USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Grim Reaper
B-17F-10-BO 41-24467

306th Bomb Group, 368th Bomb Squadron


Nose art painted by
Sgt Leland (Lee) KESSLER
306th Bomb Group, 368th Bomb Squadron

Grim Reaper One of the more elaborate artworks by Lee Kessler
One of the more elaborate artworks by Lee Kessler

"Grim Reaper" was one of the more elaborate nose art images completed by Lee Kessler once he had arrived in England. The Fort flew on many of the group's earlier missions mainly to targets in France such as Brest, Lorient, St Nazaire and Rouen.

Different crews flew this Fort which was originally assigned to Lt George Buckey. Several raids were flown with Otto Buddenbaum's crew who suffered 2 men wounded on 4th February 1943 over Emden when the navigator claimed a probable kill of an Fw190 fighter. More damage was done on the 16th February when flak sliced through hydraulics lines and punched holes in the plexinose. In the following month, the bombardier Lt Wilkins destroyed a fighter and in March, flying with Marlen Reber's crew, the bombardier was hit and flak sliced into the cockpit side.

The end came on 17th April attacking Bremen when "Grim Reaper" took a flak hit in the #3 engine and was then attacked by fighters, caught fire in the cockpit and went down near Wilhelmshaven. Glenn Lally's crew lost two men killed and eight taken prisoner by the Germans.

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© Ray Bowden 15 July 2024