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B-17 Rigor Mortis

The "Rigor Mortis", Tail Number 25233 flew 113 missions in WWII. Following is a list of 51 of her missions as described by T/Sgt. J.J. Farrell, the top turret gunner and aerial engineer. It was T/Sgt. Farrell's job to arm the bombs before they were dropped and he kept a bomb tag from each mission. You can see more about the Rigor Mortis and her crew at the website.


January 2, 1943
Our first combat mission in North Africa. Bombed Tunis, heavy flak, about 20 F.W 190's attacked us, 6 shot down. Our tail gunner was hit with flak and sent to hospital.

January 4, 1943
2nd mission, bombed Bizerta dock. 45 planes on mission, guns went out on our ship at 20,000 ft., light flak & no fighters.

January 7th, 1943
3rd combat mission. Bombed Bizerta at 25,000 ft.. light flak and no fighters.

January 13th, 1943
4th combat mission. Bombed Sfax Railroad yards, light flak and few fighters.

January 19th, 1943
5th combat mission. Bombed Tunis heavy flak, no fighters.

January 20th, 1943
6th combat mission. Went to Tripolia, snowed in heavy flak and fighters attacked us at Gabies.

January 22nd, 1943
7th combat mission. Bombed airport at Tunis heavy flak and 7 fighters attacked us.

January 23rd, 1943
8th combat mission. Bombed Bizerta awful heavy flak and about 75 fighters attacked us, 16 of them downed.

January 24th, 1943
9th combat mission. Bombed Tunis docks, heavy flak, few fighters attacked us.

January 28th, 1943
10th combat mission. Bombed Sfax, light flak and few fighters.

January 29th, 1943
11th combat mission. Bombed ships at Bizerta, heavy flak but few fighters.

January 31st, 1943
12th combat mission. Bombed Bizerta, heavy flak and fighters. I got an ME-109.

February 2nd, 1943
13th combat mission. Bombed Tunis and shipping, heavy flak and fighters, lost one ship.

February 4th, 1943
14th combat mission. Bombed airport at Gabies, heavy flak and fighters, we lost a ship from our outfit.

February 8th, 1943
15th combat mission. Bombed airfield at Gabies, heavy flak and good number of fighters.

February 17th, 1943
16th combat mission. Bombed airfield in Sardinia, light flak and only one fighter.

February 18th, 1943
17th combat mission. Bombed Gabies but was snowed in, light flak and no fighters.

February 24th, 1943
18th combat mission. Bombed airfield at Carolin, light flak no fighters.

February 25th, 1943
19th combat mission. Bombed Bizerta, real heavy flak, few fighters.

February 26th, 1943
20th combat mission. Bombed a convoy of 21 ships, sank one, damaged three, heavy flak and nine fighters, one damaged, stayed at Bone.

March 2nd , 1943
21st combat mission. Bombed Bizerta, heavy flak & fighters, but lots of 38's and spitfires for cover.

March 11th, 1943
22nd combat mission. Bombed Tunis, 75 17's in formation, heavy flak and few fighters.

March 12th, 1943
23rd combat mission. Bombed Sousse, heavy flak (scattered) attacked by 10 fighters, (our ship) stabilizer & nose shot up. Grounded for 7 days.

March 21st , 1943
24th Bomb raid. Bombed Gabies, heavy flak, seven fighters.

March 24th, 1943
25th combat mission. Bombed Ferryville docks and shipping, demolished them, heavy flak only one fighter.

March 26th , 1943
26th combat mission. Went to Sardina, snowed in but six ME-109's attacked us, damaged two and we got our stabilizer shot up.

March 31st, 1943
27th combat mission. Bombed Calegri, Sardina, light flak, five fighters, one almost got us when tail guns went out.

April 4th, 1943
28th Bombing Raid, went to Naples, Italy, first raid the fortresses have made into, flak was deadly as to altitude & deflection, few fighters.

April 5th, 1943
29th Bomb mission. Bombed Palermo in Sicily, flak was as bad as yesterday only four fighters though.

April 6th, 1943
30th Bombing Raid. Bombed a convoy 97K miles from Bizerta at 10,000 ft., flak heavy as hell accurate about 30 fighters attacked us. We got credit for sinking a ship.

April 11th, 1943
31st Raid. Bombed Tunis docks & shipping, Dropped a bunch in town, flak was heavy and accurate, but didn't see a fighter.

April 26th, 1943
32nd mission. Bombed airfield north of Rome. Dropped half our bombs 1st run, other half 2nd run, flak got 97th ship, no fighters. Got 133hrs in now.

April 28th, 1943
33rd Bombing mission. Bombed docks Triponi, easy mission, we got attacked by five fighters, but drove them off. So far we've been ass-end Charlie 23 times.

May 6th, 1943
34th Raid. Bombed a convoy other side of Sicily. Blew an ammunition ship sky high, sank in about a minute, only four fighters.

May 9th, 1943
35th Raid. Bombed city of Palermo, 136 17's , 96 P-38's. We really blew the town apart. Lt. Lewis & I got an ME-109. All our ships got back. Jurball, Turrett man got flak through his Turrett.

May 11th, 1943
36th mission. Dropped 1,000 pounders on Marselles in Sicily. Blew the town sky high. Attacked by about ten fighters, no flak at all, & were we glad.

May 13th, 1943
37th Raid. Bombed Cagleri with 1,000 lb. bombs, ruined it too. About 10 fighters attacked, three of them knocked down.

May 20th, 1943
38th mission. Bombed airfield at Grossete north of Rome. No flak at all hardly and no fighters. Wrecked the field.

May 24th, 1943
39th Raid. Bombed docks in Taraneuer, Sardinia, just across the straits from Corsica. Light flak and no fighters.

May 26th, 1943
40th raid. Bombed airfield in southeastern Sicily. Heavy flak and only six fighters, we passed Malta going and coming.

May 28th, 1943
41st Raid. Went to Leghorn, north of Rome, farthest we've gone yet. Blew up oil refinery and docks, light flak and only about five fighters.

May 30th, 1943
42nd Raid. Went to Naples again, bombed aircraft factory, airport and docks, really blew things up. Flak was heavier than hell, but inaccurate and about 30 fighters came up.

June 8th, 1943
43rd mission. Bombed Pentelleria, pretty easy, no fighters and hardly any flak.

June 9th, 1943
44th mission. Bombed Pentelleria, just east of Tunis and Cape Bonn, light flak and no fighters.

June 10th, 1943
45th and 46th mission. Today went to Pentelleria twice and they are really easy. Only four more, Thank God.

June 15th, 1943
47th Raid. Bombed airfield in southern Sicily, attacked by eight fighters who tried dropping bombs on us, light flak.

June 17th, 1943
48th mission. Went to Messina, Sicily, flak was heavy and accurate. No fighters, only two more to go. Lovelace finished today.

June 25th, 1943
49th mission. Raided Messina again. Flak was terribly heavy, attacked by a dozen fighters twice on the way back, they dropped bombs on us.

June 28th, 1943
50th mission. Went to Leghorn, light flak and only four fighters. I needed 9 hours, got 8 so I have to make 51 missions.

June 30th, 1943
51st mission. Today went to Palermo, no flak and no fighters, finished up, now might get sent home.

Pictured above is the Rigor Mortis after a mission flown by squadron commander, Skip Stoddard during January/February 1943 in North Africa.


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