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Crash B-17 Beats Me !


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    Crash B-17 Beats Me !
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    Isabelle Christien
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Crash B-17 Beats Me !
Crash B-17 Beats Me !
Stele marking the exact crash site of B17F 41-24567 of the 360th Bombardment Squadron, 303rd Air Expeditionary Group, on a bombing missionover Lorient is chased by 2 FW 190 of III JG2.
★ Lt Haas (P) killed
★ Lt Roy W. Christianson (CP) killed
★ 2Lt John H. Embach (N) prisoner
★ 2Lt Mc Cright (B) prisoner
★ T/Sgt Antone Pacheco (E) killed
★ T/Sgt Charles L. Roth (R) prisoner
★ S/Sgt Peter Soria (BTG) killed
★ S/Sgt Jerry Dobbins (LWG) killed
★ S/Sgt John Sherman (RWG) killed
★ S/Sgt Wayne O. Stevens (TG) killed 

The aircraft, with a crew of 10, was part of a formation of 54 B-17 Fs from MOLESWORTH (USAAF Base N° 107 England) whose mission was to bomb the LORIENT arsenal and the BREST submarine base.
At bomb drop, at an altitude of 23.000 feet (7,000 m), northeast of LOCMIQUELIC, 4 km from the target, the B-1741-24567 PU-J, named "Beats Me !?" ("I don't know") was hit on the rear tail by a "friendly" bomb that killed the tail gunner, Sergeant Wayne Odell Stevens.
The plane tipped over on its right wing, spun around, losing 10,000 feet of altitude (3,000 m). Its pilot, Lieutenant Joseph E. Haas, who was replacing Lieutenant Louis M. Schulstad (seized with flu) that day, managed to right the aircraft and set about regaining altitude.
During this lurch, Sergeant John H. Sherman, the bomber's right gunner toppled overboard and remained hanging outside by one foot from his machine gun in -30° C weather and without an oxygen mask. Less than 3 minutes later, he unhooked himself from the gun, opened his parachute and fell into the Ria d'Etel, which was at low tide. He died on landing in the mud near the village of Kercune in the commune of LOCOAL-MENDON. According to witnesses, he was killed by German soldiers from a mobile unit of the Luftwaffe, posted on the west bank of the Ria. His body, removed the next day by the occupying forces, was never formally recovered by the American army. A private search is underway to locate him. One of his nieces from Louisiana, Sherry HARDIN, would like to know his burial place.
To facilitate the ascent of his plane, the pilot triggered the emergency release of his 5 bombs. The bombs fell on the LE TREPUEC family farm in the village of Kergolven, near LANDAUL. One woman, Marie-Louise AUDIC (31), who remained in the dwelling was killed, while the rest of the family, gathered around the bread oven, were saved.
The plane continued its ascent still harassedby two chasseurs of the Luftwaffe based at VANNES MEUCON (III./JG 2-7/Staffe Northeast of PLUVIGNER, shortly before 2:00 pm, they attacked the B-17, killing its pilot, Joseph E. Haas, and other members of his crew. With its controls damaged, the plane immediately pitched up and rolled over on its left wing in a slow spiral dive turn towards the ground.
Three airmen from the "Beats Me!!!" were able to parachute out:
- Lieutenant John H. Embach - Navigator
- Lieutenant Ewell R. Mc Cright - replacement bomber R I. Saiz

Photo credit Le Bourvellec Eric
Contribution Isabelle Christien.
Crash B-17 Beats Me !
Crash B-17 Beats Me !.
Crash B-17 Beats Me !
Crash B-17 Beats Me !.
Crash B-17 Beats Me !
Crash B-17 Beats Me !.

Crash B-17 Beats Me !

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