Ol' Scrapiron

Aircraft No. 42-31582, a B-17G-10-BO, was completed at Boeing Seattle plant on Thanksgiving, 1943.  Records indicate that it was assigned to the 447th on 23 January 1944, but for reasons unknown it appears to not to have flown in combat until June.  No. 582 flew a total of 63 combat missions.  No photographs of 42-31582 have been positively identified.

From a painting by Robert Peters
(Courtesy of Mr. Jack D. Keller)

Sgt. Jack D. Keller with his Ol' Scrapiron jacket.
A/C in background is probably not 42-31582.

Combat Missions:

1 6/21/1944 BERLIN Lt. Read
2 6/22/1944 NUCOURT Lt. Lefebvre
3 6/25/1944 AREA #1 "ZEBRA" Lt. Read
4 7/7/1944 MERSEBURG Lt. Read
5 7/14/1944 AREA 10, CADILLAC Lt. Martenson
6 7/18/1944 CUXHAVEN Lt. Dahlgran
  Aircraft named Ol' Scrapiron by Dahlgran crew 


How "Ol' Scrapiron" Got Its Name 
by Jack D. Keller

On April 29, 1944, Lt. Robert C. Stevenson was killed on his first mission en route to Berlin, Germany, with Lt. E. D. Johnson in A/C #501 [42-97501] as Co-pilot. Our group lost ten aircraft and one ditched in the North Sea for a total of eleven B-17s lost. Lt. Stevenson was a very mild mannered, easy going person. One evening a group of officers were out on the town having a good time when a bunch of rowdies started to hassle them. Lt. Stevenson was being pushed around, so the story goes, and when he had enough, he single-handedly cleaned house. Problem solved. So our officers called him "Ol' Scrapiron." 
        When Lt. Dahlgran, our original Co-pilot, became Command Pilot he asked for his original crew back. We flew in A/C #42-31582, thus the name "Ol' Scrapiron" was voted by the entire crew. God Bless Lt. Robert C. Stevenson! I, Jack D. Keller, flew only eight missions with Lt. Dahlgran as Command Pilot: six in 582, one in 803, and one in 572. It was sure nice to be back with Lt. Dahlgran.

Ol' Scrapiron carried its name throughout its tour of duty.

Lt. Robert D. Stevenson
KIA 29 April 1944

7 7/20/1944 MERSEBURG Lt. Dahlgran
8 7/24/1944 ST. LO AREA Lt. Dahlgran
9 7/25/1944 ST. LO AREA Lt. Peterson
10 8/4/1944 ARRAS-OSTEND Lt. Dahlgran
11 8/8/1944 BRETTEVILLE Lt. Warriner
12 8/11/1944 BELFORT M/V Lt. Dahlgran
13 8/13/1944 SEINE R. AREA Lt. Dahlgran
14 8/15/1944 HANDORF A/F Lt. Dahlgran
15 8/16/1944 ROSITZ Lt. Phillips
16 8/25/1944 RECHLIN Lt. Helms
17 8/26/1944 BREST  Lt. Catchpole
18 8/27/1944 BREST  Lt. Kenney
19 8/30/1944 BERLIN Lt. Dahlgran
20 9/1/1944 MAINZ Lt. Catchpole
21 9/3/1944 BREST  Lt. Gunn
22 9/11/1944 FULDA Lt. Read
23 9/13/1944 STUTTGART Lt. McKindly
24 10/2/1944 KASSEL Lt. Gunn
25 10/18/1944 KASSELL Lt. Moses
26 10/19/1944 MANNHEIM Lt. Lefebvre
27 10/22/1944 MUNSTER Lt. Poynor
28 10/25/1944 HARBURG Lt. Dahlgran
29 10/26/1944 HANOVER Lt. Dahlgran
30 11/2/1944 MERSEBURG Lt. Fargo
31 11/16/1944 DUREN AREA Lt. Rohde
32 11/21/1944 KOBLENZ Lt. Dahlgran
33 11/26/1944 HAMM Lt. Poynor
34 12/4/1944 MAINZ Lt. Dahlgran
35 12/6/1944 MERSEBURG Lt. McMath
36 12/10/1944 KOBLENZ Lt. Dahlgran
37 12/24/1944 BABENHAUSEN Lt. Poynor
38 1/14/1945 MADGEBURG Lt. Neal
39 1/15/1945 AUGSBURG Lt. Whitney
40 1/16/1945 DESSAU Lt. Hodge
41 1/20/1945 HEILBRONN Lt. Hodge
42 1/29/1945 KASSEL Lt. Beighley
43 2/1/1945 WESSEL Lt. McMath
44 2/3/1945 BERLIN Lt. McMath
45 2/6/1945 BERLIN Lt. Hodge
46 2/14/1945 WESEL Lt. Hodge
47 2/15/1945 WESEL Lt. Hodge
48 2/22/1945 AALEN Lt. Hodge
49 2/24/1945 BREMEN Lt. Wolf
50 2/25/1945 NEUBERG Lt. Wright
51 2/26/1945 BERLIN Lt. Wright
52 3/1/1945 ULM Lt. Hodge
53 3/7/1945 DATTELN Lt. Hodge
54 3/8/1945 FRANKFURT Lt. Hodge
55 3/9/1945 FRANKFURT Lt. Hayse
56 3/11/1945 HAMBURG Lt. Wolf
57 3/12/1945 MARBURG Lt. Hodge
58 3/14/1945 HANOVER Lt. Thomas
59 3/15/1945 ORANIENBURG Lt. Malone
60 3/20/1945 HAMBURG Lt. Baker
61 3/21/1945 WITTMUNDHAFEN Lt. Wright
62 3/22/1945 HELBERT AREA Lt. Eakes
63 3/23/1945 HOLZWICKEDE Lt. Bruckman

After the bomb run on 23 March 1945, Ol' Scrapiron dropped from the 4th Bomb Wing formation and joined the 34th Bomb Group formation returning to England from its mission to Geisecke.  Near Koblenz, one of the 34th aircraft (43-38971) was struck by flak, losing its wing.  The damaged aircraft first rolled into a plane from the 487th, which remained flying, before colliding with Ol' Scrapiron.  The plane from the 447th with the Bruckman crew onboard was broken apart at the waist.

Tail gunner Byron Schlag was the only member of the crew able to bail out, after riding the tail section down to 8,000 feet -- at times losing consciousness from lack of oxygen.  Amazingly, Ed Shibble survived the fall (though sustaining serious injuries), trapped in the ball turret until it broke free of the aircraft as it crashed through some trees.  The two gunners were captured.  The rest of the crew perished along with the entire crew from the 34th.

From  MACR 13617:

At 1347 hours, 27000 ft. altitude, the A/C flying No. 11 position of the 34th Group was hit by flak and peeled off to the left.  After glancing off A/C of the 487th Group, No. 11 struck A/C #582 who went into a tight spin.  The right wing folded and there was one explosion within the A/C in mid-air.  #582 then hit the ground in a wooded area and exploded again.  2 chutes were observed.  Coordinates were approximately 5040-0740.  This report corroborated by 93rd Wing, 34th Bomb Group and 487th Bomb Group.