Skinner Crew (Crew number 16)
The "skinner Crew" (Crew number 16) consisted of 9 man.
This was the 23th mission of Ivan Woodrow Scott who was Bombardier on the B17G wit S/N 4338668 en AC letter "T" on his tail.
Crew members often changed from planes and replaced crew members in other planes if they had a day.
The crew 16 consisted of the following crew members om 10 Januari 1945:
1st Lt. Horace Mathew Skinner (Pilot)
1st Lt. James D. Hannaman (Co-pilot)
2nd Lt. Stanford A. Kay (Navigator)
2nd Lt. Ivan Woodrow Scott (Bombardier)
S/Sgt. Charles F. Pasch (Radio-Operator)
S/Sgt. William H. Wylie (Top Turret gunner)
Sgt. Mark W. Hertz ( Ball Turret gunner)
S/Sgt. James L. Craig (Tail gunner)
Sgt. Ward C. Gillespie (Waist Gunner)
Flak got the plane just as went into the target., the left engine was hit by flak and both left engines soon were in flames.
The B-17 plane was on fire and the crew continued to drop their bombs rather than break out of formation..
The left wing was wrapped in flame. They hung onto their bombs and stayed in formation
Every man in the formation was hoping for a miracle to put those flames out.
Then they pulled away and started down.
We will never forget their courage.
According to reports, they held the plane together long enough to complete the mission before going down.
When they reached the target the wing looked like a giant bonfire, but they got their bombs on the objective.
Captain Skinner gave the order to bail out and put the plane on autopilot as he left his seat. The left wing of the plane tore off as the pilot prepared to jump, and as he jumped, the fuselage broke apart just above the bomb door. Captain Skinner's face and neck were torn by metal as he fell from the plane, and when his chute opened, he saw only three other chutes, not eight as he had hoped.Meanwhile, in the plane, according to the crew member who last them, the Houston boys were together. Ward had not been injured but was trying to free his friend Mark Hertz from his ball turrett. He could not do so before the plane crashed into a field near Neuss. Ward and Mark died with their parachutes unopened.
Eye wittnis report:
"A/C 668 received a direct hit by flak at Düsseldorf between #1 and #2 engines. The A/C peeled out of
formation and went into a 30 sec dive in an attempt to extinguish the fire. A/C leveled off about 25,000 feet for a
short time then the left wing came off and A/C went into an uncontrolled dive with A/C 151 reporting observing it
hitting the ground in a mass of flames. Of the nine men crew, four were able to bail out before the plane went
into spin. Surviving crew member reports indicate that 1st Lt Hannaman was on his way to the escape hatch,
when the plane went into the spin.
He, and three other crew members, did not get the chance to bail out before the plane hit the ground and were killed in the crash."
1 Lt Skinner wrote in the MACR Report:
We were on our 23 mission flying up the Rhine from the I P to the target when at a split second after we dropped the bombs we received a direct hit in #2 engine that almost blew it off the ship.
I tried to feather the prop, but vould not and when i looked out again the whole left wing was on fire including #1 engine.
I gave the order to bail out. I flew the ship until the Engineer and the Co-pilot was out then I put on the auto pilot and started out of my seat. I had hardley got out when the ship went into the tail spin, and the centrifugal force threw me behind my seat and holding me there until at about 5000 feet. I could move a little and noticed the fuselage had broken off at the back of the cockpit leaving it all open. The next thing I knew I was floating in the air.
After I landed and was put in a room that night with the three fellows who also got out, I then found out that a second burst of flak hit direct and blew the tail off, witch let the plane go into the spin. The tail gunner (S/Sgt. James L. Craig) escaped through the hole that the flak made.
1 Lt Ivan Woodrow Scott wrote in the MACR Report:
After the bail out signal was given i removed my equipment and turned from the bombardiers position to go out the nose hatch (B-17). I had to pass Lt Kay to get out. As is pased him i asked him if i could help him. He said no and was removing his equipment in preparation to jump. Why Lt Kay did not jump i do not know. He had plenty of time to clear the plane. The above statements are true an actually happened, no supposition.
Lt Scott bailed out of the front escape hatch right after the engineer jumped.
Listed as Missing in Action (MIA) were:
1st Lt. Horace Mathew Skinner
1st Lt. James D. Hannaman
2nd Lt. Stanford A. Kay
2nd Lt. Ivan Woodrow Scott
S/Sgt. Charles F. Pasch
S/Sgt. William H. Wylie
Sgt. Mark W. Hertz
S/Sgt. James L. Craig
Sgt. Ward C. Gillespie
According to a German report: Report on Downing of an American Aircraft, Downing No: KU 3608 dated 10 January 1945, 1 km Northwest of Holzheim and 4 km southwest of Neuss. Airplane for 99% destroyed.
Shot Down by FLAK . 1st Lt. Horace Mathew Skinner, 2nd Lt. Ivan Woodrow Scott and S/Sgt. James L. Craig survived the downing of B-17G s/n 43-38668.This was 390th Bombardment Group Mission #241.
Ivan flew a total of 23 missions ,
The MACR report discription you can see that de following crew members survived en where captured:
1st Lt. Horace Mathew Skinner (POW)
1st Lt. James D. Hannaman (KIA)
2nd Lt. Stanford A. Kay (KIA)
2nd Lt. Ivan Woodrow Scott (POW)
S/Sgt. Charles F. Pasch (KIA)
S/Sgt. William H. Wylie (KIA)
Sgt. Mark W. Hertz (KIA)
S/Sgt. James L. Craig (POW)
Sgt. Ward C. Gillespie (KIA)
After they bailed out 3 crew members captured. They captured 3 days together before they separated and send to the POW camps.