16 February 1945 — Collalbo, Italy
The 97th Bomb Group, 340th and 341st Bomb Squadron of the Fifteenth Air Force was stationed at Amendola, a small 3600-foot airfield and hard-stands located near Foggia in southern Italy. The facilities were not very desirable and the airmen lived in tents.
On 16 February 1945, the 340th Bomb Squadron crew of 1st Lt. Robert G. Foster’s B-17G took off under fair skies for a bombing mission to the Bolzano railroad yards. At approximately 1302 hours as the aircraft approached over the target, the Flying Fortress with serial number 44-8380 was hit by flak.
Missing Air Crew Report 12106 had an eyewitness statement about what happened next: I the undersigned was flying with the 340th Bomb Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group on mission 16 February 1945, to Northern Italy. When aircraft # 380 came thru the formation the left wing was smoking badly. The pilot held the aircraft in a slight bank, while losing altitude and I saw four (4) chutes come out and open. A few seconds after the chutes came out, the left wing blew up and the aircraft went into a spin. The plane was hit by a direct burst of flak over the target.
The co-pilot and the engineer were not able to bail out and when down with their aircraft when it crashed near Collalbo (Klobenstein), South Triol, Italy.