Pilot 09/17/44 03/14/45 Completed 30 combat missions. The last 18 as command pilot.
Marshall T. Heckerson 1st LT Co-pilot   03/14/45 Completed 30 combat missions, the last as command pilot.
Grant 1st LT Navigator     Became lead navigator.
Joseph F. Connolly, Jr. 1st LT DR Navigator     WIA, 11/10/44
Bennie E. Lynch 2nd LT PP Navigator      
Theodore Rothkop 2nd LT Bombardier   03/14/45 WIA, 11/10/44
Samuel P. Soldano SSGT Engineer/Top   03/14/45 Completed 30 combat missions.
Carlton P. Smith SGT Radio/Waist   03/14/45 Completed 30 combat missions.
Eugene Evans CPL Waist Gunner   03/14/45 Completed 30 combat missions.
Dale B. McNichols CPL Waist Gunner   03/14/45 Completed 30 combat missions.
Hugh J. Quigley CPL Tail Gunner     Completed 30 combat missions with other crews.
Chelsey C. Miller CPL Ball Gunner   03/14/45 Completed 30 combat missions.
 
MISSION INFO
Mission Date Name ID S/N Type
078 09/17/44       B17G
081 09/25/44 The Fertile Turtle PG 43-37943 B17G
082 09/26/44 Lady V DK 43-37856 B17G
085 10/02/44 Vermont Maid/Cupcake ND 43-38246 B17G
086 10/03/44   TL 43-38040 B17G
096 10/22/44 Easy Movement NL 43-38041 B17G
097 10/25/44 Old Man's Folly NJ 43-37891 B17G
098 10/26/44 Old Man's Folly NJ 43-37891 B17G
101 11/04/44       B17G
103 11/06/44 Woeful Bear NH 43-37908 B17G
104 11/09/44 Woeful Bear NH 43-37908 B17G
105 11/10/44 Woeful Bear NH 43-37908 B17G
Air Commander
109 11/27/44   PJ 4x-xx074 B17G
110 11/30/44   PH 43-38163 B17G
112 12/06/44   PN 4x-xx132 B17G
115 12/12/44   PP 44-8035 B17G
118 12/24/44   PA 44-8002 B17G
123 12/31/44   PE 44-8453 B17G
127 01/05/45   PE 44-8453 B17G
136 01/21/45   PB 44-8025 B17G
137 01/28/45 Baby Shoe III/Downbeat PV 44-8218 B17G
139 02/01/45 Lady V II PK 44-8130 B17G
140 02/03/45   PB 44-8025 B17G
143 02/14/45   PA 44-8002 B17G
147 02/19/45   PB 44-8025 B17G
151 02/24/45   PA 44-8002 B17G
155 02/28/45   PF 4x-xx073 B17G
158 03/04/45   PF 4x-xx073 B17G
160 03/08/45   PB 44-8025 B17G
165 03/14/45   PJ 44-8074 B17G

 
Created 08/10/99 Modified 12/01/14

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