9 February 1945 — Duisburg, Germany
The 379th Bomb Group, 526th Bomb Squadron of the Eighth Air Force was based at Station 117, Kimbolton located about 50 miles north of London in Huntingdonshire, England near the village of Kimbolton. Prior to the arrival of the Americans, its population was about 750 people.
The mission for Friday, 9 February 1945 was to bomb the railroad viaduct at Amsberg, Germany. There were 75 B-17s flying the mission that day and the feeling was that this would be an easy mission, just another milk run. Photograph at the left shows a typical 379th Bomb Group Flying Fortress with the triangle K tail markings. As they were approaching the target, 1st Lt. Herbert I. Pearlman and his crew of “White Lightnin,” a B-17GG, number 44-6119 encountered heavy flak. Pearlman managed to keep the aircraft flying even as the number one engine began leaking oil. Eventually all four engines were lost and had to be feathered. While Pearlman was searching for an appropriate spot to land, the crew noticed a large red cross on top of a nearby building and they decided to land near there, thinking it might be a hospital. They crash landed in an open field approximately 20 miles from Duisburg, Germany. Unfortunately the plane landed beside a flak battery and not a hospital. All the crew members were captured and taken to a nearby railroad station and stripped of their uniforms. When the crew did not return home to base, Missing Air Crew Report 12337 was filed.