The Arrival and Demise (Part 1)

The "Anoxia Queen" arrived in the United Kingdom in October of 1943 via the Northern Ferry route. It was parked in one of the Eighth Air Force Service Command's UK depots waiting to be called to war.

an·ox·i·a :
Anoxia is a condition characterized by an absence of oxygen supply to an organ or a tissue.

On the 7th of November 1943, "Anoxia Queen" A/c 39819 was one of two replacement B-17G's arriving at Station 153, Framlingham, Suffolk. Aircraft 39819 was assigned to the 390Th bomb group (Heavy) (Square "J"), 568Th bomb squadron (Code BI). The "Anoxia Queen" was given the call letter "F" and her first mission was flown on November 11, 1943.

On Thursday 13th April 1944 the 390th dispatched 40 aircraft to attack the Messerschmitt fighter assembly factory at Augsburg, Germany. The 390th led the Third Division this day and departed the English coast at the Felixstowe just after midday. They arrived in the target area three hours later and 38 of the Framlingham aircraft dropped their bombs (including those aimed by Lt. Wade). A total force of 207 B-17s attacked Augsburg this day.

Lt. Swavel and his crew were flying in 42-39819 which was coded BI-F on the fuselage. At some point during its career the plane had been named "Anoxia Queen". The “Anoxia Queen" flew 35 missions during it’s career. According to some records this B-17 was parked on Hard Stand 24, backing on the Great Glemham Woods ( location of the bomb dump).

The return route from Augsburg took the Group over Belgium. As the 390th approached Brussels, at 1649 hours, #819 was hit by flak. The A/c fell out of formation and was last seen leaving the enemy coast at about 10,000 feet. No chutes had been seen up to this time. Unfortunately nobody witnessed the final moments of the a/c which ended up in the North Sea. The loss of Lt. Swavel's crew is covered by the Missing Aircrew Report No. 3947. The 390th lost 3 aircraft on 13th April 1944, the Third Division lost 18 B-17's and the Eighth AF a total of 38 "heavies" to put some perspective to the day's tragic events.

 I have done alot of research on the nose art of the "Anoxia Queen". I have contacted the research department at the 390Th Bomb Group Museum in Tucson, Arizona, the Parham Airfield Museum in England, and veterans who either flew A/c 239819, or were on base the time the "Anoxia Queen" was stationed there. I have came to the conclusion that the  "Anoxia Queen" had no significant nose art.  I haven't even came across a picture of this aircraft, although I keep on searching.

A German archivist that I have been in contact with, told me that the German heavy AA battery from the 2/252 claimed a B-17 near Ostende at 17.19 hr.  The 2/252 stands for the 2nd battery of the 252nd flak regiment, or flak unit. This unit was a mixed unit. The first (3) batteries were 88mm (6 guns per battery) The 4th and 5th batteries were light flak (20mm). This may have been the battery that hit the "Anoxia Queen", and brought her down. I have a copy of the KU 1527 report from NARA. This blog also covers all of  Sgt. Daniel J. Miller's 13 missions in the later pages.

390Th Bomb Group (H) (Part 3)

The 390th Bomb Group, nicknamed "Wittan's Wallopers" (Colonel Edger M. Wittan  Feb 1943 -  April 1944), consisted of these bomb squadrons: The 568th (Code BI*) Call sign: Cavort, the 569th (Code CC*) Call sign: Boaster, the 570th (Code DI*) Call sign: Anteat and the 571st (Code FC*) Call sign: Longshore. The 390th Bomb Group belonged to the 8th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Division, 13th Combat Bombardment Wing.  The group was activated on January 26th, 1943 at Geiger Field in Spokane, Washington. The formation didn't begin until late Febuary of 1943. They trained at Geiger Field until the 6th of June, when the group moved to Great Falls AAB in Montana. The aircrafts went overseas on July 4th, 1943, taking the northern ferry route from Iceland to Prestwick, with the first aircraft arriving on July 13th, 1943. The ground unit left Camp Shanks, NY on the 4th of July 1943 and sailed on the USS James Parker on July 17th, 1943 arriving in Liverpool, England on July 27th, 1943. The 390th BG flew 300 missions, with a total of 8,725 sorties. It dropped a total bomb tonnage of 19,059 tons, with a 144 aircraft MIA. The 390th was assigned to the 8th army air force in July of 1943. It's first mission was August 12, 1943 and its last mission on April 20, 1945. There were three other commanders after Col. Wittan. Col. Frederick W. Ott (May 1944 - Sept 1944), Col Joseph A. Moller (Sept 1944 - May 1945), and Col. George Von Arb (May 1945 - Aug 1945).

The Sub Units consisted of the 1143rd Military Police Company, 272nd Medical Dispensary, 30th Station Complement Squadron , 458th Sub Depot , 878th Chemical Company , 1689th Ordnance S&M Company , 1091st Quartermaster Company , 216th Finance Section , 18th Weather Squadron , 563rd Postal Squadron , and the 2034th Fire Fighting Platoon.

Awards; (Distinguished Unit Citations) Regensburg: August 17, 1943 and Schweinfurt: October 14, 1943.

The 390th claim to fame: Highest claims of enemy aircraft destroyed by a bomb group on one mission in October 10, 1943.  One man, Hewitt Dunn, of the 390th BG, was the only man to fly 100 missions.

 If you look on the 390Th Bomb Group patch, like the picture off to the right side of this page, you will see a the (3) B-17's. Under the B-17's is a banner with "Sur Le Nez", which is a French phase and the motto of the 390Th Bombardment Group (H). It means "On the Nose".

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