Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G-BO 42-31561 crashed near Øster Højst 24/2-1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 95 Bomb Group, 335 Bomb Squadron and was named “Just Elmers Tune”.
T/O Horham. OP: Posen.


On the return flight the formation was attacked by German fighters and “Just Elmers Tune” was severely hit and an engine started burning.
Pilot Lt Elmer J. Costales was hit in his right lung and Co-Pilot 2. Lt Steve A. Kish was hit in his right leg while Navigator 2.Lt Clifford D. Sahner Jr. was killed and Bombardier 2.Lt Lars E. Skoug was hit in the legs. Costales collapsed over the controls and Kish took over flying. He ordered the crew to bail out and would then belly land the aircraft since Costales was in no condition to bale out.

 


                     (Fritz Ulrich's collection via Michal Mucha)

Elmer J. Costales Crew - 335th Sqn

Back row:
Lars Skough (bombardier) , Elmer J. Costales (pilot) , Steven Kish (co-pilot)
Leamon McCulloch (waist gunner) , Clifford Sahner (navigator)
Front row:
George Pechacek (top turret gunner) , Robert Joyce (ball turret gunner)
Norman Carnie (waist gunner)


 
Tail Gunner S/Sgt Edwin W. Hays and Right waist gunner S/Sgt Norman M. Carnie landed near Alslevkro. They looked somehow battered and were taken care of by Farmer Anton Lund who called for a ambulance to pick them up. After having been examined by Doctor Højholdt they were driven to the hospital in Løgumkloster. Next Doctor Hølholdt picked Skoug and Left waist gunner S/Sgt Leamon E. McCulloch up in Alslev where they had landed and took them to the hospital. McCulloch suffered from a broken leg, probably to be due to a bad landing.
Top turret gunner T/Sgt George F. Pechaceh was found dead 400-500 metres from the wreck of the aircraft his parachute not deployed.
Ball turret gunner S/Sgt Robert J. Joyse and Radio operator T/Sgt Lester W. Seelig landed close to each other and stated walking away from the landing place. They spent the night in a haystack and were the next morning spotted by some labourer in a truck. These drove them to the police station in Tinglev. Next they were taken to the police station in Tønder where the Wehrmacht picked them up.
After seven flyers had left the B 17 by parachute Kish landed the aircraft between Vester Højst and Draved at 16:15 hours.
 


                (Historisk forening for Løgumkloster kommune)

 


                  (Historisk forening for Løgumkloster kommune)


After landing Kish carried Costales out of the burning wreck and they were by ambulance taken to Løgumkloster hospital.
At the hospital a German Unteroffizier declared that the wounded should be taken to the hospital in Tønder in German lazaret cars without receiving treatment in Løgumkloster. Naturally the doctors complained and at 20:00 hours a Unteroffizier from Tønder and it was arranged that two flyers were driven to the hospital in Tønder by a Danish ambulance and two would drive with the Unteroffizier in his car.
The flyers were later sent to the Lazaret in Schleswig and from there to prisoner of war camps.

After treatment Costales was sent to Stalag Luft I Barth while Kish after three month in hospital was sent to Stalag Luft III Sagan. Joyse went to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow and then to Stalag Luft I Barth. Carnie was sent to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow while Hays was sent to Stalag Luft VI Heydekrug and on to Stalag Luft IV Gross Tychow. Then on a march which would take him to Stalag Luft I Barths where he was liberated bu Russian troops.
Where Skoug, Seelig and McCulooch was sent is not clear.

Sahner and Pechacek was laid to rest in Aabenraa cemetery on 2/3 1944. Their remains were disinterred in May 1948 and were evacuated to the American cemetery at Neuville en Condron in Belgium by the US military. Pechacek still rest in Neuvill while Sahner rest in USA.

The aircraft that shot “Just Elmers Tune” down was a Bf 109G piloted by Leutnant Günther Sinnecker of JG 302. He had to belly land the Bf 109G near Bredbro due to bullet holes in the oil tank.
 



A memorial stone have been erected at Øster Højst.



Sources: MACR, AS 71-270+272, JJ, RL 19/458, Løgumkloster local archive, LBUK.

 

 

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