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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 150077
Last updated: 23 June 2018
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Date:01-JAN-1945
Time:0230
Type:Silhouette image of generic B26M model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Martin B-26G Marauder
Owner/operator:United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
Registration: 44-67813
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Stadtkyll , Germany -   Germany
Phase: Combat
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Beauvais-Tille, France (A-61)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Shot down by Flak on mission to Stadtkyll, Germany. All crew KiA with exception of pilot, who became POW. MACR 12003

- Last mission: cross-roads at Stadtkyll, Germany on 1 Jan. 45
- Ship: B-26G-15-MA Marauder Serial #44-67813/SS-P

Crewmen on Stadtkyll mission:
Pilot - 1st Lt. Paul F. Michael (POW)
Co-pilot - 2nd Lt. Robert L. Weir (KIA)
Bombardier - 2nd Lt. Vance I. McCormick (KIA)
Flight engineer/turret-gunner - SSgt. A.W. Harriman (KIA)
Radio/waist-gunner - SSgt. Albert J. Hands (KIA)
Armorer/tail-gunner - SSgt. James C. Rattan (KIA)

------------------------------------------------------------
Additional information from eyewitness account:

One witness described the events from the 1* of January in a letter to his son.

"Dearest son, wanted to write you and tell you that we're all ok.

There was a firestorm in our village today. New years day, the whole day the American bombers were circling above our heads, between 3 and 4 p.m. they started
Meilenheld, Wirfweg, Steimkaul and Schwanmert, even our new hospital, even though it was clearly marked, dropping the bombs on the city. Most of the bombs fell on the with a red cross, was turned into a pile of rubble. In many of the houses here in town the windows and shingles were blown of, 12 houses were completely
destroyed

Kallrath Joseph, his daughter Anna and 22 others from Stadtkyll lost their lves in the raid, they figure that some 200 people, our soldiers and American POW's also died in the raid An American pilot who landed nearby with his parachute was beaten to death 20 families that were bombed out of their homes were put up in west wall bunkers as a temporary solution

The good lord must have been watching over us, because our house is relatively untonched, with the exception of a few broken windows and shingles, that should be pretty easy to repair. Your mother would have liked to write you but since Christmas she spends most of her time in the rock bunker, she is frightened, she is there now and can't write to you at the moment. We are all hoping that we won't he tested much longer"

Two Russian POW's who used the confusion to plunder personal items out of houses were caught red handed by a patrol. One was beaten to death, the other executed on the spot. Our Flak was able to down a some of the planes even though they too, suffered heavy losses.

In one crashed bomber they found an operation map in which Stadtkyll was clearly marked as a no one target in this bombing raid ( that was your brothers/ fathers plane)

An eyewitness reported that German flak artillery soldiers found a dead American air crew member, he had red hair and both of his legs were missing. On one of his hands he had a ring with a nice set in stone. The eyewitness also saw a Flak artillery soldier rifling the dead Americans for the personal effects, he forcefully
ripped the ring off the Americans finger, he never found out what happened to the plunder I don't know who this American soldier was

Other air crew members were able to bail out and were captured.

2 air crew members were taken to a central registration place, on that way their life was critically in dangerous. Civilian and soldiers who survived the bombing raid throw stones, insult and spit at them. For the guard it was
not easy to protect the crew members. I reported only one air crew member who bailed out on this bomb run. This man was Lt. Paul Michael, but there is a possibility that also on other bomber crashed that day in that air raid, but we have at this time no indicates, "It was late afternoon, almost dark as we saw our house the first time after the raid. It wasn't damaged any worse than before, we were simply too exhausted to be happy about it. There is always work to be done after an air raid. Little repair jobs and cleaning up the house we were lucky, the Koeggel remained relatively unscathed from the raids, that is the only reason why we were able to hold the wo cattle, we are t on the milk that they deliver. We were able to keep the hay for the cattle dry so far but how long will we be able to keep it dry?"

Reuth, a neighbour village some 10 miles more in the south, was also bombed this 1t of January 1945 and since that day Reuth was constantly targeted by the fighters. Reuth is apparently tactically important because of the main road running from Stadtkyll to the regionally important city of Prüm. Many of the houses were already
targeted and fired upon by the American artillery.

Many homes were heavily damaged and a few were totally destroyed, but now after the air raid the buildings that were heavily damaged were also blown into uninhabitable piles of rubble. The inhabitants of Reuth after coming out of the woods after the raid saw what happened to the rest of the village and had to leave the hometown to find refuge for the umpteenth time since the start of the war


report (letter) from Wilhelm Ketel written on Jan the 3 1945 to his son Bruno, who was stationed at Grafenwöhr
report from Wilhelm Kettel

Sources:

- JF Baugher
- J.A. Hands
- P Michael


Images:


picture of eyewitness statement taken by Wihelm Ketel

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
11-Oct-2012 09:18 Uli Elch Added
11-Oct-2012 10:02 Uli Elch Updated [Date, Registration, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Country, Narrative]
09-Feb-2013 01:36 jpmichael Updated [Time, Location, Narrative]
03-Jan-2015 09:20 J.A. Hands Updated [Departure airport]
03-Jan-2015 09:20 Anon. Updated [Departure airport, Source]
08-Jan-2018 18:15 justin paul michael Updated [Source, Narrative, Photo, ]

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