Holdefer's Crew


The Holdefer crew flew #943 which was named "The Fertile Turtle." It was named after Ogden Nash's poem by that name and goes like this

The turtle lives twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex
How ingenious of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile

LT Holdefer and crew, flying #925, lost #3 engine at 1214 hours on 21 January 1945 at 26,000 ft. The crew was observed to extend their landing gear indicating they were aborting the mission. The aircraft was losing altitude slowly and under control.

According to the German KU report, the fortress was observed flying alone at the time of the attack on Mannheim, and was over they area of Bruchsal, South of Heilbronn. It was reportedly shot down by a single Bf109. One report states crew effects were recovered from the aircraft, but no crew remains were found. Another reports states the aircraft was a lone bomber, presumably damaged by flak, and finally downed by 3 fighters. The crew was not found, but the tail gunner was supposedly in the aircraft shortly before the crash. Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the lowered landing gear prior to the crash. This reports assumed the crew perished in the crash, and were possibly underneath the wreckage and not immediately recoverable. However, the crew managed to survive and were eventually captured and interred for the remainder of the war.

Ted Odell reports:

The crew all survived by bailing out of the aircraft. We spent about 3 months as POWs and then eventually returned to the United States. I believe, although I am not now absolutely certain, that the cause of our problem was engine failure, rather than enemy action. I know that one engine became very hot and the propeller hub became bent. It is also my recollectin that the engineer reported that another engine then caught on fire (enemy action?). We were by then unable to feather the prop and the vibrations from the damaged prop shook the plane strongly. At the time, we were leading the squadron (we were deputy squadron leader) because the leader had been forced to leave the formation much earlier. We continued just long enough to drop bombs, perhaps a minute after encountering the engine problem, and then left the squadron. We could not maintain altitude and descended for some time in clouds, eventually bailing out.

(MACR 11798)

Name Rank Position First Mission Last Mission Status
George Holdefer 1st LT Pilot / /45 01/21/45 POW. 20+ missions.
Theodore T. Odell 2nd LT Copilot / /45 01/21/45 POW. 18+ missions.
Santo Fasan F/O Navigator / /45 01/21/45 POW. 19+ missions.
Fredrick L. Herman 2nd LT Bombadier / /45 01/21/45 POW. 19+ missions.
Tony Victor T/SGT Radio / /45 01/21/45 POW. 19+ missions.
Sol Shindel CPL Ball / /45 01/21/45 POW. 18+ missions.
John P. Dellafave T/SGT FE/Top / /45 01/21/45 POW. 19+ missions.
Joeph E. Kinney S/SGT Tail / /45 01/21/45 POW. 19+ missions.
Charles R. Magee S/SGT Waist / /45 01/21/45 POW. 18+ missions.
Kennerson, A. L.   Gunner      
Mission Date Name ID S/N Type
097 10/25/44 The Fertile Turtle TG 43-37943 B17G
100 11/02/44 The Fertile Turtle TG 43-37943 B17G
101 11/04/44 The Fertile Turtle TG 43-37943 B17G
102 11/05/44 The Fertile Turtle TG 43-37943 B17G
103 11/06/44 The Fertile Turtle TG 43-37943 B17G
106 11/16/44 The Fertile Turtle TG 43-37943 B17G
109 11/27/44   TC 43-37910 B17G
114 12/11/44 American Beauty DG 42-98008 B17G
115 12/12/44   PT 43-38925 B17G
118 12/24/44   PT 43-38925 B17G
119 12/26/44   PT 43-38925 B17G
120 12/28/44   PT 43-38925 B17G
121 12/29/44   PT 43-38925 B17G
122 12/30/44   PT 43-38925 B17G
125 01/02/45   PT 43-38925 B17G
126 01/03/45 The Prowler ss 43-37937 B17G
127 01/05/45   PT 43-38925 B17G
134 01/18/45   PT 43-38925 B17G
135 01/20/45   PT 43-38925 B17G
136 01/21/45   PT 43-38925 B17G

Completed 19 Missions

Created 05/30/99 Modified 12/23/16

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