All American (aircraft)

The All American (full name All American III[1]) was a World War II Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress bomber aircraft that was able to return safely to its base after having its rear fuselage nearly cut off by an in-flight collision with a German fighter over enemy-held territory. The bomber's flight is said to have yielded one of the most famous photographs of World War II, and has been linked with the phrase "Comin' in on a Wing and a Prayer." It inspired the 414th Bombardment Squadron's emblem, an image of a puppy praying atop an aircraft's tail section.

All American
The All American returning to base after its collision with an enemy fighter
Type Boeing B-17F-5-BO Flying Fortress[1]
Manufacturer Boeing
Serial 41-24406[1]
Fate Dismantled for salvage at Lucera Airfield, Italy, on March 6, 1945.[2]

The aircraft

The All American was a B-17F-5-BO, serial number 41-24406, in the 97th Bomb Group, 414th Bombardment Squadron.[1]

The mission

On February 1, 1943, bombers of the 414th Bombardment Squadron departed their base near Biskra, Algeria, to attack the German-controlled seaports, Bizerte and Tunis, Tunisia.[3] After dropping their bombloads and returning toward base, the bombers were attacked by German fighters,[3] believed to be Messerschmitt Bf 109s.[4] Two fighters attacked the lead B-17 and the All American which was flying next to it in formation, respectively.[3] The bombers' machine gun fire downed the first fighter, but the second pressed its head-on attack against the All American.[3] Apparently struck by machine gun fire, the second fighter could not complete its roll to pull down and away from the All American, the pilot apparently having been killed or disabled.[3][5] The German pilot was reported as being 16-victory ace Erich Paczia of I/Jagdgeschwader 53.[6]

Damaged tail of B-17
The aircraft returned safely to base despite the extensive damage to its rear fuselage.
414th Bombardment Squadron - Emblem
Emblem of the 414th Bombardment Squadron in World War II

The fighter's wing collided with the top rear fuselage of the All American, almost cleaving the bomber's tail section off, leaving a large diagonal gash from the base of the All American's tail and severing the left horizontal stabilizer completely off the plane.[3] Metal in the airframe near the right tailplane was the only thing keeping the tail section, housing the rear gunner, attached to the aircraft.[3][7] The fighter broke apart, leaving some pieces in the bomber's fuselage.[7]

The bomber squadron maintained formation to protect the All American until they were beyond the range of enemy fighters, with the crew donning parachutes in the expectation of having to bail out.[3][4][5] However, the aircraft was piloted to a safe landing at its base, and despite the damage, none of the crew was injured.[3]

The All American was repaired and returned to service as a hack[4] with the 352nd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 301st Bombardment Group (Heavy), and flew until its March 1945 dismantlement.[2]

The All American is reputed to be the source of the phrase, "Comin' in on a Wing and a Prayer,"[3][4][5] and inspired the 414th Bombardment Squadron's emblem.[3] An image of a puppy praying atop the rear fuselage formed the unit badge.[4][5] The aircraft was the subject of what has been called one of the most famous photographs of World War II.[5][7]


Several false myths accrued in the lore of the All American,[8] some of which were refuted in a 2012 interview of her bombardier Ralph Burbridge.[5] Burbridge explained that the aircraft returned to her base in North Africa, and could not have made a long trip back to England as widely recounted.[5] The base near Biskra, Algeria, was a more reasonable 300 miles from the bombing target.[8]

Burbridge also said that the collision occurred when the bomber group was returning to base after having dropped its bombs on target, so that the aircraft did not complete a bombing run after being damaged as had been incorrectly recounted.[5] Burbridge's account confirms that the ten crew members donned their parachutes, contradicting stories that the crew sacrificed some of their parachutes to hold the plane together or for an in-flight rescue of crew members from the isolated tail section.[5]

The Harold Adamson and Jimmy McHugh 1943 song “Comin' in on a Wing and a Prayer” was not written about All American as sometimes reported, but was about another 97th Bomb Group B-17, Thunderbird.[8]

Crew members

Navigator Harry C. Nuessle listed the All American's crew on its February 1, 1943 flight:[4][7]

  • Pilot - Ken Bragg Jr.
  • Copilot - G. Boyd Jr.
  • Navigator - Harry C. Nuessle
  • Bombardier - Ralph Burbridge
  • Engineer - Joe C. James
  • Radio Operator - Paul A. Galloway
  • Ball Turret Gunner - Elton Conda
  • Waist Gunner - Michael Zuk
  • Tail Gunner - Sam T. Sarpolus
  • Ground Crew Chief - Hank Hyland


  1. ^ a b c d "Boeing B-17F". National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "1 February 1943". This Day in Aviation. Archived from the original on February 3, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Axberg, Jason, 628th Air Base Wing historian (February 3, 2015). "A new perspective on a challenging day at work". U.S. Air Force, Joint Base Charleston. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "A Wing and a Prayer". The Aviation History Online Museum. August 28, 2013. Archived from the original on July 5, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Interview with bombardier Ralph Burbridge published by Nichols, Ralph (September 21, 2012). "Local B-17 Bombardier Recalls 'Wing and a Prayer' Mission on the All American". The Waterland Blog. Archived from the original on June 17, 2016.
  6. ^ Aviation History Museum (2013-08-28) cites Hess, William N. (1997). Wings of Fame, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. London: Aerospace Publishing Ltd. p. 63.
  7. ^ a b c d "A Flying Fortress Miracle". Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). 2015. Archived from the original on January 8, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "WWII's B-17 All American: Separating Fact and Fiction". Warbirds News. June 27, 2013. Archived from the original on April 5, 2016.
Aero-Craft Aero-Coupe

The Aero-Craft Aero-Coupe is an American, 2-passenger, semi-cabin, all-purpose, commercial biplane that was designed by Captain Clement Brown in 1928 and manufactured by Aero-Craft Manufacturing Company. The aircraft was intended for use as an air taxi, as well as for mail and express feeder service. The Aero-Coupe was manufactured by Aero-Craft Manufacturing Company, based in Detroit, Michigan. Aero-Craft Mfg. Co. was founded in 1928, and the Aero-Coupe was the first production model that was released by the company. The Aero-Coupe was a "semi-cabin" aircraft: the three passengers were situated within a closed cabin in the aircraft's fuselage near the nose, while the aircraft's single pilot was positioned in an open cockpit, above and behind the passenger cabin, behind the wings. The aircraft was first introduced to the public in 1928 during the Detroit Aero Show, also known as the All-American Aircraft Show, which occurred from April 14–21. Its price, as mentioned in Volume 20 of Flight International, was $6500, when it was first exhibited to the public. It was powered by a single, seven-cylinder Warner Scarab rotary engine, which provided 120 hp. The aircraft had a range of 740 kilometres, and was capable of flying as fast as 185 km/h. The wings were of unequal span.

Air War Plans Division

The Air War Plans Division (AWPD) was an American military organization established to make long-term plans for war. Headed by Harold L. George, the unit was tasked in July 1941 to provide President Franklin D. Roosevelt with "overall production requirements required to defeat our potential enemies." The plans that were made at the AWPD eventually proved significant in the defeat of Nazi Germany.The AWPD went beyond offering basic production requirements and provided instead of a comprehensive air plan which was designed to defeat the Axis powers. The plan, AWPD-1, was completed in nine days. The plan emphasized using heavy bombers to carry out precision bombing attacks as the primary method of defeating Germany and her allies. A year later, after the United States became directly involved in World War II, AWPD delivered a second plan—AWPD-42—which slightly changed the earlier plan to incorporate lessons learned from eight months of the war. Neither AWPD-1 nor AWPD-42 were approved as combat battle plans or war operations; they were simply accepted as guidelines for the production of materiel and the creation of necessary air squadrons. Finally, in 1943, an operational aerial warfare plan was hammered out in meetings between American and British war planners, based on a combination of British plans and those from the AWPD, to create the Anglo-American Combined Bomber Offensive (CBO).

All American Aircraft

All American Aircraft Inc was an aircraft manufacturer established in 1945 at Long Beach, California by Ernest and Gerald Adler. The firm built prototypes of a light plane design by Ernest, the Ensign, but was unable to find buyers to make mass production viable.

All American Ensign

The All American 10A Ensign was a two-seat light plane built in the United States shortly after World War II. It was a low-wing, all-metal cantilever monoplane with fixed tricycle undercarriage and which seated its pilot and passenger side-by-side under an expansive bubble canopy. Due to the glut of military surplus aircraft on the civil market after the war, All American was unable to attract buyers and no production ensued.

Arresting gear

An arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is a mechanical system used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Arresting gear on aircraft carriers is an essential component of naval aviation, and it is most commonly used on CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Similar systems are also found at land-based airfields for expeditionary or emergency use. Typical systems consist of several steel wire ropes laid across the aircraft landing area, designed to be caught by an aircraft's tailhook. During a normal arrestment, the tailhook engages the wire and the aircraft's kinetic energy is transferred to hydraulic damping systems attached below the carrier deck. There are other related systems which use nets to catch aircraft wings or landing gear. These barricade and barrier systems are only used for emergency arrestments for aircraft without operable tailhooks.

Caledonian Airways

Caledonian Airways was a wholly private, independent Scottish charter airline formed in April 1961. It began with a single 104-seat Douglas DC-7C leased from Sabena. Caledonian grew rapidly over the coming years to become the leading transatlantic "affinity group" charter operator by the end of the decade. During that period, passenger numbers grew from just 8,000 in 1961 to 800,000 in 1970. The latter represented 22.7% of all British non-scheduled passengers. It also became Britain's most consistently profitable and financially most secure independent airline of its era, never failing to make a profit in all its ten years of existence. By the end of 1970, Caledonian operated an all-jet fleet consisting of eleven aircraft and provided employment for over 1,000 workers. At that time, its principal activities included group charters between North America, Europe and the Far East using Boeing 707s, and general charter and inclusive tour (IT) activities in Europe utilising One-Elevens. This was also the time Caledonian merged with British United Airways (BUA), the largest contemporary independent airline and leading private sector scheduled carrier in the United Kingdom, and formed British Caledonian.


Casablanca (Arabic: الدار البيضاء‎ [adˈdaːru ɫbajdˤaːʔ] white house, Berber languages: ⴰⵏⴼⴰ [ænfæ] incline) is the largest city in Morocco and is located in the central-western part of Morocco bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Casablanca is also the largest city in the Maghreb, as well as one of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically.

Casablanca is Morocco's chief port and one of the largest financial centers on the continent. According to the 2014 population estimate, the city has a population of about 3.35 million in the urban area and over 6.8 million in the Casablanca-Settat region. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, although the national political capital is Rabat.

The leading Moroccan companies and many international corporations doing business in the country have their headquarters and main industrial facilities in Casablanca. Recent industrial statistics show Casablanca holds its recorded position as the primary industrial zone of the nation. The Port of Casablanca is one of the largest artificial ports in the world, and the second largest port of North Africa, after Tanger-Med 40 km (25 mi) east of Tangier. Casablanca also hosts the primary naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

Ernest K. Gann

Ernest Kellogg Gann (October 13, 1910 – December 19, 1991) was an American aviator, author, sailor, and conservationist. He is known for his novels Island in the Sky and The High and the Mighty and his classic memoir of early commercial aviation Fate Is the Hunter, all of which were made into major motion pictures.

General Atomics MQ-1 Predator

The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an American remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) built by General Atomics that was used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Initially conceived in the early 1990s for aerial reconnaissance and forward observation roles, the Predator carries cameras and other sensors. It was modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions. The aircraft entered service in 1995, and saw combat in the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the NATO intervention in Bosnia, Serbia, the Iraq War, Yemen, the 2011 Libyan civil war, the 2014 intervention in Syria, and Somalia.

The USAF describes the Predator as a "Tier II" MALE UAS (medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system). The UAS consists of four aircraft or "air vehicles" with sensors, a ground control station (GCS), and a primary satellite link communication suite. Powered by a Rotax engine and driven by a propeller, the air vehicle can fly up to 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km) to a target, loiter overhead for 14 hours, then return to its base.

The RQ-1 Predator was the primary remotely piloted aircraft used for offensive operations by the USAF and the CIA in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas from 2001 until the introduction of the MQ-9 Reaper; it has also been deployed elsewhere. Because offensive uses of the Predator are classified by the U.S., U.S. military officials have reported an appreciation for the intelligence and reconnaissance-gathering abilities of RPAs but declined to publicly discuss their offensive use. The United States Air Force retired the Predator in 2018.Civilian applications for drones have included border enforcement and scientific studies, and to monitor wind direction and other characteristics of large forest fires (such as the drone that was used by the California Air National Guard in the August 2013 Rim Fire).

History of Casablanca

The history of the city of Casablanca in Morocco has been one of many political and cultural changes. At different times it has been governed by Berber, Roman, Arab, Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, and Moroccan regimes. It has had an important position in the region as a port city, making it valuable to a series of conquerors during its early history.

The original Berber name, Anfa (meaning: "hill" in English), was used by the locals until the earthquake of 1755 destroyed the city. When Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah rebuilt the city's medina, he gave it the name "ad-Dār al-Bayḍāʾ" (الدار البيضاء) a literal translation of Casablanca into Arabic. French forces occupied the city in 1907 and adopted the Spanish name, Casablanca. The name Anfa now refers to an area within Casablanca, slightly West of the 18th century medina.

List of aircraft (Ai–Am)

This is a list of aircraft in alphabetical order beginning with the letters 'Ai' through 'Am'.

M2 Browning

The M2 Machine Gun or Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun is a heavy machine gun designed toward the end of World War I by John Browning. Its design is similar to Browning's earlier M1919 Browning machine gun, which was chambered for the .30-06 cartridge. The M2 uses the much larger and much more powerful .50 BMG cartridge, which was developed alongside and takes its name from the gun itself (BMG standing for Browning Machine Gun). It has been referred to as "Ma Deuce", in reference to its M2 nomenclature. The design has had many specific designations; the official US military designation for the current infantry type is Browning Machine Gun, Cal. .50, M2, HB, Flexible. It is effective against infantry, unarmored or lightly armored vehicles and boats, light fortifications and low-flying aircraft.

The Browning .50 caliber machine gun has been used extensively as a vehicle weapon and for aircraft armament by the United States from the 1930s to the present. It was heavily used during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Falklands War, the Soviet–Afghan War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan in the 2000s and 2010s. It is the primary heavy machine gun of NATO countries, and has been used by many other countries as well. The M2 has been in use longer than any other firearm in U.S. inventory except the .45 ACP M1911 pistol, also designed by John Browning.

The current M2HB is manufactured in the U.S. by General Dynamics and U.S. Ordnance for use by the U.S. government, and for allies via Foreign Military Sales, as well as by foreign manufacturers such as FN Herstal.

Operation Torch

Operation Torch (8–16 November 1942) was an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, and enabling an invasion of Southern Europe. It also provided the 'second front' which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French, officially in collaboration with Germany, but with mixed loyalties, and reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative. The American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a three-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) and Algiers (Eastern), in advance of a rapid move on Tunis.

The Western Task Force encountered unexpected resistance, as well as bad weather, but Casablanca, the principal French Atlantic naval base, was captured after a short siege. The Center Task Force suffered some damage to its fleet, trying to land in shallow water, but the enemy ships were sunk or driven off, and Oran surrendered after heavy fire from British battleships. The Eastern Task Force met less opposition because the French Resistance had staged a coup in Algiers, and the Allies were able to push inland and compel surrender on the first day.

The success of Torch caused the commander of French forces in the region, Admiral Darlan, to order full co-operation with the Allies, in return for being retained as High Commissioner, with many Vichy officials keeping their jobs. But Darlan was assassinated soon after, and De Gaulle's Free French gradually came to dominate the government.

Operation Torch was the first mass involvement of US troops in the European–North African Theatre, and saw the first major airborne assault carried out anywhere by the United States.

Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses

Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD, pronounced ), also known in the United States as "Wild Weasel" and (initially) "Iron Hand" operations, are military actions to suppress enemy surface-based air defenses, including not only surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) but also interrelated systems such as early-warning radar and command, control and communication (C3) functions, while also marking other targets to be destroyed by an air strike. Suppression can be accomplished both by physically destroying the systems or by disrupting and deceiving them through electronic warfare. In modern warfare SEAD missions can constitute as much as 30% of all sorties launched in the first week of combat and continue at a reduced rate through the rest of a campaign. One quarter of American combat sorties in recent conflicts have been SEAD missions.

That's All, Brother

That's All, Brother is a Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft (the military version of the civilian DC-3) that led the formation of 800 others from which approximately 13,000 U.S. paratroopers jumped on D-Day, June 6, 1944, the beginning of the liberation of France in the last two years of World War II. After the war it was returned to the United States and sold to civilian owners, eventually falling victim to neglect until it was found in an Oshkosh, Wisconsin, boneyard in 2015, facing imminent disassembly to be converted into a modern turbine aircraft. It has since been restored and is part of the Commemorative Air Force.The C-47's name, painted on its nose, was chosen by Air Force Lt. Col. John M. Donalson, commander of the 87th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, who flew the plane during the operation, as a "message to Adolf Hitler" that Nazi Germany's days were numbered. It was successfully flown again in 2018, and has been exhibited at air shows. After further refitting it has been flown across the Atlantic with other historic aircraft that took part in the invasion, to commemorate its 75th anniversary.

William E. Metzger

William Ernest Metzger (September 30, 1868 – April 11, 1933) was an automotive pioneer and salesman from Detroit. He opened one of the first automobile dealerships in the United States, and participated in the early development of a number of early automobile companies, including the Cadillac Automobile Company and the E-M-F Company, in which the "M" stands for his name.


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