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SERIAL #: 13172022 STATUS: POW
MACR: 13143 CR: 13143

Comments1: 18 MAR 45 BERLIN



                                                            "Skyways Chariot"
DATE: 18 March 1945           351st Sqdn.   A/C#43-37521

MISSION: Berlin                   MACR#13143,    Microfiche#4787

1st Lt Rollie C.King              P  POW
   F/O Jack S.Williams            CP POW
   F/O John W.Spencer       NAV POW  (Ended up Stalag Luft I)
 S/Sgt Francis S.Gordon TOG/NG  POW
 S/Sgt Archie Mathosian     ROG POW
 S/Sgt Ray E.Wilding          TTE POW
   Sgt Robert G.Mitchell      BTG KIA
   Sgt Meyer Gitlin              WG KIA
   Sgt James M.Baker          TG  KIA

EYEWITNESS: "A/C 43-37521 was attacked by an ME 262 at 1109 hours,5240N,
             1200E and the left stabilizer broke off. A/C was last seen
             going down into contrails under control with E/A making another

Crew joined the 100th BG, 351st Sqdn on 21 JAN 45. 
On 19/Sept.1945 in Los Angeles,Cal.,Rollie King gave the following statement:

"I was the pilot of a B-17 type aircraft in which S/Sgt Robert G.Mitchell was ball-turret gunner,and that on 18 March 1945 we proceeded on a regularly assigned bombardment mission over Berlin.

That on said date,S/Sgt Mitchell was acting as ball turret gunner.After bombs away on the target,we received numerous fighter passes.The first fighter  pass knockod out our vertical stabilizer and the tail turret, killing the tail Gunner.On the next fighter pass we received a great deal of damage to the plane and practically all of the controls were knocked out.

I called back and had the radio operator check the crew members, however I did not receive a reply as to their condition. On the third fighter pass we received  a burst near the front which knocked out all of our controls and put the plane into a violent spin. I ascertained that I was going to be unable to get the plane out of the said spin due to the lack of control and I told everybody to bail out.

S/Sgt Gitlin,the waist gunner, checked the ball turret gunner and he had previously checked in the tail for the tail gunner. I saw Sgt.Gitlin
going out by himself and inasmuch as S/Sgt Robert G.Mitchell was a very close friend of his, I do not believe he would have bailed out if he could have in any way helped Sgt Mitchell.

I have never seen Sgt.Gitlin since that time, nor have I heard what happened to him,and I do not know whether or not his chute opened when he bailed out.

I have never heard regarding S/Sgt Mitchell,and I do not know whether or not his  chute opened,or whether he bailed out,prior to Sgt Gitlin. As soon as I bailed out the ship exploded."
                                                      Rollie C.King
                                                     1st Lt.,Air Corps

Compare above with the following statement made by F/O John W.Spencer at his home in Elizabethtown,Ky on 3/11/45:

   ". . . . Am writing in response to a letter received by me today considering S/Sgt Robert G.Mitchell. The last time I actually saw Sgt.Mitchell was on the ground before take-off 18 Mar.1945 but he was on the mission. Everything went well until just after we had turned on the I.P. a couple of minutes after we turned we were hit by an ME 262 that got practically all of the left horizontal stabilizer. A second attack was fought off half way down bomb run with no damage done.

Since being hit we were gradually trailing the formation more and more so by the time we were over the target area the rest of the formation was approximately one-half mile away. We salvoed our bombs over the "built up" area at 1125 and at approximately 15 to 30 seconds later there was a terrific burst that seemed to come from the rear of tho plane. From where I was in the nose I could see smoke boiling up from under tho pilot's seat.

The conditions of tho plane then was that the controls had been shot out,as had tho interPhone system, & the right wing was on fire. Up until we received this last attack everyone in the ship reported they were all right. As soon as we were hit -since there was no communication - I looked thru the astro-dome into the cockpit & my first pilot nodded for me to bail out. So then I handed my toggalier his chute & then put on my own but still wasn't sure to bail out so looked thru the astro-dome again & seen both pilot & co-pilot preparing toabandon dhip. Then looking at the right wing which was burning pretty badly decided it was time to leave. So I bailed out,floated to the ground and was pickod
up immediately.

The rest of my information was received from talking to the fellow crew members when I ran into them two or three days later. I found out that our tail gunner,James D.Baker,was hit badly on the last attack - or may even have been killed & never left thE ship. Later on his unopened, bloody,chute was shown to the enlisted men of the crew & they recognized the number on it to be his.

As to Mitchell,his fate is not known. The crew member who was to assist him out of the ball turret - in case of emergency -is also missing -waist gunner Meyer Gitlin. Although the walst gunner is known to have bailed out, he was not seen since. The radio operator, Archie Mathosian,says that Gitlin bailed out ahead of him through a hole in the fuselage made by cannon shell from the jet. From that time to my knowledge he has never been seen or heard from.

It is my suspicion that,if his chute did open he may have been killed by the Germans for he was a Jew,had it on his dog tags, and didn't seem to care who  knew it. That may or may not have happened. Nonetheless that was the last seen of him. If he were alive today he could probably tell what happened to Mitchell.

According to my talks with the crew no one knows what condition the ball turret was when the last man abandoned ship.The only other man in the rear of the ship was the radio operator and since he says he does not know I know of no way of finding out.

Spencer ends his letter with a list on names of crew and their addresses.

            Crew Members of B-17 "Heavenly Days" 44-6295 EP-B
             351st Sqdn. 100th Bomb Group


1.   09/02/1945  BOHLEN, WEIMAR, ARM WORKS (S.T.)       A/C 812 "Patriotic Patty"
2.   15/02/1945  CHEMNITZ, CITY                                      A/C 963  no name
3.   19/02/1945  OSNABRUCK, MY; MUNSTER,TOWN( S.T.)   A/C 861  "Sweet Nancy II"
4.   21/02/1945  NURNBURG                                              A/C 295  "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"
5.   22/02/1945  DONAUESCHINGEN, WEHINGER,HUEINGEN, A/C 295  "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"
6.   26/02/1945  BERLIN                                                    A/C 295  "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"
7.   28/02/1945  KASSEL                                                   A/C 295  "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"
8.   02/03/1945  BRUNSWICK                                             A/C 295  "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"  HS # 10  C-SQDN, LEAD FLGT, # 3
9.   07/03/1945  DATTELN, SIEGEN, MY (S.T.)                    A/C 530   "Quittin Time"
10. 11/03/1945  HAMBURG                                                A/C 295  "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"
11. 12/03/1945  SWINEMUNDE, DOCKS                               A/C 295  "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"  HS # 10  C-SQDN,LOW FLGT, # 3
12. 15/03/1945  ORANIENBURG, MY,WITTENBURG, MY(ST)  A/C 708   "Skipper II"                             HS #10  B-SQDN,LOW FLGT,#2
13. 17/03/1945  RUHLAND,  PLAUEN , ST  PFF                     A/C 295   "White Cargo"/"Heavenly Days"  HS # 3  C-SQDN, LOW FLGT, TEC
                                                                                                                                                             ( TEC  "tail end charlie" )
14  18/03/1945  BERLIN                                                    A/C 521  "SKYWAY CHARIOT"  SHOT DOWN

aircraft # 44-6295 EP-B "White Cargo" and # 42-31708 EP-R " Skipper II" were both assigned to hardstand # 10 and flying missions at the same time; i.e. they both flew the 2 march,1945 mission to Brunswick



TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1945-03-18  
AIRCRAFT: "Skyway Chariot" (43-37521) CAUSE: ME262 - Explosion  




 Lt Rollie C. King Crew
Back Row L to R: Robert G Mitchell, Francis Gordon, James Baker, Meyer Gitlin, & Archie Mathosian.
Front Row L to R: John Spencer, Rollie King, Jack Williams & Ray Wilding.



Crew 1

ID: 5527