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USAAF Nose Art Research Project


 

Florencia
B-17G-55-BO 42-102574

94th Bomb Group, 332nd Bomb Squadron

 
We have been unable to locate any photograph of this aircraft.
If you have any further information on its crew(s), mission details or pictures/documents relevant to this (or any other aircraft) we would be pleased to receive copies.
You can contact us by clicking here

To date, no photographs have come to light which confirm the titling or nose art on this B17G and the origin of its name is also unknown. If you can provide any further information or photos of this (or any other 94BG) aircraft, we would be pleased to recieve copies.

Navigator Abel Dolim was assigned to this aircraft as part of Joe Hamil's crew. His first mission in Florencia was to Zwickau on 12th May 44 when gunners on the plane brought down one fighter and damaged another. Dolim noted, "I was shocked to see six black Fw190s fly through the high squadron, attacking from 12 o'clock level.... about ten minutes later two more black Fw190s attacked the lead squadron, fish tailing to rake their targets... One of the Fw190s rammed the #6 aircraft in the lead squadron and they both exploded... A string of cannon shells came so close I heard their sharp cracks exploding in front of our nose. I fired about 60 rounds until the Me109 passed by our #1 engine forcing me to quit... Apparently the enemy was not firing at this point or he would have hit us. His aircraft stalled after passing us and our tail gunner saw it go down and crash.... the floor of our nose section was covered with cartridge casings giving any movement a roller skating effect. After landing at Rougham, we were amazed to find that our aircraft #574 was undamaged"

Four missions later, Joe Hamil's crew flew to Berlin. It was the fourth time Florencia had attacked that city but the 5th trip for Dolim. He noted "My 5th mission to Berlin. I am now in the habit of tuning in to the German Air Raid Warning Service. Their announcers are women who call out their messages hysterically -- Achtung, Amerikanischer Grossbomber wegen nach Osnabruch, Hannover, Braunsweig und Berlin. They know exactly what we are up to..."

The crew's 17th mission in the plane came on 21st June when they took off for Berlin yet again -- Dolim noted in his diary, "During takeoff I was alarmed by the drag on our left wing but I checked my strong desire to say anything on the intercom for fear of unnecessarily alarming the other crew members... Our bomb run was 40 miles long at 90 knots ground speed due to a stiff headwind... We unloaded our delayed action GPs and incendiaries over the Charlottenburg district while heavy flak from 900-odd 88mm cannons around Berlin gave us the most accurate and sustained fire we have encountered to date... As we turned away from the target, we saw many brightly blazing pinpoints of fire in the heavily built up residential area below.

"At interrogation, I asked Joe Hamil what went wrong on takeoff... with his usual deadpan look he told me hat we took off with our controls locked and that we were only saved from a likely crash by well-positioned trim tabs. Hamil and I were the only members of the crew at interrogation and there were 10 double shots of whiskey lined up on the table. He started on one end and I started on the other. We met in the middle for a draw."

Another crew took Florencia on 8th July, taking off for the air depot at Conches. They experienced difficulties on the out-bound journey and were forced to ditch into the Channel. "RAF Air-Sea Rescue launches fished two of our crews out of the drink," noted Dolim. "Lt McRae was copilot of #574 and returned a couple of days later garbed in a Royal Navy turtle-neck sweater. Mac has had his share of bad luck. Last April he was seriously wounded in the groin by the same piece of flak that killed his navigator."

Known Mission List

Date Pilot

Target

Notes
27 Feb 1944McMackinBehen 
20 Apr 1944WebbPas de Calais 
22 Apr 1944McCauleyHamm 
24 Apr 1944K R SimondsFriedrichshaven 
26 Apr 1944K R SimondsBrunswick 
28 Apr 1944McMackinLa GlacerieV-weapon site
7 May 1944K R SimondsBerlin 
8 May 1944ScannellBerlin 
11 May 1944K R SimondsBrussels 
12 May 1944Joe W HamilZwickau 
13 May 1944Joe W HamilOsnabruckOne Me109 destroyed, Fw190 damaged
19 May 1944MoakBerlin 
22 May 1944Joe W HamilKiel 
23 May 1944Joe W HamilChaumont 
24 May 1944Joe W HamilBerlin 
25 May 1944Joe W HamilBrussels 
29 May 1944McDowellMockau 
30 May 1944McCauleyWatton/SiracourtRelease failed, returned with bombs
31 May 1944Joe W HamilHamm/Soest 
2 Jun 1944Joe W HamilBoulogne#2 eng caught fire on taxiway
2 Jun 1944Joe W HamilVersailles 
4 Jun 1944StopulosVersailles 
5 Jun 1944Joe W HamilLe TorquePilot sick - aborted -non sortie
6 Jun 1944C C CornellInvasion support 
7 Jun 1944Joe W HamilNantes 
11 Jun 1944TrachtenburgMerlement/Le Touquet 
12 Jun 1944Joe W HamilMontdidier a/f"A few flak hits"
18 Jun 1944Joe W HamilHanover 
20 Jun 1944Joe W HamilKonigsborn 
21 Jun 1944Joe W HamilBerlinControls malfunctioned on takeoff but flew mission - 10 flak hits
22 Jun 1944Ralph BrantNoball 
25 Jun 1944DavisSecret So. FranceMarquis supply drop
29 Jun 1944FloresWittenburgTook off as spare- flew mission - 5 bombs hung up
6 Jul 1944DavisFressin/Crepieul 
7 Jul 1944Joe W HamilKolleda/Merseburg 
8 Jul 1944G Skelton / McRaeConchesDITCHED in Channel - crew rescued
15 Jun 1955Joe W HamilMisburg 


© Ray Bowden 25 September 2017