6 September 1943 — Abbeville, France
VIII Bomber Command mount their largest bombing mission to date. 338 B-17's dispatched against aircraft industry targets in Stuttgart. Losses amounted to 45 B-17's. Not all losses were from combat damage, many ditched in the North sea due to fuel depletion.
Lt George Francis was flying with his regular crew on this mission. He had been assigned to the "Asher" (Pilot) Crew as Navigator, on AC 42-30010, markings PY X of the 407th Bomb Squadron. The AC was attacked by fighters on the way in to the target at Stuttgart Germany. Between Abbeville, France and Amiens France. The AC fell from formation with FW-190's following it's decent. The AC was seen to explode, most likely from a cannon round hitting the bomb load. Three parachutes were seen by eyewitness's that were members of other crews. The three crew members that managed to exit the AC prior to the explosion landed to the southeast of Abbeville, 2 were captured and interred as POW's. One Evaded and returned to duty (Pfannebecker, Radio Op). The three survivors were Wilson (L waist), Plyer (Tail) and Pfannebecker (Radio Op). Enemy fighter opposition was savage and sustained. Battle damage was severe, three 92nd BG Aircraft went down over the continent. Other AC returned damaged and some crash landed in England.
MACR 739; see photos
Chronology "Air War Europa" Chronology; Eric Hammel
"The Route as Briefed; John Sloan
"Bits & Pieces of the Mighty Eighth"; Andrews, Adams, Woolnough
92nd Bomb Group Archives