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