|Assault on the Damn Yankee|
Edition - $125
Signed by Pilot - $155
|Size 17-1/2 x 26|
|Military Aviation Art
On a bombing mission to Solingen, Germany, December 1, 1943, a B-17F "Flying Fortress" of the 384th Bomb Group, 545th Squadron is on its’ 13th mission piloted by ship commander Lt. Bruce G. Sundlun. Over the target planes of the 384th encounter intense flak, "Damn Yankee’s" #4 engine is hit and the propeller begins to windmill. Losing speed and altitude "Damn Yankee" falls behind the group. Navigator, Lt. Reino O. Jylkka, gives the heading for England when suddenly tail gunner Sgt. Frank Lekas, calls out "enemy aircraft at six..." but had no chance to finish. Focke Wulf 190s, from Jagdgeschwader (JG 26), assault the "Fortress" from the 6, 7, and 8 o’clock position, destroying the left horizontal stabilizer and tail gunner’s cabin, killing Sgt. Lekas. One 500 pound bomb, caught in the bomb bay since the bomb drop, is released by bombardier, Sgt. George C. Hayes, who is killed by gun fire while in the doorway of the bomb bay. On the intercom an agonizing cry is then heard "Oh...they got me bad". Ball turret gunner, Sgt. Harry F. Cologne is mortally wounded.
The fighters continue
firing, the #2 engine is hit and begins smoking. Attempts to feather
the propeller fail. The situation is now desperate, with the tail
now shot to pieces, the rudder useless, the intercom out, the fuse box
shattered and oxygen leaking freely. Diving and losing altitude
fast, "Damn Yankee" reaches cloud cover but it does not provide
sufficient cover. Fighters again assault the stricken bomber
hitting the control cables, instrument panel, and automatic flight control
equipment while severely wounding radioman Sgt. Charles L. Snyder.
Gunners in the B-17 fire back a constant stream hitting two 190s,
destoying one. At 5000 feet the #2 engine is on fire and only
partial control of the aircraft is maintained. With the ball turret
crippled and the top turret gun jammed, the FW 190s shoot out both waist
guns killing gunners Sgt. Chester P. Snyder and Sgt. Mike J. Cappelletti.