Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G 42-38005 belly landed at Østerholm on the island of Als 24/5 1944.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 351 Bomb Group, 511 Bomb Squadron and was coded RQ-G.
T/o Polebrook OP: Berlin


Just before dropping the bomb load over Berlin the oil pressure dropped on the inner left engine and Pilot Captain Robert B. Clay feathered the propeller. After having dropped the bombs 42-38005, that was named “Stormy Weather”, left the formation. When the Dutch coast was reached the outer right engine quit and Clay turned towards northeast in the intent of trying to reach Sweden. He ordered the crew to throw all loose equipment out of the aircraft. Soon after the oil pressure on the inner right engine and they were loosing height. When they reached the Danish island of Als they were down to 2000 feet and Clay ordered the crew to bail out. He would then try to belly land the B 17.

 


             (Mick and Karen Austin)

Pilot Captain Robert B. Clay

 


The first to bail out was Tail gunner 1.Lt James M. Wimmer and after him followed seven flyers.
Co-Pilot 1.Lt Frank Hatten chose to stay in the aircraft and help Clay to land it.

When they touched the ground near Østerholm one wingtip caught hold of the ground, and “Stormy Weather” rotated breaking the tail free of the fuselage.

 

“Stormy Weather” being dismantled
 

“Stormy Weather” being dismantled



Hatten hit his head and blood ouzed from over his left eye. The two pilots left the aircraft through the side window and Caly fired the flare pistol against the aircraft in an attempt to set it on fire, but did not succeed.
 

“Stormy Weather” being dismantled

 

“Stormy Weather”

 

A number of Danes had come too and a Captain Hjort told the flyers where they had landed.
They were taken to the nearby farm “Myrholm” where the family Clausen lived and Hatten had his wound tented to and laid down on the sofa. Soon after German soldiers arrived and the flyers gave themselves up.
The rest of the crew which apart from Wimmer were Navigator 1.Lt Marshall R. Pullen, Bombardier 1.Lt George W. Arnold, Top turret gunner T/Sgt Charles B. Jilcott, Radio operator T/Sgt Frank H. Belsinger, Left waist gunner S/Sgt Daniel H. Surprise, Right waist gunner S/Sgt Franklin L. Travis and Ball turret gunner S/Sgt Mivhael De`Marie all landed safe even though the last man down landed in a three.

After landing Wimmer was contacted by member of the resistance Mogens Dyre who offered to get him out of there. Wimmer did not want that because his orders were to stay with the rest of the crew.
Wimmer and two more flyers entered a farm belonging to Fester Festersen of Svenstrup and waited for the Germans to arrive.

Two flyers landed in a field behind the sawmill and walked in the direction of “Solbjerggård” owned by Hans Heinrich Witzke where another three had landed. The five of them walked over to the village of Klingbjerg where they were offered coffie and cake at Marie Clausen`s house.
A little later a German truck picked them up. The whole crew were gathered by the aircraft where a German officer gave them a verbal whipping. “Where they not aware what they did to German women and children ?”
 


                  (Via Gunnar Hounsgaard)

A crewmember with German Marines and a Danish family after capture



The flyers were taken to the barracks in Sønderborg and were then via Fliegerhorst Flensburg sent to Dulag Luft in Oberursel. On 13/6 they arrived at Stalag Luft III Sagan and stayed until 30/1 1945. At 22:00 hours all the prisoners were ordered to be ready to leave and at midninght they were sent on a march that would eventually take them to Stalag VIIA Moosburg.

Caly and Wimmer had got frostbites in their feets and were with 2000 other loaded onboard cattle trucks and taken to Stalag XIIID Nürnberg-Langwasser.

They stayed until mid March when they were ordered to march 160 kilometres to Moosburg which they reached on 15/4 1945.

On 28/7 they were liberated by American troops. After about a week the crew of “Stormy Weather” were taken to an airbase east of Moosburg and flown to Camp “Lucky Strike” in France. Later they were sailed by ship to Camp Miles Standish in New Jersey USA.

 


 (Preben Clausen)

Memorial at crashsite.

 



Sources: LBUK, Politirapport, MACR, Gunnar Hounsgaard, Sønderborg.

 

 

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