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B-17 found in germany, do you know the pilots name?

Discussion in 'Heavy & Very Heavy Bombers' started by chris1, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    i would like to aks, if anyone could help to find out the name of a B-17 or halifax pilot, who crashed in WW II in germany. My father in law was watching the crash when he was a child at age of 11. that crash occurred near the village schutterwald (south west of germany) at sunday about 11 to 12 a.m. in snow winter 1945, presumably january 14th or 21th or 28th. this pilot was killed and buried in Schutterwald, later on taken to his home town and burried there. his crew could escape by parachute.
    father in law would like to find out the pilots name to put up a tablet at the crash site.

    thank you :)
     
  2. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Looks like two B-17s may have gone down in the area on 21 Jan at around 13:00 (which may have been 12:00 German time). There is reference to one man be buried in Schutterwald. I will sort through the MACRs and see what else I can find. The MACRs are confusing as the Germans may have mixed up the crews and the planes.

    John Thomas McErlane was the pilot of a B-17, 43-37857, 385th BG. It appears while the rest of his crew bailed out, he did not. I believe he was the man buried in Schutterwald. Members of his crew were captured around Schutterwald, some further away than others.

    One plane (his plane?) crashed 2.5 km west of Schutterwald in a community woods (Gemeindewald).

    Possibly about at this location ??
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/48°26'34.4"N+7°50'47.3"E/@48.4457032,7.8527806,4527m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d48.442892!4d7.846472



    Does this seem to fit your father-in-law's story?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
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  3. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  4. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Attached Files:

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  5. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    THANK YOU, Mr. Swank :)

    your information fits absolutly perfect!
    those are the coordinates, i took with my camera in 2015 -> 48°28'0''N+7°51'4''E

    my man and i, we will visit father in law in 2 weeks. we will take some pictures of the place for you.
     
  6. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Crashsite
     

    Attached Files:

  7. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    THANK YOU, Mr. airwar :)

    this picture is stunning, i will print it out for our father. he will be amazed!
     
  8. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Chris, one thing about the Fortlog Information. (That is where the American Museum link that Jaap (Airwar) gave got its information.) The Fortlog states (in error) the crash location as Joehlingen. That was actually the crash site of the 2nd plane.

    McErlane's plane crashed at Schutterwald, at the location that you know.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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  9. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Good search Rolland. Do you have also information about the other aircraft ?

    Jaap
     
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  10. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    now i understand. (i wondered a bit about joehlingen)

    the place near schutterwald is just a walkover from fathers house.
     
  11. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Jaap, I think the second plane was 43-38659 from the 96th BG. 7 killed and two survivors. That is the plane that crashed at Joehlingen. There is a German translated page in the MACR for 43-37857, on which the Germans were listing a series of crashes that occurred on 21 Jan, it says:

    "2. Joehlingen 15 km east of Karlsruhe, at 1230 hours. Fortress was shot down, serial No. 338-659 N, 2 men captured, 6 men dead."

    Osborne has:
    43-38659
    Del Cheyenne 30/8/44; Lincoln 4/9/44; Grenier 18/9/44; Ass 338BS/96BG [BX-N]
    Snetterton 19/9/44; MIA Mannheim 21/4/45 w/Tom Oelker, ro-Fred Adams (2POW); cp-Bob White, n-
    John England, b-Stan Kurtz, ettg-Emmett Clark, btg-Bill Bruder, wg-Ray Farrer, tg-Harry Hainline (7KIA); flak hit caused explosion, cr Hockenheim, Ger. MACR 11757. MAMMY YOKUM.

    No idea were Osborne got "Hockenheim" for the crash of that plane or the 21/4/45 date. The plane crashed 21/1/45. Probably a typo on his part for the date.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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  12. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Rolland the 43-38659 was of the 96th BG.
    January 18th till 28th 1945,93rd BG dont flying operational missions.

    Jaap
     
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  13. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Thomas Oelker articles. Crashed twice,one survived the 2nd KIA
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Jaap, my mistake on the 93rd vs 96th. You are correct it was the 96th BG. Will correct my above post. Still confused as to Osborne's entry as he has the plane crashing on 21/4/45. Attached is the first page of the Oelker MACR for the loss. Date given is 21 Jan 45.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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  15. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    I sent the MACR for McErlane on to Chris1. Kind of sad as McErlane stayed in the plane and flew it until his entire crew could bail out. They had lost engine #1 and #2 was burning. They had left the formation near Strasbourg. At the end, there was no time left for McErlane to bail and he went down with the plane. The plane "may" have exploded at about 2000 feet according to one of the crewmen's MACR statement.

    The crew was quite aware of what happened and several commented on it in the post war MACR forms.

    On this page: http://www.385thbga.com/database/
    by entering the name McErlane, you can get a list showing 25 missions. He flew the first few as a CP. There is at least one another mission he flew, misfiled under the wrong name.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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  16. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Great Rolland,I wrote this MACR to,amazing this Hero,he gave his life for his men.

    Jaap
     
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  17. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    this was watched in shutterwald directly before the crash:
    John Thomas McErlane kept his craft on hight for a while, in order to enable his crew members to jump out of her. all of them got out. that is why he himself lost his life within the crash.
     
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  18. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    the airplane did not explode, she went down in one piece. part of the wreck is sunken in the soil yet. the part above was removed after crash.
     
  19. chris1

    chris1 Active Member

    Rolland and Jaap, thank you both, very much
     
  20. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Glad to assist Chris. We hope your father having now the answers he was looking for such a long time.
    And when you made some photo's,will you put them on this forum.

    Danke und grusse aus die Niederlande, Jaap
     
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