American Airmen Memorial

Discussion in 'Stories' started by v2, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    Over 50 years ago thousands of aircraft flew over the territory of the Europe that was suffering under the Nazi reign. Although the fierce and bloody aerial battles disappeared long ago in the shadows of the past, one shadow will remain here forever. Anyone who flies or drives along the road from Warsaw to Biala Podlaska (Poland) will pass in Woroniec, 10 km away from Biala Podlaska, a full-size B-17 outline that commemorates all 41802 USAAF airmen who died over Europe in WW2.
    The shadow - the American Airmen Memorial - was unveiled on Sunday, July 9th 2000. The location of the Memorial is symbolic. Within a kilometer of the Memorial there is a B-17 crash site that is most remote from any wartime American base in Italy or Britain. It represents the reach of the USAAF offensive over Europe in WW2 and the price this force had to pay in its efforts to bomb the Nazi industry out of the war.
    Standing above the shadow, a full-size replica of the Fortress tail bears the markings of the aircraft shot down on June 21st 1944 - the B-17G number 42-38202 "BTO in the ETO" of the 452nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. The bomber fell to the Luftwaffe fighters during the first "shuttle" mission from England to Ukraine. The "shuttle" missions used the USRR air bases that were made available to the USAAF on the permission from Stalin. The names of the crew are engraved on one side of the rudder. The other side carries a dedication in Polish and English to all American airmen who gave their lives in the war, and a statement of thanks from the Polish people.
    The "BTO in the ETO" crew was much more lucky than the thousands of young Americans commemorated with the Memorial. All ten crew members managed to leave the burning machine. Just as they hang under their chutes, a fierce race begun on the ground between the German army and the Polish soldiers of the "Zenon" Partisan Party of the 34th Infantry Regiment, AK (Home Army). The freedom of the Americans was at stake. Seven allied airmen were saved by the Polish underground. The remaining three were captured by the Nazis and spent the rest of the war in the POW camps. The rescued airmen took part in the battles of "Zenon" partisan unit for six weeks until the Red Army overrun the area. Then they were transferred to the Russians who secured their return trip to Britain.


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    TO THE MEMORY OF 41,802 (FORTY-ONE THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND TWO) AIRMEN OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCE, WHO WERE KILLED BRINGING FREEDOM TO THE OCCUPIED EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AND DESTROYING SUCCESSFULLY THE THIRD REICH MILITARY POTENTIAL

    AS TESTIMONY OF GRATITUDE AND COMMEMORATION OF THE POLISH PEOPLE
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    An interesting piece of history. Good post! :thumbleft:
     
  3. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good post v2, as Eric said an interesting piece of history. :salute:
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Well done!
     
  5. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    USAAF Targets in Poland in World War 2
     
  6. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting indeed.
     
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