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Kenneth J Kurtenbach

Military

Assigned as a Tail Gunner to B-17F 41-24602 [PU-A], "Yardbird", 303BG/360BS at Pendleton Field, Oregon. Arrived with that aircraft at Molesworth, UK on 16-Oct-42 and participated in 2 operations (1 of which aborted) with that aircraft. (See Biography events).

Shot down 12 December 1942 in B-17 41-24585 'Wulfe Hund' while serving as Tail Gunner. He evaded the Germans for 13 days then arrested on Christmas Day at the train station of Dijon, France. Prisoner of War (POW). He was affectionately known by his fellow Prisoner of War (POW)s as 'Kurt' He was named as Enlisted Camp Leader and served the interest of his fellow prisoners at Stalag III-B, VII-A and XVII-B For his work he was awarded the U S War Dept's Legion of Merit. He participate in 3 Opertions (1 Abort) with the 303BG.

POW/Air Medal/Legion of Merit

Service

Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 360th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24585 Wulfe-Hound

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24585 "Wulfe-Hound" was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-B] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; Missing in Action Rouen-Sotteville 12-Dec-42 sustained damage from enemy aircraft, force landed in a field in France. Was removed and repaired by the...

  • 41-24602 Yardbird II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24602 was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-A] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; On the 29-May-43 mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France the aircraft was damaged by flak over the target and then attacked and shot down by fighters...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

  • VIII Bomber Command 25

    12 December 1942
    This mission is composed of two elements. First element: The German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a force of 78 B-17s despatched from 91BG (19), 303BG (20), 305BG (21) and 306BG (18). However, the target is...

Associated Place

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Born
Assigned to Group Pendleton, OR 97801, USA 3 February 1942

Assigned as a Tail Gunner with B-17F 41-24602 "Yardbird", 303BG/360BS at Pendleton Field, Oregon.

Arrived at Station Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 16 October 1942

Arrived with B-17F 41-24602 "Yardbird", 303BG/360BS at Molesworth, UK.

Mission #1 SSGT Kenneth J. Kurtenbach w/B17-F 41-24602, 303BG/360BS Saint-Nazaire, France 17 November 1942

Served as Tail Gunner on B-17F 41-24602 "Yardbird", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #2 SSGT Kenneth J. Kurtenbach w/B17-F 41-24602, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Saint-Nazaire, France 18 November 1942

Served as Tail Gunner on B-17F 41-24602 "Yardbird", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France.

Mission #3 SSGT Kenneth J. Kurtenbach w/B17-F 41-246585, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Rouen, France 12 December 1942

Assigned as Tail Gunner on B-17F 41-24585 "Wulfe Hund", 303BG/360BS as a substitute for SGT Lincoln T. O'Connell on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. The battle damage aircraft was crashlanded in a field in France.

Attempted Evasion Dijon, France 12 December 1942 – 25 December 1942

SSGT Kurtenbach managed to evade capture for 13 days but was finally arrested by the Gestapo at the train station in Dijon, France and held as a Prisoner of War.

Prisoner of War (POW) Krems an der Donau, Austria 25 December 1942 – 12 June 1945

Held at Stalag 17B, Braunau-Gneikendorf, near Krems, Austria. Officially Returned to Military Control (RMC) 12-Jun-45

Died 9 April 1999
Buried Waterloo, Iowa

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
08 December 2015 21:34:16 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Added Mission #3 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 12-Dec-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/006.pdf

Date Contributor Update
08 December 2015 21:25:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Added Mission #2 event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, Mission Report of 18-Nov-42: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/002.pdf

Date Contributor Update
08 December 2015 21:17:00 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Added Arrived at Station event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, John W. Farrar crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-farrar.html

Date Contributor Update
08 December 2015 21:10:38 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Added Assigned to Group event per 303Bg website, Gary Moncur, Historian, John W. Farrar crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-farrar.html

Date Contributor Update
08 December 2015 21:06:46 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, events, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 8-Dec-2015. Added early assigment with 303BG to Summary Biography, made connections to B-17F 41-24602 and all mission pariticipation per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, John W. Farrar crew page: http://www.303rdbg.com/c-360-farrar.html

Date Contributor Update
10 November 2014 18:18:44 Lee8thbuff Changes to nickname, service number, biography, awards, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 10-Nov-2014. "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:17:54 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roll of Honor, Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs Vol. 1 by Hey and Bishop p.53

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