Sally B is a B-17G-105-VE Flying Fortress, serial 44-85784, Powered by: Four Wright R-18200-97 Cyclone radial engines, each producing 1,200 hp at 15,000 feet. It had a maximum speed of 287 mph at 25,000 feet which was about its normal operating height. Flying in box formations, hundreds of Fortresses battled through German defences in daylight raids, and in spite of being armed with eleven to thirteen 50-caliber machine guns initially suffered huge losses against a determined fighter defence force, that is until the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustangs long-range escort fighters were available to provide the much needed support. But on the final bomb run flying straight and level they still had to face the unrelenting accurate flack guns around the target areas which accounted for so many losses and injury. Crews lives were measured in weeks rather than months but, despite the high casualty rate, B-17’s became famous for returning home with terrible battle damage and were fondly regarded by their crews for this quality. Many were shot down by Luftwaffe fighters defending their country, but a little known fact is that some severely damaged American bombers that were trying to seek safe sancturary in Switzerland were attacked and shot down by Swiss fighters and in one case a number of American crewmembers were killed, and those that managed to land were often kept in camps and conditions worse than those captured in Germany. One such camp was Wauwilermoos, a detention camp Near Lucerne. where American servicemen were treated as prisoners, they slept on boards covered with lice ridden dirty straw. The latrines were just slit trenches inside or outside of the barracks, and no hygiene facilities except the chance to be hosed-off every few weeks. Food was poured from slop pails into troughs or tin pans. Internees lacked medical care, proper nutrition.

IMG_3913 sally b


~ by starflight on July 13, 2009.

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