"Destiny's Tot" was a four engine B-17 Bomber.
The aircraft was flown almost exclusively by American Air Forces. It carried a crew of ten men, four officers and six enlisted men. The B-17 was not pressurized, had a bombing altitude of 30,000 feet, and a ground speed of about 180 mph at altitude. It could carry about 4 tons of bombs and stay in the air ten or eleven hours, depending on the altitude it was assigned to fly.
The airmen who flew the B-17 nicknamed it the "Queen of the Sky". It was easy to fly, very forgiving on landings, and responded quickly to commands from the pilots. The "17" could absorb more punishment from ground fire and enemy fighters than any other plane that flew combat during the Second World War.
The crew members of "Destiny's Tot" were Richard (Dick) Smith (pilot), Bill Booher (co-pilot), Warren Tarkington (bombardier), Lou Feingold (navigator), Ken Morrision (top turret), Al Mele (radio operator), Tony Onesi (waist gunner) and Robert Adams (waist gunner), Jerry Eshuis (ball turret) and Thomas O'Hearn (tail gunner).
In Dec 1943, the B-17 "Destiny's Tot" suffered an engine failure returning from a bombing mission and was attacked by German fighter planes. The plane was so badly damaged the crew were forced to bail out with their parachutes some 50mi north of Paris. Some of the crew watched the plane as it crashed into the ground and became a burning wreckage.
Three of the crew were injured upon landing and were soon found by German patrols. Adams, Onesi and O'Hearn all became prisoners of war. The rest of the crew were found by French farmers who hid them until they could be united with the French underground who helped them all escape back to England. This remarkable adventure is told in more detail in the panel, Escape and Evasion.