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Thread: Great B-17 story

  1. #1
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Great B-17 story

    Doesn't Hartman live by Miles City?

    This is a great story. Imagine how this would go today?
    Short bit of history that I bet you never knew. Great story!



    During the dead of winter, March 21st 1944; Miles City, Montana; local residents woke to their quaint little town being overrun and submerged by the rising frozen waters of the Yellowstone river. Ice jams were building quickly, raising the subzero river water levels over 16 feet. As the blocks of ice, slush and freezing waters flooded into the city, residents were forced to flee their homes for safer grounds.
    .
    .

    .
    Miles City Mayor L.S. Keyed knew immediate action must be taken, and brought in explosive experts from a nearby town. Two local pilots took a small aircraft over the river and attempted to drop and detonate 50 pound homemade bombs on the Yellowstone ice jam , but unfortunately it had little effect.

    Mayor L.S. Keyed then decided to do the unthinkable, and placed an urgent request to the Governor’s office. His request was short, and to the point “Send in the Bombers!”
    .

    .
    At a USAAF base in Rapid City S.D., the crew of an Army Air Force B-17 were quick to accept the unusual mission, and preparations to bomb an American city were fast underway. The crew hastily began fusing and loading 250-pound bombs into the bomb bay of their USAAF Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Shortly thereafter, the loaded bomber with her crew of eight, took to the skies in a harsh blizzard and low ceilings.
    .

    .
    The plan was to deliver the bombs to Miles City where the load would be transferred to a waiting Dive-Bomber to execute the bomb delivery. As the lone B-17 was nearing Miles City, low clouds forced the plans to be changed. Under a blanket of 1000 foot overcast skies, the B-17 was then ordered to handle the bombing run themselves.
    .


    Originally planned to release the load at 10,000 feet, the low overcast forced the bomber crew to take their ship lower. At 19:30 hours, in heavy snow, winds and cold, the bomber appeared over the river and executed two dummy bombing runs as crowds of locals watched in amazement. On the third pass, the B-17 released a test bomb that exploded precisely on target. Unsure of the effect, the crew brought their bomber around again.
    .
    Making a two more passes, releasing all six of the 250 lb bombs. Hundreds of residents watched motionless, and none speaking a word. The entire town, their homes and their families future hung in the balance as they watched the bombs fall. Seconds later a huge plume of ice, mud and water exploded skyward from the frozen Yellowstone river.
    .
    The ice jam quickly broke apart, and the frozen waters slowly receded, saving the small town. The next morning, local residents were thrilled to watch as the water levels had dropped a full 10' from the day before.

    That night the crew of the B-17 were welcomed by thankful and relieved residents of Miles City, Montana. The entire crew were put up at the local hotel, and each received a well-deserved steak dinner.

    The next morning, as crew departed, and the B-17 made a final victory pass low over the town at 50 feet over the rooftops, rocking their wings as they flew back to Rapid City, SD.and so the story goes. Only time continental United States was bombed .
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
    Thanks 8GCBC thanked for this post

  2. #2
    n40ff's Avatar
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    Great story but wasn't WV bombed during the mine wars?



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Blair_Mountain


    ...."By August 29(1921) battle was fully joined. Chafin's men, though outnumbered, had the advantage of higher positions and better weaponry. Private planes were hired to drop homemade bombs on the miners. A combination of poison gas and explosive bombs left over from World War I were dropped in several locations near the towns of Jeffery, Sharples and Blair. At least one did not explode and was recovered by the miners; it was used months later to great effect as evidence for the defense during treason and murder trials. On orders from General Billy Mitchell, Army bombers from Maryland were also used for aerial surveillance. One Martin bomber crashed on its return flight, killing the three crew members.[32][2]".....

    Jack

    PS A couple nukes hit the ground about 30 miles from where I live when a B52 went down in a thunder storm. Said to not have fuses? Of coarse that doesn't count.

    Last edited by n40ff; 10-16-2020 at 09:02 PM.

  3. #3
    JWE's Avatar
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    And the mayor of Philadelphia bombed a row house back in 1985 and a whole city block burned.

  4. #4
    Cubus Maximus's Avatar
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    Great B-17 story!

    The Japanese submarine I-25 launched a Yokosuki E14Y floatplane with incendiaries in an attack on the forests near Brooking, Oregon. https://www.eugeneleeslover.com/Japa...mb_Oregon.html






    And 6 civilians were killed by a Japanese balloon bomb in Bly, Oregon in May 1945.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/histo...gon-180972259/

    Some 9,000 were launched with 1,000 reaching the US between 44 and 45.



    Thanks mam90 thanked for this post

  5. #5
    musket's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Boise City,Oklahoma, was the location of an unusual event during WorldWar II when it was mistakenly bombed by a friendly U.S. bomber crew duringtraining. The bombing occurred on July 5, 1943, at approximately12:30 a.m. by a B‑17 Flying Fortress Bomber.[9] This occurred because pilots performingtarget practice became disoriented and mistook the lights around the townsquare as their target. No one was killed in the attack (only practice bombswere used and the square was deserted at the time), but the pilots wereembarrassed. For the 50th anniversary of the incident, the crew of the bomberwas invited back to Boise City, but all members declined. The former radiooperator did, however, send an audio tape that was played at the celebration.[10]
    It was about half past midnight on July 5, 1943. The heat of the day hadgiven way to the usual cooling that occurs during the summer at Boise City,located in the far western end of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Most of its 1,400residents had gone to bed when an airplane began dropping bombs on the sleepytown. The town’s residents awoke to a series of six bangs and booms thatsounded more like large firecrackers they had heard a day earlier as theycelebrated Independence Day.
    A few minutes earlier, Fred Kreiger, band director in the local school andalso editor of the weekly Boise City News, had gone to bed when heheard the drone of a plane, a whistle, a crash, and an explosion. He quicklygot up, dressed, and ran outside. “My first thought was an enemy plane,” herecalled, but wondered why Boise City would be bombed. “After I saw how deepthe bombs bored into the pavement, I was glad I hadn’t hid under that big papercutter at the office,” said Kreiger, who added, “What this place needs are somesearchlights and anti-aircraft guns.”
    When the bombs began falling, F. L. Bellew, the town’s night watchman, wasnear the post office. He flattened himself on the sidewalk, watched the sky,and wished he had his high-powered rifle as the plane made a second pass over BoiseCity. Not far away, near the Cimarron County Courthouse, Coleen Jones and fourgirlfriends had just left the local movie theater. Their dates were soldiersfrom the U.S. army air force base at Dalhart, Texas, about 30 miles south ofBoise City. When a bomb hit the ground, Jones asked a soldier what it was. “ByGod, it’s a bomb!” he quickly replied. They ran away as fast as they could forsafety.
    At the Liberty Café, located on the highway, seven oil company truckershurriedly put down their coffee cups and sandwiches and ran to their loadedtanker trucks and drove out of town as fast as they could. Not far away, PastorR. D. Dodds found the front door on his white-frame church blown open and someof the rainbow-colored windows broken. Later he told a reporter, “If one-fourthof the people who came to see the hole the bomb made would only attend church.”
    By the next day, nearly every resident of Boise City had learned that theirtown had been bombed by the U.S. Army Air Force. Lieutenant Max Siegel, publicrelations officer at the Dalhart base, arrived in Boise City and made theannouncement. He added that no one had been hurt and that property damageamounted to less than 25 dollars. The B-17 Flying Fortress that dropped thebombs was one of a group that had taken off from Dalhart to bomb an army rangenear Conlen, Texas, northeast of Dalhart. One of the planes got off course, andthe navigator spotted the lights of Boise City, and especially one light in theCimarron County Courthouse square that had the general pattern of the bombingrange. Major C. E. Lancaster, commanding officer of the Dalhart base, describedthe bombing as accidental, caused by “a mistake of navigation.” Lancasterexplained that the crew believed the lights in the courthouse square were thoseof the bombing range.
    The B-17 made six passes over Boise City, dropping one bomb on each run.Fortunately, they were practice bombs containing just over 97 pounds of sandand about three pounds of gunpowder. In reconstructing the events of the earlymorning hours of July 5, investigators determined that the first bomb landed inan alley northwest of Court Avenue near an apartment where several people weresleeping. It hit an empty garage, blowing open the door and leaving a20-by-40-inch crater. The B-17 made another pass over Boise City, aiming atfour lights. The bomb they dropped missed the First Baptist Church by inchesand left a crater three feet deep. On the plane’s next pass, its third bomb hitthe earth in front of the Style Shoppe building. The fourth bomb hit only yardsfrom the McGowan Boardinghouse and missed a parked tanker truck full of fuel.The fifth bomb hit some 80 feet from a small house, and the sixth bomb fellnear the railroad tracks on the southeastern edge of town.
    About then Frank Garrett of Boise City’s power company ran to the SouthwesternPublic Service building and pulled the town’s master light switch. He hoped thetownspeople would not mind. To the crew of the B-17, starting on another passover the town, the sudden darkness suggested the bombing practice was notsucceeding.
    The B-17 made no further passes over Boise City and returned to its air baseat Dalhart. As the bombs were falling on Boise City, John Atkins, the town’sair raid warden, hurriedly phoned a report to the FBI in Oklahoma City. Atkinsthen sent the Oklahoma adjutant general a telegram that read, “Boise Citybombed one a.m. Baptist church, garage hit.” Before the sun rose on Boise Citythe following morning, FBI agents, U.S. Army officials, and the OklahomaHighway Patrol had men on the scene investigating what had happened. In thenext weekly issue of the Boise City News, editor Fred Kreiger wrotethat the bombing was “mortifying” and “horrifying.”
    But the anger felt by most Boise City residents soon gave way to pride asnews of the bombing focused national attention on their town. Timemagazine carried a story on July 19 headlined “The Bombing of Boise City” andnoted that the citizens of Boise City acted the way most civilians do who havenever been bombed before. The magazine said, “Most of them ran like hell, in noparticular direction.” Newsweek magazine observed that Boise City wasone of the most unlikely targets for an air raid. By the end of World War II, Ripley’sBelieve it or Not, a syndicated cartoon for newspapers, was describingBoise City as the only town in the continental United States to be bombedduring WWII.
    In 1993, 50 years after the bombing, the citizens of Boise City sent lettersto military magazines and otherwise sought to locate the B-17’s crewmembers toinvite them to the town. In time, they located some the members, most of whomremained tight-lipped. The crewmembers did not want to go to Boise City,preferring to remember their outstanding record in Europe rather than their blunderin the Oklahoma Panhandle.
    The crew apparently had the choice of disciplinary action after the incidentat Boise City or immediate transfer to the European theater of war. They chosewar and left for England. Most of them remained together and became one of thetop B-17 crews in the Eighth Air Force before the war ended.
    One crewmember, Henry Garringer, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army AirForce, did agree to tape a message over the telephone from his home inCalifornia. He blamed “motivation” as the cause of the accident and admittedthe crew “screwed up,” but he added that the crewmembers spent the rest oftheir military careers being the best. Garringer’s message was played over apublic address system on July 4, 1993, at the dedication of a bronze plaquenear a bomb crater and a replica bomb protruding from cement, memorializing thenight Boise City was bombed half a century earlier.
    Likes KevinJ, mam90 liked this post

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    Doesn't Hartman live by Miles City?

    This is a great story. Imagine how this would go today?
    Short bit of history that I bet you never knew. Great story!



    During the dead of winter, March 21st 1944; Miles City, Montana; local residents woke to their quaint little town being overrun and submerged by the rising frozen waters of the Yellowstone river. Ice jams were building quickly, raising the subzero river water levels over 16 feet. As the blocks of ice, slush and freezing waters flooded into the city, residents were forced to flee their homes for safer grounds.
    .
    .

    .
    Miles City Mayor L.S. Keyed knew immediate action must be taken, and brought in explosive experts from a nearby town. Two local pilots took a small aircraft over the river and attempted to drop and detonate 50 pound homemade bombs on the Yellowstone ice jam , but unfortunately it had little effect.

    Mayor L.S. Keyed then decided to do the unthinkable, and placed an urgent request to the Governor’s office. His request was short, and to the point “Send in the Bombers!”
    .

    .
    At a USAAF base in Rapid City S.D., the crew of an Army Air Force B-17 were quick to accept the unusual mission, and preparations to bomb an American city were fast underway. The crew hastily began fusing and loading 250-pound bombs into the bomb bay of their USAAF Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Shortly thereafter, the loaded bomber with her crew of eight, took to the skies in a harsh blizzard and low ceilings.
    .

    .
    The plan was to deliver the bombs to Miles City where the load would be transferred to a waiting Dive-Bomber to execute the bomb delivery. As the lone B-17 was nearing Miles City, low clouds forced the plans to be changed. Under a blanket of 1000 foot overcast skies, the B-17 was then ordered to handle the bombing run themselves.
    .


    Originally planned to release the load at 10,000 feet, the low overcast forced the bomber crew to take their ship lower. At 19:30 hours, in heavy snow, winds and cold, the bomber appeared over the river and executed two dummy bombing runs as crowds of locals watched in amazement. On the third pass, the B-17 released a test bomb that exploded precisely on target. Unsure of the effect, the crew brought their bomber around again.
    .
    Making a two more passes, releasing all six of the 250 lb bombs. Hundreds of residents watched motionless, and none speaking a word. The entire town, their homes and their families future hung in the balance as they watched the bombs fall. Seconds later a huge plume of ice, mud and water exploded skyward from the frozen Yellowstone river.
    .
    The ice jam quickly broke apart, and the frozen waters slowly receded, saving the small town. The next morning, local residents were thrilled to watch as the water levels had dropped a full 10' from the day before.

    That night the crew of the B-17 were welcomed by thankful and relieved residents of Miles City, Montana. The entire crew were put up at the local hotel, and each received a well-deserved steak dinner.

    The next morning, as crew departed, and the B-17 made a final victory pass low over the town at 50 feet over the rooftops, rocking their wings as they flew back to Rapid City, SD.and so the story goes. Only time continental United States was bombed .
    yes Glen and that’s the way we still fish today
    Dave

  7. #7

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    Boise City, OK was one of the cities featured on the Ken Burns PBS documentary, “The Dust Bowl“. It’s a hard and unforgiving place not really close to anywhere. To the West of there is some roughest but prettiest ranch country you’ll ever see. It’s a part of the world that a lot of people have forgot about.

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