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MACR PILOT: 1Lt  Dean M.  Radtke  - O-468393

MACR: 03034 FICHE : 01030

ORGANIZATION

LOCATION: AAF Station #139 COMMAND: VIII AF GROUP: 100th Bomb Gp (H) AAF
SQUADRON: 418th BS DETACHMENT:  
     

DETAIL

DEPARTURE:AAF Station #139 INITIAL COURSE: East  
INTENDED DESTINATION: Berlin    
MISSION TYPE:Operational    

WEATHER & VISIBILITY AT TIME OF LAST REPORT

CONDITION: Scattered Clouds 3 - 4/10 undercast    

GIVE

DATE: 1944-03-06 TIME: 12:10 LOCATION: Central germany

SPECIFY:

Information not available

CONFIRMED OR BELIEVED REASON FOR LOSS

LOSS DUE TO : Enemy aircraft

OTHER REASON FOR LOSS:

AIRCRAFT: 42-97491

TYPE: B-17 SERIES: G  
     
     

ENGINES:

MODEL: R-1820-97    
A: SW-991088
B: 96-004033
C: SW-1375
D: SW-994123
   

INSTALLED WEAPONS:

A: 842960
B: 967642
C: 967680
D: 962675
E: 949126
F: 647420
G: Unreadable
H: Unreadable
I: Unreadable
J: Unreadable
K: Unreadable
L: Unreadable

PERSONS BELOW ARE LISTED AS:

CASUALTY TYPE: Battle casualty  
NUMBER OF PERSONS ON BOARD:    
CREW: 10 PASS: 0 TOTAL: 10

PERSONNEL:

POSITION NAME RANK SERIAL
P1
P2 Dean M.  Radtke 1Lt O-468393
CP Gordon E. Devault 2Lt O-684847
NAV (N) Robert M. Reilly 2Lt O-809724
BOM (B) William B. Agnetti 2Lt O-755595
RAD Robert Ray TSgt 16170059
ENG Van D. Pinner TSgt 18158208
BAL Joseph C. Krusienski SSgt 33423262
WG (W) Richard L. Kerwin SSgt 36164746
WG (W) Charles F. Allen SSgt 36426423
TG (T) Theodore E. Mangum SSgt 13177944

PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWLEDGE OF AIRCRAFT

None
   

PERSONNEL WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE SURVIVED

REASON: None OTHER:  

EYEWITNESS DESCRIPTIONS OF CRASH

Report:
"A/C #491 was flying in a squadron from which no other aircraft returned. It was lost sometime after 1200 hours over central Germany."

Author is not specified in the MACR
   
   
Second Witness: No Data  
Report:

DESCRIPTION OF SEARCH EFFORT

DETAIL:No search made.

PREPARING OFFICER

PREPARED BY: WALTER G. BURKE 1st Lt. Air Corps Personnel Officer

DATE PREPARED: 1944-03-13

TRANSCRIBER NOTES


REPORT:

ON DECEMBER 30, 1943 ON A MISSION TO LUDWIGSHAVEN, DEAN RADTKE'S AIRCRAFT SUSTAINED SEVERE FLAK DAMAGE IN THE TARGET AREA. IT WAS THEN ATTACKED BY A PAIR OR FW190'S SOUTHWEST OF ABBYVILLE WHERE A NUMBER OF 20MM SHELLS RIDDLED THE LEFT WING AND NOSE. 

ONE SHELL SOCKED THROUGH THE NAVIGATORS COMPARTMENT AND STRUCK THE COPILOT, LT ROBERT DIGBY IN THE HEAD AND HE WAS DECAPITATED. SHELL FRAGMENTS STRUCK LT. RADTKE, WOUNDING HIM IN THE FACE, HEAD, AND IN THE NECK NEXT TO HIS JUGULAR VEIN. ONE FRAGMENT COMPLETELY CLOSED HIS RIGHT EYE AND SPLINTERS FROM THE INSTRUMENT PANEL WERE DRIVEN INTO THE MUSCLES OF HIS RIGHT LEG, RENDERING IT USELESS. 

THE EXPLOSION ALSO RIPPED THE OXYGEN MASK FROM HIS FACE AND STUNNED THE ENGINEER RUSSELL PINNER. UPON REGAINING HIS SENSES, PINNER COULD SEE THE PILOT AND COPILOT SLUMPED OVER THE CONTROLS. BLOOD WAS SPLATTERED OVER THE SHELL-PITTED COCKPIT. THE WINDOWS WERE SHATTERED AND BROKEN. AT THIS TIME RADTKE REGAINED CONSCIOUSNESS AND CALLED THE REST OF THE CREW AND REASSURED THEM EVERYTHING WAS OK. MOST OF THE CREW WAS UNAWARE OF THE DAMAGE IN THE COCKPIT AND THE LOSS OF THE COPILOT OR THE INJURIES LT. RADTKE HAD SUSTAINED. 

BOMBARDIER LT AGNETTI WAS CALLED UP AND MOVED THE COPILOTS BODY TO THE NAVIGATORS COMPARTMENT, THEN RETURNED TO ASSIST LT RADTKE. DUE TO THE LOSS OF ONE ENGINE AND SEVERED CONTROL CABLES, THE PLANE LAGGED BEHIND THE FORMATION. LT RADTKE MADE THE DECISION (DESPITE THE UNCERTAINTY OF HIS ABILITY TO STAY CONSCIOUSE) TO ATTEMPT TO REGAIN POSTION IN THE FORMATION. FAILURE TO DO SO WOULD RESULT IN THE DAMAGED AIRCRAFT TRYING TO MAKE IT BACK ALONE OVER ENEMY TERRITORY WITH GERMAN FIGHTERS LOOKING FOR "STRAGGLERS" TO PICK OFF. 

WITH FINGERS USELESS BECAUSE OF SEVERE CUTS, HE USED THE BUTTS OF HIS HANDS TO MANIPULATE THE CONTROLS AND FOUGHT HIS WAY BACK INTO POSITION. UPON REACHING THORPE ABBOTTS, LT RADTKE BROUGHT HIS SHIP (AND THE REMAINDER OF THE CREW) IN FOR A PREFECT LANDING. FOR HIS ACTION THAT DAY, LT DEAN RADTKE RECEIVED THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS, THE NATIONS SECOND HIGHEST AWARD FOR VALOR AND BRAVERY.