What happened to the B-17 bomber 42-3347 Charlene in WW2

I am an individual author re writing mission 115 Schweinfurt 14/10/43 as I'm writing the truth their are conflicting reports of the said aircraftv42-3347 where it says it crashed to unbelievably a further 100 miles in it's damaged condition. So could you possibly tell me exactly where it did crash and who holds the records and can I have a copy to go in the book for the proof please.to validate my sincerely here is my email revealling information about me as well and my wall of testimonials
Yours sincerely
David Banks

  • Dear David Banks,


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


    We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), 1942-1947 in the Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General (Record Group 92), which have been digitized and may be accessed online using the Catalog We searched within the series for “42-3347,” but we were unable to locate any files related specifically to that number. This does not necessarily mean that there is no MACR for that particular plane; it may just indicate, for instance, that the quality of the text on the original document was not clear enough for a search to identify those numbers. You may wish to search within the series for other relevant and variant names, locations, or dates. Using quotation marks around your search terms can help limit the results. For example, we located 9 files related to "October 14, 1943"; 25 files related to "Oct. 14, 1943"; 48 files related to "14 October 1943"; and 10 files related to "14 Oct. 1943". The Name Index to the Series Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs), 1942–1947 in Record Group 92 has also been digitized and may be searched online using the Catalog.


    In addition, the MACR indices by date of loss and by plane tail number are available on microfilm. These indices were created by the Air Force for their use and include the missing aircrew report number, the country where the plane was lost, the Air Force number, the group or squadron number, the plane type, tail number and date the plane was lost. The copy in the custody of the National Archives (NARA), provided by the Air Force, is in extremely poor condition and does not copy well. We suggest you obtain a copy of this microfilm from the Air Force Historical Research Agency, 600 Chennault Circle, Building 1405, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL  36112-6424.


    Next, we located numerous series of German Downed Allied Aircraft Reports in the National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized (Record Group 242) that might also contain some relevant information. Some of these records have been digitized and may be viewed online using the Catalog. For access to any non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RR2R) at archives2reference@nara.gov, and be sure to include as much information as possible in your inquiry, such as full names, dates, locations, unit designations, and so on in your inquiry.


    You may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


    If you are able to share any additional information about the bomber you are researching, such as the names of any pilots or crewmembers or their unit designation, then we may be able to direct you to additional, potentially relevant resources.


    We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


  • Thank you but sadly it doesntshow any information I am grateful though for your help

  • David,

    The idea that a B-17 could fly without a crew for a considerable distance is not as far-fetched as it seems.  The B-17, along with its stablemate, the B-24 Liberator to a limited extent, were designed to be fundamentally stable aircraft.  That means they could maintain level flight without input from the controls.  One example I can point to is in Edward Jablonski’s Flying Fortress (Doubleday, 1965, pp. 162-167).  On a 25 November 1944 mission, a Fortress with one engine and abandoned by its crew landed—with landing gear down—- near British positions in Belgium.

    Then there is the well-known story of the Lady Be Good (B-24D 41-24301) that flew a mission against Naples, Italy on 4 April 1943.  Upon returning to its base in Benghazi, Libya, the crew flew past the airfield and continued south into the Libyan desert.  When fuel began to run low, the crew abandoned the aircraft together.  The aircraft flew a further 16 miles south until fuel exhaustion brought the plane down.  The aircraft was fairly intact when found in 1958, but crew remains were not found until two years later.

    I hope you find this information useful.  Good luck with your book.

    A. J.

  • Hi AJ thank you for this but I find it hard to believe a damaged B-17 can fly low and crash land in a field way away from Norfolk and how can Livingston sound like Rowlington. I believe that 42 3347 crash landed at bovington out of fuel and the reports are in the finished book which isn't on sale at Amazon as it's a proper collectors book on quality paper something Amazon can't do. What makes the other researcher incredible how can a damaged B-17 fly in the dark hoping over rooftops and electrical pylons to come down in a field undamaged when it was damaged and yet when question what was the number he couldn't give it and it's painted on the tail of each A/c the police don't know not does lapwort yet this guy thinks it's Charlene.

  • Hi Alex, we have now conclusive evidence of a 1943 B17F crash landing in Rowington Warwickshire on the 14th /15th October  43 after the crew bailed out, the pilot has mentioned the bail out in documents I have,,the waist gunner who was still alive at the time I contacted him ,mentioned they all bailed out ,so 42-3347 couldn't have crash landed at Bovingdon (airfield!) out of gas like it was listed  ..I have other  records that support  the crew bailed. out. I think the confusion with this aircraft was a simple spelling mistake  Rowington and Bovingdon ,and there are many that I have encountered over the years of research..

    This has been a very interesting account of a B17F with lots of controversy along the way but I feel finally we have the answers and recent evidence I've been looking for.on this aircraft.