42-106988

10. May 1944: Shooting of a four-engine bomber over Riedlingsdorf
By Roland Pfeiffer, Leopold Banny and Heinz Bundschuh

The Americans attacks targets in the area Wien and Wiener Neustadt again on 10 May 1944. More than 20 bombers were shot down by the German flak and fighters on this day. One of these bombers, a machine of the type B-17 Flying Fortress, were attacked and damaged German fighters so heavily, that he falls away at the border to Buchschachen at 11.15 hours. The Riedlingsdorfer residents watch the death throes of the American aircraft from the ground. They see solving vague points of the machine like yourself and some float at parachutes to the ground later. How prove later, 8 of the 10 men crew could leave the burning aircraft. Search parties are immediately divided up on the ground whose task to take the bailed out American soldiers to POW.

Walter Zapfel, at that time even 12 years old, belong to the search group which must look for the crew member who has jumped down in the Ried Zeming at the Hotter. They find dragging traces of the parachute on a field and some dig this of the earth later where the American has hidden him provisionally. On her further search they turned out well till into a piece of woodland in Unterschützen, where they find a farmer married couple. The question if they looked the American, they say no but her fear has to be said for them. They finally dare to betray the near hiding-place of the American to the search bunch anyway. The American is arrested and the men of the search group can make himself clear with him in English. He leads her to the place in the woods where he has buried his pistol in a ground deepening nearby the jump place.

Wilhelm Berk from Riedlingsdorf, at that time 10 years old, can still remember, how another search bunch has arrested an American, who has descended in the woods nearby the Neudörfels. This place is about three kilometers away from the first American, who was taken prisoner by the search groub of Walter Zapfel.Wilhelm Berk well in memory that the American soldier has quaked with fear at the whole body.

Walter Zapfel can still remember that the fuselage of the aircraft has lain neaby the soldier grave at Buchschachen for some time. Wreck parts of an American aircraft can approximately a kilometer west of the soldier grave be found today. These parts are certainly as Roland Pfeiffer from Markt Allhau has found out parts of a B-17 Flying Fortress.

It is thanks also to Roland Pfeiffer and the well-known book author Leopold Banny from Lackenbach that all details on this plane crash are known now. Mr Banny made a copy of the MACR (Missing Air Crew Report) which serves as a basis for the following statements available: The aircraft shot down is a B-17G with the serial number 42-106988 and 99th Bomb Group, 348th Bomb Squadron. The machine has taken off for an attack on Wiener Neustadt on 10 May 1944 from her home airfield Tortorella (Italy). On position 47 degrees and the 6 minutes north and 16 degrees and zero minutes it is still exploded in the air as it attacked by several German fighters.