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75th Anniversary of first All American Combat Bombing Mission in Europe … 17-Aug-42

Discussion in 'Heavy & Very Heavy Bombers' started by RickFlack, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. RickFlack

    RickFlack New Member

    For those who may be interested in honoring the 75th anniversary of the very first All American heavy bomber combat mission conducted over German occupied territory in Europe on August 17, 1942, please read on.

    This historic mission was executed using twelve Boeing B‑17E Heavy Bomber Flying Fortresses from the VIII Bomber Command’s 97th Bomb Group made up of four Bomb Squadrons (340th, 341st, 342nd and the 414th). These twelve Flying Fortresses were from the following Bomb Squadrons: one (1) from the 340th and five (5) from the 342nd, which were all in the first flight group, and six (6) from the 414th all in the second flight group. In addition, three (3) bombers from the 340th and three (3) bombers from the 341st flew diversionary missions.

    Of historic note, General Ira C. Eaker, the commander of the VIII Bomber Command, flew as an observer in the led aircraft in the second flight group of six B‑17’s piloted by Captain Rudolph “Rudy” Emil Flack, the Mission Commander. Captain Flack was also the Base Commander from where the twelve Flying Fortresses departed, which was the Grafton-Underwood RAF airfield located 4 miles northeast of Kettering, Northamptonshire, England. Captain Flack was also the 414th Bomb Squadron Commander. The B‑17E Flying Fortress piloted by Captain Flack was the “Yankee Doodle” (41-9023). For an insight into Colonel Rudy Flack’s life story and his stellar military career, I have attached the books 2-page Preface to this email.

    As a result of my being in the process of completing this book about my father’s life (Rudy Flack) primarily focused on his military flying career, I am able to provide never before seen photographs, military documents and a detailed accounting of this historic August 17, 1942 mission as well as many others. If you are interested in downloading a PDF draft copy of this book, please let me know and I will email you a Microsoft OneDrive invitation with a download link. My email address is RFlackAttack@hotmail.com

    Attached Files:

  2. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

  3. RickFlack

    RickFlack New Member

    In fact, there were other Americans who participated in bombing missions against German occupied territory in Europe prior to the August 17, 1942 mission; some who flew with the British RAF forces as early as May 1942. Note, for the 1942 Polesti mission some of the initial 13 B-24’s took off just prior to midnight on June 11th and twelve of the B-24’s reached their general target area on June 12th.

    The next documented mission prior to August 17, 1942 is described in: The Hour Has Come - The 97th Bomb Group in World War II (Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas, Library of Congress Number 93 060460, Published 1993), This is England, Chapter V, page 28, column 2, first complete paragraph and read as follows:

    While the staff and ground crews awaited airplanes a bombardier from the 97th received his baptism of fire. It occurred on 4 July at the same time that the arrival of the first B-17E was being entered in the diary of the Eighth Bomber Command. The American air commanders, anxious to get Americans into the European air war, selected the 15th Bombardment Squadron (Separate) which had arrived in May to lead the attack. The crews had received additional training from the RAF. The Americans borrowed six Douglass A-20 bombers (Bostons) from the RAF and prepared to join six others in a low level sweep against four airdromes in Holland. Two of the airplanes manned by Americans failed to return shot down by what the RAF flight leader termed the "worse flak barrage in my experience." One of them carried Second Lieutenant Boyd S. Grant, 97th Bombardment Group.”

    My best guess is that since the August 17, 1942 mission was the result of the first planned large scale effort by the US Military (Operation BOLERO) to establish a major presence of men and material in England, that the US Army Air Force considered this to be their “first” mission of their long term commitment to defeat Germany. The same analogy can be applied to the North African Campaign as a result of Operation TOURCH that included the establishment of the Twelfth Air Force. Unfortunately, the details of the missions prior to August 17th, in which Americans piloted aircraft to bomb German occupied territory in Europe, was not well known on a large scale, much less communicated to the press for immediate publication. Many of these details did not surface until these stories were told later by those who participated in these missions. These early missions were just as important, even though on a much smaller scale, as Americans made the ultimate sacrifice, which we should never forget.
    billrunnels likes this.
  4. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Rick an article of B-17 '' Little Bill '' with Major Rudy Flack. Your father ??


    Attached Files:

  5. RickFlack

    RickFlack New Member

    Yes, this article is referring to my father, Major Flack, who appears in the photo that shows the B-17F "Little Bill". Major Flack is the one standing on the left talking with his Crew Chief who is in the cockpit checking out the aircraft prior to the 22-Jan-43 mission (97th BG Mission #47). To the right of Major Flack are two Ground Crewmen. Major Rudy Flack (414th Bomb Squadron Commander) was selected by upper command to serve as the Mission Commander, Flight Leader and Pilot of "Little Bill" for this historic mission. Historic because Major Flack flew the first female photographer and reporter, Margaret‑Bourke White, to fly on a combat mission. If anyone is interested is reading the "complete" story about this 22-Jan-43 mission, which contains many photos, newspaper articles and so on (all of which are footnoted) , please send me an email request to RFlackAttack.com.
  6. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

  7. RickFlack

    RickFlack New Member

    In addition to Margaret-Bourke White's March 1, 1943 Life Magazine articles, refer to the attached newspaper article printed in the “Evening Outlook, Santa Monica, California” on Wednesday, August 4, 1943. This article includes quotes from Margaret-Bourke White about Major Rudy Flack after she returned to the US mainland and visited with Rudy's mother at the Flack family home in Brentwood, CA.

    Attached Files:

  8. dennis_burke

    dennis_burke New Member

  9. RickFlack

    RickFlack New Member

    Hello Dennis,

    With reference to you interest in 2nd Lt. George L Ludolph, plus two other crew members of the B-17E Big Punk (41-9030) that you mentioned (Saunders and Kirk), hopefully I can shed some light and help fill in a few missing details. I just finished researching my “main” book (about my fathers’ life story focused on his military flying career) and I found information that may be of interest to you and others. All of this information is located in Chapters 7, 8 and 9 in the “main” book titled, “The Amazing Story of Another Real American Hero - Colonel Rudy Flack - Main Book”. Below are the page numbers in each of these Chapters that may be of interest:

    Chapter 7 – Pages 441, 458, 460, 470, 479 and 491.
    Chapter 8 – Pages 547, 556, 600-604, 606, 610-611 and 619.
    Chapter 9 – Pages 691, 707-708, 748 and 750.

    To view each of these pages, the following link provides access to all of my publications related to the "main" book about my father's life story. They include the complete "main" book itself, 11 standalone PDF's - one for each Chapter, 16 PDF's for this "Date in History" mini-series, a List of Figures identifying 405 never before seen photos, and lastly, several appendices:


    In addition, I have created a Facebook page in my father's name so that I can Post the same information as described in the preceding link. This Facebook link is as follows:


    Please provide any and all comments regarding anything in any of the PDF files. My primary objective is to be as complete and as accurate as humanly possible. Please feel free to ask any question(s) you may have. Please feel free to forward this email (with its ONEDRIVE links) to others who may be interested in viewing this material. Thank you from Rudy Flack's youngest son, Fredrick Richard "Rick" Flack. My email address is RFlackAttack@Hotmail.com.
  10. RickFlack

    RickFlack New Member

    This day in history ... August 17, 1942: The first All American Flying Fortress combat bombing mission over German occupied territory in Europe (the Sotteville Railroad Marshaling Yards located in Rouen, France) took place 75 years ago today.

    Major Rudy Flack played a key role in this mission as he was assigned to the VIII Bomber Command as the Commander of the 414th Bomb Squadron.

    For those who are WWII Army Air Force history buff's please read on. The August 17, 1942 mission is detailed in Chapter 8 -- Combat Missions in Europe with the 8th Air Force (1942), which is located in the following OneDrive link:


    Here you will find 32 PDF documents consisting of:

    ► A draft copy of the "main" book containing 12 chapters (The Amazing Story of Another Real American Hero - Colonel Rudy Flack - Main Book.pdf)

    ► Twelve Individual standalone PDF's for each of the 12 chapters

    ► Sixteen "This Date in History" individual stories (each a separate PDF)

    ► Lastly, three appendices (A -- Scrapbook, C -- Flying Log Book from 1-Nov-1937 thru 3-Apr-1939 and D -- Flying Log Book from June 1938 thru 28 Dec 1945

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