B-17 te Solre-Saint-Géry

Crash van de B-17 "GI Sheets" tijdens de raid op Frankfurt.

Zijluikschutter Loren E. Zimmer herinnerde zich later:

"My position was the right waist gun. The mission was Frankfurt, Germany on Jan 29, 1944. Our pilot, Lt. James Fowler and co-pilot, Lt. Barney Rawlings were flying "GI Sheets," the same airplane we flew on our first mission to Emden on Dec. 11, 1943. This day we had problems with the No.2 engine supercharger, but agreed to continue the mission. Everything was fine until we got within sight of the target. We had to feather the No.2 engine due to an oil problem. "GI Sheets" could not keep up with the group with 2 1/2 engines, so we became a straggler and a target for enemy fighters. The first wave of four Me-109s attacked us from the front. The bombs had been jettisoned. The fighters did a lot of damage even though the pilots took evasive action. This was my first experience with zero gravity. One shell went through the nose plexiglass causing serious injury to the bombardier and navigator. The explosion had knocked out the oxygen system, the instrument vacuum system and damaged some headset communication. We dove for cloud cover which was about 5,000 feet. Utilizing the cloud cover as much as possible allowed us to get back over Belgium. There the cloud cover ran out as we flew over a large FW190 fighter base. They not only sent up fighters but fired on us with small arm weapons. The combat with fighters was futile. We lost most of our gunnery protection and was receiving extensive damage to our aircraft along with injuries to the crew. I had received several fragment wounds including one to the head that required a compress bandage to stop the bleeding. At this time the ball turret gunner took over my position. With the rudder control out and No 3 engine on fire, the pilot decided we had enough and sounded the warning bell. It had been approximately two hours since our first attack which made it about 1300 hours. The sounding of the warning bell apparently got my attention. I looked over the situation briefly and decided the airplane was going to crash. After jettisoning the waist door I jumped out. It was then that I realized how low we were. I estimated to be less than 400 feet. There were two quick jolts, one when the parachute opened and shortly thereafter when I hit the ground. Fortunately I landed, burying half my body in a soft spot of a grassy area I was the only one to bail out. Jim and Barney did a super job of crash landing the airplane in a small clearing a few kilometers from where I landed.

A Belgium patriot who happened to be in the area came to me and pointed to where I should hide. Later when it was dark, he took me into his home. I must have been a sorrowful sight. The women of the house gasped when they saw me. One of the women removed superficial shrapnel and cleaned the wounds. The next morning this Belgium friend put me under some hay in his one horse drawn wagon and took me to the first of eight places I stayed until liberated by the Americans, eight months and 6 days later. The hiding and running period is another story."
 

Datum: 
29/01/1944
Serienr. / Rompcode: 
Locatie
Route de Solre-Saint-Géry
Solre-Saint-Géry
be
Type Locatie: 
Incident
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