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39th Bomb Group (VH)


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Crew 44's 2nd Aircraft
"City of Attleboro"
"Slim II"
B-29 # 44-87642
9 10

Crew 44 - Slim II

Standing L to R:
1st Lt Edward Dengler, Pilot; 1st Lt Charles A. Smith, Radar Observer; Capt Carroll H. Payne, AC; 1s Lt Thomas Brennan, Jr., Navigator; 1st Lt Julian Arnold, Bombardier
Kneeling L to R:
S/Sgt Lewis E. Howard**, TG; Sgt Jerrell L. Taylor, RG; Sgt Lloyd B. Volkmar, Radio Operator; S/Sgt Clarence H. Martin, Jr. LG; T/Sgt. Max L. Sampsel, CFC Gunner; M/Sgt Lloyd E. Geringer, FE

** Replaced Henry Matthaus, killed on Crew 44's 11th mission. 

Slim II - B29 # 44-87642 getting 2 cylinders were being replaced on # 3 engine
Capt Payne in the foreground looking on.
July 1945

Naming of Aircraft

Crew 44 viewed the movie "To Have and Have Not, " based on a story by Ernest Hemmingway, the movie starred Lauren Bacall in her first film opposite Humphrey Bogart.

They voted unanimously to name their plane "Slim," the role she portrayed in the movie. After "Slim" returned from the last incendiary raid on Tokyo with 350-400 flak holes, it never seemed to fly straight and true. They were given a new plane, which the crew dubbed "Slim II."

Bacall learned that a B-29 crew had named their plane after her, and sometime after the war met with Lloyd Volkmar. She for the first time, viewed photos of the plane, crew members and some of the wartime targets that "Slim II" had bombed in her name.


Rev Lloyd B. Volkmar and Lauren Bacall, viewing pictures of B-29s and Crew 44. Dressing room, Hannah Theater Cleveland, Ohio. Miss Bacall had the leading role in "Good Bye-Charlie" November 9, 1959.


As an interesting sidelight:

"Slim" B-29 SN 42-93979 really became "Slim I 1/2". You may have read about our eleventh mission on May 25-26. We were badly shot up over Tokyo, and our tail gunner was killed. Although there was some damage in other parts of the aircraft, the aft twenty or thirty feet had innumerable holes. An anti-aircraft shell, probably 75 mm, had detonated near the left side of the rear-facing gunner. Fifty caliber ammunition for the tail guns was belted and racked on the port side of the passage forward of the gunners position. Some of that ammunition cooked off after the AA shell exploded.

"Slim" could not be repaired. There was at Harmon Field, however, a recce B-29 that had a front end that was badly damaged. I don't recall whether it was combat damage or crash or both. In any event, it would never fly again, but had a perfectly good tail section. "Slim" was chopped off behind the radar room, and the recce tail section was attached. We flew it a few more times, and Payne believed it had picked up a few miles per hour. Some time in July a replacement crew arrived in their shiny new B-29. We took that plane and named it "Slim II" and "City of Attleboro". The new arrivals got "Slim I 1/2".
Source: Charles A. Smith, Radar Specialist, P-44

Source: Charles A. Smith, Radar, P-44 for
"History of the 39th Bomb Group" by Robert Laird (crew 5) and David Smiith (crew 31)