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
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.
|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|
|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|
Completed 19 Missions
|Created 05/30/99||Modified 12/23/16|
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