|Not Without a Fight|
|Size 32 x 24|
|Military Aviation Art
On March 23, 1944 ‘Paper Doll’, a B-17 G-5-VE serial number 42-39954 of the 728th BS, 452nd BG, 8th AF and her crew were on their eleventh mission. The target was Brunswick in Germany, which they continued onto despite their number four engine being out.
After taking heavy damage on the way to the target, including the number one engine being shut down and the number two coming off its mounts, ‘Paper Doll’ dropped out of formation. Port wing leaking fuel, they descended through the undercast until they broke into a clear layer with solid cloud above and below.
They were followed by six Bf-109s, three staying as top cover while the others positioned for an attack. Coming from below and behind a Bf-109 G-6 from 4/JG 53 flown by Ofw. Stefan Litjens*, pressed an attack. After its firing pass it climbed into a stall about 250 feet out to port, high and behind. The Port Waist Gunner hit it in the wing, doing extreme damage and saw it spin down through the clouds.
With the bomb bay burning, fuel leak ignited and two more 109s attacking the crew abandoned ship. All ten were taken prisoner and spent 13 months as POWs.
Depicted here is the moment just after Litjens has finished his firing pass and shortly before he is shot down. The ‘Paper Doll’ is showing her wounds though still maintaining an air of dignity and the pleasing lines of the B-17.