Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G 42-31377 crashed near Hørdum 22/2 1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 92 Bomb Group, 327 Bomb Squadron and was named “Pot O Gold”.
T/o AAF Poddington ca 09:45. OP: Aalborg West air base.


Around 09:45 hours 62 aircrafts took of to bomb Aalborg West air base. The main purpose was to draw German fighters away from targets in Germany which would be attacked by other American forces. At approximately 14:00 hours the bombers were over Aalborg but were not able to drop their bomb load due to heavy overcast, and they set course back towards west. When they were back over the North Sea they were attacked by German fighters from 11./ JG 11 and 10./ NJG 3.
 


                               (Via Finn Buch)
 

“Pot O Gold” was attacked by Oberleutnant Hans Müller of 10. / NJG 3 flying JU 88 C-6 D5+AV and severely damaged. Pilot 2nd Lt William Lavies turned back towards land since it would mean certain death to bail out over the cold North Sea. Lavies lowered the landing gear to show the JU 88 that he had given up and was followed back towards the coast by the JU 88. Upon reaching land the crew left the B 17 and at approximately 15:15 hours it crashed to the ground in a field belonging to “Koustrup Møllegård” farm two kilometres west of Hørdum.
 


                                         (Via Finn Buch)
 

Navigator 2.Lt Francis B. Peacock landed away form the rest of the crew and managed to stay at large until the day after at 08:00 when he was captured by the Wehrmacht near Hvidbjerg.

Co Pilot 2.Lt Elijah C. Vaughan, Bombardier 2.Lt Robert S. Shuman, Top Turret gunner S/Sgt Neil E. Ryers, Ball turret gunner Sgt Lester F. Schrenk, Right waist gunner Sgt Peter Guastella, Left waist gunner Sgt William E. Harman, Tail gunner Sgt Vern C. Swindler and Radio operator S/Sgt John J. Walcott all landed safely near Hørdum and were at 15:15 hours all captured by the Wehrmacht. It is known that at least Schrenck was sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug. He was liberated by British troops south east of Hamburg on 3/5 1945.
 


                                  (Via Finn Buch)

Ball turret gunner Sgt Lester F. Schrenk


 
Pilot 2nd Lt William Lavies landed in parachute in the frozen Ove Sø lake and froze to death before he could be rescued. His body was taken to Frederikshavn cemetery where it was laid to rest on 26/2 1944. His remains were disinterred on 1/5 1948 and were evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium by the US military. Today he rest in USA.
 


        (Via Finn Buch)



Sources: LBUK, BF, MACR, AS 54-148, UA, JJ, RL 19/458, Sgt. Lester F. Schrenk via FB
 

 

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