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
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
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.
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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