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USAAF Nose Art Research Project


 

Lady Luck
B-17F-75-BO 42-29837

91st Bomb Group, 324th Bomb Squadron

 

This olive drab B17F is believed to have been the replacement for Memphis Belle, after that Fortress was sent back to the States on a War Bond Drive having starred in the famous wartime movie. Lady Luck served with the 91BG for eleven months before being transferred to Air Force Service Command (AFSC) as part of a reorganisation plan.

The plane flew its first combat mission on 28th June1943 to St Nazaire (flak city) with Capt Richard Weitzenfeld in command. Lt Fred Peterman's crew were assigned to the ship and completed twelve missions in it, including group leads. On 32rd September 1943, the squadron record notes: "Lt Vickery (bombardier) did a remarkably fine job of bombing." In addition to its yellow scripted titling on both sides of the nose, Peterman had the nickname of his wife "Toots" painted below the cockpit window on the left side. Four swastikas were also added above the lengthening row of mission bombs to denote the fighter claims by various gunners on his and other crews.

Lady Luck's finest hour probably came during the punishing mission to Schweinfurt on 17th August 1943. 1Lt Parker's crew were accompanied that day by the Air Division Commander, Brigadier General Williams, and led the 2nd task Force's Composite group. This costly mission was an attempt to destroy the ball-bearing production facilities that were described in the briefing as "probably the most vital air targets in all Germany ... their destruction would strike a greater blow at the German military machine as a whole than could be achieved in any other single air operation."

Lady Luck returned from Schweinfurt with flak damage but was back in the air again by the end of the month. The flak defences over Germany caught the plane on at least eight later raids causing Cat A damage over Nantes, Frankfurt, Anklam, Oschersleben, Cognac and other tough targets. Fighter's also peppered the ship on several other occasions and by the end of February it was a a veteran of some 32 successful missions.

When the 8AF reorganised in the Spring of 1944, the lack of long-range 'tokyo' tanks in Lady Luck meant it was no longer able to complete the raids which were now stretching deeper and deeper into the German heartland. It was withdrawn from combat and assigned to AFSC. It is believed to have flown to the Mediterranean and was possibly based there for a short while. However, it was still listed on 91BG's inventory on 6th April 1944 as "On detached service here from AFSC" presumably used by the 91BG as a group 'hack' for ferrying, transport and other non-combat assignments. In mid-June 1944, Lady Luck returned to the USA, landing at Tinker AAB. In February 1945, it was recorded at Patterson AAB and on 27th July 1945 was sent to Searcy Field for scrapping. It was still listed as part of the inventory at Searcy Field (now Stillwater) in February 1946.


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For More Information See:

Plane Names & Fancy Noses

Known Mission List

Date Pilot

Target

Notes
28 Jun 1943Capt R W WeitzenfeldSt Nazaire 
29 Jun 1943Lt Fred PetermanTricqueville 
4 Jul 1943Lt Fred PetermanLe Mans 
10 Jul 1943Lt Fred PetermanCaen (abortive)Cat A BD - flak
14 Jul 1943Lt AndersonAmiens/Glisy 
17 Jul 1943Lt Fred PetermanTargets of Opportunity 
24 Jul 1943Lt Fred PetermanHeroya 
25 Jul 1943Lt Fred PetermanHamburgMinor damage
30 Jul 1943Lt Fred PetermanKasselMinor damage
12 Aug 1943Lt Fred PetermanRuhr (Bochum, Gelsinkirchen) 
15 Aug 1943Lt Fred PetermanVlissengenCat A BD - flak
16 Aug 1943Lt Fred PetermanLe BourgetSlight damage
17 Aug 1943Maj R W Weitzenfeld / Lt V A ParkerSchweinfurtLead a/c - Cat A BD - flak
31 Aug 1943Lt Maurice A BergAmiens / Glisy airfield 
16 Sep 1943Lt S L EvansNantesCat A BD - flak
23 Sep 1943Maj R W Weitzenfeld / Lt Fred PetermanNantesGroup lead a/c - Cat A BD - flak
4 Oct 1943Capt Fred PetermanFrankfurtGroup lead a/c - Cat A BD - flak
9 Oct 1943Capt Ronald M NicholsAnklamCat A BD - flak + shellcases
10 Oct 1943Capt Ronald M NicholsMunsterAborted - oxygen fire. Non sortie
5 Nov 1943Capt Ronald M NicholsGelsenkirchenCat A BD - shell cases
7 Nov 1943Lt John D DavisWesel 
16 Nov 1943Lt Marco DeMaraKnaben -abortiveAborted - crewman sick
26 Nov 19431Lt Fewer McGeeBremen 
11 Dec 19432Lt Harvey G HesseEmdenCat A BD - flak
20 Dec 19432Lt Fred KnightBremenCat A BD - flak (major)
22 Dec 19432Lt Fred KnightOsnabruck rail yards 
30 Dec 19432Lt Edwin F Close / Maj R W WeitzenfeldLudwigshavenGroup lead a/c
31 Dec 1943Lt Harvey G HesseCognac airfieldCat A BD - flak + mg
4 Jan 19442Lt Fred KnightKiel 
5 Jan 19441Lt Fewer McGeeTours / Parcay airfieldCat B BD - mg (serious)
11 Jan 1944Lt John KlotzOscherslebenCat A BD - flak - landed Deopham Green
21 Jan 19441Lt Marco DeMaraLa Glacerie V-weapon siteAborted - #3 engine on fire
4 Feb 19441Lt Harvey G HesseFrankfurtAborted - minor damage
5 Feb 19441Lt Harvey G HesseAvord airfield 
21 Feb 1944Capt Kenneth V KerrAchmer airfieldPilot completed tour
25 Feb 19441Lt John KlotzAugsburgAborted
6 Apr 1944Detached service at Bassingbourn from AFSC 


© Ray Bowden 30 March 2017