Remembering JC James

JC James

In October of 1943 a Valliant, OK “local boy” Captain Jacob C. James piloted the B-17 “Mr. Five by Five” from North Africa, through hell, to Schweinfurt, Germany and back. From the time they flew into range of German fighter planes out of Italy they were under near constant air attack and subject to anti-aircraft ground fire.

In the mission the bomber group lost an aircraft was lost, several crewmen wounded and two killed. Not by far the worst bomber run of the war, but a very hellish 7.5 hour flight.

One aircraft was written off after landing and fifteen were damaged. Five arriving crewmen were wounded. Capt. James, the lead pilot, described the trip as “…very rough. I have never seen the like of those fighters in my life. There must have been 300 out there. All kinds–MEs, FWs–everything. Flak over the target was pretty tough and accurate but the bombing was darned good.”

This was neither the first nor the last flight for Capt. James and his crew. But these men, now gone, did these things for America, their hometowns and families.

303rd BG (H) Combat Mission No. 78
14 October 1943
Target: V.K.F. Ball Bearing Plant, Schweinfurt, Germany
Crews Dispatched: 20
Crews Lost: 1 crew 1Lt. R.C. Sanders, 2 KIA, 9 POW
Length of Mission 7 hours, 15 minutes
Bomb Load: 3 x 1000 lb G.P. bombs plus 5 M47A1 Incendiaries
Bombing Altitude: 24,050 ft
Ammo Fired: 99,930 rounds
Enemy Aircraft Claims: 24 Destroyed, 15 Probable, 3 Damaged

The crew of B-17F #42-29955 “Mr. Five by Five”
Pilot………………………..James, Jacob C., Capt
CoPilot……………………Snyder, Edgar E., Jr., Maj
Navigator……………….Hokans, Carl A., Lt
Bombadier………………McCormick, James E., Lt
Engineer…………………Scheuerer, Joseph E., T/Sgt
Ball Turret Gunner…Knight, Frederick B., S/Sgt
Radio Operator………Hamilton, A.J., S/Sgt
Tail Gunner…………….Barker, John C., Lt
Left Wing Gunner……McGrew, Robert H., S/Sgt
Right Wing Gunner…Harmes, D.D., Sgt

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