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42-3436

B-17 Flying Fortress

Delivered Denver 15/6/43; Redmond 15/8/43; Assigned 96BG 16/8/43; transferred 364BS/305BG [WF-R] Chelveston 18/9/43;

Missing in Action 14/10/43

POW
Pilot: Dennis McDarby, Flight engineer/top turret gunner: Art Linrud, Radio Operator: Hosea Crawford, Ball turret gunner: Ben Roberts,Tail gunner: Dominic Lepore (5 Prisoner of War),

MIA
Co-pilot: Don Breeden

KIA
Navigator: Bill Martin, Bombardier: Harvey Manley, Left Waist gunner: Leon Henlin, Right Waist gunner: Bob Wells (5)

Cause
Crash cause was rocket- or bulletdamage in nr 2 engine (left wing closest to pilot) caused by the German-Austrian Obfw. Anton-Rudolf Piffer in Focke Wulf 190A of 2.JG 1. It was his 10th ‘victory’.
There were 3 German fighter planes involved of which one was certainly shot down by the tail gunner Dominic Lepore: the Me-109 of ‘Feldwebel’ (sergeant) Brinkmann that crashed in a field in Chevremont killing him.

Crash places
Tail and left wing in Eygelshoven (NL)
Nose in Finkenrath (G), near Aachen (G).
Missing Air Crew Report 1034.

From eye witnesses in 1943
- On Februari 16, 2017 I interviewed Mr. Eduard Foitzik (*1935). Mr. Foitzik and Mr. Wilms from Wurm know each other, because Mr. Foitzik lived in Wurm for a part of his youth. Mr. Foitzik also said that the crater was closer to the rail road - as was said by Mr. Wilms.
He and his father stood in the front door of their house at the Floeßer Straße 78 in Merkstein (G) on this very clear day in mid October 1943. Together they watched the areal battle that was above Hofstad* from their point of view.
He saw the German fighters dive through the American bomber formations and heard the rattling of the machine guns from both the German and American airplanes.
He saw a bomber being hit, starting to burn and that a wing broke off. He also saw crew members jumping out of the burning plane and descending with their parachutes.
The way he remembers it, the burning plane spiraled down and in this rotating movement he saw a still working propeller hitting one of the parachutists. Mr. Foitzik thinks that this person died there an then.
Later that day of the day after - Mr. Foitzik did not recall that - he and his dad cycled towards Hofstad and further on to Finkenrath. There he saw the huge crash crater with the smoke still coming out of it.
At one moment there his dad said not to look to the right into a ditch and he shielded Eduard’s eyes from looking. Probably one of the dead crew members found in Finkenrath was lying there - William Martin or Harvey Manley.
Was it the MIA Donald Paul Breeden who was caught by the propeller?
* As the crow flies some 3 km.

- Heinz Wilms (personal interview): As a boy he witnessed the crash. He heard the noise of the aerial battle and saw the burning plane at a height of about 200 meters (600 ft) coming from the direction of Dutch village Chevremont and making a left turn over his head and after that heard the explosion. He mentions it was so low he saw some crewmembers still in the plane.
Curious as he was he walked towards the crash place – about a 15 minutes walk on his (than) short legs from Wurm to Finkenrath along the road next to the railroad track.
As far as he remembers he was alone at the crash site.
There he picked up piece of metal and saw a flying cap lying under it. As he picked it up he saw the goggles attached to the cap. One glass was OK and one was broken. The cap felt heavy and than to his horror he saw that a part of a head still was in it. He dropped the cap and ran off.

- Heinz Michels (from a book on Finkenrath): We saw a big bomber coming from the west and much lower than the others.... Smoke coming from its tail end......a German fight flew past the boys and took a shot at the belly of the bomber... then flames came out of the bomber and it fell apart.... from the tail crew bailed out and bombs fell out of the fuselage... the tail end crashed down on the other side of the Wurm, the bombs very close to my parental house... then it became hot as in hell.... the front part passed so close above us that we could almost touch it... it was ablaze and gave a lot of heat... it started to spin... will it fall on Finkenrath or my house... I got very scared... but it staggered past us with a howling sound and crashed into te meadow before us with a horrible detonation... the impact was deafening... there must have been the bombs still in the plane... a huge stinging flame went up from the cash site some 100 meters from us... as a lightning we were out of the trees... we ran to the farm of the Hübben family... in the air dirt and metal parts we swaying around making scary noises….

- 
Mrs. Klara Wauters-Martini (from a book on Finkenrath): She was on her way back from school in Herzogenrath on the road from Nivelstein towards her parental home - Café Martini - as first heard the bombers flying high but then also the air raid alert and the rattling machine guns close by.
As she heard very frightening noise right above her, she dropped her bike and lay down and at that moment the burning plane crossed her village and crashed right after that in a meadow in front of her parental house… 'What I saw there was terrible: dead bodies - 2 or 3 - and everywhere parts of corpses (hands, legs....). The adults there moved us away quickly. Also on the other side of the Wurm a part of the plane did crash. Wing of Tail? I do not know…'

- Mr. Sjir Handels (personal interview): I heard the machine guns rattle both from the 3 German planes and from the B17 crew. The German planes circled around the B17 trying to shoot it down. But he B17 crew fought back because at one moment we saw that a German 109 was hit and passed over us with a smoke trail in the direction of Chevremont. My dad said: 'Richtig zoe' (All right). That was the 109 of Sgt. Brinkmann. Shortly after that we saw 6 parachutes and the wing braking off. The 6 parachutes first were together, but at a certain moment one drifted away in a SE-direction towards Haanrade - in the direction of the 'Gasfabriek' (then Spoorstraat - now Wijngaardsberg). Then this parachute disappeared from our view because of the houses on the Spoorstraat and the Julianastraat (now Mirbachstraat). I think it must have landed in the 'beemden' where I often went to collect fresh rabbit feed like wild clover. There where meadows there but also a lot of mud, marsh-land and pools. And very small trails to keep your feet dry if you knew them. If Breeden did fall into this 'wilderness' of water and marsh he could have drowned.

- Mrs. Leni Lataster(-van Dijk) (from her personal document/testimony): Over us was a hellish noise. An aerial battle was going on right above us. We saw parachutes coming down. My dad said: ‘This plane is going to crash. When it falls downs we will all die.’ But because of the left wing tearing off, the plane made a turn to the artificial boating lake behind the coal mine. We heard a big bang... we were relieved ourselves.

Service

Units

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    Group
    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 364th Bomb Squadron

People

  • Donald Breeden

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Co-Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Donald Paul Breeden served as pilot with the 364th Bomb Squadron of the 305th Bomb Group. His B-17 #423436 was shot down 14 October 1943 over the Netherlands and Breeden was declared Missing in Action (MIA). ...

  • Hosea Crawford

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Leonard Henlin

    Military | Sergeant | Left Waist Gunner, Waist Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Dominic Lepore

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Arthur Linrud

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Top Turret Gunner / Flight Engineer | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Harvey Manley

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • William Martin

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

  • Dennis McDarby

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Benjamin Roberts

    Military | Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Prisoner of War (POW). ...

  • Robert Wells

    Military | Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
    Shot down 14 October 1943 in B-17 #423436. Killed in Action (KIA). ...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 109 with RAF

    4 October 1943
    3 B-17s from 305BG/422BS are despatched to join a night mission with the Royal Air Force (RAF) on Frankfurt-am-Main/Wiesbaden, Germany. One aircraft Failed to Return (FTR) 5KIA 5POW.

  • VIII Bomber Command 111

    8 October 1943
    The shipyards and industrial areas of Bremen, Germany are the primary targets for this mission, but cloud cover causes some formations to bomb targets of opportunity. The attacking elements have been summarized below: ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 113

    9 October 1943
    This mission is composed of 6 elements. The first element is a combined force of 115 B-17s from: 303BG (20); 379BG (20); 384BG (21); 351BG (21); 91BG 16; and 381BG (16) dispatched to bomb the industrial areas of Anklam, Germany. 106 aircraft are...

  • VIII Bomber Command 114

    10 October 1943
    This mission was intended to be a massive attack of 307 B-17s on the railroad facilities and waterway (canals) at Munster, Germany. This attack was to be supported by a diversion 39 B-24s. The formation was attacked by hundreds of German fighters which...

  • VIII Bomber Command 115

    14 October 1943
    This was the 2nd mission flown against the ball bearing industry at Schweinfurt, Germany and was as equally disastrous as that flown on 17-Aug-43. It came to be known as "Black Thursday". While fighter escort was dispatched, bad weather and lack of...

Places

  • Chelveston

    Military site : airfield
    Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...

  • Eygelshoven

    Crash site

  • Finkenrath

    Crash site

Events

Not yet known

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
26 November 2017 15:11:19 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2017 22:47:28 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2017 22:45:34 wimhm.slangen Changes to nicknames
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2017 22:45:01 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
31 October 2017 22:41:59 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

wim slangen

Date Contributor Update
22 November 2016 11:20:43 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

From the war dairy of Mr. Sjir Handels.

Date Contributor Update
21 November 2016 07:41:46 wimhm.slangen Changes to description
Sources

Mr. Wilms from an interview with Wim Slangen on November 17 2016.
Mr. Michels and Mrs. Wauters from a German book: ‘Nivelstein und Finkenrath - versunken, aber unvergessen!‘ pages 147-149.

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 13:04:57 wimhm.slangen Changes to place associations
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 13:02:21 wimhm.slangen Changes to nicknames
Sources

wim slangen

Date Contributor Update
01 November 2016 10:15:16 wimhm.slangen Changes to nicknames, markings, description and events
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2016 11:53:58 wimhm.slangen Changes to place associations and mission associations
Sources

Wim Slangen

Date Contributor Update
16 August 2016 11:41:56 wimhm.slangen Changes to media associations
Sources

Wim Slangen / Nat. Archives

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:43 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log / MACR 1034 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database

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