TSgt Louis M. Cowley, mechanic of the B-17 42-107048, took off from station 107 Molesworth, Cambridgeshire, UK on a bombing mission over the Cambrai and Epinoy airfields. The plane was flying in the #2 position, high element, high group. It was hit by flak between the #2 engine and fuselage approximately one minute before bombs away. Another flak burst hit directly in the bomb bay. The entire B-17 burst into flames, nosed down sharply, broken in half near the open bomb bay doors, and lost the left wing. Only SSgt Vallee made it out alive, only to be taken prisoner.