US B-17F Fortress “All-American” of 414th BS, 97th BG on the ground at its base in Biskra, Algeria showing severe damage from a mid-air collision with a German fighter over Tunis, Tunisia, 1 Feb 1943. Photo 4 of 8

Caption   US B-17F Fortress “All-American” of 414th BS, 97th BG on the ground at its base in Biskra, Algeria showing severe damage from a mid-air collision with a German fighter over Tunis, Tunisia, 1 Feb 1943. Photo 4 of 8 ww2dbase
Source    ww2dbaseUnited States National Archives via D. Sheley
More on...   
B-17 Flying Fortress   Main article  Photos  Maps  
Photos in Series See all photos in this series
Photos on Same Day 1 Feb 1943
Photos at Same Place Biskra, Algeria
Added By David Stubblebine
Added Date 14 Jan 2013

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Licensing  Public Domain. According to the US National Archives, as of 21 Jul 2010:
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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
27 Dec 2019 07:36:12 AM

On 1 February 1943 the B17 ‘All American’ of the 97TH BG had just turned for home after a raid on the almost circular Lac de Bizerte when it was attacked by two Messerschmitt fighters. Both enemy aircraft took extensive fire from the American bomber formation and the first 109 was seen to half roll and spiral uncontrollably toward the ground. The second fighter, however, riddled with bullets seemed to be heading directly towards the ‘All American’. Pilot Lt. Ken Briggs, at the last moment threw the control column forward in an attempt at evasion but was too late and the fighter’s wing sliced into the bomber’s tail fin.

Briggs told his crew that they could bale out over enemy territory or stay and hope that the Fortress would keep going. Bombardier Ralph Burbridge and the rest of the crew decided to stay and remarkably the aircraft held fast and continued to lead the bomber formation back to their base at Biskra. Allowing the other bombers in the group to land first Lt. Briggs finally decided to attempt a landing. Miraculously, as the plane scrapped along the ground until it came to a juddering halt, not one single member of the crew had been injured.

Later a photograph of the damaged B-17 was published in Stars and Stripes under the headline ‘Unkindest cut of all, but bomber beats rap’. Finally, astonished Boeing officials who examined ‘All AmerIcan’ would report that aerodynamically, in that condition, she shouldn’t have been able to fly.

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WW2-Era Place Name Biskra, Algeria
Lat/Long 34.7936, 5.7381
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