United States Army Air Force

359TH Bomber Squadron,
303rd Bomb Group, RAF Molesworth

B-17G Flying Fortress


13th January 1945

Cpl. Roger K. Bates

On Jan. 13, 1945 on a mission to Mannheim Pilot Jack Stocks 2Lt. ordered 4 crew members to bail out. My husband Roger K. Bates was one of them This has all been authenticated when he joined the Caterpillar club. J. Fiore, J.W. Hamilton and N.F Daniel went out at the same time.

The story is in Harry Gobrecht's book Might In Flight.

Hope this helps



Mission incident:
Mission #301, 13 January 1945 to Mannheim, Germany, in B-17G #43-38642 (No name) (359BS) BN-X. Landed at airstrip Y-1 at Tantonville, France, 371st & 64th Fighter Group P-47 base. 2Lt Ronald A. Anstrom (N) was badly wounded. Flak shattered bones in his right leg, went through his left leg and out of his hand. A fire was started in the nose. 2Lt James T. Steineman (B), gave first aid and put out the fire. The B-17 stayed with the formation and bombed with the 359th BS formation. Over the target at Mannheim, Germany the B-17 was again hit by flak that set the #4 engine on fire. It was extinguished and feathered. The #2 engine was also on fire but could not be feathered. The left wing was on fire. 2Lt Jack E. Stocks (P), left the formation five minutes later when he was unable to maintain altitude. The oxygen system in the B-17s nose was out. Lt Stocks ordered Sgts Fiore (R), Hamilton (BTG), Bates (WG) and Daniel (TG) to bail out. 2Lt Steineman (B) moved 2Lt Anstrom, the wounded Navigator, to the catwalk area to prepare him for bail out. Lt Anstrom felt that it would not be advisable for him to bail out with his injured legs. About that time the Tantonville landing strip was sighted. Flares were fired and with the assistance of 2Lt Marsh (CP) and Sgt Copp (E) a landing was made with the wing ablaze. Lt Anstrom were placed in the 21st General Hospital at Mirecourt. Sgt Daniel (TG) was also hospitalized. The Pilot, CoPilot, Engineer and Bombardier returned to Molesworth on 03 February 1945. Three of the crewmen who bailed out (R, BTG & WG) returned to Molesworth shortly thereafter.


[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]

"My husband flew his first mission in Oct 1944 and flew 13 missions with Dick Lutz. After that he flew with several other crews as Lutz was made Lead and his original crew split up.On Jan 13. he was with pilot Stocks crew when he was ordered out."
Barbara Bates
(in email 7th Sept. 2006)


The above information was found on the internet

      Some extracts used in this Biography  were  provided thanks to the generosity of Mrs Barbara Bates

S/Sgt Roger K. Bates (WG,TOG,TG)(Bail Out) - 34 credited missions flown: 14 with 1Lt Lutz (259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 265, 266, 267, 269, 271, 272, 275, 277, 356); 20 with 10 other Pilots (As Waist Gunner - 270, 287, 292, 298, 301, 343, 349, As Togglier - 325, 326, 328, 330, 333, 335, 336, 337, 339, 340, 341, 344, 345, As Tail Gunner - 352). Bailed out from a burning B-17 on 13 January 1945 (Mission 301) 2Lt Jack E. Stocks, Pilot, who later was able to make an emergency landing at a European landing strip. S/Sgt Bates was recovered by U.S. Army ground troops and returned to Molesworth. Completed combat tour on 5 April 1945 (Mission 352).

13th January 1945 2Lt. Jack E. Stocks Pilot Crash landed aircraft OK
B-17G Flying Fortress 43-38642 359TH Bomber Squadron,
303rd Bomb Group, RAF Molesworth
to Mannheim Hit by flak over target 2Lt. Jack E. Stocks ordered four of the crew to bail out then crash landed aircraft at Tantonville landing strip



Roger K. Bates
Aerial Gunner bailed out OK
 Sgt. John Fiore Radio bailed out OK
Sgt. John W. Hamilton Armorer Gunner bailed out OK
Cpl. Nauphlet F Daniel Aerial Gunner bailed out injured
T/Sgt Edmund P. Copp Engineer did not bail-out OK
2lt James T. Steineman  Bombardier / Navigator did not bail-out OK
2Lt Ronald A. Anstrom Navigator injured in legs by flak decided not to bail out injured
2Lt John F. Marsh Co-Pilot did not bail-out OK