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Frantz Crew 803
 Frantz Crew 803
Left to right...
Willis Van Fossen, gunner
Albert Miesse, ball turret gunner
Francis Quigley, radio operator
Ray Shelton, engineer
Alfred Falconi, gunner
(replaced by James O'Brian)
Continuing left to right...
Lionel Lowery, co-pilot
(replaced by Jack Flanagan)
Howard Anderson, navigator
Stanley Zaritsky, bombardier
Ralph Frantz, pilot
Not in the photo...
Edward Hogan, gunner
Frantz Crew 803 Summary
The Frantz Crew 803 was one of the Group's orignial crews that trained in Alamogordo. They transferred into the 492nd as crew 112 from the 331st CCTS (Combat Crew Training School) at Casper, Wyoming. There were two personnel changes made within the crew after they arrived in Alamogordo. They got a new co-pilot, Lt Flanagan, and a gunner, Sgt Hogan. The crew was assigned to the 858th BS, designated as Crew 803.
2nd Lt Ralph Frantz signed out for B-24J, 44-40126. Their plane was nicknamed SPITT'EN KITTEN. They flew their assigned plane to England via the southern route. The Squadron's Operations Officer, 1st Lt Rogers, went with them, bumping Sgt Hogan onto the Queen Elizabeth.
By our count, the Frantz Crew 803 flew 18 missions. We aren't certain just who was on each of these missions in way of substitutions or if the bombardier was left behind on some of the Pathfinder-led missions. But the crew was transferred intact to the 389th BG when the 492nd was disbanded.
The Frantz Crew had their share of bad luck, but they seemed to have had a guardian angel flying with them as well. Their bad luck experiences would prove to be their good luck in the end.
For example, on 19 May 44 the Frantz Crew took their assigned ship in a bombing run targeting a marshalling yard at Brunswick, Germany. After getting a good hundred miles deep into enemy territory they began to have bad luck aboard their craft. The radio operator's oxygen system ruptured. The lead-in lines to the ball turret caught fire and the heat caused the supporting rod of the ball turret assembly to crack. Then the ship's interphone and emergency interphone went out. They were forced to drop out of formation and head back to England alone. If things weren't bad enough, a German fighter discovered them while they were crossing Holland.
For reasons unexplained, the German fighter didn't attack, but escorted them to the channel instead. At least it would have looked so to any casual observer. The other reason they were lucky is because after they left the Group, the 492nd got caught without any fighter protection by about 40 German fighters. The ensuing bloodbath cost the 492nd eight planes, seven of which were in the same section that Frantz had been in.
On 19 Jun 44, the 858th bomb Squadron was dismantled. Its staff was transferred to Cheddington to become the 8th Composite Command for leaflet droppings. Its crews and planes were reassigned to the other three squadrons. The 492nd had been reorganized into a three squadron group. Each squadron was to have 24 crews instead of the traditional standard of 18. The Frantz Crew 803 was sent to the 857th BS. They were redesignated as Crew 705 to fill the void of the fallen Heber Crew 705.
Frantz' last mission for the 492nd was on 27 Jun 44. They were a part of a raid striking a marshalling yard in Creil. In the process Lt Frantz was seriously wounded by flak. They made it back to North Pickenham, but the wound kept Frantz out of action until after the Group was disbanded. Was that bad luck? Again Frantz was unlucky because he had been injured, yet lucky because he and his crew survived the war.
With Frantz being out of action, his co-pilot, Lt Flanagan, was given command of the crew until he could recover. Flanagan led the Crew on 6 more missions. See the Flanagan Crew 705 link.
More Info
Frantz CCT 112
Flanagan Crew 705
OLD 75
Links to missions
flown by the
Frantz Crew 803
are below in their
Mission Record
389th BG
Original Roster for
Frantz Crew 803
Position / MOS Name Rank Serial # Notes
MOS 1024
Frantz, Ralph F 2nd Lt O-808404 Promoted 1st Lt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
MOS 1024
Flanagan, Jack O 2nd Lt O-811058 Promoted 1st Lt
Took temporary duty as pilot for this crew
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
ASN seen as O-811053
MOS 1034
Anderson, Howard F 1st Lt O-795274 10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
MOS 1035
Zaritsky, Stanley A 2nd Lt O-755143 Promoted 1st Lt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
MOS 748
Shelton, Ray T S/Sgt 38426796 Promoted T/Sgt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
MOS 757
Quigley, Francis D S/Sgt 32314073 Promoted T/Sgt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
MOS 612
O'Brian, James J Sgt 32208913 Promoted S/Sgt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
Have seen his name spelled O'Brien
MOS 611
Van Fossen, Willis J Sgt 39460534 Promoted S/Sgt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
MOS 612
Miesse, Albert Sgt 35627067 Promoted S/Sgt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
MOS 611
Hogan, Edward B Sgt 39004708 Arrived to the UK via the Queen Elizabeth
Promoted S/Sgt
10 Aug; transferred to 389th BG
  Others Who Flew with Frantz Crew 803
Staff Officer
MOS 2161
Rogers, James P 1st Lt O-429700 858th Squadron Operations Officer
Flew to England with the crew
MOS 2161
Therme, David L 1st Lt O-701506 Flew a mission with this crew
MOS 1034
Boos, Paul V 2nd Lt O-564847 From Rasmussen Crew R-02
Flew 27 Jun 44 mission with crew
Frantz Crew 803
492nd BG Mission Record
858th Bomb Squadron
Primary Target Mission Notes
 Link to Mission 01 page 01
11 May 44 44-40159 Mulhouse, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 02 page 02
12 May 44 44-40145 Zeitz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
 Link to Mission 05 page 05
19 May 44 44-40126 Brunswick, Germany Target: Marshalling yard
Aborted 100 miles deep inside enemy territory
 Link to Mission 08 page 08
24 May 44 42-95196 Melun, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 11 page 11
28 May 44 42-51091 Zeitz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
Don't know if aborted or failed to bombed, credit unconfirmed
 Link to Mission 12 page 12
29 May 44 42-51091 Politz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
 Link to Mission 13 page 13
30 May 44 44-40135 Rotenburg, Germany Target: Air depot
 Link to Mission 15 page 15
2 Jun 44 42-51091 Berck-sur-Mer, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 17 page 17
6 Jun 44 42-51091 Normandy, France Target: D-Day invasion coast
 Link to Mission 19 page 19
6 Jun 44 44-40086 Vire, France Target: D-Day invasion coast
 Link to Mission 21 page 21
10 Jun 44 42-95132 Boulogne, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 25 page 25
12 Jun 44 44-40135 Dreux, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 26 page 26
14 Jun 44 44-40086 Emmerich, Germany Target: Oil refinery
 Link to Mission 28 page 28
15 Jun 44 42-50391 La Frilliere, France Target: Railroad bridge
Bombed target in Le Mans
Mission Record as Frantz Crew 705, 857th Bomb Squadron
 Link to Mission 37 page 37
22 Jun 44 44-40050 Crepy, France Target: Crossbow (V-1 rockets)
A/C borrowed from 859th BS
 Link to Mission 39 page 39
23 Jun 44 42-50370 Juvincourt, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 40b page 40b
25 Jun 44 42-51091 Roye, France Target: Peronne Airfield
 Link to Mission 41 page 41
27 Jun 44 42-51091 Creil, France Target: Marshalling yard
Shown as bombing target on mission log, but is not on the formation sheet
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Page last modified Thursday, October 6, 2011.