On a bombing mission to Germany, AAF 1st Lt. Edward S. Michael’s Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is singled out by a swarm of enemy fighter pilots who riddle the airplane from nose to tail, follow it as it loses altitude, and continues firing, wounding the copilot, wrecking the cockpit instruments, and seriously wounding Michael in the right thigh. He orders the crew to bail out and seven crew members jump, but the bombardier stays as his parachute was shot up and useless. Disregarding his own injuries, Michael continues evasive action for 45 minutes, continuing into France through heavy flak, until he loses consciousness from loss of blood. The copilot takes over and gets to England and an RAF airfield. Michael awakens and takes the controls to land the crippled aircraft. Despite bomb bay doors that are jammed open, no hydraulic system, altimeter, or airspeed indicator, a ball turret that is jammed with the guns pointed down, and flaps that will not respond, Michael lands the B-17. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on this flight.
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