Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted


1939-1940 Updated 12/2-23
1941 Updated 28/4-22
1942 Updated 21/2-23
1943 Updated 6/3-23
1944 Updated 6/3-23
1945 Updated 4/12-22

1940 New - Updated 22/1-23
1941 New 23/7-21
1942 Updated 16/3-23
1943 Updated 28/1-23
1944 Updated 4/10-22
1945 Updated 16/8-21

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B 17G 42-37718 crashed Alstrup, Samsø on 9/10-1943.

The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 306 Bomb Group, 368 Bomb Squadron and was coded BO-H.
T/O Thurleigh. OP: Gdynia.

On the return flight 42-37718 piloted by 1st Lt Roy C. Ranck Jr. was attacked by German BF 110G-4 night fighters of I./NJG 2 lead by Geschwader-Kdre. Karl Hülsdorf.
Major Rolf Jung flying Bf 110G-4 Werk nummer 5677 hit the B 17G in the left hand engines which started smoking. Ranch had to leave the formation and headed north. Again the B 17G was attacked and this time Right waist gunner Sgt Douglas R. Farris was hit in the chest and died instantly while Left waist gunner S/Sgt Fred H. Nabors was hit in the legs.

Once again Jung with his crew of Flt. Engr. Oberfeldwebel Heinz Lüttringshaus and radio operator Oberfeldwebel Theo Schürks prepared to attack but refrained from doing so due to the landing gear of the B 17 coming down.
When the B 17G was over the island of Samsø the crew left it by parachute and at 14:58 the B 17G crashed at the edge of Alstrup village a few metres away from the house of Widow Signe Jensen.
When the B 17G hit the ground petrol from the aircraft set the house on fire and only at the last moment did neighbours manage to rescue the old lady from the flames. Also the nearby farm “Alstrupgaard” was set on fire and burned down.




The above pictures of the wreckage via Erik Jensen

Jungs Bf 110G-4 had been hit by return fire from the B 17G which had rendered most of the instruments unserviceable. Jung chose to land at Kiel-Holtenau Air base, but had to belly land the Bf 110G-4 due to the landing gear not operating. After the landing he counted more that 50 bullet holes in the aircraft.


A memorial stone was set on the crashsite

The B 17G crew landed on the island of Samsø. Ranck landed between the villages of Toftebjerg and Alstrup. He meet with a local man who spoke English and offered to help him to escape, but since the Germans had all ready arrived and had started searching for the flyers he choose to give himself up so no harm would come to the villagers.
Bombardier 2nd Lt William C. Hewitt broke a leg when he landed at Østerby village and together with S/Sgt Nabors he was taken to the hospital at Tranebjerg. Also Ball turret gunner Sgt Henry J. Kozier and Top turret gunner Sgt Harry A. hall was captured by the Germans soon after having landed at Østerby.

On the next day those who were not wounded were taken by boat to Kalundborg by Oberbootsmann Scheiner of the German Kriegsmarine.

Co pilot 2nd Lt Miles C. McCormack, Navigator 2nd Lt Carl A. Groosbeck, Radio operator T/Sgt William J. Skahan and tail gunner S/Sgt William D. Barton all landed near Agerup and linked up.
At a farm belonging to Mikael Bundesen they were invited in and here they burned their papers in the stove in the kitchen. Some local young men had seen the flyers and offered to help them. On bicycle the flyers were taken to Onsbjerg Hotel where they were given diner. From there they walked towards Onsbjerg Vestermark where the local underground movement kept the hidden for two days in spite of the German search.


                                              (Egede Jensen)

McCormack, Korzier, Barton, William J. Skahan 20 minutes after landing

On 11/10 the Danish police were ordered by Oberstleutnant Eggebrecht of the Wehrmacht to put up a notice saying that there would be taken hostages who would be taken away from the island should the flyers not hand themselves in. This they did in the afternoon of Tuesday 12/10.

All nine of the flyers were sent to Germany and a year and a half as prisoners of war. The officers were sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan where they stayed until January 1945 when they were moved to Stalag VIIA Moosburg a.d.Isar.

At present it is not known to the author where the sergeants were sent to.

Right waist gunner Sgt Douglas R. Farris was retrieved from the wreck and cremated. On 31/10 his urn was set down in Besser cemetery. On 30/4 1948 it was retrieved and evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium by the US military. It was later brought back to USA.




Sources: FAF, UA, MACR, Rolf Jung, RL 8/91-94, AS 10-91, “I./NJG 2” by Rökker, Erik Jensen, Odense.


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