447th Bomb Group Association
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
(Courtesy of Mr. Jack D. Keller)
Sgt. Jack D. Keller
with his Ol' Scrapiron jacket.
A/C in background is probably not 42-31582.
|3||6/25/1944||AREA #1 "ZEBRA"||Lt. Read|
|5||7/14/1944||AREA 10, CADILLAC||Lt. Martenson|
|Aircraft named Ol' Scrapiron by Dahlgran crew|
Scrapiron" Got Its Name
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."
Ol' Scrapiron carried its name throughout its tour of duty.
Lt. Robert D. Stevenson
KIA 29 April 1944
|8||7/24/1944||ST. LO AREA||Lt. Dahlgran|
|9||7/25/1944||ST. LO AREA||Lt. Peterson|
|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|
|31||11/16/1944||DUREN AREA||Lt. Rohde|
|62||3/22/1945||HELBERT AREA||Lt. Eakes|
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.