Fatal Attack on The Reckless Mountain Boys

A harrowing tale from the 5th Air Force over Kavieng, New Guinea and their ‘landing’ at Komalu, New Ireland……

Japanese examine the B-17F, 'Reckless Mountain Boys'

Japanese examine the B-17F, ‘Reckless Mountain Boys’


As Capt. Byron L. Heichel and his crew were gearing up for their reconnaissance mission over Kavieng, a Japanese military complex on the island of New Ireland,  on May 7, 1943, they were given a photographer and ordered to fly a photo-reconnaissance mission over suspected construction sites there. Unlike a typical reconnaissance mission, a photo-reconnaissance flight required multiple deliberate passes to get enough photo material. Heichel’s approach path was unchanged, however, and as a result Japanese coastwatchers 100 miles away from Kavieng warned personnel at the base of the incoming B-17.

Soon after THE RECKLESS MOUNTAIN BOYS finished the photo runs, tail gunner Pvt. Frank L. Kurisko alerted the crew to 6 Zeros in pursuit of the B-17. Heichel quickly ascended and headed out to sea in hopes of losing the fighters, but the crew was engaged in combat. The Fortress sustained several hits, including fires in the #3 engine…

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on November 7, 2015, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Excellent story on a remarkable moment in the world of one Hurricane plane, and its dangerous mission and demise.
    May their names be forever recalled.


  2. In reading through I’m sorry to hear that only four survived.


  3. New Ireland is in the Pacific?


  4. Click on this one, verry interesting: http://www.strijdbewijs.nl/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, what a riveting story. It left you at the edge of your seat!


  6. Wow! You have so many incredible stories! I love reading your blog.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow… every occupation/task was hazardous. Thanks for sharing, GP. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wünsche ein schönes week-end Grüße und Küsse Gislinde

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The stories you post are always amazing! Did they all/any of them survive being POW’s?


  10. That sounds like a terrifying end to the photo mission. The survivors were lucky men indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  1. Pingback: My Article Read (11-7-2015) | My Daily Musing

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