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B24 "Maiden America" crash site

Article about: 25 December 1944, the B 24 G "Maiden America" of the 723rd squadron, 15th Air Force was in flight during its attack mission to Innsbruck. But this bomber's mission was destined to

  1. #1

    Default B24 "Maiden America" crash site

    25 December 1944, the B 24 G "Maiden America" of the 723rd squadron, 15th Air Force was in flight during its attack mission to Innsbruck.

    But this bomber's mission was destined to fail.....

    On arrival in Tyrol, the aircraft was hit by Austrian Flak artillery and seriously damaged.
    With only two engines running, a non-functional landing gear and the fuel system losing petrol, the crew decided to seek the safety of Swiss airspace.

    For some time they fly over Switzerland in search of the Dübendorf air base but without success.
    Almost out of fuel and after some time in the air, they are shot again, this time by the Swiss.....

    With a series of clean shots from the Swiss, the American B 24 is out of control and the order to jump is given by Commander Vincent Fagan.
    With the crew in the jump sequence, Commander Fagan stays a little longer in the aircraft in order to avoid the collision in the centre of Wuerenlingen.....

    This extraordinary act of courage by Fagan prevented a tragedy of enormous proportions.
    But three crew members have died....
    2nd Lieutenant Martin Homistek was caught in the stabilisers during the jump, Sergeant Ralph Coulson was unable to release himself from his seatbelts and 2nd Lieutenant Nicholas Mackoul was found dead in the icy waters of the Aare River.

    The people of the small village never forgot the courage of the Americans and years later they built this memorial in honour.

    "They gave their lives to save our village.

    These are my photos of the crash site visit.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture B24 "Maiden America" crash site   B24 "Maiden America" crash site  

    B24 "Maiden America" crash site   B24 "Maiden America" crash site  

    B24 "Maiden America" crash site  

  2. #2

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    A cruel twist of fate to die at the hands of a neutral country. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3

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    Quote by BlackCat1982 View Post
    A cruel twist of fate to die at the hands of a neutral country. Thanks for posting.
    You are welcome.

    Actually, it was not that uncommon to be shot in swiss airspace....
    Nearly half of the planes that crashed were shot down above switzerland !

    The agreement between Switzerland and the allies was clear....any plane that needs or wishes to land in case of emergency, must signal the flare thus identifying the plane "as friendly".
    The lack of use of the emergency flare would be the cause for being shot down.

    The "Maiden America" was one of those cases.

  4. #4

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    The return of Commander Vincent Fagan and the other surving crew members of the B24 "Maiden America" to Switzerland in 1989, where they met the Swiss military who shot them down on 25th December 1944.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture B24 "Maiden America" crash site  

  5. #5

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    Very sad indeed, why didn't they fire the appropriate flare?

    Three airmen lost their lives for nothing, but saved many more.

    May they Rest In Peace.

  6. #6
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    I've read a lot about the US Airmen being shotdown in Switzerland.

    I'm sure some thought they were going to sit out the war in comfort.

    BUT , Some of the interments were horror stories for some of the US held there.

    Thank you Nuno for keeping the memories of these men alive.



    Semper Fi
    Phil

  7. #7
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    death is death and final, no matter from where it comes from. but they are not forgotten!!

  8. #8

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    Quote by AZPhil View Post
    I've read a lot about the US Airmen being shotdown in Switzerland.

    I'm sure some thought they were going to sit out the war in comfort.

    BUT , Some of the interments were horror stories for some of the US held there.

    Thank you Nuno for keeping the memories of these men alive.



    Semper Fi
    Phil
    The situations and conditions of the interments would vary but the usual would be :

    Officers sent to a 5 star hotel in Davos
    The regular soldier would be sent to an interment camp in Lucerne.
    However, the conditions provided in the camp were horrible, bad food, packed huts and buildings...
    The ground was always wet and flooded due to being close to a lake.
    The camp still exists today, converted to a prison.

    The exception:
    The crews would be shiped out to their origins within a couple days of the crash
    No interment applied.
    Would be seen walking around several towns, "tourism and shoping"

    I believe cases were treated in different ways, depending if the aviator refused swiss rules and tried to escape or run-away.

    Antonio

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