In July, 1995, navigator Donald H. Lienemann was the first
American vet from the battle, with whom researchers from the
evolving museum made contact and who would revisit the place
where he was shot down. He subsequently came back again from
his native Nebraska on two occasions, including to attend the
opening ceremony for the museum in September, 1997.
MUD IN YER EYE
A similar fate to Baker’s ‘Now an’ Then’ befell the aircraft
flying off its left wing, B-17G 42-97834 ‘Mud in yer Eye’, flown by
Lt. Orville C. Everitt. Over almost fifty missions flown by this
B-17G, eight were manned by Everitt’s crew (who were flying
their 20th combat mission on September 11th, 1944). One of the
three of nine crew to survive the mission was Lt. Warren L. Soden,
and in 1997 he recounted for us: ’ After several passes by the
190’s 20mm fire knocked out our tail controls, both rudder and
elevator. We started down and I could see the pilot’s feet (Everitt) on the rudders trying to get control. The co-pilot was gone.
(I could see the cockpit from the nose due to the fabric panel
being absent in this plane.) I bailed out and on the way down
I saw our plane almost directly below me on a flight path that
was consistently left-right, left-right, with descent significantly slowed. This flight pattern indicated to me that Everitt was
still flying the plane. I can only conclude that he had not bailed
out and was trying to get below cloud cover before bailing out.
However the plane exploded shortly before reaching cloud cover
and I saw only pieces of aluminum floating down. I landed in
a forest and was picked up by German soldiers‘.
Tail Gunner Sgt. Kenney died in 1963 as a result of the injuries
he sufferred in the battle. On his return from captivity in 1945,
he reported in his debrief:
‘We were flying a mission to Ruhland, Germany on September
11´1944. At about 12:10 English time, were hit by F.W.´s 190.
Due to oxygen system which was shot away and also serious lung
wounds I was unconscious and don´t remember how I get out
and have no knowledge on what happened at all except heresay.
I heard in Germany from a fellow flyer that the ship blew up…’
Of the nine man crew, three lived to see the end of the war.
parachutes... then we got it, hit in the tail we went straight up,
stalled, went down in a tight spiral, losing 6000 feet.’
During the falling spin, the injured radio operator, T/Sgt.
William G. Terry bailed out of the stricken aircraft. He was subsequently taken prisoner at Jachymov. Navigator Lt. George H.
Geis added to the pilot’s account in 2000:
’„…when Raymond and Glenn got us out of a flat spin at 15,000
we were all alone. Cannon fire around the tail wheel nacelle dropped the tail section – jamming the rudder and elevator.
We stayed aloft with the control yoke full forward and one aileron for lateral steering.
Ray Carl was severely wounded – one arm with a double compound fracture – both kneecaps and upper leg bones visible and
massive puncture wounds of the face. We packed the wounds,
used sulfa and morphine – wrapping him in flak vests and fashioned a hammock with control cables to cushion him from the
The radio room door was shattered and Terry’s boots were on
the bloody floor. He somehow managed to bail out during the
spin. We were losing altitude so we jettisoned the ball turret,
radios, guns, etc., and Cooper and I dropped four 500# by opening the toggles with a screwdriver. We couldn’t reach the other
two on the lower outside racks.
Significantly better luck was experienced by the crew to the
right of Baker. Serialed 43-38161, it was the most recently built
airplane of the three, and had thirteen combat missions under
its belt. Most of these were flown by a crew commanded by
Lt. Raymond L. Hieronimus. Both of the aforementioned crews
also flew a mission each in this aircraft. The bomber carried the
name ‘Oombree Ago’. Raymond Hieronimus was at the controls
of this airplane on this occasion, and his crew accounted for four
destroyed and one damaged enemy aircraft. Tail gunner S/Sgt.
Marvin D. Cooper: ‘Six e/a were attacked up at 6 o´clock low.
They came straight in and at 600 yards I began firing at the lead
E/A. It was a straight shot with no deflection and smoke began
to come from his left wing. He came in to 300 yards without
wavering where the plane suddenly exploded and disintegrated
in mid air.’
Top turret gunner Sgt. Carlyle E. Miller caught a different
Fw 190: ‘A single E/A came in at 7 o’clock as I was trying to get
another E/A on our right wing. I swung around to 7 o’clock and
started firing at a range of 200 yards. I saw smoke come from the
engine and the E/A fell off to 8 o’clock low and exploded…’
Pilot Raymond L. Heironimus recounted several days after the
battle: ‘Diving out of the sun the Germans attacked... our lead
Fortress fell, its wing tips burning... the bomber to the right did
a wing-over, falling up to pieces... another blew up under us...
those boys were old friends of mine... we saw only half dozen
‘Oombree Ago’ after its emergency landing in France.
(Museum of Air Battle Over the Ore Mountains
on September 11th, 1944 Archives, Stephane Muret)
INFO Eduard - July 2021