This remarkable series of photographs was taken during a bombing run on May 19, 1944 over Berlin. It shows a mishap which occurred when the bombs from one Flying Fortress struck and damaged one of the horizontal stabilizers of the tail of a B-17 which was beneath it. In this photo bombs are seen dropping toward the Fortress. The first bomb is about to strike the left stabilizer.
The stabilizer dangles from the plane after having been struck by the bomb. Since the preceding photograph was taken, two more bombs have dropped from the bomb bays of the photographer's Fortress. The damaged B-17 is also dropping its explosive load.
Despite its damaged tail surfaces, the B-17 continues on its course. The bomb which struck the stabilizer was deflected by the impact and can be seen, pointed in a different direction from its companions, silhouetted against the clouds.
I had originally posted this series of photos because it was reported that the damaged B-17 was brought under control and safely flown back to its base, arriving even before the remainder of the group. However, later information revealed that the B-17 went straight down and crashed, with all crew lost. That being the case, these photos should be removed from the website (since I only use photos of damaged B-17s that returned to base). However, I've decided to keep the photos online just because it is a unique historical moment that would still be of interest to my visitors.
SOURCE: The four photos above were sent in by a visitor, from a book that was not identified. (Official U.S. Army Air Forces photos)
For more information on this incident, click HERE.
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