42-102591 CACTUS PETE

Cactus Pete, after 6/6/1944 mission


B-17G-55-BO 42-102591

708th SQ

Delivered Cheyenne 17/3/44; Kearney 1/4/44; Dow Fd 14/4/44; Assigned 708BS/447BG [CQ-] Rattlesden 22/4/44; returned from Caen 6/6/44 with Phil Chase, Co-pilot: George Phillips, Navigator: Francis Prendercast Wounded in Action, Bombardier: George Betker, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Dave Portnoy, Radio Operator: Marion Cherry, Ball turret gunner: Lew Domond, Waist gunner: Elmer Price, Waist gunner: Sumner Stacey, Tail gunner: Maynard Smith (10 Returned to Duty); landed too fast and skidded off runway with full bomb load; Salvaged 6/6/44.

While returning from a mission over Caen on 6 June 1944 at 23:49PM, D-Day, B-17 (serial number 42-102591) nicknamed “Cactus Pete” called for landing instructions and was advised to land at Rattlesden. The aircraft landed too fast and skidded into B-17 (serial number 42-31104). Despite the fact it was still carrying its bomb load, the aircraft did not explode, though all 10 members of the crew were wounded in action.

The origin of the name “Cactus Pete” is not fully known, but it is assumed to be named by the Philip Chase crew, and possibly was a nickname for Lt. Chase, who was a transplant to Southern California.


Flight listings for 42-102591

This list is NOT limited to officially credited Combat missions, and may include Aborts, returns and non-takeoff occurrences as well.

447th Mission (Date) Target Pilot Notes
#59 (07-May-44) Berlin, Germany Rozmus, H. A. ABORT Oxy failure
#62 (11-May-44) Malines, Belgium Bye, G.  
#67 (22-May-44) Kiel, Germany Chase, P. A.  
#70 (25-May-44) Brussels, Belgium Gibson, E. F.  
#72 (28-May-44) Konigsburg, Germany Chase, P. A.  
#73 (29-May-44) Leipzig, Germany Chase, P. A.  
#74 (30-May-44) St. Pol-Siracourt, France Chase, P. A.  
#78 (03-Jun-44) Pas de Calais / Audresselles, France Golden, M. L.  
#81 (05-Jun-44) Le Touquet, France Chase, P. A.  
#82 (06-Jun-44) Caen, France Chase, P. A.  
#84 (06-Jun-44) Argentan, France Chase, P. A.  





The plane in the background of this unidentified photo is believed to be 42-102591 Cactus Pete. If so, this could potentially be the Chase Crew.

Phil Chase Pilot
George Phillips Co-Pilot
Francis Prendercast Navigator (Wounded in Action)
George Betker Bombardier
Dave Portnoy Flight Engineer/Top Turret Gunner
Marion Cherry Radio Operator
Lew Domond Ball Turret Gunner
Elmer Price Waist Gunner
Sumner Stacey Waist Gunner
Maynard Smith Tail Gunner





Some photos/information provided by:

Some information and/or images sourced from the American Air Museum database