Hard to Get

Author: Matthias Baars

Hard To Get - Crew

Back row - left to right
Lt. James T. Bowler, Bombardier; Springfield, Mass
Flight Officer G. Lee Jager, Co-Pilot; San Francisco, Ca
Lt William F. Kotta, Pilot; San Francisco, Ca
Lt C. Earl Gillmore, Navigator; Toledo, Ohio

Front row - left to right
S/Sgt. Howard L. Johnson, Radio Operator; Hammond, Indiana
Sgt. Thomas J. Walsh, Tail Gunner; Philadelphia, Pa.
Sgt. Charles W. Turner, Engineer; Waterloo, Iowa
Sgt. Donald W. Detwiler, Ball Turret Gunner; Compton, Ca.
Sgt. James L. Whitling, Waist Gunner; Lamartine, Pa.

Brunkensen, on Saturday the 7th April 1945.

At noon against 12.30 o'clock is loud humming of an airplane to hoeren.Es emerges from southeast direction of a cloud, the engines howls again, it breaks in air and falls on the small idyllischen place Brunkensen, then the eye-witness Herbert Paust reported to me his observation.

After the airplane had fallen, some inhabitants of the place hurried to Absturzstelle.Die the rubble of the machine were situated in the English garden, the moreover smashed a wing the roof of a barn. Many smaller sections were appropriate for inventory of the airplane in the entire place distribution that by the wind in the place were distributed. Among them the parachutes, life boats, which were in the machine. Dead ones or wounded one did not become identification gentleman trace discovered in the rubble a flier pair of overalls, therein were the document of identification of Howard L Johnson. (more to it later).

As I mean find examined called the father from Mr. Paust from the house approx. 300 m far away "come immediately to house, the Americans stand in the back on the road" thereby concerned it a light advance guard. The Americans must have observed the crash, because you stood to the time to the Lippoldshöhle with a site out oil refinery of the Deurag from Hanover Misburg, which was paged out 1943 because of the bomb attacks and after completion gasoline manufactured.

What happens:

In the morning of the 7 April 1945 station 153 started, 4 motorige B-17 Hart To Get with the series NR in Framlingham (UK). 48225 the U.S. 8th air Force, 390th Bomb Group, 570th Bomb Squadron from the USA with her crew 75 and the pilot William Kotta to their 291. Mission, the attack on new cathedrals. Furthermore 1304 bombers B-17 and B-24 were in company of 792 mustang as well as 58 Thunderboltjaeger of bases in suedengland, which belonged the 8 USA af, to one of their last applications of this order of magnitude on Germany. In the 1896 machines was 14000 men at flying personnel.

It went over the North Sea toward Germany, where the Steinhuder sea was headed for. The machines divided here and flew their applications toward Sachau, Stendal, Gardelegen, Doemitz, Parchim, Guestrow and Neumünster. Within the area of the Steinhuder of sea the Hart To Get came at a value of 26000 ft under bombardment of a German flighter pilot, to a ME 262, and met these at right wing. The pilot of the B-17 decided, which were intact entire crew those, jumps off to leave.