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 Member

    … my father in law told me yesterday. about the last moments of John McErlane and honey chile.
    that day dark snow clouds were very low. the children were playing in the snow.
    first he heard the sound of a damaged engine.
    then the plane came through the clouds, with her left wing low. no spin, not flying curve.
    the engine howled and the plane went up a short way. fell down immediately after this.
     
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  2. Linda

    Linda New Member

    The picture of the crew, my father, William Rambo, is center of kneeling row.
     
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  3. Linda

    Linda New Member

    In the picture of the crew, my Dad, William Rambo,
     
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  4. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Linda, Thanks for confirming the identity of Rambo. I think we had him correctly identified in post # 106.

    I am guessing you got my letter about this thread. Did your father ever talk about any of these events?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
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  5. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Another photo Dennard's son sent is of his father's issued (or perhaps reissued) AAF dog tags, his POW dog tag which has a camp number and his POW number and a cross he carried with him in captivity.

    Denard-Dog-Tags-Cross.jpg
     
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  6. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

    Chris & Rolland, I order this September 13th 2016. I think they send it by pigeon.

    Jaap
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. chris1

    chris1 Member

    @Linda, i am delighted to read from you <3

    many THANKS you are here in the forum

    we visited marienhof yesterday. the house, where your father knocked on the door.
    i took some pictures. after down scaling to forum size, i will bring them here :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  8. chris1

    chris1 Member

    Marienhof (24.09.2016)
    pictures for Linda

    1 welcome
    2 the door
    3 and 4 the farmhouse
    5 and 6 statue of maria (was set up after wwII for grateful the house was not bombed)
    7 view from marienhof to schutterwald
    8 view from marienhof to black forrest (schwarzwald)
    marienhof 8.jpg marienhof 1.jpg marienhof 3.jpg marienhof 6.jpg marienhof 7.jpg marienhof 2.jpg marienhof 5.jpg marienhof 4.jpg
     
  9. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Back in post #118, Chris uploaded a German account of the crash by Eugen Hansmann, who was a boy at the time. It is a very interesting description. With my very rusty German, the help of Google translate and then the assistance of my daughter-in-law, I thought I would give a translation.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2016
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  10. chris1

    chris1 Member

    what a large-scale work!
    Thank you rolland :)
     
  11. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Rolland!!!
    Because of your research abilities I have often referred to you as the "Magician of Holland, Michigan". Here is another instance of your magical powers with this translation of Eugen Hansmann's book pages posted by Chris earlier. I had tried reading these pages, but my German is much more rusty than yours and I gave up after the first page. Hansmann has published a most compelling story of this event from a first hand account. Thank you for sharing your wunderbar translation!
     
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  12. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

  13. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    I think it is here, copy into google maps or google earth: 48.44320, 7.907522
     
  14. chris1

    chris1 Member

    scott, it is on post #103 and on the maps at post #108

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Rolland and Chris, I was working on this solution coming up with 48°26’36.15”N-7°54’25.38”E but Rolland's digital coordinates are directly on target. This is a different image view than seen before looking NE and NW from 1.5 miles / 2.3 Kilometers southeast of Schutterwald, see attached which is hoped to put these places in relationship. Chris, sorry I missed the connection in your post #108 - clear as a bell looking backward, thank you.

    As such image #7 in post #128 is actually looking northwest toward Schutterwald, thank goodness for the St. Jakobus (James) church (landmark). From this vantage point the crash site of B-17, 43-37857 would be in the woods beyond Schutterwald approximately 5 kilometers / 3 miles away for those family members now engaged in this thread. Looking the other direction Chris image #8 toward Offenburg (Offenburg not visible in this image) is where most of the crew parachuted to ground.

    Update/edit
    The attached map merely highlights Chris' earlier post further showing where wounded Radio Operator T/Sgt. William E Rambo, Jr. knocked on a German door seeking medical aid which he received and was then transported to hospital Offenburg. Also attached is Rambo's witness statement from the MACR.

    Overview Marienhof to Schutterwald-Offenburg & 43-37857 crash site.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
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  16. chris1

    chris1 Member

    good map, thank you scott.

    i also took some pictures at the crash site in the woods, they will appear here, after sizing into forum scale
     
  17. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Chris.
    Way back in post #21 you posted some crash location images, one appeared to be a road sign. I was never able to identify this location, would you please help with this location along with new images you may be ready to post.
     

    Attached Files:

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  18. chris1

    chris1 Member

    this is no road, forrest way only. about here (not exactly),
    we did not walk this way again. we came by car from müllen direction this time.

    upload_2016-9-26_8-34-44.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  19. chris1

    chris1 Member

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  20. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    I thought I would do some “back of the envelope” calculations concerning the bailout as it has been described.

    One statement in the MACR says the men bailed out at 20,000 feet. They probably did not free fall any distance as with the low clouds (solid overcast up to 14,000 feet) they could not have judged their altitude very well. So I suspect the pulled the rip cords right away and drifted all the way down. The diagrams showing where most of them landed reveal that they came down fairly close together. That suggests they all bailed out within a very short time and there was not much wind to disperse them.

    The type of parachute then in use (often made by Switlik or the Irving Air Chute company) was a chest pack type with a 24 foot diameter. It would be very similar to the T-10R Reserve chest pack chute in use today.

    http://www.millsmanufacturing.com/products?id=46

    The T-10R has a descent rate of 22 feet per second. The rate would vary, being faster in the thinner air at altitude, but I just want to do a rough calculation. If, just for an example, we say the average descent rate was 25 feet per second, it would take 13 and 1/3 minutes to descend from 20,000 feet.

    From Hansmann's description we know the plane actually crashed a short time before the men (who had bailed out) landed. So lets say the plane flew about 10 to 12 minutes after the crew bailed out at 20,000 feet. I think it was during this time it flew a large descending circle (or maybe even circles?) to the left. The fact that Hansmann was called out of his house by a friend to “see” the plane crash and ends up hearing the “thump” while outside the house, suggests to me that the villagers may have heard or perhaps even seen the plane's circling descent below the clouds for a few minutes before it actually crashed. It had to be doing something similar to the plane Hansmann had seen a half hour earlier.

    The translated German documents state that all men were captured on the 21st but unfortunately none of them give the time of capture. I don't know if they were captured in the evening or were captured at various times throughout the afternoon or what. The Germans knew that the typical B-17 crew was 9 or 10 men. If they had captured 6 at Schutterwald and knew McErlane was dead in the crash they still would have been looking for two or three men.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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