Today in History, May 17: 1943 – The Memphis Belle returns from her 25th mission over Europe. The B-17 Flying Fortress, heavily armed with nearly a dozen .50 caliber machine guns and thousands of pounds of bombs, had survived what by all reckoning, could not be survived. Thousands upon thousands of airmen died over German territory, blown out of the sky or dropping thousands of feet to their deaths. More airmen died over Europe than Marines fighting across the Pacific. With ten men in each bomber that went down, casualties were so horrific that crews were only expected to fly 25 missions…if they survived that, they went home. The crew of the Memphis Belle were some of those survivors.