World War II Flight Training Museum and
63rd AAF Flying Training Detachment

Douglas, Georgia

James Elias Pennoyer


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James Elias Pennoyer

European Theater

S/N O-818213.

2nd Lt.

Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) #7545

Went to 2nd A.F. at Salt Lake City. He went to the 8th A.F., 401st Bomb Gp, 613 Bomb Sqdn. On July 20, 1944, he was copilot on a B-17G (S/N: 42-31037) in a crew of 9 on a mission to Leipzig, Germany. On the return from the target, his plane was hit by flak; number 2 engine and fuselage were on fire. They stayed in formation for 10 minutes, with 2 chutes coming out. the plane then peeled off to the left and 2 more chutes came out. The plane made a wide 360-degree pattern losing altitude. The tail fell off and the plane crashed. All of the crew had time to bail out.

Based on German reports, the downed plane was 500 m. northeast of Baerenhuegel, which is situated 1.5 km. southeast of the village of Wohlsborn. One of the dead was found in Baerenhuegel. A second dead was found 150 m. from the first. A third nearly 300 m. south of Baerenhuegel. The pockets of the dead were empty. The alive prisoners were caught by a Land guard and army units and delivered to the criminal police. Another prisoner was caught bay a flak-battery. This unit made a report about the items belonging to the prisoner. The air base command brought another prisoner with a parachute to the air base headquarters.

The result was 3 dead and 6 prisoners. One parachute was found unopened. The guards from the search command didn't keep the crowd from the dead. The dead were sent to the cemetery (Weimar) after consultation with the district command at Weimar.

From a crew report: Navigator 2nd Lt. Owen Howard Jorgenson was not injured until he was shot. He was seen after he had discarded his chute and was running down the road. Suddenly he dived down on the ground, presumably to avoid detection. A few minutes later, 2 shots were heard. His dead body was observed, and he was clutching a bloody handkerchief.

From another crew report: Donald Hoenig Schmidlt (Schmidli?), tail gunner, S/N: 36808544, was beaten to death by "Kraut civilians". "I was taken to Weimar where I saw the three baskets taken into the cemetery's main building. The clothes of my crew men were then thrown into the truck I was in. Their names were on the Mae-wests, etc. All the clothing was covered with blood. On the train, some of the crew told of being forced to take the dog tags from the bodies of their friends. They said their bodies were beaten almost beyond recognition. Some civilians proudly displayed bloody rocks, clubs, other implements. ... The officers were stripped, beaten and forced to walk through a village naked while the people threw rocks and sticks at them... ."

It is not known where the crew was imprisoned, but eventually the 6 surviving crew members returned to the U.S.

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