Story of "The Little King" by Crew Chief Frank B. Dean

'The Little King' flying over Corsica.
This is "The Little King" maintained by Sgt. Frank B. Dean and his ground crew at Ghisonaccia, Corsica.
Here's another photo of
"The Little King."

'The Little King' Crew Chief Frank B. Dean and friends. 'The Little King' Co-pilot Lt. A.E. Mohr.
"The Little King" Crew Chief Frank B. Dean and friends. Lt. A.E. Mohr was the copilot who bailed out and is MIA.

Lt. Keane was piloting "The Little King" the day of this story. The actual date seems to be in question since my sources mention several different dates (September 9, 1944, September 14, 1944, November 14, 1944). Since the target of troop concentrations near Rimini, Italy seems to be accurate, I am assuming the date of September 9, 1944 is correct since my father's 25th combat mission on September 10th was to San Marcello, Italy which is just north of Rimini and his mission also targeted troop concentrations (and ammo). Frank Dean explains: "Twelve of our B-25s with frags, hit enemy troop concentration near Rimini on the Italian east coast where the British 8th Army is having problems. One of our B-25s had holes shot in a wing and another of our planes got a hole in the one of the fuel cells. Some of the frag bombs were dropped in the falling bomb pattern. Lt. Keane's B-25 took a frag bomb in the copilots windshield that fortunately did not explode. The copilot parachuted out of the damaged A/C but Lt. Keane brought the damage aircraft back to our base at Ghisonaccia-Gare. Extensive damage repair would be required. This B-25 was 'The Little King' and I was the crew chief." The co-pilot's name also seems to be in question. Dominique Taddei explains: "Here is the crew list of 'The Little King' when she had been hit by a frag bomb. P/ 1st Lt RE Keane, CP 2nd Lt AE Mohr, B S/Sgt BF Link, WG Cpl AC Ames, G S/Sgt James T Link, TG Cpl EC Martensen. Sterling you are right, I found a MIA crew list, the 9th of September 1944 the Copilot was 2nd Lt W.W Mock. So your photo is Lt Mock and not Mohr."

Read more about "The Little King:"

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Tom Callahan whose father, Russell J. Callahan, was a mechanic in the 489th Bomb Squadron, 340th Bomb Group, sent me this photo of an Italian 45 mm (1 pound) HE mortar shell. This identification was kindly made by Andrea Gatti from "Gotica Toscana." A spring in the round provided some fragmentation. See website.

American fragmentation bombs from the 57th Fighter Group at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT are shown above in a cluster of six. Similar frag clusters were used on the mission described above in Frank Dean's story and in the image below. Note the Marston Mat landing strip material typical of mobil USAAF groups in WWII.

This picture from my father's 489th Bomb Squadron Book illustrates the danger of disseminating frag clusters.

Go back to the 380th Bomb Squadron Index

Go back to the 310th Bombardment Group Squadron Index

Official website of the New England Air Museum (NEAM)

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Groups on Corsica

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Go to Page 1, The 489th Bombardment Squadron in Corsica.

Go to Page 2, searchable website.