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Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

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Captain Robert Knox and 'Picklepuss' Lost over Aachen

Mission: Regensburg, Germany

Date: 17th August 1943 

Unit: No: 418nd Bomb Squadron. 100th Bomb Group (H)

Type: B17F 'Picklepuss' 

Serial: 42-30063

Coded: LD-?

Location: Near Kelmis West of Aachen Belgium

Pilot: Capt. Robert M Knox 0-438010 West Philadelphia Pennsylvania Killed

Co Pilot: 2Lt. John O Whitaker 0-795031 Wheeling West Virginia Killed

Navigator: 2Lt. Ernest E Warsaw 0-667431 Chicago Illinois Prisoner of War (PoW)

Bombardier: 2Lt. Edwin F Tobin 0-732685 Newberry California  PoW

Radio/Op: T/Sgt. Walter Paulsen 12077723 Belleville New Jersey PoW Stalag 17B Braunau Gneikendorf Near Krems Austria

Engineer: S/Sgt. Glover E Barney 36125930 Portland Oregon PoW

Ball Turrett: S/Sgt. Frank W Tychewicz 36344174 Chicago Illinois Killed

Right Waist: Sgt. Alexander Markowski 12170779 Albany New York Killed

Left Waist: S/Sgt. Joseph F Laspada 32035882 Buffalo New York Killed

Tail: S/Sgt. Henry A Norton 14090803 Enterprice Alabama Killed

REASON FOR LOSS: 

The aircraft was named for Dorothy, wife of the pilot, Capt. Robert Knox as he nicknamed her 'Pickelpuss'. On August 17, 1943, the 481th squadron was the lead for the 100th Bomb Group which was assigned to bomb the Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg, Germany.

Shot down by enemy fighters (Hauptmann Von Bonin,Oberleutnant Barte and Leutnant Witzke), the aircraft crashed at Herbesthal Lontzen, 500 meters west of Schmalgraf, near Kelmis, west of Aachen, Belgium.

Much has been written about the 'Legend' of the 100th Bomb Group being 'picked on' or singled out by the Luftwaffe for punishment because a 100th Group B 17 had, during the Regensburg raid, pulled out of formation with battle damage and then lowered its wheels in a supposed token of surrender. Then, when approached by several Luftwaffe fighter aircraft, its gunners were supposed to have opened fire and shot down several of the German planes. 

Crash time 11.40 Hrs. MACR 667

The Crew: Kneeling L-R: 2nd Lt. Edwin F. Tobin-BOM, Capt Robert M. Knox-Pilot, 2nd Lt. Ernest E. Warsaw-Nav, 2nd Lt. John O. Whitaker-CP. Standing L-R: S/Sgt Frank W. Tychewicz-BTG, T/Sgt Carl T. Simon-TTE, T/Sgt Walter Paulsen-ROG, Unknown, S/Sgt Malcolm K. Maddran-WG, S/Sgt Joseph F. Laspada-WG, S/Sgt Henry A. Norton-TG, unknown (Courtesy of 100th Bomb Group Foundation via Michel Beckers)


Hptm. Eckart-Wilhelm Von Bonin (Courtesy Ron Putz via Michel Beckers)









Grave of Cpt. Robert Knox (Courtesy of 100th Bomb Group Foundation via Michel Beckers)

Burial Details: The six dead were interred at the Cemetery of Honour, Eupen in Section 16, Graves 218, 219, 220, 221, 222 and 232.  

Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 10 December 2014, 21:31