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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.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via Helpdesk
8th Air Force
04.02.1944 418th Bombardment Squadron (H) B-17F 42-30758 ‘Rosie’s Riveters/ Satcha Lass’ 1st Lt. Ross E. McPhee

Operation: Frankfurt (Mission #208), Germany

Date: 4th February 1944 (Friday)

Unit No: 418th Bombardment Squadron (H), 100th Bombardment Group (H), 3rd Air Division, 8th Air Force

Type: B-17F Rosie’s Riveters/ Satcha Lass

Serial No: 42-30758

Code: LD:W

Base: Thorpe Abbot (Station #139), Norfolk, England

Location: Rödingen, some 27 km (17 mls) south of Möchegladbach, Germany

Pilot: 1st Lt. Ross Earl McPhee O-802184 AAF Age 26. PoW *

Co-Pilot: 2nd Lt. Fred John Nelson O-686586 AAF Age 27. PoW *

Navigator: 2nd Lt. Martin Stephen Keker O-808075 AAF Age 28. PoW *

Bombardier: 2nd Lt. Bernard B. Levine O-563633 AAF Age 25. PoW *

Engineer: S/Sgt. Gordon Clarence Scarlett 19109207 AAF Age 21. PoW **

Radio Operator: S/Sgt. Herbert Shope 15353774 AAF Age 30. PoW **

Ball Turret Gnr: S/Sgt. Libero John ‘Libby’ Bernagozzi 32657833 AAF Age 27. PoW ** (1)

Left Waist Gnr: S/Sgt. Blon Houston Pate 34587678 AAF Age 33. PoW **

Right Waist Gnr: S/Sgt. David Johny Shaw 39080497 AAF Age 27. PoW **

Tail Gnr: S/Sgt. Jacob Thomas Delamar 34602522 AAF Age 20. PoW **

* Stalag Luft 1 Barth-Vogelsang, today situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

** Stalag Luft 4 Groß-Tychow, Pomerania, Prussia now Tychowo, Poland (Moved from Stalag Luft 6 Heydekrug on 28th May 1944. Moved to Wöbbelin near Ludwigslust and then to Usedom near Swinemünde).

Note: This B-17F was originally assigned to 2nd Lt. Robert ‘Rosie’ Rosenthal who christened it Rosie’s Riveters. The aircraft was badly damaged on a mission on the 8th October 1943 and was put out of action for some considerable time. In the New Year of 1944 the aircraft was assigned 1st Lt. McPhee and he decided to change the name to Satcha Lass. The name was painted on the port (left) side of the nose ready for this mission to Frankfurt.

Above: Capt. Robert ‘Rosie’ Rosenthal with his crew after having been decorated by Brig Gen. Curtis E. LeMay with B-17F 42-30758 ‘Rosie’s Riveters’ in the background. (Official photograph released for publication on the 21st March 1944).

Front left to right: 2nd Lt. Ronald C. Bailey (N), Capt. Robert Rosenthal (P), 2nd Lt. Clifford T. Milburn (B), 2nd Lt. Winfrey Lewis (CP).

Back left to right: S/Sgt. Loren F. Darling (RWG), T/Sgt. Michael V. Boccuzzi (RO), Sgt. James F. Mack (LWG), T/Sgt. Clarence C. Hall (E), S/Sgt. William J. DeBlasio (TG), S/Sgt. Ray H. Robinson (BTG).


On the 4th February 1944 the Satcha Lass took off from Thorpe Abbot to join a force of over 700 b-17s and B-24s to bomb target at Frankfurt in Germany. A think undercast covered the city when the formations reached Frankfurt.

This was the 1st mission with their newly named aircraft and the 9th mission overall. As the group passed over the target Flak caught the Satcha Lass and began to lag behind.

1st Lt. Howard E. Keel (2) who was flying in the same formation, later reported:

"A/C #758 filled in as #3 in the 2nd element of the lead squadron. It was in position when we were over the target, but soon thereafter began to lag behind. At 12:27 hours it pulled away to the right near Wiesbaden and began to lose altitude slowly. It was last seen on heading of 330 degrees, still losing altitude, but under control. No chutes were observed".

The aircraft dropped out of formation some 16 km (10 mls) west of the target. They managed to fly some 160 km (100 mls) in a north-westerly direction before having to force land in a pasture about 270 m. (300 yds) from a farmhouse in Rödingen, some 27 km (17 mls) south of Möchegladbach in Germany.

Having already destroyed vital radio and navigation equipment the crew then tried to destroy the Satcha Lass. However, they were unable to do so before being arrested at gunpoint by German soldiers and the local Bürgemeister (mayor).

Above: photographs of the crashed landed B-17F 42-30758 Rosie’s Riveters/ Satcha Lass (Courtesy of Michel Beckers).

(1) Paul Frising contact Aircrew Remembered in February 2024 and related that although S/Sgt. Libero John ‘Libby’ Bernagozzi was not related to his family he was as close as family and known as ‘Uncle Lib’. Paul visited often and was told the story of being shot down. The plane went into a spin and ‘Libby’ could not move his fingers with the centrifugal force throwing him against the fuselage.

He had a photo of the downed plane that was brought to him in 1948. During the war a US Paratrooper captured a German soldier who had snapshots of the downed B-17. After being taken to the plane, having learned the crew survived, the paratrooper was able to get the names of the crew, and made it a point as he travelled to track down and personally present all the crew members with a copy of the photo.

Libero "Libby" John Bernagozzi was born on the 1st July 1916 in Copiague, New York and passed away on the 7th September 2001 in Copiague, New York.

(2) Capt. Howard E. Keel DFC, O-737964 USAF was killed on the 3rd November 1948 when the Superfortress aboard which he was the photographic advisor crashed in low cloud at Higher Shelf Stones on the Bleaklow moorland plateau near Glossop in Derbyshire, England.

Above a short video commemorating those that lost their lives aboard the Superfortress. (Courtesy of Alan Gregory Adventures)

The aircraft, RB-29A #44-61999 Over Exposed, was part of the 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 91st Reconnaissance Group, 311th Air Division in the Strategic Air Command of USAF. The 11 crew and 2 military advisors perished in the crash.

Burial Details:

None - All of the crew survived

Original research by Michel Beckers for Aircrew Remembered in recognition of the crew (Oct 2014) . Reviewed and updated by Ralph Snape for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew (Feb 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 04.02.2024 - Reviewed and extensive update

Pages of Outstanding Interest
History Airborne Forces •  Soviet Night Witches •  Bomber Command Memories •  Abbreviations •  Gardening Codenames
CWGC: Your Relative's Grave Explained •  USA Flygirls •  Axis Awards Descriptions •  'Lack Of Moral Fibre'
Concept of Colonial Discrimination  •  Unauthorised First Long Range Mustang Attack
RAAF Bomb Aimer Evades with Maquis •  SOE Heroine Nancy Wake •  Fane: Motor Racing PRU Legend
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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 21 April 2024, 14:54

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