The Missions of Baby's Crew

All flights from Podington, 1944


All missions were flown in B-17G models, except the 3rd and 4th missions, flown in an 'F' model (no chin turret). The chin turret had been added to the 'G' model to help fend off the deadly new tactic of the Luftwaffe: head-on attacks by successive waves of fighters.

The crew flew in many different planes; a total of 11 different B-17's were used by the crew between January 5 and March 24, through mission 16. No plane was used more than 3 times, most only once.

The last aircraft flown by the crew, B-17G-45-BO (42-97203), was first flown on mission 17. This was the first unpainted B-17 flown by the crew. All others had been painted in camouflage colors. The name "Baby" was painted on the nose, but none of the typical American nose art was ever added.

Aircraft (a/c) counts in 'Comments' are for the 92nd BG

Mission     Date      Duration   Target           Comments

   1            Jan 4         7:45  Kiel                 Port complex, 2 a/c lost.
                                                                        Pilot Parramore flew as copilot with another crew;
                                                                        the rest of Parramore's crew waited at Podington.

  2             Jan 5         8:10  Kiel                The first mission for the crew as a whole.

  3             Jan 14       3:35    Pas de Calais (Linghem), France  (30 mi. SE of Calais, labeled on map)
                                                                              Crossbow (V-1) sites.

  4             Jan 29       7:50    Frankfurt am Main     53 a/c sent, 1 lost.
                                                                              92nd's first use of its own PFF a/c.

  5             Feb 6        7:00   Nancy, France           Clouds; brought bombs back.

  6             Feb 8        5:40   Frankfurt am Main     3 a/c lost.

  7             Feb 20       8:35    Leipzig                      Bf109 factories; 1 a/c lost.
                                                                             Start of "Big Week".

  8             Feb 22       8:40    Aalborg, Denmark      Clouds; no bombs dropped. 2 a/c lost.

  9             Feb 24       7:35    Schweinfurt               3 a/c lost.

  10            Feb 25       9:05    Stuttgart                    Ball bearing plant, aircraft factory.
                                                                             End of "Big Week".

  11            Mar 3        7:15   Berlin                        Ball bearing plant. Clouds; recalled. 1 a/c lost.

                If the weather had cooperated, this would have been the first raid on Berlin,
                the capital of the Third Reich, by the Eighth AAF, a momentous and morale
                boosting achievement.

                Instead, the next day, March 4, was the first day that the 8th AAF dropped bombs
                on Berlin. 21 B-17's of the 95th and 100th BG reached Berlin.
                Lt. Charles "Chuck" Yeager, flying a P-51 on escort, shot down his first
                German fighter plane over Berlin on this day. Herr Goering, seeing B-17 bombers
                escorted by P-51 fighters over Berlin for the first time, reportedly said,
                "The war is lost." He was right.

  12            Mar 18       8:10    Lechfeld                       Me262 jet fighter factory. 1 a/c lost.

  13            Mar 20       7:15    Frankfurt am Main        Clouds; aborted.

  14            Mar 22       9:10    Berlin                           Secondary target; suburb of Oranienburg
                                                                                 was primary. Steichen reports seeing P-51's
                                                                                 strafing ground targets in Berlin.

  15            Mar 23       6:35    Hamm                         Aircraft repair depot. 5 a/c lost.

  16            Mar 24       7:00    Frankfurt am Main        Secondary target; Schweinfurt was primary.

  17            Mar 26       3:25    Pas de Calais (Mimoyecques), France    (10 mi. S of Calais, not labeled)
                                                                                                        Crossbow sites.

  18            Apr 18        8:20   Oranienburg (suburb of Berlin)        Marshalling yards.

  19            Apr 19        6:40   Kassel                           Luftwaffe aerodrome.

  20            Apr 20        3:35   Pas de Calais (Zadausques), France      (20 mi. SE of Calais, not labeled)
                                                                                                      Crossbow sites.

   21            Apr 24       7:00    Oberpfaffenhofen (Munich)        Dornier aircraft factory
                                                                                             5 a/c lost, including 'Baby'.

                                        The specific target was the underground portion of the factory,
                                        which was being used to assemble jet engines for the Me262
                                        jet fighter. This was the primary target of an earlier mission of the
                                        92nd BG, flown on March 16.

                                        Approximately 750 bombers of the 8th AAF headed for various
                                        targets in southern Germany on this day. The group assigned to
                                        Oberpfaffenhofen did not have fighter escort for about an hour,
                                        and about 200 German fighters attacked. 15 aircraft of the 40th
                                        Wing landed in Switzerland this day.

    John Steichen also flew two additional missions as navigator on another plane:

     unknown date    Pas de Calais, France                    Unknown town in Pas de Calais.

     unknown date    Berlin                                           Aborted because of weather;
                                                                                             alternate target - Ruhr valley.

For more details of these and other AAF missions, see the HeavyBombers comprehensive chronology

Map 1

Maps by Travel

Map 2

Maps by Travel

Map 3

Maps by Travel

Map 4

Maps by Travel

Map 5     Shared map for all Pas de Calais targets. Not all are labeled.
(The Channel Tunnel was not yet available to the Allies, nor to Germany!)

                miles             0                                                         22                                                         44
                                     |                                                            |                                                            |

Maps by Travel

Chapter 1
The Flight Across the Atlantic
Chapter 2
Life at Podington
Chapter 3
The Missions of Baby's Crew
Chapter 4
The Last Mission
Chapter 5
Life in Switzerland
Chapter 6
Escape from Switzerland
Baby's Crew
Retracing History:
The Author's Trip
What's New on the Site
Links to Related Sites

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Copyright © 2001 by Ed Rathje

Web page created by Ed Rathje - last updated January 20, 2002.