Airwar over Denmark

Airwar over Denmark

 By Søren C. Flensted

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B 17G-DL 44-6461 crashed near Højrup south of Gram 26/2-1945.


The aircraft belonged to USAAF, 8 Air Force, 92 Bomb Group, 326 Bomb Squadron and was coded JW-G.
T/O Poddington OP: Berlin.

Over Berlin the B 17 that was named “Sweet chick with a lick” lost two engines due to mechanical failure and was not able to stay in the formation.
When flying south of Gram at 16:30 hours it was attacked by two German fighters that shot up the two remaining engines. The crew bailed out.

Co-Pilot 2.Lt Richard Callahan landed near Skibelund. When he neared the ground he came close to hitting some high tension wires and had to sideslip his parachute to avoid hitting them. He landed hard and sprained his left leg. On the way down he had got rid of his sidearm as he had seen some German soldiers setting up a machine gun on a nearby road. A man and his 14-15 years old son came out over a hill and helped him to a nearby farm house. About 15 minutes later a truck pulled up and a German soldier with a submachine gun entered the house and took him prisoner. He was then taken to the hospital in Gram for treatment.
Two crew members landed near Ålekær and were soon captured.
Four crew members started walking towards Skrydstrup after landing, but were soon captured when they approached a German minded farmer.
Those who were captured were, apart from Co-Pilot 2.Lt Richard N. Callahan, Pilot 1.Lt Robert L. Mason, Ball Turret Gnr. Sgt Lester M. Little, Waist Gnr. Sgt John A. Trcka, Tail Gnr. Sgt Russell D. Boates Jr., Radio Operator / Gnr. T/Sgt Myron R. Graham and Nose Gnr. Sgt Jacob R. Riley.
They were all taken to nearby Fliegerhorst Hadersleben where they stayed overnight and on the next day they were sent to Dulag Luft at Oberursel for interrogation.
After interrogation Richard Callahan was taken to the Reserve Lazarett Kuranstalt Hohemark about one kilometre west of Dulag Luft along the Hohemarkstrasse to have his leg attended to. He stayed there until he was liberated on 25/3 1945.
It is not known to which POW camps the other captured crew members were sent.

Navigator 2.Lt Russell S. Bodwell and Top Turret Gnr S/Sgt John Kozdeba had more luck. The two brothers Gunnar and Hans Karl Tranberg Hansen of Gram had seen the combat and had gone on their bicycles to where they had seen the flyers landed in parachutes. The brothers contacted the flyers and placed one on each bicycle and started off two on each bicycle. They had not gone more that 50-100 metres when they were approached by Christian Pedersen who was a member of the underground. Two bicycles lying on the roadside were given to the flyers and all five rode to a place near Stenholtgaard where the flyers were hidden in a shack.
In the evening the flyers were moved to the house of Forester Erik Larsen in Gram Storskov forest where they stayed for 1½ day. Fake ID-cards were produced and the flyers were transferred to Rødding. They were sent by bus to Kolding and by train to Fredericia where they stayed for a couple of days before they were sent to København. In København they stayed at three different places before they on 9/3 1945 was picked up at the Rubbish dump near the Kastrupfortet on the island of Amager by the boat “NK” operated by “Dansk-Svensk Flygtningetjeneste” and sailed to Malmø in Sweden.

 


                     (Richard N. Callahan)

Top row (left to right)
Myron R. Graham (radio operator), Leon J. Hagamen (armorer), Russell
D Boates, Jr. (tailgunner), Lester M. Little (ball turret gunner),
John A Treka (waist gunner), John Kozdeba (engineer)

Bottom row (left to right)
Albert M. Svaglic (navigator), Richard N. Callahan (co-pilot), Robert
L. Mason (1st pilot)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Hagamen and Svaglic were not on the mission of
26/2-1945 when the plane was shot down. Not shown in this crew photo
are Russel S. Bodwell who was navigator that day and Jacob Riley who
replaced Hagamen as armorer.




 

Hans Karl Tranberg Hansen of Gram with propeller blade from the B 17

 


Sources: MACR, LBUK, Botwell via Gunnar Reese, H.K.Tranberg, The passenger list of Dansk-Svensk Flygtningetjenestes, The Resistance movement of Gram, Richard N. Callahan, OLCB.
 


 

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